A Thousand Years of Self-Delusion
Having set aside all the things of this world, let us praise the wondrous beacon of the land of Russia and of the whole world, the good shepherd, the priest John…
First stichira at ‘Lord, I have cried’ at Great Vespers for St John of Kronstadt
Introduction: The Founding Myth of Western Self-Delusion
The greatest Western myth, indeed the very basis of ‘the West’, is the self-delusion that man can live without God. This is the ideology of rationalist humanism. This developed in the eleventh century with the concept that the human reason is greater than God. This is based on the anti-Christian heresy of the filioque, the concept that the Power of God can proceed from human nature, which then takes the place of God on earth.
From this founding ideology of man-worship came a thousand years of error and delusion. This separated the Western world from the Church and authentic Christianity. Ultimately it led to modern secular, narcissistic ‘civilisation’, which does not believe in God, but believes only in itself. Thus, the secular West was founded on an anti-Christian heresy, that of man as god. This reflects, though with opposite consequences, the Muslim East, which was also founded on an anti-Christian heresy, that of god as hatred.
The Darwinist Ideology
In its long history of gradual decline, 150 years ago Western ideology took another turn for the worse with its new theory of evolution. This anti-spiritual, typically nineteenth-century materialist theory claimed that man had evolved from animals. This led directly to the concept that man had no Creator-God and therefore had no eternal and immortal soul. From the observation of the fallen animal world, there ‘evolved’ the later slogan of ‘the survival of the fittest’. Thus, the old pagan ideology of ‘Might is Right’ was reborn.
Darwinist ideology was based on a ‘missing link’ and the dating of the petrification of rock which contained fossil remains. Of course, no missing link was ever found and the dates of rocks containing fossils is now being put back by many sedimentarists from millions of years to thousands of years. And yet Darwinist theory is taught in schools as ‘fact’ and textbooks still show the infamous mythical series of figures progressing from a squatting ape to bent and hairy apemen and so to modern man. (Curiously, there are no illustrations of women).
Thanks to this self-delusion, the Western world justifies its divorce from God, flattering itself for its irresponsible sloth in not worshipping its Maker and not repenting for its sins. For if there is no God, there is no eternal and immortal soul. If there is no God, there is no afterlife and no justice at the end of time. If there is no God, there is no need for or possibility of self-improvement. Everything is justified, as the writer Dostoyevsky prophesied nearly 140 years ago in his aptly-named novel, ‘The Devils’.
From here came the twentieth century with its First World War. No Christian civilisation could have started such a War. It involved mutilating and poisoning the bodies and minds of tens of millions of young men in rat-infested mud with high explosives and gas, so that the exploded body parts of many of them could not even be found. Only a secular, rationalist and humanist society, one which did not believe in the love of God and the love of our neighbour, could have done that.
From here ‘evolved’ the humanist ideologies of both Communism and Fascism and from them the Second World War. Believing in ‘paradise on earth’, Communism claimed that it had the right to slaughter Non-Communists as ‘parasitic’ vermin and that thanks to this belief it could create a perfect society. Believing in a Western master-race, Fascism claimed that it had the right to slaughter ‘Non-Aryans’ as ‘subhuman’ vermin and that thanks to this belief it could create a perfect society. We know how both ideologies ended: Lenin screaming from syphilitic insanity, Hitler putting a bullet through his head, a hundred million dead and a billion lives defigured.
The Twenty-First Century Ideology
The humanist attack against humanity had begun by depriving it of spiritual reality. Thus, the nineteenth-century witch-hunt began as part of this and it continues against those who believe that man, unlike animals, has an immortal and eternal soul. It also began and continues against those who did not believe in late twentieth-century ideologies. These were, and are, feminism, egalitarianism and globalism, which are all ever more active in this century too.
These ideologies are aimed respectively at debasing, manipulating and enslaving the human personality. This is in order to zombify humanity according to the same Godless pattern, in the quest for world unification under a single ruler. This means making everyone the same, uniformity, known by the propaganda code-word ‘harmonisation’. Thus, men and women are levelled through feminism, rich and poor and intelligent and stupid through egalitarianism and all races through globalism. Only homogeneity resulting from such levelling down will make it possible to impose world rule.
However, the most active extension of the ideology of globalism in the early twenty-first century is that of climate change. Let us look at some facts and ask some questions about this ideology, which every day is rammed down our throats like some new puritanical medicine by this world’s ministries of media propaganda.
Fact 1. The climate is changing. We can see this in our own lives. Even thirty years ago, in the UK for example, the winter was colder and the summer was cooler but dryer. But then the climate always changes - by definition. What would be strange would be a climate that did not change.
Fact 2. We are now recovering from the medieval ice-age, which dragged on through post-medieval frost fairs on the Thames, when the river froze for weeks on end, and into the nineteenth century. Yet we are still some way from the balmy temperatures of medieval times in the thirteenth century, when grapes grew in abundance in Yorkshire, and a thousand years ago, when the south of England enjoyed a climate similar to that of today’s Loire Valley in France.
Fact 3. It cannot be good that for centuries since the Industrial Revolution men have been pouring toxins into the air, the water and the earth.
Question 1. Is the climate changing because of human activities, because of pollution? A lot of scientific opinion seems to be saying this, but some disagree, blaming sunspots or natural cycles of climate change.
Question 2. Is limited climate change good or bad? Certainly in many parts of the world, it may be an excellent thing, in many respects in the UK, for instance. As other positive examples, Siberia, northern Canada and parts of Antarctica may become habitable for billions of people.
Question 3. How far and how fast will climate change go? It seems that nobody knows the answer to this. What is certain is that the media, the political class and many industrialists are very interested in making as many apocalyptic claims as possible. There is much financial advantage for them in this, in increased ratings, in increased taxes and in increased markets. It may therefore be that this present bout of climate change, perhaps mainly natural and mostly advantageous, will stop soon. It may be that wild claims of future catastrophe are no more valid than all those anti-Biblical claims made forty years ago, that an asteroid would destroy the Earth in 1999 or that a new ice-age would freeze us all to death in 2009.
Despite these unanswered questions, let us suppose that catastrophic manmade climate change is a reality. What are we to do?
Rather than speculate on and manipulate this problem of catastrophic manmade climate change, let us look rather at why it could be happening, its origin. If catastrophic manmade climate change is real, it is happening because of the ideology which has replaced both Communism and Fascism and which has now become worldwide. This is the ideology of Consumerism. This says that we are defined by what we have, rather than by what we are. Here the solutions to the issue of climate change as suggested by the world, despair, guilt, and new technology, will not work. Instead of doing the will of the media (despair), of politicians (guilt) and industrialists (new technology), as Christians we believe that we should do God’s will. This is the Christian solution - which is also the solution to all other modern problems.
Conclusion: Repentance for Self-Delusion
This Christian solution is to change the direction of civilisation. In other words, as Solzhenitsyn told the Western world some thirty-five years ago, to change from consumerism to self-limitation. This means to go from the delusion of a man-worshipping civilisation to one which does not believe in the ‘superiority of humanism’, in ‘the triumph of the West’, that is, in the hubris which has led to the present suicidal state of the world. This means to redirect ourselves towards a civilisation which believes in the God, Who is good and loves mankind. It was for this reason that He became incarnate and lived among us and sent us the Holy Spirit from His Father.
But to go from present-day ‘civilisation’, which believes in the self-flattery of human self-worship on a global scale, to a real civilisation, which believes in the God-Man, will mean repentance for a thousand years of error and self-delusion. This will take humility and courage, that is, it will take an unlikely acceptance of the Church. But it is only this that will end the futility, loneliness and suicide of a mankind without God.
Archpriest Andrew Phillips
19 October/1 November