Modernity As Apocalypse
In our modern age, politics has become an autonomous discipline. How has this come about? The author examines the works of Charles Taylor, Mark Lilla and Michael Gillespie among others to explore this issue. Gillespie argues that the great separation of politics and religion has its origins in nominalism, which was later taken up by Descartes, Locke and Hobbes among others.
Nature was separated from grace, faith from reason. Renaissance and Enlightenment philosophies further radicalized the desacralized notions already present in nominalism. The god they created had an arbitrary will. God is inscrutable in ways very different from what is proposed by Catholic orthodoxy where God is seen as mystery but never in contradiction to reason. All this was profoundly spelled out by Pope Benedict especially in his Regensburg address.
Voluntarism, nominalism, disenchantment and desacralisation are the theological
assumptions underpinning the Enlightenment. They are thus central to understanding modernity. When Pope Benedict
gave his Regensburg address, he was essentially giving an account of dehellenized reason. He was describing a voluntarist
god with an arbitrary will that is beyond good and evil.
What must we do? The author suggests two extremes we need to avoid: the complete rejection of the secular sphere on the one hand and the complete privatization of religion on the other. There cannot be a total separation of church and state. The state cannot repudiate the natural law. The author cites the case of Kim Davis, a county clerk who refused to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples. She became an outcast because of this.
The author greatly admires the philosophical project of Alasdair MacIntyre. The project ultimately fails because philosophy alone is insufficient to combat the theological heresy of secularist liberalism. Only the Catholic Church has the power to combat modernity. Let us pray that she awakens from her anti-dogmatic slumber.
A brief internet search suggests that the author is in favor of the meditation techniques of John Main, a Benedictine monk who was influenced by Hinduism. I would respectfully argue that this is an unwise choice.
This is a work to be commended to all those concerned with the current cultural crisis.