Modernism, or rational humanism, was given birth by a long line of Renaissance and Enlightenment thinkers who emphasized the supremacy of human reason over God the Father, His Moral Law, and Christian theism. They further claimed that Nature itself was the source of law. In 1907 Pope Pius X called these errors of thinking â€˜Modernismâ€™ and declared it a heresy in the encyclical called â€˜Pascendi Dominici Gregis." Modernism said the Pope, is a new adversary of the Kingdom of God:
"... whilst enemies of the Church have always existed, new adversaries have emerged with â€˜arts entirely new and full of deceitâ€™, who â€™are striving to destroy the vital energy of the Church, and, as far as in them lies, utterly to subvert the very Kingdom of Christâ€™......(Modernists require) faith...to be subordinated to science as far as phenomenal elements are concerned, so too in temporal matters the Church must be subject to the State."
Pius X notes that Modernists believe:
"...the general principle that in a living religion everything is subject to change, and must in fact be changed. In this way they pass to what is practically their principal doctrine, namely, evolution. To the laws of evolution everything is subject under penalty of death â€” dogma, Church, worship, the Books we revere as sacred, even faith itself. The enunciation of this principle will not be a matter of surprise to anyone who bears in mind what the Modernists have had to say about each of these subjects." (The heresy of Modernism â€“ seriously
Using a summary of the Popes' encyclical, â€˜Pascendi Dominici Gregisâ€™, Churchmouse examines some of the major characteristics of Modernist thought:
â€¢Well-calculated audacity based on pride and obstinacy: The Modernist comes on strong â€” he is the expert; Christians are â€˜idiotsâ€™, â€˜ignorantâ€™ or â€™deludedâ€™. For all his self-proclaimed intelligence, the Modernist actually has few argumental weapons in his arsenal. He normally refers to the death tally in the Crusades, the persecution during the Spanish Inquisition and sacerdotal paedophilia. He conveniently ignores the writings and study that religious orders did during the Dark Ages, the systems of government (e.g. British, American) which arose out of Judeo-Christian values and the Protestant work ethic which has informed and largely dignified employment from the Reformation to the present.
â€¢Various â€˜learnedâ€™ roles: The Modernist posits his arguments against the existence of God through science (â€˜no empirical evidenceâ€™), philosophy (questions about whether an omniscient God is possible) or history (misrepresenting quotes from American patriots who believed Biblical truths or citing events from 500 years ago to â€˜proveâ€™ that Christianity has remained static).
â€¢The â€˜truthâ€™ of all religions: The Modernist in his relativism and superior intellect concludes that one world religion is just as valid as another. His objective state of unbelief leads him to authoritatively draw that conclusion. However, the only religion which he derides in his arguments is Christianity. (Modernist thought and rhetoric influence our world http://churchmousec.wordpress.com/2009/05/27/modernist-thought-and-rhetoric/ )
Modernists actually believed that they had discovered the "keys" (scientific laws) that unlocked the mysteries of the world and that through scientific application of these laws they could engineer a New World and a New Man purged of all evils. The primary keys were naturalism (denial of the supernatural dimension), Darwinism (predetermined movement and progress of life over time in many different bodies), materialism (all that exists is matter in motion), and natural selection (predestination). The absolute certainty placed in this "knowledge" by modernists accounts for their well-calculated audacity and vastly inflated pride.
After two World Wars had wrought catastrophic destruction, the death of hundreds-of-thousands of combat-soldiers and the murder of millions of civilians at the hands of Communists and Nazis, skepticism began to replace audacity giving birth to Postmodernism. Postmodernism signals loss of faith in man's ability to know truth with any certainty.
Dr. John McArthur explains:
"Modernism was indeed folly and needed to be abandoned. But post-modernism is a tragic step in the wrong direction. Unlike modernism, which was still concerned with whether basic convictions, beliefs, and ideologies are objectively true or false, post-modernism simply denies that any truth can be objectively known." (John MacArthur on postmodernism http://churchmousec.wordpress.com/2009/08/21/john-macarthur-on-postmodernism/ )
And yet, the seeds of skepticism were sown long before the two World Wars by Darwin. Darwin unwittingly destroyed the possibility of nature as a source of law when he revived the ancient pagan idea of chaos (chance/randomness) as regenerative. In seeking a naturalistic (Godless) mechanism for biological evolution Darwin enthroned randomness as the operational basis of nature, meaning that as nature is ruled by chance (chaos) it cannot logically be a source of law, let alone truth and morality.
Darwinism thus threw down the two pillars of rational humanism with the result that both reason and natural law are increasingly viewed by contemporary Postmodern humanists as artificial constructs leftover from theistic thought. A climate of deep and abiding skepticism and intolerance toward universal truth-claims (excepting those of evolutionary science) is quickly replacing audacious Modernism. McArthur explains:
"....what really underlies the post-modernist belief system is an utter intolerance for every world-view that makes any universal truth-claims â€” particularly biblical Christianity....In other words, post-modernism begins with a presupposition that is irreconcilable with the objective, divinely-revealed truth of Scripture. Like modernism, post-modernism is fundamentally and diametrically opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ."
As naturalism, materialism and evolutionism increasingly replace America's Christian-based worldview, skeptism and intolerance grow apace, even within undiscerning churches said McArthur:
"In the church today, there is a growing reluctance to take a definitive stand on any issue. Discernment is frankly not very welcome in a culture like ours. In fact, the postmodern perspective is more than merely hostile to discernment; it is practically the polar opposite. Think about it: pronouncing anything â€˜trueâ€™ and calling its antithesis â€˜errorâ€™ is a breach of postmodernismâ€™s one last impregnable dogma. That is why to a postmodernist nothing is more uncouth than voicing strong opinions on spiritual, moral, or ethical matters. People are expected to hold their most important convictions with as much slack as possible. Certainty about anything is out of the question, and all who refuse to equivocate on any point of principle or doctrine are therefore automatically labeled too narrow. Zeal for the truth has become politically incorrect."
A consequence of all of this is abandonment of revealed faith in favor of seeker-and-science-friendly emergent and/or postmodern spirituality. Postmoderns are offended by the supernatural Triune God:
â€œHe simply doesnâ€™t fit their demographicâ€¦. they donâ€™t want to hear about sin, Hell, judgment, holiness, or repentance; they hate the truth about homosexuality, Islam, and atheism; and they despise the requirements for sacrifice, suffering, and persecution that Jesus Christ himself set down.â€ (Heresy and Humanism: The Breakdown of Evangelicalism http://patriotsandliberty.com/?p=16457 )
The longed-for and much-prophesied synthesis, that is, the union of evolutionary science and Postmodern spirituality foreseen by Pope Pius X moves forward ever faster. Among those working toward the synthesis:
"....evangelical theistic evolutionists, 'progressive' Emergent Christian leaders, radical post-theistic Christian liberals, Christian non-dual mystics, pro-homosexual ministers, radical religious feminists, and recognized evolutionary scientists.. " (Nihilism: Why America and the West are Committing Suicide)
All of this was foreseen by the great Russian philosopher and close friend of Fyodor Dostoevsky, theologian Vladimir Solovyov (1853-1900). Solovyov prophesied the coming of a Christless Christianity at the very end of days. And what is this but the synthesis between Christianity and evolutionism.