Arimathea | Religion | Forgetting the City of Man | Comments
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Wednesday, June 15, A.D. 2011
Forgetting the City of Man

Last week, my father asked me why the Roman Catholic bishops supported open borders. Of course, the opportunism of such a position is obvious. The Roman Church in the United States has been hemorrhaging its white American membership for decades and needs a steady supply of Mexican immigrants to fill the emptying parishes in many parts of the country. There is also the religio-tribal reflex; Roman Catholics have natural sympathies for their coreligionists around the world. Besides, Mexico is our neighbor, and a large portion of the country has a long, intimate history with Mexico. For Americans in the Southwest, Mexico is about as alien to them as Old American Yankee life. If we were experiencing an invasion of Mohammedan Pakistanis, I doubt that there would be so much pro-immigrant cheerleading from the Roman bishops.

However, there is something much deeper underlying the bishops’ position. It is an ancient Christian problem; one may even call it an inherent tendency in our religion. Christians may easily forget the city of man. By that, I do not mean that they neglect the world in the Buddhist way. A doctrinal grounding of Christianity is the incarnation, and Christians enthusiastically care for the city of man as a way to manifest divine love. Rather, they forget that the city of man retains its own nature—its own set of ways and rules, some of which have resulted from what Christians call the fall. A common Christian response to this “alien” city of man is to pretend that the rules for the city of God have supplanted the laws of nature. Until the eschaton, such will not be the case.

Allow me to flesh out this theory. Christians rightly judge the soul and the state of the soul to be more important than the body and the state of the body. However, if they only considered this fact, they would jeopardize society. Indeed, pagans and anti-Christians have accused Christians of doing this since the apostolic age. Consider a barbarian attack on a city. If the Christians’ manning the city walls thought only about everlasting consequences for the soul, they would not kill the attacking barbarians. For then, they might rob the heathens’ chances of hearing and of accepting the gospel. Yet, if they refused to defend the city, they would be guilty of neglecting their earthly responsibilities, and the blood of the massacred population would be on their hands, albeit indirectly. The insane spiritualism to which Christianity can easily descend judges such a result acceptable. For this view holds that the innocent, Christian victims will happily enter the kingdom of God while the witness of the Christian soldiers who refused to fight testifies the mercy of God to the barbarians. That is madness. The barbarians would judge such an extreme form of irresponsibility as cowardice and foolishness, and the heathen would understandably spit upon the images of Christ in the city’s temples as the god of an idiotic populace.

This temptation to neglect the city of man is ancient, but rarely has it become widespread, notwithstanding the accusations of the pagans. Christian civilization developed, and Christian cities defended themselves from the forces of barbarism, both from within and from without. It is very telling that contemporary spiritualists point to the healthy, vigorous Christian societies of the past as examples of darkness and hypocrisy when they were functioning, strong, vibrant Christian communities that both knew what must be done to secure earthly order and what the higher aim of mortal life must be. Nietzsche criticizes Christianity as the new Buddhism, but historically, Christian civilization has not been a nihilistic, self destructing exemplar of social dysfunction.

Necessity is an incentive toward sober thinking, and most people throughout history have not had the luxury to ignore the standard perils of human life. The wealth and power of the modern West have allowed men to indulge in drunken thoughts. The naive assurance of permanent order allows for the spiritualism previously discussed and for the follies of leftist social fantasy. Both tendencies have likely influenced the Roman bishops’ support of unrestricted immigration. The hierarchs are so telescopically focused on spiritual matters that they forget or refuse to think about the city of man. Societies need social cohesion, unity, and shared loyalties. Large scale population displacements—invasions, really—disrupt those political needs and lead to disorder and disintegration. Yet, such mortal concerns do not interest those pious men of God who only gaze upon heaven. Theirs is another country; to hell with the land of their birth.

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, June 15, A.D. 2011
Religion | OrthodoxyNon-ChalcedonianismPaganismProtestantismRoman CatholicismPermalink

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