Centuries hence, historians will regard our modern epoch as a genuine Dark Age and not the light-infused Middle Ages which are regularly calumniated as a benighted time by the historically illiterate.
These future historians will chuckle, with a sad shaking of their heads, every time they come across one of our references to the Enlightenment. Their greater perspective of history will identify that movement as the first gathering of clouds. They will see in the ‘Enlightenment’ the looming death shroud which would eventually blanket all of Christendom. They will carefully compile a catalog of the various ways reason and morality were occluded under its cover. Their yet to be written annals will painstakingly detail our sorrowful slide down the slippery slope of relativism that landed us with our head so far up our ass and so deep in the abyss of solipsism that we ensconced support and defense of objective abominations like sodomy and infanticide under the aegis of personal choice.
And what will they determine brought on this supposed ‘Enlightenment?’
The breakdown of Authority…
Holiness spirals are not first a search for status, although once they have got going, they do result in an arms race to see who is holiest among the Pharisees, thus of the highest moral and political rank, and thus least suitable as a scapegoat.
They are, first, a search for the proper constraints of true holiness upon conduct. Men are Fallen, and live in a Fallen, corrupt world; and they know it. They want to get holy; they want desperately to get ritually pure. Until they can honestly feel that they have done so, they will feel terrific anxiety, and thrash about in their predicaments like a bear in a trap.
Trapped bears are very dangerous.
When there is no established sacerdotal hierarchy that can authoritatively define the unquestionable constraints of holiness, and then offer men a way to get back within those constraints when they have strayed beyond…
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