Friday, November 11, 2016
The Killing of Heresy
The Killing of Heresy
XIX The Faerie Queene
His lady, sad to see his sore constraint,
Cried out, ‘Now, now, Sir Knight, shew what yee bee:
Add faith unto your force, and be not faint;
Strangle her, els she sure will strangle thee.’ …
Therewith she spewd out of her filthy maw
floud of poison horrible and blacke,
Full of great lumpes and flesh and gobbet raw,
Which stunck so vildly, that it forst him slacke.
His grasping hold, and from her turned him backe;
Her vomit full of bookes and papers was,
There is a great proliferation of books and papers, a vomit of heresy, throughout the Church. It seems obvious that theology ought not be established on the basis of experience, but rather on revelation; it is perhaps not so obvious that theology ought not to be established on shaky foundation of philosophies. St. Gregory Palamas was right to warn of the hemlock of philosophy, a poison most insidious.
One of the characteristics of many philosophical writers is the tendency to work out their philosophy in the very process of writing. They fall prey to error of Alexander Pope, “Presume not God to scan, the proper study of mankind is man.” The problem is that man is inconstant and all of our understanding, apart from divine revelation, is so much theorizing; rather like trying to understand a storm at sea by gazing at the surface motion of the waves.
In the foment of the 60s there was a vile broth of despairing existentialism, Samuel Becket, the Beat Poets, and writers like Altizer and Hamilton, Joseph Fletcher and others including that bloodless and immoral theologian Paul Tillich. Mix in with that the modern Machiavellian Saul Alinsky, and you have the vile broth that brewed a vomit of books and papers. “God helpe the man so wrapt in errours endless traine!” (Faerie Queen xviii). So bound are they that their arrogance is boundless. When arrogance and errour are entwined no quarter is offered for truth; for truth is a reproach and an embarrassment. That is why our contemporary liberals are the new fundamentalists, and that is why there is little tolerance for conservative viewpoints.