Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Plus ça change; the prophet Maritain 40 years on...

“But what is most important to notice, on the other hand, is that the frenzied modernism of today is incurably ambivalent. Its natural bent, although it would deny it, is to ruin the Christian faith. Yes, it busies itself as best it can to empty the faith of any content. But along with that, among a good number of its adherents, there is something like an effort to render to this faith a kind of desperate witness. It is certainly with sincerity, and sometimes in the fever and anguish of a fundamentally religious soul, that the leaders of our neo-modernism declare themselves Christians. Let us not forget that they are victims of a certain pre-accepted philosophy, a Grand Sophistry (we know Being, on condition that is put in parenthesis and abstracted out of sight). ……..This permits people to speak intelligently, while playing on our heart-strings, about a whole armload of things which positivism had placed under interdict, and is far more successful than positivism in preventing us from finding the least extramental reality in them, the least that exists independently of our mind. There is nothing left for the intellect to do but discourse on verisimilitudes, the cost of which is borne by what takes place in human subjectivity. To affirm the existence of a transcendent God becomes from this moment a non-sense. Divine transcendence is only the mythical projection of a certain collective fear experienced by man at a given moment in his history. In general, according to the pre-accepted philosophy to which I am alluding, everything that tastes of a world other than the world of man can only fall under the head of the out-of-date…”

Jacques Maritain ‘The Peasant of the Garonne’ (1965)

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