Auster began an excellent thread this week that I recommend: “Have we become a society of Randians? And is the Randian, self-worshipping self a product of Christianity?” In the thread, commentator Daniel S. provides a superb quotation from Chesterton’s Heretics:
The French Revolution is of Christian origin. The newspaper is of Christian origin. The anarchists are of Christian origin. Physical science is of Christian origin. The attack on Christianity is of Christian origin. There is one thing, and one thing only, in existence at the present day which can in any sense accurately be said to be of pagan origin, and that is Christianity.
Chesterton’s note was followed by similar observations by C.S. Lewis and Fr. Alexander Schmemann. Ever since I read For the Life of the World in undergrad, I have attended to the Christian vestiges in modern ideologies. Auster and his intellectual forebears are right; there is no going back to a world without Christ. As Augustine noted long ago, the human soul will remain restless, ever searching for the fulfillment of the gospel. Some souls may be tricked by peddlers’ offering a counterfeit christ, but they buy the merchandise because they desparately seek the reality behind the distorted imitation.