This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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Knowledge vs. belief

“To him who feels himself preordained to contemplation and not to belief, all believers are too noisy and obtrusive; he guards against them.”

~ Friedrich Nietzsche[1]

Once a proper view of knowledge is destroyed and belief becomes “irrational,” it also becomes intolerable. Let us pause to comment again on the traditional view of knowledge.

It has been said that when the gods appear to men they always adopt forms that will be comprehensible to the nature of those to whom they appear. This is the distinction—to adopt Catholic terminology—between the “Church teaching” and the “Church taught.” Although the Second Vatican Council modified this teaching, adding that the laity does play a role in the development of doctrine, it is clear that their participation is largely, if not wholly, unconscious. They participate as members of an unerring collectivity:

The holy People of God shares also in Christ’s prophetic office. It spreads abroad a living witness to Him, especially by means of a life of faith and charity and by offering to God a sacrifice of praise, the tribute of lips which give hour to His name (cf. Heb. 13,5). The body of the faithful as a whole, anointed as they are by the Holy One (cf. Jn 2,20, 27), cannot err in matters of belief. Thanks to a supernatural sense of the faith which characterizes the People as a whole, it manifests this unerring quality when “from the bishops down to the last member of the laity,” it shows universal agreement in matters of faith and morals.[2]

When the connection between belief and knowledge is severed and associations, churches, and entire religions are based on nothing but beliefs held in common, which is to say, a religion of consensus rather than of doctrine, then religion becomes what is more properly termed “superstition,” which is a “belief” for which there is no longer anyone who understands the reason. When this occurs, the mob of “believers” tends to become assertive and obnoxious, and we can begin to understand Nietzsche’s complaint. In fact, we can understand most of Nietzsche’s complaints if we allow that he was observing a decadent Christianity—one which had, by rejecting the notion of Spiritual Authority, severed its own spiritual jugular. Nietzsche watched it in disgust as it writhed in its death throws, having become a “faith without knowledge,” or as was said earlier, a superstition.

This is the inevitable situation once the caste responsible for knowledge is functional destroyed. Then only ignorance and a sort of “zombie Christianity,” dead but still walking, can remain.

[1] Beyond Good and Evil, 112.

[2] Lumen Gentium, 12.

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