Spirit Of The Age

[This post is aimed for men and women, and while it will have an obvious Catholic flair, I believe it will have value for all my readers.]

One of the biggest problems when trying to explain the Truth to someone, whatever that Truth might be, is that sometimes the Truth is incompatible with that person’s mental framework.

What do I mean by “mental framework?” Well, the best explanation I can give is this: it is the set of mental tools and instructions/skills for both viewing the world around us and determining how it works. Essentially, it provides a canvass upon which we can paint reality and thereby interpret it.

How does this relate to my first statement? Simple: sometimes people lack the mental tools and instructions/skills which would allow them to be able to see the Truth, or to perceive that they have strayed from it.

Consider the following proverb: when all you have is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail.

The same applies to our mental framework of reality. When all we have is a mental hammer, our mind will only consider nails, and only see solutions that involve the use of nails.

A person caught up in this will not believe themselves to be irrational. In fact, they can appear and act very rational at times. Their explanations can be clear, thoughtful and at times seemingly brilliant. But at the same time they are very, very wrong- and the person has absolutely no idea of this.

What this means is that no matter how carefully your explain the Truth to someone, if that Truth is incompatible with their mental framework, you are wasting your breath. They just won’t get it.

Unfortunately, those who are caught up in the Spirit of the Age- modernism or liberalism or whatever you wish to call it, all suffer from serious defects in their mental framework. They cannot grasp certain core Truths, because their view of how the world works, of how things are and ought to be (there is no separately the two in their mind), simply is incompatible with the Truth. To accept the Truth would require that they reject, either consciously or unconsciously, certain of their core beliefs about how the world works. Naturally enough, this is a terribly uncomfortable demand upon one’s psyche- a demand that most will reject outright. Unless a person is willing to confront the dissonance between what we want things to be, and what the Truth demands them to be, he or she will be blind to just how out of step with the Truth they really are.

I should know- I was one of these people once. Perhaps I still am to a degree- after all, the rot runs deep.

Here is one case in point: Is the Pope a Feminist? And what’s “Wives Submit” mean anyway? Given the length, I won’t quote the whole thing. Instead, I ask my readers do so to help understand my post. [Hat tip: Julian O’Dea]

The author is a self-described Catholic. He claims to be both explaining and upholding traditional, universal Catholic (but I repeat myself) teaching. To be on the same page as the Apostles and the Fathers of the Church.

He is, of course, doing no such thing. Rather, he is fully caught up in the Spirit of the Age. Whatever his intent, he is defending a modernist/liberal interpretation of Scripture and Church teaching. One need only read older Church writings (and not even that old- see Casti Conubii, for example) to see just how “off” the author really is. Anyone with an open mind (that is, a mental framework freed from at least some of the constraints of the Spirit of the Age) who reads the homilies of St. John Chrysostom and then compares it to the piece I linked will be able to see that disconnect, that dissonance. That isn’t merely a cultural shift- they are on completely different pages.

Many Christians (from many different faith traditions) have expressed surprise about how so many other so called Christians find it so easy to bash the Truth and support positions that are in some cases openly heretical. The answer need not be only a dysfunctional mental framework, but by itself would likely suffice. Even those with no ill intent, such as the author here, can be led astray and lead others astray if they are caught up in the Spirit of the Age.

This problem with mental frameworks is why it is so essential for the Faithful to focus on the things of God, rather than the things of the world. The world, with its cultural institutions and modes of thought, aims to confuse us and muck up our mental framework. As a result, we will find it more difficult to turn towards God, as our ability to understand Him and His ways will be hindered. Consider these words of St. Paul:

18 Let no one deceive himself. If any one among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” 21 So let no one boast of men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apol′los or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; 23 and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

(1 Corinthians 3:18-23)

The “wisdom of the world” is another way of describing the Spirit of the Age. It seems wise to men, but is folly with God. It confuses us and blinds us. So be wary of it. Accept that the wise people of this world will call you foolish if you follow the ways of God.

I have more to discuss on the subject, but that will require future posts. Here are two quick extensions. First, this same process can be applied to “the Red Pill” and “the Blue Pill.” Those who have defective mental frameworks will have difficulty swallowing the Red Pill, and likely throw it up. Second, thoughts on how one might break free from the trap of a defective or dysfunctional mental framework have given me another metaphor to use, rather than the Red Pill/Blue Pill metaphor, or The Glasses.

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8 Comments

Filed under Blue Pill, Christianity, Churchianity, Red Pill, The Church

8 responses to “Spirit Of The Age

  1. Michael Kozaki

    Random thoughts:

    1) Each “communication” assumes the listener shares their language and general slant and experience. This twists a lot of writing. Context is critical. We should thus assume good will unless forced otherwise.

    2) Continuity of Faith is awesome. Most modern “Christians” would simply not be recognized as Christians by prior ones. Values are that different. Especially on obedience and charity.

    3) No honest person can read Christians from 0-1500 AD, who are plainly Catholic/Orthodox in belief, and pretend post Reformation theology is anything but a new religion. But in the same light, most modern Catholics are more modern than Christian, and wouldn’t be recognized either.

    4) Christians live forever. Logic demands heaven is open only for those willing to conform their minds and wills to Jesus and his merry followers. They must act and believe as one, like the Father and Son. I doubt many moderns can make it. We will gratefully get on the bus to hell.

    5) It’s not an accident moderns seek individualism in all things (reaching utter silliness with “bible alone” or “faith alone”) alongside massive and relentless decline of family, community, and marriage. It’s all the same trade.

  2. ”No honest person can read Christians from 0-1500 AD, who are plainly Catholic/Orthodox in belief, and pretend post Reformation theology is anything but a new religion.”

    Is this going to be about another flamewar in regards to the evil reformation?

  3. Novaseeker

    It’s certainly true that this is a principal obstacle. One’s mental framework (worldview can also be used to describe this, of course, but is probably a bit more specific for some people) colors pretty much everything one sees and experiences. For most people, this is imbibed from the ambient culture. In fact, I’d say that it is that way for everyone who does not consciously and intentionally make a decision not to so imbibe, and even then one must take care to do so in a way that is not, in itself, merely another manifestation of what is in the end the same mental framework. The way out of this trap, of course, is to find another source of framework and worldview that is not connected to, and did not arise from, this ambient cultural context, yet without using this to “try to live in the past” (something which is impossible in a very real sense). It is rather difficult to do, precisely because the ambient culture and its influence is ubiquitous and, due to the various ways that culture is transmitted today, pervasive. It is far easier to adapt to it — far easier mentally, emotionally, socially, inter-personally, economically and so on. This is why most people follow this path — it’s incredibly hard not to do so.

    I think this realization is what lies at the heart of the concept of the Benedict Option, really — the idea that without very strong support from an intentionally counter-cultural community, the ability of individual Christians and Christian families to withstand these cultural pressures, which is already very low, is going to drop to near zero in the years ahead. There will be mass apostasy. The question is — where will you and your family be, and if it isn’t among the apostates, how will you make sure of that. That’s where the B.O. comes in, I think.

    We should make no mistake that as bad as things are, they are going to continue to deteriorate when it comes to the kinds of things that can easily lead people away from the Church, and therefore away from Christ. There was an article in the WaPo earlier this week about how rates of same sex activity have shot up in the period since 1994 — around double for males and between 2 and 3 times for females. Many reasons for this of course, ranging from porn, to the promiscuity culture, to media and educational programming, but all of that adds up to the various vectors by which this culture communicates itself to people and nestles inside of them. We will see more of these kinds of trends in the years and decades ahead, and the key question for the people who comprise the Church is setting themselves and their families up so as to best equip them to withstand what are going to be nearly overwhelming cultural pressures to apostatize.

  4. Michael Kozaki

    Nova, …“trying to live in the past” (impossible)

    Perceptive. Many who discover truth in the past can’t see it’s alive today.

    people who comprise the Church set up so as to withstand nearly overwhelming cultural pressures to apostatize.

    I don’t see this. As the secular culture implodes the pressure seems the opposite. Sin is appealing only in small quantities. 30 ya, trad Christians were openly mocked. Today, it’s all compliments, all the time. Even cucks & libs like Dreher yap about circling the BenOp wagons. I smell fear.

    Btw, what does apostasy even mean with an invisible “Church”? Nada. Both words have lost all meaning in a multi-cultural world. Gotta specify.

  5. The author, Dean Esmay, shows up occasionally in my Twitter feed. In addition being a Roman Catholic, he is also an MRA. That movement, as far as I can tell, espouses “merely” second-wave feminism. Bummer.

    Many Christians (from many different faith traditions) have expressed surprise about how so many other so called Christians find it so easy to bash the Truth and support positions that are in some cases openly heretical. The answer need not be only a dysfunctional mental framework, but by itself would likely suffice. Even those with no ill intent, such as the author here, can be led astray and lead others astray if they are caught up in the Spirit of the Age.

    Yessir. Because Dean is a Roman Catholic he expresses the Spirit of the Age by saying “Roman Catholics have always taught equality between the sexes, dontchaknow!” Spirit of the Age Protestants go about it like this: “Well, we live under grace now, not law. That means we can do whatever and you have to be graceful to me regardless.”

    @IW1

    Is this going to be about another flamewar in regards to the evil reformation?

    Michael Kozaki shoehorns anti-Protestant sentiments into many of the comments he makes. They are usually ill-informed, and almost always he shoots himself in the foot. For example, with the section you quoted: (”No honest person can read Christians from 0-1500 AD, who are plainly Catholic/Orthodox in belief, and pretend post Reformation theology is anything but a new religion.”) What you have there is a statement from Michael Kozaki in which he calls the Roman Pontiff and bishops dishonest pretenders. After all, they don’t see Protestants as members of a new religion.

  6. @ Cane

    Because Dean is a Roman Catholic he expresses the Spirit of the Age by saying “Roman Catholics have always taught equality between the sexes, dontchaknow!” Spirit of the Age Protestants go about it like this: “Well, we live under grace now, not law. That means we can do whatever and you have to be graceful to me regardless.”

    Pretty much.

    What you have there is a statement from Michael Kozaki in which he calls the Roman Pontiff and bishops dishonest pretenders. After all, they don’t see Protestants as members of a new religion.

    Actually, Michael’s statement allows for another possibility- that they aren’t plainly Catholic in belief.

    As for myself, I would argue that most nearly every person who call himself a Christian of any stripe has fallen under the spell of the Spirit of the Age. Catholics, Protestants of all types, and even most Orthodox.

  7. Michael Kozaki

    Cane, Michael Kozaki shoehorns anti-Protestant sentiments into many of the comments he makes. They are usually ill-informed, and almost always he shoots himself in the foot. For example, with the section you quoted

    I bible study with a lot of Prots. THEY think Catholics are a different religion, because we are. You are merely wrong. But unlike you, I don’t call my Prot friends “anti-Catholic” for believing something different. I think they are just honestly misguided. So what? I like them and they like me. You are just a biased and clearly angry person looking for a fight. My suggestion? Give it up. Your anger only poisons yourself.

    ”No honest person can read Christians from 0-1500 AD, who are plainly Catholic/Orthodox in belief, and pretend post Reformation theology is anything but a new religion.”) What you have there is a statement from Michael Kozaki in which he calls the Roman Pontiff and bishops dishonest pretenders. After all, they don’t see Protestants as members of a new religion.

    You are wrong (again). You don’t know RC doctrine. Prots cannot even receive the Eucharist, something that is required by RC each year, and what RC believes is required to be saved. Every bishop and pope have always agreed on this. Hell, I’ve never met a PROT yet who disagrees. Any person, no matter how ignorant, knows RC and Prots are different religions.

  8. Pingback: The decay is a time of pruning | Christianity and the manosphere

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