Death of God and Its Implications - RR101D7

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Death of God and its Implications
Course: Course - Epistemology
Subject: Subject:Philosophy
Lesson#: 7
Length: 0:57:03
TapeCode: RR101D7
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Epistemology(6).jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.


[Rushdoony] Let us begin with prayer. Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, we give thanks unto Thee who art the Living God, that Thou art He who dost reign, and of Thy kingdom there is no end. Rejoicing in Thee, O Lord, we come again to give ourselves to the study of the things that are of Thee, that in Christ Jesus we may prevail, that the gates of Hell may be overrun and Thy true Church establish Thy sovereignty in every area of life. Bless us unto Thy victory, in Jesus name, Amen.

Our concern today is with the death of God; its implications. As we saw yesterday, to all practical intent, Doctor Joseph Haroutunian, the Barthian, announced the death of God. He did not formally do so, but in speaking of God as neither living nor dead, but beyond the category of being, he in effect declared the death of the God of Scripture. Tillich also played with the idea, but did not formally announce the death of God. It was with Altizer and others that the death of God was formally announced. The “death of God” school of philosophy was really long overdue. Much earlier, at the beginning of the last century, Max Stirner, S-T-I-R-N-E-R, then after him Friedrich Nietzsche and others had declared that God is dead. The theologians of course were naturally slower in doing this, not because they were not thinking in the same direction, but they were a little more protective of their jobs. And with God dead, job security in the God business is not the best. Thus we must recognize the certain honesty in Altizer. Altizer called for a forthright confession of the death of the God of Christendom. He called for also, let us add parenthetically, the birth of God in the future, when the new God will be the new humanity, a humanity which sees its autonomy from God, and acts on it and is united. The reason for the death of God, said Altizer, is epistemological. He declared, and I quote, “All cognitive meaning and all moral values that were once historically associated with the Christian God have collapsed.” Unquote. It might be worthwhile for some of you who are considering the subject of your term paper to deal with Altizer versus Van Til, to analyze the epistemological presuppositions of Altizer. Altizer declared and I quote, “we must recognize that the death of God is a historical event: God has died in our time, in our history, in our existence. Insofar as we live in our destiny, we can know neither a trace of God’s presence nor an image of his reality. We must acknowledge, therefore, that if God has died in our history, then insofar as the church has become Christendom, insofar as the church has entered history, it has become a corpse — as Kierkegaard knew so deeply; and all traditional theological meaning, all our inherited religious meaning, is in process either of dissolution or of transformation.” [00:05:07]

Now Altizer, in so writing, was following the lead...[edit]

Now Altizer, in so writing, was following the lead of a thinker at the University of Chicago, Mircea Eliade. Eliade defined modern man as the man who has negated the sacred in favor of the profane. The idea of the profane is a very interesting one, the word profane in its origin means outside the temple, outside of God in other words. So anything is profane which is outside of God. And modern man, according to the “death of God” school, is completely and totally profane, whether he calls himself a Christian or not. And for this reason, they hold that God is dead, even for the Evangelical churches, because their light is profane, it is outside of God, God does not govern them moment by moment. This is why the doctrine of sovereignty is so important, God cannot become sacred for men again unless they feel the importance of the sovereignty of God. Now as Altizer speaks of Eliade’s meaning, he says, and I quote, “Now by purely historical being (That is, Eliade says man no longer sees himself as sacred, as living in God’s world, God’s time, but as living in the realm of the profane, as purely historical. Only to be understood in terms of history, not to be understood in terms of eternity and God.) Now by purely historical being Eliade means a radically profane mode of existence, a mode of existence that has withdrawn itself from an awareness of the transcendent, and immersed itself in the immediate temporal moment. This meaning of historical is intimately related to the modern idea of historicity: for, in this perspective, historicity means a total immersion in historical time, an immersion that is totally isolated from any meaning or reality that might lie beyond it. So likewise desacralized cosmos means profane world, and Eliade’s meaning is that modern man wills to live in a profane world, wills to know the world as profane.” Unquote. Now this is a very, very important statement. Because, from your Biblical studies you are aware of the fact that many regard the miracles, creation, the virgin birth and the resurrection as non-historical, and indeed Barth has an idea of two kinds of history (One that is not history, really, it occurs up here, the real history we are familiar with) and this kind of thing is inescapable when, as Altizer and Eliade point out, historicity means total immersion in time. An immersion that is totally isolated from any meaning or reality that might lie beyond it. In other words, the only way that you are allowed to call anything in time and historical, is if can only be accounted for by that which is in time, nothing outside of time. So if a miracle happens, by definition it’s not true because it cannot happen. Now that’s what it means to be historical. [00:09:20]

So Altizer is right, modern man wills to live in a...[edit]

So Altizer is right, modern man wills to live in a profane world, wills to know the world as profane. Now here we have it from the mouth of the ungodly, that they have no desire to know God. When they say they do not know him, it is an act of will, a determination that we will not know him. This is why it amazes me that Christians are so ready to say, well maybe he really doesn’t know. Saint Paul says, he holds down, he suppresses the truth in unrighteousness. It is because he is a sinner that he does not want to acknowledge that the Judge exists or that the law exists. And Eliade says, that’s exactly it. We say there is no miracle because by definition, we have decided that no miracle can exist. And we say there is no God because we have determined that we will only know the world and reality without God. Now that’s what you call epistemological self-consciousness. They’re not ignorant of what they’re doing, so don’t favor them by saying they don’t know what they’re doing, they know. They say they know. They want very definitely a fiat world. A world in which just as God pronounced His fiat, let there be, and there was, Genesis 1 declares, so has the world become a fiat world. Altizer says, and I quote, “Historical man, the man who is insofar as he makes himself, within history, is forced to identify himself with the historical moment, with historicity, and therein becomes bound to a destiny that he can only know as tragic, and an existence that he can only know as absurd. By choosing a profane mode of existence, that is; by willing to abolish the transcendent (Notice, by “willing” to abolish the transcendent. He knows it’s there, but he says I’m going to abolish it, I’m going to play a Christian scientist, I’m going to say what I say doesn’t exist, doesn’t exist.) And by choosing deliberately a profane mode of existence, by willing to abolish the transcendent, modern man has made an existential choice; he has chosen a tragic mode of existence, for he has chosen an absolute autonomy which finally encloses him within the concrete moment itself. Therefore modern man’s choice can be realized only through the abolition of the sacred.” Unquote.

Now at this point I think we’d better sum up modern man’s position. When he talks about the tragedy of alienation; you have to say you alienated yourself, about the anxiety of modern man; this is what you’re asking for, you have willed this, systematically and deliberately. And when they speak, as Altizer does, of choosing a tragic mode of existence, Altizer at least is honest enough to admit that they’ve done it deliberately because they don’t want God. This is why I do not have much sympathy with those who bleed for the poor existential youth of our generation and the anxiety and the grief that they’re going through. Because I think Altizer’s right, and this is why I like the man, I respect him, I feel he is an honest atheist, and we don’t have many of those. He admits that for him, God is dead because he doesn’t want any part of God and that this is the real reason that they are declaring that God is dead. He’s a lot more honest than most preachers who get up preaching Christ without believing a word of what they’re talking about. What we must say is, that the modern generation that weeps about its alienation and its anxiety and its tragic mode of experience, is like the murderer who kills his father and mother and then asks the court to give mercy because he’s an orphan. Now that is your modern alienated man. [00:14:35]

However, Eliade continues...[edit]

However, Eliade continues; states the case even more strongly, we’ve been dealing with Altizer, let’s go to Eliade directly, the man who taught so much of this to Altizer. Eliade, who is perhaps the most influential man of recent years in this country, says, and I quote, this is in his book The Sacred and the Profane, “First of all, the nonreligious man refuses transcendence, accepts the relativity of reality, and may even come to doubt the meaning of existence. (Well, if you think that my descriptions of what happens to modern epistemological man are extreme, listen to him. He is saying frankly that modern man absolutely refuses to admit God. He accepts the relativity of all reality, even if it means doubting his very existence. That’s how determined modern man is to deny God. You might consider Eliade as someone to study; Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion.) And The great cultures of the past too have not been entirely without nonreligious men, and it is not impossible that such men existed even on the archaic levels of culture, although as yet no testimony to their existence has come to light. But it is only in the modern societies of the West that nonreligious man has developed fully. Modern nonreligious man assumes a new existential situation; he regards himself solely as the subject and agent of history, and he refuses all appeal to transcendence. In other words, he accepts no model for humanity outside the human condition as it can be seen in the various historical situations. Man makes himself, and he only makes himself completely in proportion as he desacralizes himself and the world. The sacred is the prime obstacle to his freedom. He will become himself only when he is totally demysticized. He will not be truly free until he has killed the last god.” Unquote.

That’s stating it bald. Man wills that there be no God and he says I’m going to deny every God there is, I’m going to try to kill every God there is. It’s an act of will. And Eliade goes on to say that man is so determined to deny transcendence, you know he doesn’t even use that dirty word—God. Because really, in modern scholarship, and I speak from experience on campuses, the real pornography today, the really dirty word that shocks people is God or Christ, and it just is so offensive to people here; they cringe. So he says, man refuses transcendence, and is prepared to doubt the meaning of his existence, rather than to know God. Now Eugene Ionesco is a voice of his faith, I cited him, a modern dramatist; Avant-garde dramatist. Ionesco says he wants no savior, he declares that saviors, and I quote, “Saviors hate humanity, because they cannot accept it.” Unquote. In other words, the only way to take man is as he is. That’s the existential position, and you encounter that so often in everyday life. I know long before the word existential was even commonplace, you would find when you were counseling people, the statement “well, he or she refuses to love me as I am.” Well that’s existential rubbish, I have a right to be as nasty and as sinful and cussed as I want, you’ve got to love me as I am in my existential self. Well that’s existentialism to the core. Ionesco says that his dramas to not attempt to reform or save man, so he is against even the left-wing dramatists who have a axe to grind, he says his purpose is unrestricted and unchannelled creativity. I quote, “The free development of the powers of imagination must not be restricted. There must be no canalization, no directive, no preconceived ideas, no limits. I believe a genuine work of art is one in which the initial intentions of the artist have been surpassed; where the flood of imagination has swept through the barriers or out of the narrow channels in which he first tried to confine it: extending beyond messages, ideologies and the desire to prove or to teach. This absolute freedom of the imagination is called escape or evasion by the gloomy critics of our time whereas it is true creation. To make a new world is to satisfy the insistent demands of a mind that would be stifled if its needs were not fulfilled.” Unquote. [00:20:58]

This helps explain modern literature and modern art...[edit]

This helps explain modern literature and modern art. You don’t put any censor on your mind, you let it all come out; you let it all hang out in other words. And whatever you give vent to, whether it makes sense or whether it’s foul or obscene, that’s creativity, you let it all go. He says that creativity means the irrational. Quote: “Creation implies total liberty. It is an entirely different procedure from that involved in conceptual thought. When I write a play, I have no idea what it is going to be like. I have my ideas afterward. At the start, there is nothing but an emotional state.” Unquote. This is the way a new god speaks, a new god of being—man. But it’s interesting, Ionesco and his Notes and Counter Notes that I believe it is, writes of his fear of dying, and he says I am dying myself and nothing remains of me. And he speaks with hatred of other men, he likes nothing in life, nothing in the world. And at this one passage he writes I don’t like the man who lives in my apartment house on the top floor, he’s no good. I don’t like the man who lives on the first floor, I don’t like the man who lives across the hall, I don’t like the man who lives just above me, I don’t like the man who lives on the second floor; I’m the man who lives on the second floor. That’s not surprising, nothing can please the man who will not please God. He feels that communication is impossible, freedom from God is becoming man’s new slavery. The goal of modern man is, as we have seen, freedom from God, which was the goal of the tempter in the beginning, ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. But, for the existentialist man who makes himself, he has no essence, no meaning. Sartre says, “Man is nothing else but what he makes himself.” [00:23:47]

But this freedom has very serious consequences...[edit]

But this freedom has very serious consequences. Modern man, says Sartre, faces a very bleak world, and I quote, “Dostoievsky said, ‘If God didn’t exist, everything would be possible.’ That is the very starting point of existentialism. Indeed, everything is permissible if God does not exist, and as a result man is forlorn, because neither within him nor without does he find anything to cling to. He can’t start making excuses for himself. (He doesn’t have God to blame, you see, just himself, and that’s a horrible plight for man. To continue.) If existence really does precede essence, there is no explaining things away by reference to a fixed and given human nature. In other words, there is no determinism, man is free, man is freedom. On the other hand, if God does not exist, we find no values or commands to turn to which legitimize our conduct. So, in the bright realm of values, we have no excuses behind us, no justification before us. We are alone, with no excuses. That is the idea I shall try to convey when I say that man is condemned to be free. Condemned, because he did not create himself, yet, in other respects is free; because, once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.” Unquote. Sad isn’t it, here again the murderer is telling us how terrible it is to be an orphan. However, this freedom has severe limitations, it is negated by the certainty of death, so that while man says I am free and I am my own God, he knows he must die. Thus, the existentialist says, according to Sartre, quote, “If death is not the free determination of our being, it cannot complete our life.” Unquote. If the world or God or nature determines the time of our death, then meaning is removed from us, we didn’t do it. This is why Alfred Jarry, as I pointed out yesterday, drank himself to death deliberately so he could say, since I have to die, at least I have the pleasure of doing it myself. Sartre says, and I quote, “the very existence of death alienates us wholly in our own life to the advantage of the Other.” The Other in capitol letters; God. Hence, the goal of science should be to eliminate death; eliminate this thing that negates our freedom. For Sartre, man is the being whose project it is to be God and he says, and I quote, “It may be asked, if man on coming into the world is borne toward God as toward his limit, if he can choose only to be God, what becomes of freedom. (In other words, have I not given man an essence? when I say this is one thing that’s necessary to man, he has to be God.) For freedom is nothing other than a choice which creates for itself its own possibilities, but it appears here that the initial project of being God, which defines man, comes close to being the same as a human nature or an essence.” Unquote. [00:28:07]

So after having denied man an essence, he says man...[edit]

So after having denied man an essence, he says man in effect has an essence, a meaning, a pre-established pattern to be god. So he is saying the pattern is the one Satan laid down. Now he tries to escape this dilemma, but he cannot, and he says, and I quote, “For man loses himself as man in order that God may be born. But the idea of God is contradictory and we lose ourselves in vain. Man is a useless passion.” Unquote. So what does man’s freedom amount to? Sartre says freedom therefore must mean nihilation, N-I-H-I-L-A-T-I-O-N, nihilation, as in annihilation. Moreover, he says, this is a strict identification. To quote, “The only being which can be called free is the being which nihilates its being. Moreover, we knows that nihilation is lack of being and cannot be otherwise. Freedom is precisely the being which makes itself a lack of being.” In other words, you’re not free unless you commit suicide. If this sounds weird, it’s because it is. This reminds us, if you’ve read Dostoyevski’s The Possessed of Kirilov, who says he is going to kill himself, and then he can become god because he has set himself free from the necessity that God has laid upon him. Now, it’s not surprising that when they proclaim the death of God and take this course of action, that the death of God is followed philosophically by the death of man. And as a result, the existentialist, having proclaimed the “death of God”, now have a new school, the “death of man” school. The death of God is followed by the death of man. And Malraux of France, was one of the first to see the death of God involved the death of man. And, E.W. Knight says of him, and I quote, “God understood not only as Deity, but as any principle purporting to render the universe intelligible. Europe is dominated by the idea, more or less clearly defined, of the impossibility of grasping any reality whatever. Despite the loss of all the coherent myths with which Europe has attempted to domesticate that universe, she clings desperately to a conception which is nonsense without them — that of the inner world, of the individual per se.” Unquote. But now they have proclaimed the death of this individual, man must die. And Michel Foucault, a French thinker who was the leader of the death of God school, says in view of the coming death of man, and I am quoting from McMullen’s analysis, “Naturally he does not mean that real people may soon be wiped out. His reference is to the liberal humanist’s conception of man — man regarded as the uniquely proper center for the organization of knowledge (That is, of epistemology) and as a coherent, free, active essence in the universe. Foucault maintains that man in this philosophical sense is a sort of image correlative with God and an invention of a surprisingly recent date, rendered possible by the cultural pattern that emerged in Europe around the beginning of the nineteenth century.” Unquote. [00:32:26]

Foucault thus says the idea of man is dead, but for...[edit]

Foucault thus says the idea of man is dead, but for many people it means, in terms of Sartre, that it also must mean nihilation; death; the only way of asserting man’s freedom. Moreover, as McMullen says further of Foucault, “Each distinct cultural period, Foucault says, conceals beneath its surface a characteristic system, or structure, which he chooses to designate by the Greek term for knowledge, episteme. An episteme appears to have such a subtle mode of existence that it cannot be defined directly. Like poetry, it has to be sniffed out by examples and trapped by obliqueness. Foucault refers to it several times as merely a tendency toward certain ways of knowing, an epistemological disposition. He also refers to it as an archeological network, and as the space in which knowledge occurs, as a historical a priori, and as whatever it is that defines the conditions for the possibility of all knowledge.” Unquote. Thus, Foucault says, we are at the end of an epistemological tradition. The epistemology of humanism has failed man, it is now dying, it is killing the idea of man, and also in the process, killing many people who have no hope of life. Thus the modern humanistic epistemology has had a devastating effect on philosophy, on literature, on religion, on culture and society. The everyday life of man has been warped. Now Dostoyevsky saw this warping, and Berdyaev summed up Dostoyevsky’s position thus, and I think it’s a telling expression. “We are given a religion of killing in place of a religion of a rising from the dead.” How tellingly that sums it up. “We are given a religion of killing in the place of a religion of a rising from the dead.” We have nihiliation presented as the conclusion of man’s freedom, instead of a resurrection. And when you have this philosophy, you are going to have a murderous age. And it is not surprising that the twentieth century has seen more mass murders and killings by Communism and by Nazism than any other age of history, and that it is a age of violence for every man, when increasingly in the big cities of the world, man is no longer safe, and in some city lives as a prisoner in his own home after dark. By abolishing God, man believed he was gaining a glorious golden age, and instead he has gained hell on earth. I cited Gunther Stent, the molecular biologist of Berkeley, last week, let me quote Gunther Stent now, “By means of modern philosophy as well as by means of drugs,” Stent declares, “the boundary between the real and the imagined has been dissolved. For the hippies, the reality principle is all but dead. This overt erosion of the reality principle embodied in the hippies was not, of course, invented in the Haight-Ashbury district. On the contrary, the philosophical basis of reality has been the subject of critical discussions for some two hundred years, ever since Immanuel Kant claimed that, in the last analysis, the real world is a subjective concept rather than an objective fact. The transcendentalist world picture of the present Avant-garde artists, mentioned in the preceding chapter, is evidently another latter-day reflection of this trend to lessen the importance of distinguishing between the real and the imagined. The lessening of this distinction appears also to be the theme of such latter-day films as Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad and Antonioni’s Blow-Up. But the novelty of the hippies consists in their being the first large scale community in the West which actually acts according to these ideas.” [00:37:56]

There were many who saw this coming and wrote about...[edit]

There were many who saw this coming and wrote about it fearfully. One German novelist, Broch, writing during and after World War 1, wrote a trilogy of novels titled The Sleepwalkers, and he saw modern man as one no longer to differentiate between reality and his imagination, a green world, moving as sleepwalkers, towards the total destruction of all things. And towards the last of this trilogy he included an epistemological excursus, a long section with that title, and he spoke of the disintegration of values, and I quote, “Can this age be said to have reality? Does it possess any real value in which the meaning of its existence is preserved? Is there a reality for the non-meaning of a non-existence? In what haven has reality found its refuge? In science, in law, in duty or in the uncertainty of an ever-questioning logic whose point of plausibility has vanished into the infinite? Hegel called history ‘the path to the liberation of spiritual substance,’ the path leading to the self-liberation of the spirit, and it has become the path leading to the self-destruction of all values.” Unquote. But because Broch would not come up with a surrender to God in Christ, he had no answer except to explore old exploded answers of Neo-Platonism and other things from the past, and to come up with nothing. Modern man knows where he’s going. He is having terrifying nightmares over it, but he chooses it in preference to God. He is filled with self-pity. You can get close to modern man if you indulge his self-pity, but you will not regenerate him through agreeing with his self-pity, because he is still like the murderer who having killed his father and mother, weeps in self-pity because he is an orphan. The answer is not to feel sorry to him, but to confront him with the saving power of the sovereign God through Jesus Christ. Modern man, through epistemology, is committing suicide. If we feel sorry for him, it is no salvation for him. Are there any questions now? Yes? [00:41:19]

[Audience member] You mentioned the ...[edit]

[Audience member] You mentioned the {?} of fiat {?}, is there any connection between this and the song that they just came out with {?} relationship, and how we look at the title of the song {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes, yes. The aspect of the fiat will of man is very prominent in modern music, and in modern art, in modern literature. You pronounce it and it shall be, the rational is the real, what I think is reality. So, play the Christian scientist {?}, just let it be. It’s a very dominant note in modern literature. Yes?

[Audience member] You said modern man knows where he’s going, now in Van Til’s Apologetics, {?} to say to modern man for the sake of argument we’ll assume your presuppositions and show you where’re you’re going, it’s foolish. But how can this word {?} modern man really knows where he’s going and already recognizes.

[Rushdoony] Yes, now what I was saying was that some of these men like Altizer and Eliade are more honest than most, they admit where they’re going and where all of their generation and their followers are going. Now the average man on the street and the average teenager and college youth is not as honest. He’s playing games with himself, and you use the apologetics of Van Til to force him to the honesty of Altizer and the others. And then of course, he’s faced with the alternative honestly. But he makes his choice for death or for life, so you push him to that. We can be thankful that by the providence of God, some of these men have gone to that extreme. Yes?

[Audience member] You speak of Altizer’s honesty, {?} I wondered how the {?} God created himself and that he gave {?} and God {?} him being honest about knowing to be gods and he says God {?} is dead at the crucifixion, {?} he’s got {?} I wondered how this fit in with his honesty and admitting that he wants to be baptized, I mean how does that fit together?

[Rushdoony] I’m not sure I understand your point.

[Audience member] He seems to have a {?} here back and forth, and it’s based on {?} and he says the fact that God willed His own death to merge with humanity. Now it seems that there’s a certain {?} of inconsistency, you’re saying he’s {?} wants to do without God.

[Rushdoony] Right, there’s no total honesty there, we haven’t reached total epistemological self-consciousness, so that he constructs a scheme by which he reinterprets Christ and God to fit into his thinking, and he’s not honest there, but he is honest about saying that he wants God dead. So, it isn’t a total honesty, so I wouldn’t go through all of Altizer and say that what he has said about God is true and what he says about Christ is true, but only that he admits his desire to eliminate and destroy God; at this point the honesty comes through.

[Audience member] Do you think that, what would you say about his relationship to Neo-orthodox {?}

[Rushdoony] His relation to Neo-orthodoxy.

[Audience member] Because of history in particular do you think that it’s possible he’s rebelling against heilsgeschichte content of history and this is at least partially responsible for his {?}

[Rushdoony] No, he is simply saying, in fact he reprimands Barth and the others, and he says you haven’t been honest, you’re reactionary in that respect, you’re maintaining a façade. And as Mircea Eliade and the dialectic of the sacred, he begins by rebuking that. Yes, so he is simply saying it’s time we spoke out honestly and didn’t conceal our position. That Tillich and Barth have been playing games behind a façade of language, lets proclaim the death of God so we can move honestly to the birth of god; the new god. Now this appeal was made a long time ago to Barth before the war by, let me see, {?}, an associate of Barth. {?} appealed to Barth {?}, to come out openly with the fact that God is dead, to admit it, and he says we have discussed it, the three of us, that God is dead. That the only way God can be alive again is as the plural of I. So that when you come to the plural of I it is we, and this means god in the new order. That’s what {?} very frankly says to Barth and he says, you know we’ve discussed this, why don’t you come out openly and say it? But Barth didn’t want to; he didn’t feel it was time to do so. Now it’s very interesting that some years ago when I was writing the book Messianic Character of American Education, I ran across in the Stanford library, some correspondence from one scholar to John Dewey, in which he explodes all over Dewey because he said you’re not honest enough to proclaim the death of God and this same type of thinking, and he says we’ve discussed this. You’ve agreed with me on this and here you’ve been playing games with the public and you’re not coming out with the real meaning of the great community of the future, the great society and then the great community beyond that. So this kind of thinking was very definitely there in Dewey and the pragmatic tradition and Barth and the existentialist tradition, and it’s only now that they’re coming out openly. [00:48:36]

[Audience member] You’re implying then ...[edit]

[Audience member] You’re implying then {?} situation, because {?} concept of {?} and heilsgeschichte both, it’s history, it’s really {?} and he knew.

[Rushdoony] Yes, yes, and this is what {?} openly charges him with. The sad fact is that this very important book by {?}, which was just a long letter to Barth and {?} saying why don’t you come out with this, was published in England when the blitz began, so there are not many copies of it around. I had known it was going to come out and ordered a copy and got it, but there are many libraries that do not have it. Yes?

[Audience member] In that, man self-consciously knows, really knows, how do you {?}

[Rushdoony] Our Lord’s prayer, on the cross, was with respect to the Roman soldiers who were doing a job, and so he said, Father forgive them, or Father (because forgive means either, it’s a legal word, it’s not an emotional word) defer the charges for the time being for they know not what they do. Normally, you’d think of the word forgive is Father, drop the charges because satisfaction has been rendered. Forgiveness thus has reference to a court of law, and we are forgiven because Christ has paid the penalty. The satisfaction has been rendered for the offence; restitution has been made. So, we cannot say in the normal context that men do not know what they are doing. In this case, where these Roman soldiers were just doing their duty, here was a prisoner, take him out and crucify him. {?} different. Yes?

[Audience member] {?} do you think this analysis of history and religion is moving toward a {?}

[Rushdoony] Could you say that again now?

[Audience member] Well, what I think as far as the history of religion, he seems to analyze the most religious moving toward a coincidence of opposites, when {?}, where the sacred and the profane are found to merge, what I’ve seen is the amount of {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes, a very good point, because now what they object to in Christianity is that there is a difference between the sacred and the profane. That you can, in Christianity, be outside of God, and so you say the horror of Christianity is, that now is {?} made the whole world profane, it’s outside of God, it’s reprobate. But when you get a true religious perspective, everything is sacred, so that you can indulge in what Christians would call perverse acts, and you can indulge in taste for pornography, you can commit sin and there’s a coincidence of the sacred and the profane, it’s all a part of the sacred. Now, this would be a completely naturalistic religion, in which everything man does is good because man does, the poet Allen Ginsberg of course in his Howl, has a long epilogue in which he says “Holy holy holy, holy is the prostitute, holy is the homosexual (He is one, incidentally), holy is the prisoner, holy is the man who does so-and-so, everything that is, everything that breathes, everything that is done is holy, holy, holy.” And this is about a page and a half or two pages of pronouncements that everything that is is holy. Well this is precisely what Eliade and Altizer are working for, they want to re-sacrilize the universe so that you can do as you please and everything is holy. And this is how Ginsberg regained his mental health. He was in and out of psychiatric care and spent some time in an institution, and he decided that this was horrible, why if his faith was true; if there was no God, then everything was holy. So he began very openly to proclaim this new gospel of holiness, re-sacrilizing everything. And he was exalted as a new prophet and made a mint of money going across country reciting his poems at college and university campuses, and the number of Christian, so called Christian colleges, that had him over was startling. And of course he had a four or five page spread in Life and other periodicals as though he were one of the new prophets, but that’s exactly what they’re talking about. I’m glad you raised that question because it brings out a very important and fearful aspect of the work of Eliade, in fact I don’t think we can understand the significance of the decade we have entered into without understanding Eliade. Altizer and all that he represents is just one facet of Eliade’s work. And his works are selling very, very heavily. He was brought over here by the University of Chicago by offering him fantastic inducements to bring him from Europe, because his influence, they recognized, was so important to our time. Any other questions?

[Audience member] How do you spell his name?

[Rushdoony] E-L-I-A-D-E. M-I-R-C-E-A is his first name; Mircea Eliade. Now if you want to deal with him in your paper, I can give you the book that is important here. Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion. It was published by Harcourt Brace and Company in 1957, and it has been reprinted since and it may be in paperback now. Most of his works have gone into paperback.

[Audience member] Can you say the name of the {?}

[Rushdoony] The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion. Yes?

[Audience member] {?}

[Rushdoony] His historical studies so-called, are really theological studies that turn into his principle of religion here, so while they are very interesting and sometimes there are some telling bits of data in them, they’re basically religious studies in terms of his faith. So you always have to read him knowing that what he says is a matter of faith rather than history. Well our time is up.

[End of tape]