Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Gnosticism


I am worried about one of parishioners, I know his parents are worried about him too, he lives in his own world. I want him to settle down find a nice girl, get married and produce good Catholic children. He lives in a world of fantasy which means any sane girl just runs a mile. Like most fantasists he seems to want to hide more deeply in his fantasies, therefore he drinks a bit more than is wise and that of course just adds to the unreality he faces, and that in turn makes him depressed so he escapes deeper into fantasy. He is heading to alcoholism and loneliness.

Christianity is about reality, the terrible reality of the Cross. No-one can embrace the Cross and live with fantasy or as Pope Benedict might have described it 'untruth' or Relativism. I like the fact that Pope Francis seems to want Christians to live in the real world, though at times his reality seems to be confused and often incoherent.

The early Church was most concerned by 'unreality', its first battles were against Gnosticism, where secret rites and secret knowledge were offered as an alternative to 'take up your Cross and follow me'. Robert Reilly makes the interesting suggestion that today's 'Gay Movement' has as its basis the creation of a whole series of false premises or false assumptions about the nature of the human person, the most foremost is that we are 'ordered' to not only union but also generation or procreation.

Using the phrase 'intrinsically disordered' can be like a red rag to a bull but human beings are in the depths of their being ordered to reproduce. A sexual act, or a sexuality, or a culture, or an economic structure that denies that, is disordered in its roots and ultimately inhuman. It creates a fantasy world. It denies something which is intrinsically human.

Not welcoming children, not being orientated to the transmission of life, as so much of our culture to is not so orientated is against nature, it is a fantasy world, that will inevitably result in serious unhappiness. Reilly makes the comparison between today's situation with the 1935 Nuremberg Laws.
Voegelin analyzed the Nazi movement as a form of Gnosticism. I do not think it is a stretch to point to Nazi Germany in 1935 as an analogy to current events and their similarly Gnostic nature. That is when the Nuremberg Laws were passed, stripping Jews of their German citizenship and forbidding marriage between non-Jews and Jews. No doubt, there were still many fine and upstanding people in Germany at the time, including many Catholics, but from then on they had to keep their mouths shut about the Nazi racial superiority teachings because they were state law. I am sure there were many people opposed to the race theory of history who said to themselves, as people do today regarding homosexual “marriage,” ‘well, this is a losing issue. Let’s leave it alone and move on.’ They were probably too frightened to consider what they were moving on to, just as people today avoid thinking about the consequences of the complete denial of reality involved in homosexual “marriage.” Anyone who thinks that we are involved in a denial of reality any less profound than that of 1935 Germany is kidding themselves. Success for the homosexual dream requires the obliteration of the real and the removal of those who insist on the existence of reality.
Pope Benedict said something similar but in much more general terms in his address to the Bundestag when speaking about the danger of law founded on ideology rather than the lived (religious) experience of humanity.
Dawkins and other Darwinians might well recognise the need for humanity to express its 'selfish gene', they might indeed express it in terms of something that is compulsive in human nature but they seem to suggest that as some kind of intellectual or spiritual ideal. Catholicism is actually more fleshy than that, it concerns itself with two creatures, a man and woman who come together in the sweat and blood conjugal act that is orientated towards the conception of a third human being.

There is something profoundly Gnostic in the refusal during the 'gay marriage debate' in this country to actually discuss gay sex or to even to address adultery in a homosexual context though it seems still (for the moment) to address it in a heterosexual context. Here is a fundamental inequality. Although homosexual loving for most people might now be a non-issue there still is taboo against homosexual acts.

A friend, a political commentator, suggests that there is no big idea in politics today except growing nationalism: the rise of UKIP and the SNP, and 'Equalities' legislation. 'Equalities' is what will be the basis of so much legislation, it is going to underscore everything from economics to education, deviating from its orthodoxy will render some people unemployable. Beware if you are tempted to comment here, like those who opposed the Nuremberg Laws you will be forced to conform, eventually.  Like those laws our new laws will eventually frame our whole way thinking; how society is organised most certainly but more worrying how we think and interact with one another. They are already curtailing our freedoms and intellectual debate and investigation, even our baking.

Just like the mad social experiments of Revolutionary China which simply contradicted the Natural Law, not just the one child policy but also the reversal of the Yellow River or 'War on Sparrows' widespread catastrophe followed, so we should expect in the not too distant future similar 'ecological problems'. When apparatchiks develop policies without reference to reality disaster always follows.

I am sure that the Holy Fathers eagerly awaited Encyclical on the environment will address these issues and challenge us to look more deeply at the reality of human ecology rather than the ideological gnosticism that frames our the thinking of today's politicians who like my parishioner seems increasingly to live in a fantasy world.

8 comments:

August said...

The greatest barrier to settling down, finding a nice girl, and producing good Catholic children are the girls. The second barrier is the compromise the clergy makes with the state (and the girls) such that a husband and father has absolutely no rights whatsoever.
If you look at the demographics, the stats are terrible. In certain ways it is very easy to blame a particular man- especially as a man oneself: I, for instance, do not play video games, and I tend to look in askance at those who do- especially those who do so to the exclusion of all else- but when looked at statistically, it starts to make sense. Men are at a supreme disadvantage- most especially if they actually think about and care for their future children.
The current corporate culture prefers women as employees. Can anyone do math anymore, and notice that it will be harder for a man to get where he thinks he can provide for a family?

If it weren't for how badly alcohol interferes with my sleep, I should think it a justifiable strategy. And being alone is practically requisite. I get tired enough seeing people at the grocery store. The videogamers game because it gives them a sense of accomplishment that most of them can't find in this world.

If you can't buy my argument, just think of this- who takes the pill?

JARay said...

I am distressed also for your young man who lives in a fantasy world. He is not the only one. It sounds to me that he is a schizophrenic. I know what it is like to live with one because I have a son who lives with me who hears banging on his walls and windows in the night and believes that the police regularly come into our house and look through his belongings. They take things and move them around. They follow him whenever he goes away on holiday. They went with him to South America and carried on there just the same. It's no use telling him that he is a nobody and of no interest to the police and that they certainly do not have the personnel or finances to send people to South America just to know what he is doing in South America. He thinks that I am putting him down and calling him a liar when I tell him that he is totally mistaken. I have had to affirm most strongly that I do believe that he believes that he is telling me the truth when he relates these things to me.
I have lived with this for years. We get by!
He has been to a psychiatrist and he has medication which sometimes he takes and sometimes he doesn't.
I love him very much and he is a very generous and loving son in return.

viterbo said...

That's an interesting observation that the 'homosexual issue' is often divorced from the reality of homosexual acts - it's a disconnect. I can remember reading a refutation of the selfish gene, positing that a 'compassionate gene' would be more accurate, since the sort of adaptation proposed finds its application in a common good not an individual/selfish one. I think the fantasies supported by contemporary society and academia depend on doubt - upon the problem=reaction=solution political formula (and so many of those fantasies are presented as truths by scientists (the Pontifical Academy for sciences is basically comprised of atheists who live on a ferris wheel of rotating opinions about the 'facts' of Einstein's bequest (and Einstein hated the Catholic Church after his wife and children converted)). We live in times where top brass expound the 'virtue' of doubt (disparaging the foundations of Christian certainty), where there is supposedly such a thing as an idiosyncratic (or beat of the age) good that somehow doesn't impinge upon the common good - except of course it does. Protestant secession is an example of a supposed idiosyncratic 'good' as opposed to a common or universal good. As far as I can see, being comfirmed in one's errors is the essence of 'gnosticism'. I used to read gnostic texts; for every Catholic Truth expounded by Christ and His Apostles there is a later gnostic lie to counter that truth (what you might call an aggiornamento of 'Christian understanding' specially tailored to an invidivual generation and their 'needs'). At any rate, the fraternal twin of seceding from Truth, is embracing lies. For people who promulgate such doubt, truth seems little more than a lie waiting to be exploited, and never for a common good.

Matthew said...

I agree with your main thesis, Fr Ray, but the advice to 'find a nice girl' & 'settle down' (usually in that order?) have been followed with disastrous effect on both parties (not to mention any children they might have produced) by many a wavering homosexual. If only life were that simple!

Fr Ray Blake said...

I don't think homosexuality is his problem, more likely loneliness.

viterbo said...

I wonder how the hesychasts overcame loneliness? especially since they deliberately removed themselves from human company. Perhaps that's the difference. If isolation is a choice it can always be renounced and company sought, but what if consoling company simply isn't there, especially in those times when prayer only seems to exaggerate the lack of consolation? There is a reason that isolation is used as a punishment in prisons. In Teresa of Mansions she speaks about a sister who was suffering a sort of isolation despite the many consolations around her, but no matter the apparent graces 'she would not be consoled'. The Saint's advice was to get the sister into acts of coporal mercy for as much time as possible and to reduce contemplative activies.

Independent said...

The Almighty has a sense of humour in making the supreme physical act of human love the union of the waste disposal systems of a man and a woman.

James said...

Paul VI embraced unreality at Vatican II. Until that massive elephant is faced, the Church will remain a sitting duck without strength to move.