Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

3/5/2014 (5 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 (5 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 August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More U.S.

Catholics Come Home Launches Beautiful New Television Series for E.W.T.N. Watch

Image of Tom Peterson, the founder and CEO of Catholics Come Home

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I am happy to report to my readers that Catholics Come Home has produced a stunning and inspiring television series for the Eternal Word Television Network (E.W.T.N.). It began airing on Labor Day weekend. The series was filmed on location in various cities ... continue reading


Why I Said No to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Embryonic Stem Cell Research Is Deadly Watch

Image of I was approached to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to help bring an end to ALS. I said No. I have tried to explain why I said No in this article. I hope it is a helpful contribution in our public discussion. As a Christian, it is never easy to be seen as seemingly unwilling to support a noble cause such as the eradication of a debilitating disease. However, it is vital that we stand for for the fundamental and foundational moral truth which underlies every effort to end disease, the dignity of every human person, including embryonic human persons.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I was approached to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to help bring an end to ALS. I said No. I have tried to explain why I said No in this article. I hope it is a helpful contribution in our public discussion. As a Christian, it is never easy to be seen as seemingly ... continue reading


Toward a Christian Vision of Human Work On Labor Day Watch

Image of Christians need to bear witness in the real world to the true value, purpose, meaning and dignity of all human work - just as we bear witness to the inherent value and dignity of every human worker. This is a vital part of our witness to an age which has lost its way.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Adam and Eve worked in the garden and it brought them great joy. For the Christian, work is meant to become a participation in the continuing redemptive mission of Jesus, and His ongoing work. Jesus viewed his entire life and mission as work. He was always doing ... continue reading


American Islamic terrorist Fort Hood shooter requests to join Islamic State as a 'citizen' Watch

Image of Nadal Hasan, the man who killed 13 people during a rampage at Fort Hood in 2009, has written a letter to the Islamic State asking to join the terrorist organization as a citizen.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

U.S. Army psychiatrist, Nadal Hasan, who killed 13 people at Fort Hood back in November 2009 has written a letter to the leader of the Islamic State, asking to become a citizen of the Islamic State's caliphate, an attorney of Husan reported on August 28. LOS ... continue reading


St Augustine on a Personal Relationship with Jesus Watch

Image of St Augustine

By Deacon Keith Fournier

But we too can encounter Christ in reading Sacred Scripture, in prayer, in the liturgical life of the Church. We can touch Christ's Heart and feel him touching ours. Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we ... continue reading


SHAKEN WINE: Strong earthquake jolts California's wine region Watch

Image of The weekend's temblor was felt widely throughout the region, from more than 200 miles south of Napa and as far east as the Nevada border.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rumbled through the early Sunday morning hours in the heart of California's wine country. The epicenter was near the city of Napa in the Golden State's north. Fires erupted in a mobile home park where four homes were destroyed and two ... continue reading


Money is NOT the Root of Evil: Living Simplicity Watch

Image of Simplicity is not about the quantity of the goods of the earth we possess. It is about our relationship to them. Jesus said - Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:21).

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Learning to live in evangelical Simplicity strips away what impedes love. In finding our proper relationship to the goods of the earth- not rejecting them, craving them, or turning them into an idol- we can learn true freedom. Our eyes are opened and everything begins ... continue reading


Is Transgenderism a Mental Disorder or a Right? Watch

Image of Pope Emeritus Benedict was absolutely correct when he said, - the profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. - Gender is a gift. It is also a given. The dangers of the Gender Identity Movement are becoming increasingly clear.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In a culture where freedom has been redefined as a right to choose anything and liberty has degenerated into license, the newspeak of the age has declared the instrumental use of the body of another to be sexual freedom. It is not freedom. It turns people into ... continue reading


WORST YET TO COME? Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen,' Pentagon says Watch

Image of IS is

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online has been keeping very close watch on the atrocities being committed by Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria, and according to a top government official - the worst is yet to come. According to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the sophistication, ... continue reading


Lawsuit dropped against devil worshiper in Oklahoma Watch

Image of Lawyers representing Archbishop Paul Coakley had earlier demanded the return of a communion wafer obtained by the group.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The leader of a satanic group in Oklahoma City had threatened that he and his followers would defile a consecrated communion wafer as an offering to Satan as a carnal sacrifice at a "Black Mass" ceremony inside Oklahoma City's Civic Center Music Hall. The ... 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 3:1-9
1 And so, brothers, I was not able to talk to you as ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:12-13, 14-15, 20-21
12 How blessed the nation whose God is Yahweh, the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:38-44
38 Leaving the synagogue he went to Simon's house. ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 3rd, 2014 Image

Pope Saint Gregory the Great
September 3: St. Gregory, born at Rome about the year 540, was the son of ... 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