The Murderous History Of Idolatry Guest Post by Rev’ David R. Graham
The Murderous History Of Idolatry
24 August 2010
The Rev. David R. Graham
[Written as a submission to Si Vis Pacem, a blog I admire and commend to the attention of one and all. - D.G.]
The dismissal of theology as well by theologians as by positivists plunged the Latin Church (“Western Civilization” to Secularists and “Abrahamic Civilization” to Mohammedans) out of the unity of language and into the chaos of fanaticism.
Now words mean nothing and agendas mean everything. Language is out, narrative is in. Fiction is truth and sublimity is, well, not even considered.
The process by which this reversal of reality, if such were possible, gained rampancy was slow but steady, beginning in earnest — and capably, one might say — in 12th Century France. We live in an epoch of its denouement into invincible hegemony.
Or so it seems, especially to hegemonists on the one hand and doubters on the other.
In dismissing the language of theology, which is the language of unity — and the only such language — the Latin Church loses strength to bind consciousness to truth. It loses capacity to repulse Secularist and Mohammedan impulses to divide.
There are impulses, rising in the heart, which dissociate words from truth by denying that the structure of reason is identical with the structure of reality and vise-versa.
The purpose of these impulses is to establish a penultimate as ultimate, a creature of finitude as embodiment of infinitude, the conditioned as absolute. This is called idolatry. Idols are fiction. Making fiction without thinking is ignorance. Making fiction without caring is arrogance. Making fiction as if it isn’t happening is hubris (a Classical Greek word for which English has no equivalent).
Effort to purge language of meaning partakes, in various parts, of ignorance, arrogance and hubris. Its purpose is simple: to cover hegemonistic aims and remove them from scrutiny and repulse. To hide, shield and defend one’s impulses is the aim of evacuating language then supplanting it with narrative. This is idolatry.
The language of theology is man’s complete language. More experience can be expressed theologically than can be expressed by any other means. Theology is the language of unity, the essential experience. It is song, and therefore, the language of universe (= turning to one), the universal language. Theology is the unachievable dream of physicists, their GUT, because theology is not a theory. It is the language of existence.
In common with all capacities, the capacity of theology to express the heights, depths and breadths of experience is auspicious and dangerous at once. Because of the ambiguity of existence, help and harm usually run in tandem. For most persons, it is sometimes more one, sometimes more the other, but always both at once.
Theology is the only language expressing why, even though both effects are present, one should help not harm. Theology alone justifies morality. No other language can do that because no other language reaches the depth of morality’s base or the height of its purpose. Only theology reaches the abyssal and the transcendent phenomenology of the moral imperative.
Theology is the sole base of ethics. God is the sole base of man, life and existence. The world does not go by good intentions, it goes by truth, which is God. Theology is Queen of the Sciences while God is their King.
When language is emptied of meaning, or more to the point, when words can mean whatever a user claims they mean, mischief is afoot. Murder is underway, first of language and then of users. This is idolatry and idolatry is murder.
Vacating the meaning of words is the common fuel running engines of tyranny. Socialist, Fascist, Communist, Mohammedan, Progressive, Leftist, Liberal, Elitist, whether in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Middle East or Oceania, all consume energy released by splitting language from truth.
The energies used by those engines drive implements having one purpose: to make people unhappy. That is murder. The ancient and classic illustration of this phenomenon, and its antidote, is The Rama Story.
Tyrants are idolaters and idolaters are murderers. Stopping the murdering career of a tyrant is costly in time, money and energy. Loss of life is a requirement of stopping loss of life. A thorn is needed to remove a thorn stuck in the flesh. A thorn in the flesh remains in place, causing necrosis, until forcibly removed. Tyrants do not go peaceably. They cause unhappiness even in death.
Former times were afflicted by clerical tyrannies. Modern times are afflicted by clerical and secular tyrannies. Whether “priest” or “scientist,” the impulse to vacate language and call reality what one wants it to be, and do to it what one wants to do, is the same impulse. It is murderous and justly regarded as demonic. It is idolatry.
Be strong. Hold the consciousness bound to truth.
Be happy. Release worldly aims.
Use “big” words, the ones dissemblers despise because they foster precision in both observation and expression.
Name names, droogs’ names and saints’ names, tyrants’ names and sages’ names. Make pictures of the same and publish them.
Make poetry describing abyssal and transcendent experience and publish it.
Refer to Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Sanskrit roots of English words. Cross-reference cognates.
Be precise and redundant. Use words and syntax to express one’s purpose from multiple angles of view.
What one talks about do. What one cannot do do not talk about.
Language is The Great Liberator. Deploy it, press it home, give it a workout, make it to fulfill its nature and destiny.
[Si Vis Pacem welcomes Rev' Graham as a contributor. Many thanks Rev! - Ran]
[UPDATE: Rev' Graham... this post has attracted the most interest today. Strength & blessings! - Ed.]