The great analyser of relativist culture, Jeff Mirus, seems to have downplayed a bit too much the role of the intellectual. In part of his insightful series on “gender” ideology he argues: (our comments in blue).
Modern Western culture is weakened by a great vacuum of systematic thought about the nature of man.
Exactly right – but this has been developing at least since the first philosopher of experimental science, Francis Bacon.
To anyone with the slightest degree of intellectual discernment, it should be obvious that modern “ideas” in this matter are formed not through rigorous analysis but through wish-fulfilment—and, above all, sexual wish-fulfilment.
That would certainly seem to be key to keeping its momentum but like most un-thought-out beliefs, good and bad, there is usually a backdrop of use and abuse of reason.
The modern mind does not even attempt to understand traditional norms of sexual morality mainly because it prefers to ignore ideas whenever they impede desires. Thus, for example, the entirety of past systematic thought about sexuality, the relationship between men and women, and the nature of the family is summarily swept aside with a merely emotive question: “Why should we make judgements about anyone based on who he or she chooses to love?”
But this “sweeping aside” of “systematic thought” about human nature in favour of blindly following emotion has been fuelled by systematic thought at least as much as emotion. It is not just wilfulness. It has been an intellectual process. Nominalism was encouraged by the Reformation and boosted by the New Science’s challenge to scholastic “natures”.
Ever since the quarrel over artificial birth control in the 1960s, wayward Catholic theologians have led the way in dismissing Catholic sexual morality as mere “physicalism”, this [dismissal] being an attitude which ignores the dual character of human nature as a union of body and soul.
Yes indeed. Catholic thought always affirmed that Natural Law theory was about the whole human person, physical body and spiritual soul. “Ignoring” this has followed, at least in part, the intellectual defeat of the previous defences of the spiritual soul from abstract knowledge by nominalistic interpretations of scientific methodology (see our recent “Experimental Success” and “Human Dignity” posts). The discovery of the inter-relativity of physical natures is intrinsic to this process. There is a pressing need to interpret this properly.
January/ February 2020
Recent Blog Posts
- Blog: 10.04.18Professor Stephen Hawking RIPWith the death of Stephen Hawking, the world has lost a great physicist who made important contributions to our understanding of cosmology. Together with Prof. Roger Penrose, he linked General Relativity with Quantum Physics in the immensely challenging context of Bla...Read More
- Blog: 13.02.18Over at First Things a transcript has appeared of the 2017 href="https://www.firstthings.com/events/2017-erasmus-lecture">Erasmus Lecture given at the end of last year by Bishop Robert Barron on the subject of “reaching the nones”, that is those who self-declare as being of “no religion”. The whole piece is definitely worth reading, a...Read More
- Blog: 28.01.18The recent Channel 4 News interview of Jordan Peterson, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, by journalist Cathy Newman is currently trending high on YouTube and various Social Media platforms. The 30 minute interview rapidly covers a lot of ground; the difference between the sex...Read More
- Blog: 08.01.18“Peace is the harmony of good order. Good order is the membering of man in ready acceptance and honest love.” (Edward Holloway, Catholicism: A New Synthesis, 1)As we begin 2018, the sense of tension in the international order is strong. There are fears of nuclear war given the problem...Read More
- Blog: 30.12.17Fr Chris Findlay-Wilson made the below defence of priestly celibacy in the Catholic Herald (15th Dec., letters):"a fresh witness of true love is desperately needed; that it is love – not sex – that fulfils us as human beings." This is a point often made by Fr Holloway, ...Read More
- Blog: 24.11.17Last Saturday was the 100th anniversary of Agnes Holloway giving birth to Edward.He was born just as Lenin’s revolution began. This was the beginning of changing the poor, Christian country of Russia into the powerful Marxist one. It was predicted by Our Lady of Fatima over the previous six...Read More