Saturday, April 10, 2010

The "Freedom" That is Only a "Freedom to Die"

Here is a quote from Bertrand Russell's A Free Man's Worship (as quoted by Peter Kreeft in C. S. Lewis for the Third Millennium, p. 172). My question is: "If people really believed this way, how would they live?" My answer would be "Look at Europe. There a whole continent is living out Russell's nihilism."
Such . . . is the world which Science presents for our belief. Amid such a world, if anywhere, our ideals henceforth must find a home. That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins - all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul's habitation henceforth be safely built.
Kreeft comments:
This is a philosophy but it is also a spell, a spell of black magic laid on the human soul. Philosophical arguments are needed to refute the philosophy, but philosophical arguments alone will not lift the spell. Only a counterspell will. Only good magic defeats bad magic. We need a spell weaver, a magician. When Tolkien's son had to fill out a draft induction form, he filled in the blank for "father's occupation" with the word "wizzard." The same could be said for Lewis, especially in Prelandra.
I agree with Kreeft when he calls the preaching of Russell a "spell of black magic laid on the human soul." It is not science or reason speaking; it is the voice of Hell insisting that there is no God, no immortality, no heaven and no hope. And modern Europe has listened to this snake and has nodded in agreement until it has fallen into the sleep that precedes, and is virtually indistinguishable from, death.

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