Last week, Pope Benedict XVI died at the age of 95, nearly a decade after stepping down as head of the Catholic Church. His life was marked by adherence to a belief in an eternal truth above all. As he stated in a 2008 meeting with Catholic educators at the Catholic University of America, “Truth means more than knowledge: knowing the truth leads us to discover the good… (W)e observe, with distress, the notion of freedom being distorted. Freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in — a participation in Being itself. Hence authentic freedom can never be attained by turning away from God.”
There is a truth; that truth must be pursued; the only substitute for truth is falsehood. Human beings have sussed out eternal truths over the course of millennia, and to discard those truths in favor of subjectivism is crippling. Those eternal truths are rooted in the belief that God made us in His image; that He granted us roles and responsibilities; and that true freedom lies in making choices within the boundaries of those roles and responsibilities.
What happens when we discard those truths?
First, we lose belief in something Higher; then we lose belief in ourselves.
We are seeing the consequences of this two-step process before us in real time.
In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt spelled out what happens when we turn our gaze inward rather than outward. Generation Z, he said, has been sucked into a vortex of narcissism and jealousy and isolation. According to Haidt, there has “never been a generation this depressed, anxious and fragile.” For girls, particularly, replacement of roles with constant self-assessment has been a pathway to hell: “You post your perfect life, and then you flip through the photos of other girls who have a more perfect life, and you feel depressed.” The new cultural ideology “valorizes victimhood… You’re not going to take chances, you’re going to ask for accommodations, you’re going to play it safe, you’re not going to swing for the fences, you’re not going to start your own company.”
Civilizationally, the loss of inherited wisdom and traditional values has resulted in new, ersatz gods to worship. The most obvious god is the pantheistic god of nature, revenging itself on us for our capitalist excesses. Why else would “60 Minutes” feature widely discredited false green Paul R. Ehrlich, author of “The Population Bomb”? Ehrlich famously stated in 1968 that billions would die of starvation in the 1970s and 1980s; now, half a century later, he explains, “Humanity is not sustainable. To maintain our lifestyle (yours and mine, basically) for the entire planet, you’d need five more Earths. Not clear where they’re gonna come from.”
Never mind that Ehrlich is wrong. The real question is why he is still respected. The answer, of course, is that every religion requires its prophets, and the neopaganism of environmental catastrophism is no exception.
As the West loses its links with traditional wisdom, it breaks loose of its philosophical moorings. The consequences will be dire unless those moorings are reinforced. And they can only be reinforced by those who have the courage to defend eternal truths — not merely hide behind the tolerance of pluralism, a repository for the cowardice of conservatives who correctly stand with free speech but incorrectly think that stance sufficient to win the day.
In the end, either the truth will win out, or it will be destroyed. As Pope Benedict XVI told the Bishops of the United States in 2012, “The Church in the United States is called, in season and out of season, to proclaim a Gospel which not only proposes unchanging moral truths but proposes them precisely as the key to human happiness and social prospering.” Defenders of traditional values of all stripes are called to the same quest.
Ben Shapiro, 38, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” and co-founder of Daily Wire+. He is a three-time New York Times bestselling author; his latest book is “The Authoritarian Moment: How The Left Weaponized America’s Institutions Against Dissent.” To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website.
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It’s a shame that we are so excited about the gathering in pray – because it use to always be like this, and we never should have allowed it to have been stifled by the Marxists and Globalists. I pray that it will remain and expand, not just in sports, but in schools, for students, in businesses and of course, in families.It should be obvious for anyone to know that when God is allowed in a situation – bad and good – the environment around us changes. We are all made in God’s image and likeness. Satan knows this and he is making his last big attempt to destroy families. Keep praying people. Join a church that worships God if you don’t already have one. Or, even a group of people that meet weekly or monthly for prayer and worship. It is imperative for the salvation of this nation that God has smiled upon.
You presented some very important ideas in the Pope Benedict XVI article, I appreciate what you wrote. When Pope Benedict XVI said ” Truth means more than knowledge : knowing the truth leads us to discover the good ” and then ” … authentic freedom can never be attained by turning away from God ” what I feel is the importance of simplicity, and the great value of clarity on the topics of truth and freedom. Christ spoke in that manner in his teachings. I am 72, and was raised as a Catholic, but I do not consider myself someone who practices Catholicism.I believe in the teachings of Christ . As for religious groups, there appears to be a similarity with all religious groups in the structure of the religion, to the point I mean there is a Ceremony part, a Symbolism part and the part that is the Substance of the Faith. The Substance of the belief system is
what is most important. Symbolism and ceremony may have their place but the Substance has to do with putting Faith into practice, being at the ready to defend what is right when needed. Always thinking about the things that are in the spirit of understanding, fairness, kindness and everything that has to do with truth and freedom.
You mentioned “philosophical mooriings ” and the importance of reinforcing those philosophical mooriings, very true, as well as having the courage to defend , the eternal truths, also very true ,I agree. Having a respect for nature, for the natural order of things should not conflict with Faith in God
In fact they should complement each other. Being open minded is important I am referring to the idea of being open minded as considering all the reasonable possible ways to do something or to figure out something. Not the anything goes mentally that misinterpretes the meaning of open minded ( that is at the foundation .of the ultra liberal viewpoint ). Fair and honest rules are necessary in order for there to be civilized behavior. A combination of outlooks are often needed to do what is right, having respect for the environment, being a conservative politically and believing in the teachings of Christ can and should complement each other. Whether it is business related, or pertaining to government or how faith is practiced , the principles of good management should be considered, those being Planning, Organization, Coordination , Scheduling , all connected by clear , intelligent communication . Truth to always be respected in all endeavors.
Limiting the argument to either believing in God or in some other “pantheistic god of nature” ignores those of us who don’t believe in God and don’t think the world (humans and nature) will end in cataclysmic flood, disease, or starvation. In fact, the author’s tone is downright offensive. I’ve been a student of the sciences all my life and find more cogent believability in the wonders of the world than I ever did in “faith”. So, I quit religion in my mid-teens. This was no easy task in a family of Catholics. That doesn’t mean family traditions were cast aside.
Losing those “eternal truths” did not cause disaster in my life or in my family’s lives. Instead, I’ll offer that they brought clarity. Clarity of my place in the world and the acceptance that my time on earth is fleeting, often disappointing and sometimes painful, but also beautiful and wonderful.
The younger generations’ complex of narcissism, jealousy, and isolation is borne of the popular fascination with social media and the instant gratification an image can garner on Facebook or Instagram. That wasn’t even given a glancing blow in this article.
While many decry lack of morality in atheists like me, we feel no less moral than you or any other believer. We all know believing in God is no guarantee of a spotless life. While it illustrates the point, I nevertheless hate bringing up the fact that it was I who cared for our mother in her last 9 years, putting on hold anything I wanted or needed for myself. I don’t need you to lecture me on morality!
Instead of judging someone through the lens of your belief system, try seeing the good deeds that person might have done, for you someday might be another lucky recipient. I would never attempt to dissuade you of the eternal truths you believe in, and only wish that we could be afforded that same respect.
As an ex catholic i respect your position but i offer this thought- for all its dismal failures, a catholic education taught me that i was not the center of the solar system. I believe what we’re witnessing today in the young is the result of two generations of people being raised without that central understanding. They DO think they’re at the center of everything, not in those words, but their lives reflect it. We’ve created millions of little frustrated potentates who collapse when the world fails to worship their beauty and specialness. For these youngsters to shed this ingrained sense of phony selfhood will be more difficult than leaving the church.
Thanks for your comment, Morbious. While your Catholic education made you realize you were not the center of the solar system, what I learned in Sunday school was that I didn’t matter at all! Raising children when I (and maybe you) did, in a fair amount of luxury and lack of deprivation, I did try to instill good qualities in my children. Peer pressure was a mighty foe, but my 2 turned out okay. The harsh realities of today’s world will set them straight soon enough, as long as the government stops funding every little whim.
How can anyone believe in ‘science’ and not believe in God, the Creator of all science? Some of the best scientist are also the best Christians because the proof of God is in the science. You are missing the best and awesome things of science.