Though many early conservatives came from backgrounds of liberalism, progressivism, atheism, socialism and communism it was the deepest lesson of the 1930s and 1940s, the lesson of evil--of original sin--that finally convinced them that evil does not exist in external sources as so-called 'Enlightenment" secular humanist thinking held, but rather in the heart of every man. The apocalypse of evil in the form of fascism, Communism, Liberalism, lying, sophistry, eugenics, catastrophic destruction, dehumanization of 'others' issuing in the wholesale sexual perversion of children, Gulags, genocide and total war opened both the eyes of early conservatives and ex-atheist Alexander Solzhenitsyn. After suffering for many long years in a Communist hellhole, or Gulag, Solzhenitsyn wrote:
â€œGradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart -- and through all human hearts...Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.â€ Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
Inside every man, said Eliseo Vivas, lay "brutality" and a "natural tendency" to "define value in terms of his own interest." Richard Weaver concurred, saying Original Sin is a "parabolical expression" of the "immemorial tendency of man to do the wrong thing when he knows the right thing." Bernard Iddings Bell argued that "exaggerated optimism about man" was "the chief cause of our decay." (The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America, George H. Nash, p. 53)
Early conservatives were in agreement that in the context of morals, politics, and economics, liberalism, fascism, Communism, socialism and corresponding ideas such as Karl Marx's dialectical materialism (universal evolution) are not just corrupt but evil.
Whereas Whittaker Chambers argued that the crisis of the twentieth century, of which Communism was both catalyst and pathological symptom, was a crisis of faith existing to the degree in which the West and America are indifferent to God, Solzhenitsyn summarized Russia's catastrophe using similar words:
â€œA great disaster had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.â€
In company with Solzhenitsyn early conservatives advocated a return to the truths of Christianity. Douglas Hyde, an English ex-Communist and convert to Catholic Christianity declared:
"The sanest things on earth are those for which the allegedly reactionary, unscientific, obscurantist Church stands and for which she is doing battle." (The Intellectual Conservative Movement in America, George H. Nash, p. 52)
The Christianity which Hyde, Hallowell, William F. Buckley, Thomas Molnar, Solzhenitsyn, anti-Communist journalist James Rorty and others defended was not the Christianity of the Social Gospel or liberal Protestantism's pantheist 'immanent' God and Christ force but to faith in the living, personal triune God, as He revealed Himself to man in Jesus Christ.
In the book, "God and the Knowledge of Reality," Thomas Molnar, now deceased Catholic intellectual and professor emeritus of philosophy at CUNY and author of numerous articles and books including the "Pagan Temptation," and "Utopia: The Perrenial Heresy," reveals that manâ€™s view of God corresponds to his view of reality and evil 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 advocated by early conservatives and held by Christendom and Protestant America: God is the living, personal, supernatural 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 into being from nothing (creatio ex nihilo). He created man in His own spiritual likeness. 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---that evil really does cut right through the hearts of all men, bar none-- therefore no man can save himself. Life is with Jesus Christ and cannot and will never accidentally emerge out of spontaneously generated matter as modern naturalists hold. Jesus Christ God incarnate 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 spontaneously generated 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 manâ€™s will and mind reign supreme.
2. A very distant, unknowable God for whom pre-Christian and Christian-era Gnostics, Imams, and Deists can speak. Deism became prominent in the 17th and 18th centuries during the Age of Enlightenmentâ€”especially in Britain, France, Germany and Americaâ€”among rationalists (i.e., Classical Liberals, free-thinkers) raised as Christians who professed belief 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:
â€œAll 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.â€ (Peter Gay, Deism: An Anthology, p. 13)
4. The last view is the idealist or pantheist view of Protestant liberalism of which Eric Voegelin observed in 1952:
â€œâ€¦if liberalism is understood as the immanent salvation of man and society, communism is certainly its most radical expression.â€ (p. 93)
In this view God is identical with man. God is an evolving divine energy within everything from the universe to planet earth, trees, insects, fish, cows and man, therefore man is evolving into God too. This view is common to Eastern mysticism, Western occult New Age spirituality and certain Emergent forms of Christianity. As in the distant view, only a small number of adeptsâ€“gnostics, gurus, god-men, masters, spiritual guidesâ€“ can interpret this God, and this 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€“â€“a God of love but also of wrath and judgmentâ€“ is the beginning of wisdom.
On election day the scales decidedly tipped in favor of evil when millions of foolish Americans, including millions of starstruck Christians, re-elected Obama, thereby empowering the Liberal and Communist forces of spiritual darkness which eventuated in catastrophic destruction and the deaths of millions of men, women, and children after Communists seized control of Russia.
For over eighty years conservatives have been battling the forces of tyranny, but with Obama's re-election a tyranny of evil is settling itself over our land like an immense black wing.
If we are to find redemption we must reaffirm the truths of Christianity and restore to our vocabulary a word discarded long ago, namely sin. The dreadful implications of original sin were obvious to early conservatives and Solzhenitsyn. What will it take before they finally become obvious to us as well?
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