Saturday 6 April 2019


Unless you are what the modern world would now call an extremist, you are an accomplice of this world with its programme of spiritual evil. Either actively so, meaning you are fully on board with the programme, or passively, and you just go along with it or don't regard it as something that one should stand against. This is how things have become.

No one wants to be thought an extremist unless they are driven by pride. It implies a mental imbalance and the predisposition to hate, and we must be careful that we do not, in reaction to the insanities of today's world, fall into real extremism as defined by those characteristics. That we do not just oppose false ideologies but hate the people who maintain and support them. This is the great temptation to sin for those who would uphold and fight for truth. It's the trap the devil lays for them, or us, as I should say. On the other hand, if we are forced into a perceived extremism that is only because of the extremist nature of modernity. For in reality, it is the modern world that is extreme in its rejection of God and spiritual truth. When the spirit of the times has turned to extremism, those who hold the centre ground, which is to say, the point of reason and balance, are perceived as extreme.

I have used the words 'spiritual evil'. To describe today's world in those terms is clearly the act of a madman - by the criteria of what is perceived as good now. But what other words can you use about a culture that not only denies its Maker and its purpose, as human souls, but also itself in that its acts will lead to its own destruction? How else can you represent a world in which the creature usurps the prerogatives of the Creator, and pursues fulfilment in the material world with no thought for the soul or spirit? Evil is the denial of God, either his reality or his true nature. It is the exaltation of the temporal self at the expense of the divine. This is precisely what our world does now.

I must repeat my warning, though. Great evil can push those who oppose it into evil themselves. I know this because I can sense it in myself. When truth is trampled on and rejected and one must fight to preserve it, there is a tendency to hate the enemy and that hatred will, of course, corrupt the heart. The devil is quite happy for us to oppose his works if we succumb to this tendency in so doing. It's a win-win situation for him. This is why Jesus told us to love our enemies. Principally, it's for our own benefit.

Jesus also said, "Blessed are you when men hate you and say all manner of evil against you for my name's sake". He was speaking in general terms but I believe he was also pointing towards our own time. Soon, if it hasn't already happened, those who maintain the reality of Christ, and not some watered-down, secularised version of it, will be regarded as extremists and thought criminals. It is important not to react to this with anger or pride but also not to waver in any way. You may well find that you cannot even explain yourself properly because you will be required to do so in the language of your opponents and in terms of false metaphysical assumptions. In that case the best thing to do is simply to affirm the truth and not be drawn into argument. Arguing for truth is reducing it to the level of opinion. 

Extremism merely means taking a strong position against the conventions of the day, and if they are rotten that it just what any sane person should do. Jesus was an extremist. He even died because of that. But he died forgiving his enemies and if ever we find ourselves facing opprobrium because of our stance against the lies of the world we must remember his example. The world can't hurt us. We can only hurt ourselves if we react in the wrong way to the world.


Wurmbrand said...

This posting seems to be saying something very similar to Robert Cardinal Sarah

"In the conclusion of my book, I speak about a poison from which are all suffering: a virulent atheism. It permeates everything, even our ecclesiastical discourse. It consists in allowing radically pagan and worldly modes of thinking or living to coexist side by side with faith. And we are quite content with this unnatural cohabitation! This shows that our faith has become diluted and inconsistent! The first reform we need is in our hearts. We must no longer compromise with lies. The Faith is both the treasure we have to defend and the power that will permit us to defend it. ... A West that denies its faith, its history, its roots, and its identity is destined for contempt, for death, and disappearance.

"But I would like to point out that everything is prepared for a renewal. I see families, monasteries, and parishes that are like oases in the middle of a desert. It is from these oases of faith, liturgy, beauty, and silence that the West will be reborn."

-- Drawn from a blog posting by Rod Dreher today.

William Wildblood said...

I certainly see what is described in the first paragraph. The second seems optimistic to me but I won't have as much experience as the cardinal in such matters.

John Fitzgerald said...

Cardinal Sarah's new book is a great clarion call against the new orthodoxy which rejects God and increasingly seeks to ostracise and punish those who turn to Him. This post by William does exactly the same thing. It offers a clear eyed appraisal of where we are right now and at the same time gives us hope and encouragement. I've been particularly helped by your comment about how difficult it can be sometimes to even articulate our position coherently. It's something I've struggled with over the years as I've always been a verb poor debater. I'm not a quick thinker and have a tendency to get too emotional about the things I hold dear. So it's good to know that that doesn't matter and that what's important is to simply affirm the truth. I remember Rene Guenon saying something similar in 'The Crisis of the Modern World' - that it's not the business of religion to get drawn into argument and debate but just to expound the truth.

The truth should shine like a light in a hill, and if it's the case that as the sky grows darker so the stars shine brighter, then maybe that's our role and responsibility here and now - our sacred mission if you like - to embody and show forth God's truth to those around us, and if that leads to us being called extremists, well, as you say, that just illustrates the deep perversion and inverted priorities of the corrupted (and perishing) spirit of this age.

William Wildblood said...

" I've always been a verb poor debater. I'm not a quick thinker and have a tendency to get too emotional about the things I hold dear." Me too!

People who see the truth just see it. They haven't arrived at their conclusion by a thought process though sometimes that may have been added on as support. But truth is not reached through mental acrobatics. That's one reason why it is difficult to argue with sophisticated atheists. Arguing is a mental game, built up bit by bit. Truth is seen and then known all in one go.

Adil said...

I think this post really captures what it means to be a Christian, through phenomenological, personal reflection, rather than the modern detached way of 'gathering data' and analysing the world as merely objects acting and reacting upon one another. It is this philosophical rot that is the problem, like a wooden cottage that is painted with appealing colors, but hides a floor that breaks as soon as you step on it.

You have also pinpointed what sets true Christianity apart from the rest of the opposition. Namely, that forgiveness can't be negotiated. Thereby, Christ also transcends all and any opposition. As soon as we begin hating (being non-forgiving), we are drawn into the antagonistic quagmire and pulled down to the level of the enemy. How shall we then enter into Heaven? While it is important to be able to express feelings of anger and resentment, the crucial thing is to not get caught in them, because in the end, there is no point in hating what is ultimately not real. Only truth and reason withstands the fall of time and change. As long as one remains grounded in the love of Christ nothing can touch you. Modern people try to be clean, healthy and hygienic on the outside as if that would alleviate spiritual shortcomings and inner impurity.

I believe it is not accidental that it is hard for truthful people with any depth of character today to express themselves, because of the strong headwind, ideological undercurrents, peer pressures et cetera. Truth is not as easily articulated, but better demonstrated, since it can't be pinned down to a detached formula-istic approach to reality, but has to be derived from it. Thus, it is always easier for compliant liars speak out of hand because of the tailwind of lies and ready-made manuals. Such people will talk much, and talk fast, because their words are fiat currency without any real value.

William Wildblood said...

Some really good points. Thanks Eric. I especially like this "there is no point in hating what is ultimately not real."

edwin said...

"Arguing for truth is reducing it to the level of opinion.' - There is much in this brief sentence. I think it is essential to recognize that truth is not a proposition, but a relationship - something, or someone, you live with and grow with toward a shared ideal. You said in this, or in an earlier post, that there is no love without the self, contra the latter-day nondualists and buddhists. And the self is not static, not unchanging consciousness without personality, but an evolving spiritual being. Evolving toward what? Toward a unique expression of Divine love, of Christ within us. We must be ready to verbalize the truth, as much as we are able, for this may help others as well as our own clarity and purpose. But debate is childish: it is rooted, like our justice system, in a desire to win, not a desire to know the truth. The lower ego is an avid debater. We must learn to walk a tightrope and not fall into fideism on one side, or proselytism on the other.

William Wildblood said...

"debate ... is rooted ... in a desire to win, not a desire to know the truth. The lower ego is an avid debater." Exactly! And, if it's truth you are after, once you are trapped in debate you have already lost

Tobias said...

A Leftist mind thinks,

Mandela's nationalism = good

Gandhi's nationalism = good

Scottish nationalism = good

Irish nationalism = good

English nationalism = bad