Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

3/5/2014 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

I've now lived 64 years, encompassing the several generations of significant change, including the TIME magazine cover proclaiming God's death on April 8, 1966 (I was a junior in high school).

The desire for God is hardwired into our most basic desire, the desire to live, to love, to serve a purpose larger than ourselves.  It's a desire that can never be extinguished, certainly not by the current academic ideology endured by the majority of college and university students, especially at the so-called "major" universities.  The day will come, I predict, when the unspoiled vitality and questioning of our youth will finally dismantle and overcome the postmodern ideology of their professors.  After all, the very professors proclaiming there is no truth and no God are human too and filled with longing for the very thing they deny. 

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/5/2014 (6 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: beauty, Liturgy, love, relationships, Terry Eagleton, Jesus, faith, Culture and the death of God, God is dead, priesthood, culture, enthsuiasm, renewal, reform, Catholic Culture, rubrics, worship, Holy Mass, Divine Liturgy, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Deal W. Hudson


WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - I noticed recently that the distinguished British literary critic Terry Eagleton has published a book entitled Culture and the Death of God.  The book will be available in the US in a few weeks, so I haven't read it, but I did see an interesting review in The Guardian.  The reviewer was puzzled by Eagleton's basic thesis that despite Nietzsche's announcement of the death of God, and all the acolytes who have repeated it, God has survived. 

The reviewer's surprise made me chuckle, because I am reminded of my years in the academy where so many well-educated and articulate people actually believed the culture was as secularized as they described it, and as they wished it to be.  It's quite alarming how much of academic "analysis" is prescriptive rather than the dispassionate, descriptive account one should expect from a scholar.  Or, should I say, used to expect.  The academy, like the media who apes it, has been firmly in the hands of post-modernists who can't claim neutrality because they don't believe in objective knowledge of anything (except perhaps their political opinions)!

I don't mean this to be a wholesale rejection of ongoing scholarly work - there are many exceptions, such as the brilliant overview of American popular culture by LeRoy Ashby, With Amusement for All: A History of Popular Culture since 1830 (University of Kentucky Press, 2012). Ashby, in his book, has taught me more about the history of America than any three other books. Why? Because by tracing popular culture, Ashby creates a fascinating and insightful account of the needs, desires, and aspirations of common men and women, not those whose prognostications and proclamations bear little relationship to the majority of real people. 

This brings us back to the topic of the death of God in contemporary culture. I've now lived 64 years, encompassing the several generations of significant change, including the TIME magazine cover proclaiming God's death on April 8, 1966 (I was a junior in high school). That was nearly 50 years ago. Since then there have been several transpositions of the same message under the guise of secularity, multiculturalism, and postmodernism.  Tell that to the 74% of Americans who say they believe in God, the 72% who say they believe in miracles, and the 68% who believe Jesus is the Son of God. 

Polls, however, are not as important as the evidence of history from the ancient past to the present - God has never been less than a central preoccupation of human consciousness, whether as an answer to the question, "Why do I exist?," or to the question most often asked, "What is the purpose of my life?"  The artifacts of culture, whether books, music, TV, movies, plays, and the detritus of the Internet, provide evidence that God is as much a part of the human conversation as when He was addressed in the plural. 

From the table of contents, I have gleaned that Terry Eagleton will describe how God survived successive generations of skepticism (the Enlightenment), self-preoccupation (the Romanticists), denial (the Existentialists), and avoidance (the Post-Modernists). To the extent that such leading ideas and the human ideals they propagate are explained, this puts Eagleton's feet on real ground. But it's precisely the fact that most people during the Enlightenment did NOT embrace skepticism, or become Romantic egoists, or deny God, or follow postmodernism in avoiding any consideration of ultimates that explains a culture still asking the God question and, to a great extent, receiving an answer. 

I don't know if Eagleton will address the most fundamental question of human nature. The desire for God is hardwired into our most basic desire, the desire to live, to love, to serve a purpose larger than ourselves.  It's a desire that can never be extinguished, certainly not by the current academic ideology endured by the majority of college and university students, especially at the so-called "major" universities.  The day will come, I predict, when the unspoiled vitality and questioning of our youth will finally dismantle and overcome the postmodern ideology of their professors.  After all, the very professors proclaiming there is no truth and no God are human too and filled with longing for the very thing they deny. 

Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D

-----
Deal W. Hudson is president of the Morley Institute of Church and Culture, Senior Editor and Movie Critic at Catholic Online, and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.This column and subsequent contributions are an excerpt from a forthcoming book. Dr. Hudson's new radio show, Church and Culture, is heard on the Ave Maria Radio Network.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More U.S.

As death toll passes 2,600 U.S. lawmakers worry about spread of Ebola Watch

Image of Red Cross workers in Guinea in protective gear. Currently, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are the worst nations worst hit by the West African Ebola outbreak.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Legislators in Washington are becoming increasingly concerned about the spread of Ebola and worry that it could become more contagious and potentially spread into the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - President Obama's new plan to put 3,000 U.S. ... continue reading


Obama gains support from House to further fight against ISIS Watch

Image of President Obama, with the support of the House of Representatives, may now start arming and training Syrian groups to fight the Islamic State, and will continue to strike targets in Iraq.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While President Barack Obama told Americans-in somewhat ambiguous terms-last week that he intended to destroy the Islamic State, as of September 17, he promised that the United States will not fight another ground war in Iraq. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Values Voters: What We Can Learn from Ted Cruz Being Booed at the In Defense of Christians Conference Watch

Image of Senator Ted Cruz from Texas was the keynote speaker at what was billed as a Gala Solidarity Dinner. Sadly, it certainly did not demonstrate solidarity between Christians. A small group in the assembly, rudely and loudly, reacted negatively to some of the words Senator Cruz spoke as he expressed his convictions concerning the persecution taking place in this land which is properly holy, precisely because of its role in God's loving plan of salvation for the whole human race.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The events of Wednesday, September 10, 2014, at the Inaugural In Defense of Christians Gala make abundantly clear that there is a serious and urgent need for values voters to meet and discuss the crisis in the Mideast and ways in which we can work together to ... continue reading


Our Age Need Rebels of Love: The Christian Church is the Real Counterculture Watch

Image of As a young man I rejected secularist, atheistic humanism - but not humanism itself. As I studied the early Church fathers I came to understand that the true humanism is authentic Christianity, the kind professed, in word and deed, by the early Christians. As I read early Church history I was brought back to the mother church of the entire Christian movement, the Catholic Church. I came to believe that she offers the theological anthropology, ecclesiology and world view of the early fathers of the Church. I also came to believe that she was the real counterculture.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

We can - we will - change the culture of the contemporary West, if we are willing to suffer, struggle and offer ourselves to the Lord for the task. His power, the power of the Holy Spirit, working through us, will accomplish what we can never accomplish on our ... continue reading


What is a Catholic Deacon? Bishop Kevin Rhoades Gives the Answer Watch

Image of The Most Reverend Kevin Rhoades, the Bishop of the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, presiding over the Mass of Ordination to the Diaconate of six new Holy Cross Deacons

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

It is a privilege to ordain you permanent deacons.  No, I didn't make a mistake.  Don't worry: you are scheduled to be ordained priests next year by Bishop Jenky!  But what happens today in the sacrament of Orders is not something transitional; it ... continue reading


ISIS among us! New York man sought to kill Iraq war veterans Watch

Image of Mufid Elfgeeh, a 30-year-old, Yemeni born man who lived in New York, attempted to send three people to Iraq to fight for the Islamic State, and purchase firearms to kill veterans from the Iraq War.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Yemeni born food store owner in upstate New York sent funding to the Islamic State and attempted to sent three jihadists to Syria to fight alongside the terrorist cell while plotting to perpetrate attacks against American troops who had served in Iraq. LOS ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone: 16433 Children Buried in One Grave Watch

Image of Fr. Pavone prays at the graveside of the children

By Fr. Frank Pavone

For many years, this mass grave had no marker or headstone, just as the children have no names. But now there is a stone, and we are going to name the babies. Supporters of abortion do not want people to see mass graves in our midst. It's too disturbing a ... continue reading


Nice try! Democrats try to distance themselves from Obama for midterm, but it's too late! Watch

Image of Kentucky Senate candidate, Alison Grimes, seen here with a shotgun in an ad where she attempts to distance herself from the disastrous and unpopular policies of President Barack Obama.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Democratic Senate candidate, Alison Grimes, is trying her best to let Kentuckians know that she is certainly not an Obama Democrat, releasing a campaign ad where she wields a gun to prove it. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Grimes' 30-second ad takes place in ... continue reading


Are terrorists invading the US through the open border with Mexico? Watch

Image of The Islamic State nay already have sympathizers and cells within the USA. The porous border does nothing to aid the situation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Americans are worried that the Islamic State will soon conduct terror attacks within the U.S., inserting agents via the porous border between the states and Mexico. At least one sheriff has told the media he received an official alert while the federal government is ... continue reading


'We'll send them to hell!' Texas sheriff declares war on Islamic State Watch

Image of Texas sheriff Gary Painter reveals that he believes the Islamic State has already infiltrated the U.S. through the porous southern border.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Law enforcement agencies along the U.S.-Mexico border have received alerts to be on the lookout for terrorists from Islamic State attempting to cross into the United States, a sheriff from the region has said. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Midland County ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 15:12-20
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 17:1, 6-7, 8, 15
1 [Prayer Of David] Listen, Yahweh, to an upright ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 8:1-3
1 Now it happened that after this he made his way ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 19th, 2014 Image

St. Januarius
September 19: St. Januarius was born in Italy and was bishop of Benevento ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter