Things seem to be spiralling out of control. Societal decay, corruption, coarseness, immorality in general seems to be on the rise while integrity, character, virtue and the like seem to be on the decline.
Idols demand worshipers comfortable with illusions, and around them questions become dangerous things. Idols are formed by an idea people take into their heads and then polish with soft cloths and protect from hard questions until it reflects what they really want to see shining back at them — which is themselves. A majority of us gave the government its entry into over-reach, and then a majority of us willfully bought into an inane, idol-affirming sentiment (“we are the ones we’ve been waiting for!”) mouthed by a man who admitted that he was a “blank screen” upon which people projected their best ideas about themselves.
Idolatry has played a big part in bringing us to this place. The adoring press; the fawning parents and teachers; the fainting crowds offering adulation. Whatever Barack Obama’s natural propensities, it may well have helped him believe he is entitled to do anything he wants, and we ought thank him for it.
But idolatry could not have moved so powerfully within us, had are society not already lost its bearings about God. Ed Driscoll discusses exactly this with the great Mary Eberstadt:
MR. DRISCOLL: Mary, over the last few years, there have been several books exploring the demographic decline that the west is undergoing, including those from authors such as Mark Steyn, Charles Murray, Jonathan Last and others. What role does the decline in religion or how our religious beliefs have changed in the last century, play in this demographic decline?
MS. EBERSTADT: Great question. Well, let’s look at the big picture, for starters, of what’s been going on. We know that over the past several decades, there’s been a decline of religious belief and church attendance across the western world, most markedly in Western Europe, but also in the United States.
And up until now, there’s been one prevailing explanation for this. And the explanation comes down from the Enlightenment, and you heard it from the new atheists most recently. The idea is that religion is a superstitious thing that will eventually die out as people become sufficiently educated and rational and enlightened. And this is what a lot of sophisticated people believe, obviously.
The purpose of my book is first of all, to hold that explanation up to the light and to ask whether it’s true. And I argue that it’s not true and it’s not true for several reasons, any one of which would deep six the prevailing explanation. But just to focus on one. That explanation would suggest that religion is a function of the lower classes, that belief in God is something that poor people do. Or if you remember that famous quote from the Washington Post, it was just about ten years ago, that a reporter wrote that the followers of evangelicals were, let’s see, uneducated and easy to command. Do you remember that?
MR. DRISCOLL: Yes, easy to command, easily led, yeah.
MS. EBERSTADT: Easily led. Yeah. That beautifully summarizes the stereotype of religious believers as being people who just haven’t gotten the word yet, you know, just haven’t gotten sophisticated enough to get rid of God.
Eberstadt, of course, goes on to explain how the stereotype is untrue. Easily led? Hello, MSM; hello secularists.
You’ll want to read the whole interview. I’m already trying to get my hands on Eberstadt’s new book, How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization.
Because it’s all of-a-piece. Once the secular dominated the sacred it was only a matter of time where the void left by ousting God would be filled by idols. As Chesterton said, “Once abolish the God and the government becomes the god.”
There's much more at the link. And oh by the way, The Anchoress expounds on this notion of idolatry in her new book, one I received yesterday and am devouring. It's good people, very good, and it speaks to what ails us in a profound way.
What ails us today isn't going to be easily solved by a change in political leadership.
What ails us today is, put as simply as possible, sin.
And there's only one solution to sin.
The Church points the way toward that solution. Yes, the Church.
We need to embrace her. We need to go all in.
All of us. You too. Hell, you especially.
Right behind me.