Saturday, November 01, 2008

Scott’s Europe

“ must think of your own household first, or else you are worse even than
the infidels.” – The Heart of Midlothian

In the 21st century, when it appears that men and women are mere robots controlled by some great computerized creature with a giant brain, it is often hard to imagine that mankind consists of individual personalities connected to a personal God. And of course that is what Satan wants. When the world is finally completely occupied by robotic humans, watching porno movies and blood sports with soulless eyes, he will be complete master.

There is no author who can be read and used as a magic talisman to protect one from the academics. All authors, in the hands of literary critics, can be made into forerunners of modernity. Having said that, let me hasten to add that there is one author, who, if read by a receptive reader genuinely wanting to be exposed to a vision contrary to modernity, can start a man on the path to the full-blooded integral faith of our European ancestors. That author is Walter Scott.

Scott’s achievement is truly remarkable. With the exception of the Christian tragedy Bride of Lammermoor, he gives us Christian epics. And he gives us a genuine Christianity built from the ground up. He starts with individual personalities and builds up to a vision of a personal God that is the same God that St. Paul saw and wrote so eloquently about in 1Corinthinians 13. Unlike Dante, Scott does not start with an abstract, cruel idea of God and proceed to expound, as an expert does, on the various attributes of that cruel God. That is not Walter Scott’s way. Scott writes as a fellow pilgrim. He doesn’t expound a system; he exposes the heart of God by showing us the image of that heart in his Christian heroes and heroines. And through those heroes and heroines, we see a unique civilization that points to that other world, His world.

The liberals take a rather curious stance on the issue of the distinctiveness of Christian, European civilization. On the one hand, they deny that a distinct European civilization ever existed. “It is no different from any other civilization.” Then in the next breath, the liberals tell you that the older European civilization was distinct – it was distinctly evil.

And the liberals are not the only group in denial. There is a segment of the religious community that also denies the distinctiveness of Christian, European civilization. They usually cite St. Augustine and tell you that there is no such thing as a Christian civilization. There is the City of God and the City of Man, and never the twain shall meet. But the trouble with that nose-in-the-air, Manichean assertion is that it denies reality. While acknowledging the incredible differences between a man-made civilization and the Kingdom of God, one must see, if he has eyes to see and a heart that still lives, that European civilization did, in contrast to every other civilization that ever existed on the face of the earth, allow mankind to see Christ through a glass darkly. And it needs to be stressed that a theologian who fails to distinguish between heathendom and Christendom, placing them both in the arbitrary category of ‘the city of man’, is more in line with Buddhism than he is with Christianity.

There is no question that Walter Scott’s Christian Europe is the reality, while the liberal’s brave new world and the theologians’ abstract world are false. But they cling to their false worlds. Why?

The secular liberal clings to his brave new world because in that brave new world there is no judgment, because there is no God to judge. Of course there is no mercy either, because there is no God to extend mercy. The liberal has rejected that world of Adam and Eve, original sin and redemption. He thinks, like Shylock, that being free from original sin he has no need for God’s mercy: “What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong.” And if the world is not wrong because of original sin, the liberals reason, then it must be wrong because non-liberals, namely white European Christians, are impeding the onward and upward march to Utopia. So white Europeans who are still European are dragged before the bar of Liberaldom and found to be guilty of racism, which is the liberals’ word for treason. But at the same time, the liberals assert that there really is no difference between the white and the black. “We are all God’s children.” Whoops, the liberal can’t say that, so he backtracks: “We are all part of the brotherhood of man. But wait – the white man is not part of the brotherhood of man; he is an evil ...” It gets hard for the liberal. All those contradictions give him a headache.

And why does the theologian deny the distinctiveness of the Christian, European culture? The theologian makes his denial in order to preserve his power base. When the veil of the temple was rent, so were the Greek paradigms of thought. Wisdom was not to be found in the abstracted thought of Aristotle but in the sacred heart of Christ. So the folk wisdom of a people connected to the Heart of Christ is superior to the abstracted, cognitive thought of a great philosopher or theologian. The theologians cannot accept that, which is why they deny the reality and the possibility of a Christian culture. If there were such a thing, they would have to subordinate their abstractions to the hearts of a people united to Him.

The liberal and the theologian stumble over the human factor. They are unable to accept the fact that God always reveals Himself to man through humanity. He chose a particular people to carry out His divine plan, and His ultimate revelation was in the form of the God-Man. This goes against the expectations of the liberal and the theologian. In their minds, a God who cannot be known by the human mind through contemplation or the study of the natural or cosmic world ("May the force be with you") is not a real God.

Whether you believe the Europeans are the actual blood descendants of the people of Israel or their adoptive spiritual descendents, it is clear that only the European people took the incarnate God into their hearts and made Him their King and kinsman. Their civilization was the only civilization rooted in heaven. And now, when we face an election in this country (and similar elections are taking place throughout the European world) in which we are forced to choose between two leaders who despise Christian Europe, it is imperative that we affirm the reality of Walter Scott’s Europe. We have ventured much too far from it. It is the time to come home, to the ploughed furrow, the frequented pasture and the lane of evening lingerings.

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