At the close of WWII a number of "sons of the Enlightenment"---classical liberals, progressives, atheists, communists, and other intellectuals--- apprehensively discerned that Western civilization was on the road to serfdom. The nightmare of destruction and mass murder in which America, W. Europe and scores of other nations had just participated led them to analyze the fallacious Enlightened "isms" that when acted upon had unleashed the holocaust of destruction. Out of their efforts emerged the new conservative or traditionalist wing of the postwar conservative movement in the United States.
Both the catastrophic evils committed by men together with the hard work of analysis eventually led many of these thinkers to return to the Christian faith of their fathers for they had come to understand that ideas are not the same. Some result in good while others result in evil. Ideas have consequences.
Among this early group of thinkers was Thomas Molnar, now deceased Catholic intellectual and professor emeritus of philosophy at CUNY and author of numerous articles and books including the Pagan Temptation, God and the Knowledge of Reality, and Utopia: The Perrenial Heresy. Molnar's penetrating analysis of ideas, history and philosophy led him to conclude that man's view of God corresponds to his view of reality as well as either placing enormous powers into the hands of fallen man or not.
Fundamentally, there are only four views of God said Molnar:
(1)The view of God held by Christendom and Protestant America is of the living, personal God of Revelation Who exists outside of the time-space universe. This God is close enough to know our thoughts, to see into our very hearts. All power is His. He spoke creation and man into being from nothing (creatio ex nihilo). He is the only God Who spoke and revealed His Commandments to men. As Jesus Christ God incarnate He walked this earth, thus verifying the fall of men, that all men really are sinners and cannot save themselves. He is the only Way, Truth and Life. He made known to all men that upon the death of their bodies their living souls will stand before Him, He Who is Judge.
(2) Over and against the Biblical view is the reigning secular evolutionary cosmology which states that since only matter exists, then God, souls, spirits, Original Sin, eternally unchanging Moral Law and Truths, purpose, meaning, heaven and hell do not exist. This view is held by atheist materialists such as Karl Marx, Freud, Richard Dawkins, Britains Humanist Society, Americaâ€™s secular humanists, transhumanists and assorted humanist permutations. It was also the view held by Communismâ€™s dialectical materialists as well as by Hitlerâ€™s National Socialists. This view elevates man to the position of God. Fallen man's will and mind reign supreme.
(2) The Muslim view is of a very distant, unknowable God for whom fallen Imams speak. Only they can interpret this God. Immense power is therefore in the hands of sinful Imams. So is it any wonder that objectification of others is allowable as is lying, or that women must bear the penalty of men who lack self-control?
Deism shares with Islam and pre-Christian and Christian era Gnostics the view of a distant God. Deism became prominent in the 17th and 18th centuries during the Age of Enlightenmentâ€”especially in Britain, France, Germany and Americaâ€”among intellectuals raised as Christians who believed in one God, but rejected belief in supernatural events such as miracles, the inerrancy of scriptures, the Trinity and the deity of Jesus Christ. As Peter Gay notes:
"All Deists were in fact both critical and constructive Deists. All sought to destroy in order to build, and reasoned either from the absurdity of Christianity to the need for a new philosophy or from their desire for a new philosophy to the absurdity of Christianity. Each Deist, to be sure, had his special competence. While one specialized in abusing priests, another specialized in rhapsodies to nature, and a third specialized in the skeptical reading of sacred documents. Yet whatever strength the movement hadâ€” and it was at times formidableâ€” it derived that strength from a peculiar combination of critical and constructive elements." (Peter Gay, Deism: An Anthology, p. 13)
(4) The last view is the idealist or pantheist view in which God is identical with man. God is in everything from the universe to planet earth, trees, insects, fish, cows and man, therefore man is God too. This view is common to Eastern mysticism and Western occult New Age spirituality. As in the distant view, only a small number of adepts--gnostics, gurus, god-men, masters, spiritual guides-- can interpret this God, which places enormous power in their hands.
Views 2-4 place power in the hands of fallen men whose hearts are â€œdesperately wicked â€œ(Jer. 17:9) while true Christian theism teaches that fear of the living, personal God of Revelationâ€“--a God of love but also of wrath and judgmentâ€“ is the beginning of wisdom.
It was this Christianity and not the immanent Christianity of the Social Gospel and liberal 'pantheist' Protestantism that early conservatives such as James Rorty, William F. Buckley, Jr., ex-communist Douglas Hyde, John Hallowell, Thomas Molnar and many others defended. It was the truths of this Christianity that they saw as important to the survival of Western civilization:
"Christianity is the most complete and perfect revelation we know of the nature of God and of God's will for man," wrote John Hollowell in 1950. (The Intellectual Conservative Movement, George H. Nash, p. 53)
"I myself believe that the duel between Christianity and atheism is the most important in the world," said William F. Buckley, Jr., in 1951 (p. 53)
"The sanest things on earth are those for which the allegedly reactionary, unscientific, obscurantist Church stands and for which she is doing battle," declared ex-communist Rorty, a convert to Catholic Christianity. (ibid, p. 52)
Evil is not just a "bad dream" an "accident of history," or "the creation of a few antisocial men," said ex-progressive Richard Weaver. Evil is a "subtle, pervasive, protean force," and original sin is a "parabolical expression" of man's "immemorial tendency..to do the wrong thing when he knows the right thing."
For this reason, "We must restore to our vocabulary a word discarded long ago, namely sin," said Hallowell.
Eliseo Vivas concurred, saying that inside every man lay "brutality" and a "natural tendency" to "define value in terms of his own interest." (ibid)
But by and large, increasing numbers of so-called "scientifically enlightened" Westerners and Americans reject the living God of Revelation and true Christian theism, hence evil--that "subtle, pervasive, protean force," of which original sin is a "parabolical expression" of man's "immemorial tendency..to do the wrong thing when he knows the right thing" is overtaking and destroying America.
We can see this protean force, the parabolical expression of man's brutality at work at every level of American society, from the highest corridors of power to the mean streets and back-alleys. It works within:
"America's self-centered adolescents in adult size bodiesâ€” whining, nasty narcissists full of the pride, hate, and unrestrained appetites that brazenly define obscenity, pornography, blasphemy, covetousness, hedonism, sodomy, lesbianism, pederasty and pedophilia, sadomasochism, laziness, and envy as â€œConstitutional rightsâ€ and further demand that anyone who hurts their brutish, depraved feelings be charged with hate." (What America & the West have in Common with the Days of Noah http://patriotsandliberty.com/?p=18730 )