Thursday, June 25, 2015

The only cure for "Great Politics"

Peter Hitchens is the brother of the late Christopher Hitchens, one of the founders of the New Atheist movement whose book, God is Not Great, remains high atop the must-read list for atheists today. I myself read his non-religious works and columns eagerly and found them enlightening. C. Hitchens was indisputably a very smart man, engaging and witty.

Like Christopher, his younger brother b y two years, Peter, became an atheist. But he did not remain there. Years into adulthood, he came to confess Christ, published a rebuttal to God is Not Great and even publicly debated his brother a few times.

Here is his story:
How I found God and peace with my atheist brother: PETER HITCHENS traces his journey back to Christianity | Daily Mail Online
Being Christian is one thing. Fighting for a cause is another, and much easier to acknowledge – for in recent times it has grown clear that the Christian religion is threatened with a dangerous defeat by secular forces which have never been so confident.

Why is there such a fury against religion now? Because religion is the one reliable force that stands in the way of the power of the strong over the weak. The one reliable force that forms the foundation of the concept of the rule of law.

The one reliable force that restrains the hand of the man of power. In an age of power worship, the Christian religion has become the principal obstacle to the desire of earthly utopians for absolute power.
He is right. As militant atheist Friedrich Nietzsche said, once God is dead, humanity will be in the service of Great Politics, which even Nietzsche knew would not be an improvement.
The point, rather, is that Nietzsche saw. However much he (usually) advocated what ought to be most abhorred, he at least recognized that true morality and Christian belief are siblings. Moreover, in tones redolent of Jeremiah he saw the consequences to civilization as a whole when its citizens lose their faith in God. For what will take the place of God will be only a passionate—and largely empty—politics:
For when truth enters the lists against the lies of millennia, we shall have convulsions, a spasm of earthquakes . . . the likes of which have never been dreamed. Then the concept of politics will be completely dissolved in a war between spirits, all authority structures of the old order will be blown into the air—one and all, they rest upon a lie; there will be wars the likes of which have never existed on earth. From my time forward earth will see Great Politics.
Such are the contradictions of atheism. With hope in progress gone, with the lessons of the twentieth century still unlearned in the twenty-first, with technology progressing, in Adorno’s words, from the slingshot to the atom bomb (a remark cited in Spe Salvi), with a resurgence of religiously motivated violence filling the headlines, all that the new atheists can manage is to hearken back to an Enlightenment-based critique of religion. But they find their way blocked, not so much by Nietzsche (whom, as we saw, they largely ignore) but by the ineluctable realities he so ruthlessly exposed. Not Nietzsche, but the history of the twentieth century has shown that godless culture is incapable of making men happier. All Nietzsche did was to point out that no civilization, however “progressive,” can dispel the terrifying character of nature; and once progress is called into question, the human condition appears in all its forsaken nakedness.
We are almost there, folks. This is why evangelism is the only critical task of the Church today.

We have to avoid the natural tendency to do withdraw into ecclesial shells, and rely instead on the supernatural authority and inspiration of God to go into the world and make disciples of Jesus Christ.

Bookmark and Share