The Key to the Door Out of the Iron Cage of the Secularist Mentality
It is for real freedom, and not the false freedom of modern secular liberalism, that Christ has set us free. (Gal. 5:1)
The key to the "door of faith" out of the "iron cage" of seculariism is reason. But not just any kind of reason. Modern reason--erroneously constrained by a mathematico-empirical chain--cannot think about God. It is, as Pope Benedict XVI noted in his Regensburg Lecture, "deaf to the divine." Pope Benedict XVI insists that this "modern self-limitation of reason," a "reduction of the radius of . . . reason," has to be questioned. Recovery of what we might call greater reason is the key which, if used, invites us to the threshold of the "door of faith," and invites us to unlock that door and take a step across the threshold into freedom by the "obedience of faith." (Rom. 1:5; 16:26) This is the way out of the "iron cage."
In the "iron cage," everything is rationalized: only science, technology, statistics, and the invisible hand of the market seem to count. All this empirical reality is regulated by an overweening scientific and political bureaucracy which rejects the natural law, and whose regnant ethos is one of utilitarianism, the marketplace, and slippery, meaningless "rights."
Add up benefits of abortion, subtract costs of abortion; if the sum's positive it's good. Everything is up for sale, even the remains of dead fetuses can be marketed to make anti-wrinkle cream. Rights have no basis in nature; they are merely ways of expressing what we like; they are boo-hurrah rights.
There are no absolutes in the "iron cage" except that there are no absolutes, and there is no Absolute One whose voice--whether in Nature or Revelation--must be heeded.
Modern secular liberalism no longer believes in the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God," and so at heart it is deeply against the better angels of American traditions. If modern secular liberalism did believe in the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God," then the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" would be part of public discourse, part of our institutions, and part of our laws. And they plainly are not.
If we believed in the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God," our culture would be different, our media would be different, our civil society would be different, our families would be different, our social and political discourse would be different, and our laws would be different. And not only different, but better.
Using doublespeak, the secular liberal regime under which we live puts all of us--including Christians--in this social, cultural, and political "iron cage" suggesting that within it we will all be more free and more equal, and things will be better. In reality, however, this political legerdemain robs us of our greater freedom to live lives in full conformity with the truths of reason and the truths of faith. In reality, we live much worse.
Moreover, in the end we are all equally unfree, just like prisoners are equal in their unfreedom.
Thankfully, there is a way out of the "iron cage," and it is the "door of faith." (Acts 14:27) It is this image--faith as a door or portal out of a cage--that is at the heart of Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic letter Porta fidei, which indicated the intent to celebrate a "Year of Faith."
But before we can talk about the "door of faith"--something we will do in the next article--we have to talk about the key to the "door of faith."
The key to the "door of faith" is reason. But not just any kind of reason.
The reason that is the key to the door of faith is not the empirical reason of Descartes and the Enlightenment--the ratio and scientia--of the "iron cage." That's the kind of reason that landed us there to begin with.
Modern reason--erroneously constrained by a mathematico-empirical chain--cannot think about God. It is, as Pope Benedict XVI noted in his Regensburg Lecture, "deaf to the divine." Pope Benedict XVI insists that this "modern self-limitation of reason," a "reduction of the radius of . . . reason," has to be questioned.
To get to the "key of reason" that allows us access to the "door of faith," human reason must be freed from the modern shackles that restrict it. As part of our effort to escape the "iron cage," there must be a "broadening our concept of reason and its application." We have to have the "courage to engage the whole breadth of reason," and reject the "denial of its grandeur," as Benedict XVI stated in his Regensburg Lecture.
We have to recover what we might call greater reason. The rejection of this greater reason is the result of what Benedict XVI in his Regensburg Lecture called the "dehellenization of Christianity." The restrictions placed on this greater reason are part of what landed us in the "iron cage." So it follows that recovery of this greater ...
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