We’ve nearly concluded a lengthy sermon series on POWER. It is, itself, part of a longer series on INESCAPABLES. By inescapables we mean things or categories or realities that no one can avoid in life. We have in mind, more narrowly, those categories and entities which we “religious people” are accused of making use of which our more enlightened, “secular” colleagues do not, having escaped the need for such things as atonement, they say, through normal evolutionary growth. “When we Westerners were children,” they might be heard saying, “we certainly believed in religion. How else were we to explain the inexplicable? We were without the meansâ€”the technologies and mechanicsâ€”as well as wanting in adequate theories and postulates. Of course we attributed an object falling to the Deity of Down, but Newton got us out of the batter’s box and we began making contact with the bases. The whole playing field opened up for us. In the several hundred years since the Enlightenment, the questions man asks have changed nearly entirely. Then we looked at what was and wondered, ‘Why?’ Now we look it what might be and ask, ‘Why not?’ (With that wink and nod to Bobby Kennedy, we turn our kepela to acknowledge our debt to Virginia Slims for helping us articulateâ€”without recourse to metaphoric light yearsâ€”the distance traversed by man since Newton: You’ve come a long way, baby! Yes, that says it.) We’ve no longer any need for religion, except in so far as it serves as a psychosocial balm to ease distress and fear resulting from the responsibilities which we have found accompanying our fantastic discoveries. Man, or I should say, Humankind, has more than flirted with Aquarius. We’ve dang-near mated. Everything will be coming up roses soon, and when it does, we’ll have ourselves and science to thank, not the Deity of Down, or Up, or Trees, or Whatever. Man, er, Humankind is the measure of all things. Well, me! I almost found myself saying, ‘Amen’!”
Against this sort of tripe, we aver that the categories necessary for man to find coherence and meaningâ€”not to mention relief from fearâ€”have not changed since they’ve been experienced in Eden, and ever onward, treated in Holy Scripture, and given voice through the great theological and systematizing efforts of the Church, particularly in the West. The need for atonement, for example, is simply inescapable.
R.J. Rushdoony was doubtless often brilliant, but rarely more so than when he nailed the truths concerning inescapable categories. He wisely began his Systematic Theology with essays recycled from an earlier period in which he explained that INFALLIBILITY is a concept shared by all, not just the “religious.” He explained the same in regard to systematization of knowledge. It can’t be helped, it will be done, either well or poorly. But it will be done.
Likewise, Rush exposed the methods by which modern man seeks atonement. This was done with bracing clarity in the first chapters of POLITICS OF GUILT AND PITY. No one should be permitted to counsel another (or himself) who has not first read how sadism and masochism arise not in a vacuum but as a result of failure to find the downward-spiral-breaking power of Jesus Christ, the Lord.
All right. I’m done. It’s 2am and I have a meeting at 6am. Perhaps I’ll be of more use to others if I got a wink to go with all these nods, above.