Christianity's Unique Intellectual Opportunity

March 1995By John Warwick Montgomery

There is now an opportunity available to Christians to have an impact on secular society which has been virtually impossible during three centuries of modern secularism.

The 18th century marked the death of special revelation (deistic representatives of the misnamed Age of Reason threw out the Bible's supernatural content, substituted a "God of Nature" for the trinitarian God, and reduced Jesus to an ethical model); the 19th century was characterized by the death of God -- including the deists' God of Nature -- as evolutionary naturalism replaced divine teleology; and the 20th century has displayed the consequential death of Man (slaughtered by his fellows in numbers exceeding the total of all the fallen in all the prior wars of recorded history).

Why has modern man nonetheless remained committed to secularism? Roger Garaudy helps us toward an answer with his aphorism, "Nous tous, nous sommes nés vieux": All of us are born old (i.e., we enter life already weighed down by a heavy load of cultural baggage). For the last century that baggage has consisted especially of the ideas of those Paul Ricoeur has termed the "three modern masters of suspicion": Nietzsche, Marx, and Sigmund Freud, each of whom is now a fallen idol.

Nietzsche gave literary form to the death of God and the possibility (indeed, necessity, in light of His death) of transcending all values. If God is dead, all is permitted. The Übermensch ("Superman"), whether a Hitler, a Stalin, or an Amin Dada, can create whatever world he is capable of imposing on others. The results of such a loss of absolute value have been so traumatic that ever since the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials the human rights movement has been searching desperately for a solid basis for inalienable rights. Few today display the naïveté of a recent dating ad from the Washington, D.C., area: "Democrat & Atheist [seeks companion] with comparable values." Nietzsche fell from his pedestal because atheism offers no values.

You have two options:

  1. Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at newoxfordreview.org AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
  2. Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.

If you're already a subscriber log-in here.

Back to March 1995 Issue

Read our posting policy Add a comment
Indeed. For those who humbly tracing the movements of God's graceful hands, that is becoming more 'tacitly apparent', as long as you leave out the polemical 'TV protestant evangeliques' who, themselves caused many of the confusions about Christianity...they are also a dying breed (Thanks, God!).

Pope John Paul II leveled the playing field. Now Pope Benedict XVI, after causing confusions to the enemies of the Church in their own barracks with his books and articles and homilies, has been firing the definitive salvos, especially his US trip.

Right on! If Christianity was traded in the stock market on Wall Street, it is penny-priced currently headed for the bull market (even American Bishops appears to be learning how to be Catholic [including Jesuits, can you believe!]
- wow, God can really do the impossible!)
Posted by: humblesoldier
May 21, 2008 08:32 AM EDT
John Montgomery forgot that there is a fourth intellectual heresy, Neo-Darwinism, i. e. Evolution. Evolution is still with us, both inside and outside the Church and the Vatican. The Pontical Academi of Science is full of evolutionists, including atheists and agnostics. For evidence see the former President of the Academy on Cardinak Schonborn and his letter in the NYT.

So, it's not so much an opportunity but a necessity to dislodge the evolutionists from the Vatican, before the opportuniy develops.

JP II was also misled by these evolutionist adviisors at the Academy. Let's pray that Benedict XVI will clean house at the Pontifical Academy. He fired the president already, but a house cleaning is needed, or dissolving the present Academy(or rather that house of heresy), and create a new one that keeps the faith! The present Academy is hopeless, it is beyond redemption (colloquially speaking, of course).
Posted by: blueskies
May 21, 2008 09:52 PM EDT
Add a comment