Sunday, March 29, 2009

back to the ancient religions

"I am apprehensive, I confess, regarding a certain reactive, even counter-revolutionary, movement in late modern thinking, back to the severer spiritual economies of pagan society and away from the high (and admittedly “unrealistic”) personalism and humanism with which the ancient Christian revolution colored—though did not succeed in wholly forming—our cultural conscience. Peter Singer’s meltingly “reasonable” advocacy of prudential infanticide, for instance, naturally reminds one of the ancient world’s practice of exposing supernumerary infants (though lacking the ancient piety that left the ultimate fate of the abandoned child to the gods). It seems to me reasonable to imagine that, increasingly, the religion of the God-man, who summons human beings to become created gods through charity, will be replaced once again by the more ancient religions of the man-god, who wrests his divinity from the intractable material of his humanity, and solely through the exertions of his will. Such a religion will not in all likelihood express itself through a new Caesar, of course, or a new emperor or F├╝hrer; its operations will be more “democratically” diffused through society as a whole. But such a religion will always kill and then call it justice, or compassion, or a sad necessity."

- David Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies (Yale Press), HT: R.R. Reno in First Things

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