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Thought for the Day: The Left’s Imperative to Attack Faith


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Power Line

Steven Hayward

Apr. 5 2023

In my stray reading I came across a 1952 letter from C.S. Lewis to Owen Barfield where Lewis mentions that he will soon get on to reading the new book from “Lubac,” which Barfield had recommended. I can’t know for sure, but I suspect this is a reference to Henri de Lubac’s 1950 book The Drama of Atheist Humanism, which I’ve been re-reading lately in particular for its side-by-side treatment of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard.


Every age has its heresies. Every age also sees a renewal of the general rule that faith must be attacked. For a long time now—ever since its foundation—Christianity has never ceased to be assailed; but not always from the same quarter, nor by the same type of adversary, nor with the same weapons. Sometimes it is the historical substructure of our beliefs that seems shaken: biblical criticism and exegesis or the history of Christian origins or of the Church’s dogmas and institutions provides the battleground.

Sometimes this is shifted to the metaphysical field. The very existence of a reality higher than the things of this world is then denied or declared unknowable; thought falls back upon immanent positions. Or else, taking the opposite course, it seeks to invade the whole field of being and to leave nothing outside the clutches of a reason which insists on understanding everything; and that means (without prejudice to more specific objections against such and such a dogma) the disappearance of the very idea of a mystery to believe in. Often the politicians take over from the historians and metaphysicians or work side by side with them: the political attacks are directed against the Church, against what is termed her thirst for earthly domination; many politicians, not content with opposing any meddling by the Church with the State, are also out to destroy all Christian influence on the course of human affairs; and the most ambitious go so far as to reject, in the State’s favor, that distinction between temporal and spiritual which the world owes to the Gospel.

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