An effort to summarize how people think today

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Jan 07, 2016

It seems that our dominant culture today is driven by men and women who reason very badly. It is as if they say to themselves:

“Our life is short and difficult enough, and there is no way to avoid the inevitable end, for nobody returns from the dead. We were born by mere chance, and later it will be as if we have never been. Our breath means nothing; even our reason is no more than a material result of biological processes.

“When we die, we will become mere ashes. What some call ‘spirit’ will dissolve like empty air. Our names will be forgotten; nobody will remember the things that we did. All of this will pass away like wisps of cloud, scattered like a mist before the power of the sun. Truly, our lifespan will pass like a shadow. Our meaningless lives will be sealed up. We can nether turn back nor return from death.

“Therefore, we should enjoy good things while we can, savoring the pleasure of natural things. We should fill ourselves with costly sights and scents and tastes, grasping at every flower along the way. We must crown ourselves before everything withers. Let each of us enjoy our revelry; at least we might leave signs of our pleasure!

“Since this is how things are, we have no choice but to marginalize those who claim to be righteous; we cannot afford to be thwarted by anyone who makes a claim on our conscience. The very law must be based on our own might, while it lasts. Whatever is weak is useless to us.

“Accordingly, we will contrive to cause all who are inconveniently oppositional to disappear, all those who constantly accuse us of sin. They say they have a special knowledge of God, as if they are Divine children. They give the lie to our thoughts; just having them around is unfair! They simply do not fit in. They say we are base, and avoid whatever we declare to be good. They even brag that they will be happier in the end, with God as their Father.

“Well, this is easy enough to test! We will make their lives miserable—with insults certainly, perhaps even torture—and see if their so-called God will ever help them. Then we will see how holy they are, how much they are willing to forgive.

“Since they imagine they have some special protection, even by their own lights there can be no harm in condemning them to a shameful death.”

If this is pretty much how you would describe the dominant attitude today, you are not alone. Everything up to this point has been a paraphrase of chapter 2 of the Book of Wisdom.

Now here is how that chapter ends:

Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray, for their wickedness blinded them, and they did not know the secret purposes of God, nor hope for the wages of holiness, nor discern the prize for blameless souls; for God created man for incorruption, and made him in the image of his own eternity, but through the devil’s envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his party experience it. But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God. [2:21-3:1]

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Bernadette - Jan. 09, 2016 10:02 PM ET USA

    Excellent! Oh, the richness, the wealth of insight and knowledge contained in the Bible is unending! "Take and Read!" Now, gird your loins, put on the armor of God, and enter the fray - Act!

  • Posted by: jplaunder1846 - Jan. 08, 2016 10:59 PM ET USA

    Hi Dr Jeff you are spot on and sadly as the Book of Wisdom quote illustrates these attitudes have been around in one form or another since man entered the world. Sadly as history shows and because we never learn from it the world has often undergone terrible trauma when man sinks as low as he is at the moment before he sobers up for awhile.

  • Posted by: Travelling - Jan. 08, 2016 7:10 PM ET USA

    It is reassuring to see that there is nothing new under the sun! Let's pray for those who can't see the Truth.