The tide is turning for Christianity. This is not unexpected. Leonard Peikoff posited as much in his DIM Hypothesis; or he expected at least a return to M1 or M2 Mysticism (chart) (more) in some form. And mystic it is! In its slide towards abstraction and moral relativism, traditional Protestantism seems to have run its course. A renewed and rejuvenated mystic Christianity would take the shape of pre Vatican II Catholicism, charismatic Evangelism or a return altogether to the source, as preserved over two millennia in the various strands of Eastern Orthodoxy.
Bishop Barron thanks Postmodernism and the New Atheists for the opportunity they offered to Christianity to liberate and rejuvenate itself. He brings up two figures in his comments upon whom we often draw in these pages. He brings to mind the Philosopher-Pope, Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) whose book “Without Roots“, a critique of Relativism and Positivism acted as a midwife to present blog. Barron also brings up the horrible influence the Pietist philosopher Emmanuel Kant had on Modern thinking, which is the reason why — unlike Barron — Prof. Stephen Hicks categorizes Kant as a handmaiden of Postmodernism. More in “Countering Kant“.
But Barron is not wrong in his critique when he states (at 23:17 minutes) that Kant normalized the idea that religion could be reduced to his particular brand of self-sacrificial Ethics. “We are all Kantians now”, about sums it up right! This is what has provided the Left, and its spiritual incarnations, New Ageism and Wokeism with a moral justification for all their perniciousness. If your intention is good, bad outcome is morally irrelevant.
In the video of “A Return to Cosmic Christianity” Jonathan Pageau, an Orthodox artist and Catholic Bishop Barron of California are referring to a recent discussion with two secular psychologists, Dr. John Vervaeke and Dr. Jordan Peterson. Here is the video, which is very interesting in itself, as they focus on ‘Meaning’.
Pageau just posted yet another follow up on “The 4 Horsemen”, a bilateral with Dr. John Vervaeke.
In a fourth video around this subject Matt Fradd of Pints With Aquinas reads an address (full text) of Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles to the Congress of Catholics and Public Life. The archbishop is on the subjects of Globalism, the secular elites and wokeism, and what it means for the Christians who happen to fall for the Postmodern, Marxist fallacy.
The archbishop correctly sees these ideologies as pseudo, rival religions which in other times would be deemed heresies (Gomez mentions a few, for example Manicheism and Catharian Gnosticism). They try to offer an alternative sense of meaning. But these heresies are lacking in essence what materialistic seculars fail to understand: Christianity is universal in nature and deals with the visible, as well as the invisible part of human existence.
Gomez also vindicates Joseph Ratzinger, who was on the job some twenty years earlier! And even more surprising Gomez agrees with our very early analysis stemming from the same period, that we are essentially dealing here with a form of Utopianism that aims at establishing a Paradise on Earth, hence the working title of a still born book, “The Dystopia of Paradise“.
Gomez and Fradd explain why these “dangerous substitutes” are so extreme, harsh and uncompromising in their politics resulting in intolerance and injustice. Gomez’ solution to this problem is to proclaim the true Christianity. Boldly and creatively. With charity and confidence and without fear. “We should not be intimidated”. Courage is contagious. Amen.
DR. JOHN VERVAEKE: “THE ANSWER TO NIHILISM IS TO REMEMBER TO FALL IN LOVE WITH REALITY...
“Over the last few weeks, we have put together a series entitled “Meaning, Awe and the Conceptualization of God” for the Jordan B Peterson Podcast. This series was built around investigating the various methods and practices that humans use to conceptualize God. This investigation leads us down the path of exploring meaning and awe. Why are we struck by awe when viewing a beautiful painting? Why does walking inside the door of a great Cathedral take our breath away? What is the relationship between these experiences and God? (More in the description on the YouTube page).
WHAT TO DO WHEN NIHILISM HAS BECOME THE DOMINANT CULTURE? RATZINGER KNOWS BEST..TO LIVE AS IF GOD EXISTS (btw, that’s not the highest aim)
Christopher Kaczor and Matthew Petrusek are two Catholic scholars and Word on Fire fellows who wrote a book about Jordan Peterson, titled “Jordan Peterson, God, and Christianity: The Search for a Meaningful Life”. Here we discuss their book, the impact Jordan Peterson has made and how some of his core ideas relate to Christianity and the world right now. (More in the description on the YouTube page).
EASTERN VERSUS WESTERN THOUGHT
Western culture did not grow out of nothing. It grew out of post Schismatic Roman Catholicism as its post Renaissance Thomist direction was rejected by the Protestant revolution; the final march towards Nihilism was set in during the Enlightenment. In current Postmodern age there is next to nothing left of the once rich culture rooted in the synthesis of Judaism, Christianity,Greek philosophy and Roman law.
Iconographer Jonathan Pageau talks to Fr. John Strickland about the History of the West in Viewof the East.
Our own quest is rooted in the question what went wrong in Western culture that it could bring about the insanity and destruction of the Postmodern age? Pageau and Strickland both feel there is something momentous in the coup perpetrated by the Frankish upstart, Charlemagne who usurped the title of Roman Emperor from Eastern Rome by having himself crowned by the Pope. Some are pointing to the Enlightenment and Liberalism as the culprits. But our own research has indicated that this conclusion is wrong.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF THE EASTERN AND WESTERN CHURCH
Orthodox deacon Fr. Ezra of St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma explains the history of Western and Eastern culture in a unique way, comprehensible by most lay people with some basic knowledge. Shock alert: some of this may blow your mind!
Orthodox Christianity 101 by Fr. Ezra: Finding The Church Jesus Built – Seminar 1 : History of the Church.
In the West we have no idea of the actual continuation of history. Of the ancients we know nothing, of the classics we know some. After the hiatus we call the Dark Ages, there’s the medieval period followed by the Renaissance topped up by the Enlightenment. And that’s about it. Father Ezra is filling gaps for us.
By design or by ignorance (Church) historians in the West have ignored the entire existence of the Eastern Roman Empire that existed for over a thousand years, obfuscatingly referred to as Byzantium. It is where culture and progress lived during the so called Dark Ages, until well into the 16th Century when it finally succumbed to the Turks.
A case can be made that the Greek Empire has never been able to restore itself to its former glory after the Venetian sacking of Constantinople during the 4th Crusade in 1204.
Those who yearn for original Christianity (or even a religion that takes itself seriously) are well advised to watch all of Father Ezra’s videos instead of dabbling in nonsense like the Gnostics, the Kaballah or Islam. Save yourself some time and effort.
Even for Anti Deists the series contain interesting nuggets from the historical or philosophical perspective.
Once you start to get an inkling of the real history it becomes clear where, starting with Roman Catholicism and after it, the Protestant denominations, the West began to stray from the original sources, often out of political considerations.
Father Ezra explains:
Western thought is empiriological. It is analytical.
Eastern thought is ontological. It is philosophical.
Both start with sensible being. After that, the thought methods diverge. The ontological ascends to the intelligible (the being of the sensible being), whereas the empiriological descends to the observable (the sensible of the sensible being. The empiriological starts in the sensible and develops beings of reason from it which it then resolves and verifies back in the sensible. The problem with rationalism is that the last part of often forgotten.
Immaterial Beings of Reason (for example negative numbers, zero) are ideas, abstractions, the purpose of which is to assist thought. They are that by which we know things, not knowledge itself! And they are always universals. As opposed to things in reality that are always particular. Idealists confuse ideas with reality itself. The German thinker Emmanuel Kant was a fervent perpetrator of the fallacy.
Here’s another sampling from the series “Paradise has Two Trees.”
Fr. Ezra: Paradise Has Two Trees – Week 12.
Here are a few more of Deacon Ezra’s lectures (his playlists are often loaded upside down; please re-arrange manually ;)).