Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Mind-Forged Wall

Lost in all the celebrations, eight years back, of the new century we were entering was the fact that the 21st century is the first of the post-Christian centuries. Christianity was certainly in trouble at the beginning of the 20th century, but by no stretch of the imagination could it be called dead. Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, the old time religion can certainly be certified as dead.

And it is striking to me how easily the intellectuals of both the Catholic and the Protestant denominations have succumbed to Satanism. By isolating man’s intellect from his other faculties, they have left him at the mercy of the dialectic, and it is in the dialectic mode that Satan thrives.

Satan’s task, when he confronted Adam and Eve in the garden, was to get them to disobey God’s command not to eat from the forbidden tree. He needed to engage them in a dialogue if he was to succeed. Once he persuaded Eve, and through Eve, Adam, to look on God’s command as something abstract and debatable, he had them both hooked.

That original sin – the pride in our own isolated abstractions and the desire for the power we think our prideful cogitations will bring – is always with us; it is part of our sinful nature. And it must be fought tooth and nail lest it consume us. Yet the very guardians of the citadel of Christ have encouraged us to indulge our sinful appetites to abstract and depersonalize. We have depersonalized man and we have depersonalized the living God. ‘Our Father who art in heaven’ has become ‘Our abstracted, derivative By-Product who art everywhere and nowhere.’ When, following the lead of the clergy, we depersonalize God; we have created, to paraphrase Blake, a mind-forged wall between God and man.

The mind-forged wall was built over time by clerics, academics, and self-styled wise men who professed to be Christian but who still thought like Greeks. In the Greek culture the goddess of wisdom sprang from the head of Zeus; she bypassed the blood. In contrast, Christ, the font of all wisdom, came to us through the blood. Therefore, to the Christian, all true knowledge comes to us through the spirit-infused blood of Christ.

The modern Gnostic Christian views any mention of the blood as superstitious and barbaric. His God word is 'reason'; in fact, his God is the rational, autonomous man. Rational man will welcome Christ into his club, but only if Christ agrees to behave rationally. For reason, as Aquinas tells us, is the final arbiter. And if there is a power higher than God, is not that power God? But if we turn from the Greek mode of perception and look at the Hebraic mode of perceiving reality, we see something quite different from the men behind the wall. We see that the spirit of man can only be animated through the blood. Blood without the animating spirit is barbaric, mere voodoo superstition, but when the spirit and the blood are united the mind-forged wall between God and man disappears. And the unholy worship of our ratiocinations is stripped of its religious halo and seen for what it is: blasphemy.

So long as the mind-forged wall of bloodless Christianity exists, there will be a conflict between Christians of the blood and the Gnostic post-Christians in control of the churches. The post-Christians will continue to treat the black man as an object to be worshipped on the one hand (because he has the blood that they lack), and to be converted on the other hand (because he lacks the spirit, which the Gnostic has falsely linked to the intellect, that they possess).

The difficulty in converting the Gnostic post-Christian comes from the fact that the Gnostic has placed himself beyond the ken of humanity. By uniting his spiritual life to the mind rather than to the blood, he has thrown in his lot with the great enemy of mankind. The great poets have always seen Satan as the sneering intellectual, standing aloof from mankind.

And it does little good to hand a Gnostic the Gospel of Christ. He knows the story, but he has redefined it. He is no more open to the Gospel of Christ than he is to a tale from the Brothers Grimm. Both, to the modern Gnostic, are "fun" stories to play mind games with.

Miguel de Unamuno stated the problem clearly. It is first necessary to awaken a tragic sense of life in an individual before he can be convinced to turn to the Gospels and treat them as something other than a series of crossword puzzles. To put it simply – a man needs to believe he is sick before he will seek an antidote for his sickness.

If an individual only looks on death as tragic because it comes too early or because it causes pain and not because it extinguishes a personality, then that individual has no need of a loving, personal God. He needs modern science to prolong life and alleviate pain, but he does not need Christ. Only those who have not forsaken their blood and retreated behind the mind-forged wall can know Christ. Such individuals still feel pain at the loss of the "touch of a vanished hand" and still yearn for the "sound of a voice that is still." One has to feel that Cordelia’s death in King Lear was tragic before one can feel the joy of Thaisa’s resurrection in Pericles.

The tragic sense of life is intimately connected to a fairy tale appreciation of life. In the fairy tale, the hero conquers death and lives happily ever after. The modern man has no need for fairy tales, for castles in the sky; instead, he has self- help books and reads success stories. How petty his dreams are and how superficial his yearnings.

To feel abandoned and forsaken by God is a terrible thing. To feel estranged from God because of unresolved problems with some particular sin is also a terrible thing, but to feel no need for God, for the Man of Sorrows and the Risen Christ, is to be in the most unenviable state imaginable. And such is the state of modern man.

All of existence depends on one central issue: Can we feel, with Lear, the true tragic dimensions of Cordelia’s death? If the answer is yes, then all else will follow and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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