â€œIf you live today, you breath in nihilism ... it's the gas you breathe. If I hadn't had the Church to fight it with or to tell me the necessity of fighting it, I would be the stinkingest logical positivist you ever saw right now.â€â€• Flannery O'Connor
â€œMan was matter, that was Snowden's secret. Drop him out a window, and he'll fall. Set fire to him and he'll burn. Bury him and he'll rot, like other kinds of garbage. The spirit gone, man is garbage. That was Snowden's secret. Ripeness was all.â€ â€• Joseph Heller, Catch-22
Nihilism is the air we breathe today, said O'Connor. This is so because for over two hundred years, nihilist philosophies have been working their way through our culture, embedding themselves, often unconsciously, within our psyches. This means that not only is the way we see ourselves and America colored by nihilism, but to the degree that our minds have been polluted are we immobilized by apathy, the spiritual emptiness that says in reaction to our peculiarly twisted, degraded culture, "Why bother?'
(Nihilism: Why America and the West are Committing Suicide: http://patriotsandliberty.com/?p=16038
The observations made by O'Connor and Heller have to do with nihilism and consequences. Nihilism is non-belief in one's soul, the logical assumption if the transcendent God does not exist. It is spiritual, moral, and intellectual suicide, both individually and collectively.
A visionary, O'Connor foresees her own spiritual suicide and so she confesses that she would have succumbed to nihilism without the Church and its' constant reminders that man is the spiritual image-bearer of God, therefore it is the duty of God's children to fight nihilism.
Heller peers into and describes the dead soul and demonically-occluded conscience of a nihilist who, in looking upon another man and seeing nothing but chemicals (matter) asks, why not incinerate it? Or abort it? Or gas it? Or bury it?
The Marxist materialists who seized control of Russia were nihilists. Materialism is a philosophy of nihilism that unmakes and inverts the order of God's creation and moral law and reduces man to matter. The authors of "The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, and Repression" describe nihilistic materialism as the "biological or zoological strain of thinking" that enabled:
"...the crimes of Communism (all of which) were crimes against humanity..." (p. 751)
The Black Book of Communism is a compendium of the horrifying crimes committed against humanity by nihilist regimes in, for example, Russia, Poland, central and southeastern Europe, China, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
Marxist-Leninist ideology justified the liquidation of in excess of 100,000,000 men, women, and children on the basis of nihilist philosophy, meaning that since man is not created in the image of the Triune God but is rather a collection of chemicals, then why not as Heller said, "set fire to him"? With the "..spirit gone, man is garbage."
From Marxist materialists to Hitler and Fidel Castro, the 20th century's mass murderers were nihilists. And as O'Connor perceptively observed, nihilism is in the very air we breathe today. The strangely twisted atmosphere of our age is the "death of God" made tangible. Nihilism is tangible in our spiritually-empty culture of death. As Darwinism it is taught to our youth along with polymorphously-perverse gender-bending 'sex-education.' From meaningless 'entertainment' to hedonism, casual cruelty, disorder, atonal 'music', perversity,and increasing lawlessness, all are manifestations of nihilism as is Obama's decree that Catholic hospitals are to promote and furnish the means to death...abortion in particular.
What ails America is spiritual. America is spiritually sick and dying because it has turned away from the Spirit of God, and without God the Father, there is no source for man's spirit, "and with spirit gone, man is garbage" so why not abort it?