This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

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).

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6

Warning against moralism

Morality is the science of right and wrong. Moralism, however, is a kind of all-encompassing mentality that renders the moralist incapable of seeing anything beyond the moral. All questions are moral questions, all art is moral art, and all men are moral men, or else they are not. Since the truth is that all men are not moral, it is safe to say that anyone who cannot see beyond the moral plane will not be able to love men. That is why you should flee from moralism, for it is a poison to brotherly love.

Know right and wrong, but do not let yourself be drawn into the common error of reducing all problem and all differences to a matter of moral difference. Others make us uncomfortable by being other than we are, and it is all too tempting to justify this discomfort by making it a matter of morality: he makes me uncomfortable because he is less than I am, because I am more righteous than he is, because something he is doing is wrong. When the truth is that whatever is alien to us frightens us, but no one wants to admit that he is a coward. It is easier to formulate moral condemnations.

Beware the Christian who has boiled down Christianity to a simplistic dichotomy of the saved vs. the unsaved, which claims, implicitly, that the focal point of the Christian life is not love but sin and its consequences. Here is how the devil brings a man to such a point: he convinces him of the great sinfulness of himself and the world, and brings him to a moment of immense pain about his own sin, which drives the man to a confession of faith. This would seem to be the opposite of what the devil would want, but for what happens next: because this crisis was motivated by a kind of guilt aimed at oneself and the world, the outcome is that the individual is released, in a moment, from guilt about their own sin, but the hatred for the sin of the masses remains. Such a one immediately considers himself a member of the elect, and is effectively separated from ‘the damned,’ constituted by roughly everyone else who is not a member of his elite group, which he joined merely by feeling bad about himself. He spends the rest of his days patting himself and the other elites on the back and mourning the awful sinfulness of the rest of the world, and the devil is quite satisfied.

Beware the religious man who is constantly condemning other men for their sin. He will spend a great deal of time talking about his love for God, but his fixation is on the devil.

When men condemn others for their sin, sometimes the explanation is really quite simple: they think these men have wronged them in some way, or perhaps they are even jealous of the pleasures that these sinners get to enjoy, while ‘we good Christians’ have to abstain. And this obsession with the sinners of the world is how the Christians get even. It is as if the only way they can keep themselves from joining the sinners is by constantly imaging what they will look like as the burn in hell. And if they are the jealous types, they take pleasure in the scene. It is their way of getting even.

The devil is not afraid of preaching in favor of righteousness, provided that the rest of the Gospel, especially when it talks about ‘mercy’ and compassion,’ is conveniently excluded. The devil fights on all sides and makes use of all means.

When contemplating your own frailty, which is good and healthy, be uplifted by the truth that when God manifested his presence through the person of Christ in the world, it was not to bring about judgement, but to save men from it. When God visited men, his purpose was mercy.

Yet another problem that comes with a moralistic view of life–or ‘moralism’ plain and simple–is that it transforms all differences to a matter of good versus evil. The truth may be that we are all partially or mostly at fault, but the moralist will never encounter this truth because he will be too busy painting everything in black and white. In the world of men, and in men themselves, however, things are always some shade of grey. The moralist therefore distorts the truth. He needs things neatly separable, and so he permits himself to paint a few white things black and a few black things white, and he makes himself and others more ignorant as to the nature of truth even if he succeeds in simplifying it into a false obviousness: this is obviously good, can’t you see that? and this is obviously evil, as anyone with a conscience can see. It is obvious! Always so obvious! In this way the moralizer sets men at each other’s throats. He makes believers intolerable and judgemental, and he ensures that non-believers will see nothing of Christ in Christianity.

I think I can summarize by saying that moralism is detestable because in almost every case it places far too much emphasis on the devil.

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