With the car in neutral, you are going nowhere
June 22, 2014 § 17 Comments
“You see,” said Aslan, “They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.” – The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
Modernity likes to see itself as standing neutrally above all of reality: as a transcendent stage of humanity in which the prejudices, biases, and oppressions of bygone years have been left behind by the human elite. Religious conflicts between superstitious tribes have been replaced or at least regulated by a dispassionate, clinical neutrality that stands above all of those petty conflicts and keeps the peace by not permitting any one tribalism to tyrannize another. Modernity focuses on formalisms and methods, eschewing the unsolvable dilemmas of metaphysics/religion and frequently viewing the latter as illusory, at least from a practical standpoint.
Modernity further insists that its formalisms and methods must be metaphysically neutral: otherwise they are inauthentic, just more superstitious tribalism by another name. Marxism viewed classical liberal capitalism as inauthentic for this very reason: capitalist society was more or less isomorphic to medieval feudalism, with just different labels being used, and thus was lying about its commitment to freedom and equal rights. Catholic positivists will tell you that sure, naturalism is false philosophically, but doing good science requires a methodological assumption of naturalism — never mind that all the most profound scientific discoveries were made by scientists with very ‘opinionated’ metaphysics, and never mind that the methodological qualifier on a lie doesn’t make it any less a lie.
God is not mocked, and it isn’t even rationally coherent, let alone actually possible, for human beings to make fences to keep Him out of the various places we want to treat as our own little domains where we are God.