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Faith for All of Life
Faith or All o Lie
as dangerous because they representedan independent motivation. Like thesun, the Party and its state must alonegive lie.Behind the rise o the sovereignstate as the source o grace and lie, isthe decline o the church into a pietism which abandoned the world to thestate. At the same time, Cartesian manhas progressively abandoned reality.Descartes’s starting point was, “
,” “I think, thereore I am.”The reality o the world and o Godound their “demonstrations” by meanso the autonomous consciousness andmind o man. In time, with Kant andKierkegaard, and then Jean-Paul Sartre,the mind replaced the objective world tobecome its own reality, and its only real-ity. Men cut loose their ties to God, andalso their ties to other men, except inone area. In pleasures, other people wereusually needed. Modern-day Cartesianand Kierkegaardian little gods need alsoan audience to perorm beore, very much like Castiglione, the Renaissancecourtier.Richard Collier, in
(1984), describes the lives o those who can live this existential lie. Without an audience, they nd liedicult. Their parties extend into themorning hours. I alone in the middleo the night, they eel impelled to tele-phone others, because to be alone meansto not exist. Anxiety, alienation, and ametaphysical sense o aloneness hauntsuch people.Cartesian man’s universe is his ownmental construct. One practical result,a product o modern philosophy andscience, has been “the adoration o thearticial.” (The articial, ater all, hasthe “virtue” o being man-made, notGod-made.) Oscar Wilde’s dictum was,“The rst duty in lie is to be as articialas possible.”
(This “articiality” hasextended to the world o sexuality, anda desire or the abnormal.) When Oscar Wilde let Oxord or London in 1878,he told David Hunter Blain,
God knows, I won’t be a dried-upOxord don, anyhow. I’ll be a poet, a writer, a dramatist. Somehow or otherI’ll be amous, and i not amous, I’ll benotorious.
Cartesian man lives with a will toction and a readiness to believe that, with a capture o the state apparatus by his kind o radical, liberal, or conserva-tive, grace will fow into every area o lie, and heaven on earth will be real-ized. This was the dream o the Enlight-enment men o “Reason,” o the atherso the revolution-religion, and o mostmodern men in all ranks and areas.But grace does not fow rom thestate, only controls and demands ortaxes. Each election, however, representsor many an opportunity to capture thesource o grace and to unleash its savingbenecence upon society.In
, Plato set orth hisidea o the “cosmic” city-state, a aith which many since have shared.
Platosaw it as obvious that “the lawgiver o this place… will never set down laws with a view to anything but the greatestvirtue.” His lawgivers, given his state,came rom Zeus.
The medieval respect or Plato and Aristotle reintroduced into Christendomconcepts which, with diculty, were inprocess o being suppressed. Joseph R.Strayer stated the case most tellingly:
There had long been (in France) a cultdevoted to the king—the only Euro-pean monarch who could claim that he was anointed with oil brought directly rom Heaven, heir o Charlemagne,healer o the sick. By 1300 there was acult o the kingdom o France. France was a holy land, where piety, justice,and scholarship fourished. Like the Is-raelites o old the French were a chosenpeople, deserving and enjoying divineavor. To protect France was to serveGod. As these ideas spread—and soonater 1400 they were known by a peas-ant girl living on the extreme easternrontier o the kingdom—loyalty to thestate became more than a necessity or aconvenience; it was now a virtue.
Very true! When a peasant girl, Joano Arc, saw salvation in terms o a reeFrance, i.e., ree o the English, ratherthan in terms o Christ and His atone-ment, obviously a major change hadoccurred. Again, Strayer’s summation o what had occurred by 1700 is very tell-ing: “the state had become a necessity o lie.”
Or, as Nisbet stated it, the statehad become the means o grace. We live now in the approaching col-lapse o that dream.
1. H. P. L’Orange,
Studies on the Iconogra- phy o Cosmic Kingship in the Ancient World
(New Rochelle, NY: Caratzas Brothers, 1982), 13.2. Louis Baudin,
A Socialist Empire: The Incas o Peru
(Princeton, NJ: D. Van Nos-trand, 1961), 42.3. L’Orange,
, 18.4. Ibid., 35.5. Ibid., 181.; 134.; 114.6. Ibid., 114., 120.7. “Antapodosis,” in
The Works o Liudprand o Cremona
(London, England: GeorgeRoutledge and Sons, 1930), bk. 6, ch. 5,207–8.8. Robert Nisbet,
The Present Age: Progress and Anarchy in Modern America
(New York,NY: Harper & Row, 1988), 55.9. Ibid., 30–31.10. Ibid., 66–67.11. Ibid., 41.12. Tung Chi-Ping and Humphrey Evans,
The Thought Revolution
(London, England:Leslie Frewin, 1967), 77.13. Wol von Eckhardt, Sander L. Gilman,and J. Edward Chamberlin,
Oscar Wilde’s London: A Scrapbook o Vices and Virtues,1800–1900
(Garden City, NJ: Anchor Press,Doubleday, 1987), 93–94.
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