Liberty and the Death of God

April 24, 2010 05:38

That metal-on-metal sound you hear every time you are careless enough to waste precious, irredeemable seconds watching CNN, MSNBC, or Robert Gibbs’ smarmy mug is the left sharpening its knives for Liberty herself.

If we are unwilling to defend her, or prove unequal to the task, may we die in shame for the shackles to which our fecklessness will have doomed our progeny.

By Daniel H. Fernald at American Thinker

The long, slow Death of God began on May 23, 585 B.C., when Thales of Miletus (625-545 B.C.) correctly predicted a solar eclipse. That the birth of Western philosophy on this momentous day ultimately led to the so-called Death of God is not explained by the hoary, worm-ridden chestnut that religion and rational thought cannot co-exist. It was rather the early seeds of materialism, planted by Thales and later thinkers, which caused philosophy’s cradle to be made, in part, from the wormwood of secularism.

Other pre-Socratic philosophers, notably the mathematical mystic Pythagoras (c. 570-490 B.C), took a decidedly non-materialist tack, and some even included an explicitly divine principle in their systems of thought. So the die was cast, and the tension between philosophical and religious thought became a kind of “white noise” that often went unnoticed for its ubiquity.

Socrates (470-399 B.C.) claimed to be possessed by a daemon (spirit) that told him what to say, and his disciple, Plato (427-347 B.C.), recorded Socrates’ belief that the ever-changing material world was a mere reflection of eternal Ideas (or Forms), notably in Republic and Timaeus.

In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) argued that the activity of god, nous (thought), was the goal toward which men should strive. Half a millennium later, Plotinus (c. 204- c. 270) described nous as a divine, foundational intellectual principle.

The late classical and medieval periods were naturally chock full of God-talk. Indeed, God played a fundamental role for thinkers as diverse as the Jewish Maimonides, the Muslim Ibn Sina (Avicenna), and numerous Christian philosophers-including Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas.

If one were to regard philosophy as a football game, by the 13th or 14th century God would have been 1st and goal on the materialists’ two-yard-line (with three timeouts remaining).

Then came the fumble.


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