Thursday, October 27, 2011

Unveiling the Idols

It is fascinating to observe how the underlying paganism of our society is working its way out more and more consistently into our public practices.

On a scholarly level, some advocate re-appropriating the polytheism of Homer's era. These scholars see clearly how enlightenment has brought emptiness, so they advocate a different kind of idolatry.

On a popular level, we are watching the deification of Steve Jobs.

As I was re-reading J. Gresham Machen's Christianity and Liberalism just a little while ago, I came across something I had forgotten. Machen wrote:

...despite all superficial continuity, a remarkable change has come about within the last seventy-five years. The change is nothing less than the substitution of paganism for Christianity as the dominant view of life. Seventy-five years ago, Western civilization, despite inconsistencies,was still predominantly Christian; to-day it is predominantly pagan.

This work was published in 1923. If Machen was right, and I think he was, then twentieth century America was, at bottom, a pagan society. Her public institutions, practices, and mores have progressively removed the drapery which shrouds her real gods.

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