Understanding The Enlightenment

These are some great lectures.

I agree with everything presented in the videos below. In the previous article on St. Augustine, we noted how Augustinian values dominated the West down to the 17th century. Both Catholics and Protestants emphasized different elements of Augustine’s thought.

It was this Augustinian worldview which, shall we say, kept the West anchored in a conservative view of human nature for a millennium. The Scientific Revolution shattered the dominant Aristotelian paradigm. This is what cleared the path to the Enlightenment, not the Reformation. I’ve argued endlessly with trad Catholics about this.

From about 1700 forward, Christianity is displaced from the center of Western culture to the point where it is gradually marginalized. Liberalism moves into the vacuum and spreads from Britain and the Netherlands. As Christianity is pushed to the margins of Western culture, it is transformed into what it is today by conforming and adapting to the latest trends in the dominant secular culture.

This is why modern Christians sound so unlike their forebears. It is due to the waning of Augustine’s influence in Western Christianity since the Enlightenment.


About Hunter Wallace 9688 Articles
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11 Comments

  1. Catholics were absolutely correct in not allowing peasants the right to read the Bible. Why the Protestants like to focus on the Old Testament? This is foolish.
    We went to a large evangelical cult in South America a couple of years ago, loudspeakers placed everywhere inside the building, pastors screaming, one time they said they had recorded the sounds of hell, the sounds of hell then exploding in the loud speakers, people screaming and bending and twisting on the chairs and on the floor. Soooooo nice.
    Catholics at least have order.

      • @Johnson I’m in your future it seems.
        It’s a kind of European “enclave” in South America. Surrounded by very stupid non-European hordes.

    • Well, not allowing “the peasants” to read the supposedly god-inspired words of their religion certainly would fit the agenda of brainwashing and control. If by “order” you mean systemic child abuse and cover-up, then yes, they do have order. They’re also very orderly about promoting white replacement. And don’t worry, I’m not here to defend protestants, either.

    • “The Bible” is a Latin translation of the original Greek. How many peasants were literate in Latin do you think? I doubt the books were locked up.

  2. Hmmm… what else happened about 1700 that could have had a corrupting influence? Establishment of the (((Bank of England))) maybe in 1694?

  3. I don’t see what science has to do with it. The decision is made every day whether one is going to follow logos (reason) to unity or turn from reason and embrace disunity and failure.

    Any business would fire an employee who took the business plan and went off to interpret it on their own. Yet somehow God wants that? Who would believe in a God of failure? What’s the point?

    Tell you what. All you protestants go ahead and put your life savings into drawing up a business plan that will provide for you, your family and your heirs and hand it out to a bunch a people and let them decide for themselves what it means and let’s see how well it works out.

    And yet you do the same with your civilization.

    There is no scientific advancement that will ever get in the way, or has ever gotten in the way, of that basic truth.

  4. Focusing on history through the lens of ideas is like trying to study the stock market crash by analyzing the color of shoe-laces on wallstreet the day of.

    As someone who’s spent the better part of his adult life studying Christian philosophy and theology I can say with some authority that no mere idea, no matter how savvy, can stand against the movement of spirit. I’ve tried to force modern Calvinists to accept the sane views of race held by their ancestors, to no avail. If the very words of God are subject to the worst sort of revisionism, then Augustine will fare no better. His meaning changes with the spirit of the age.

    …we have to view history through a spiritual lens, then, and note the reigning spirit of Christian Europe.

    That change in spirit fueled the “enlightenment” and “renaissance” and even the “Reformation”.

    Ideas don’t have consequences…they *are* the consequence.

  5. I don’t see a direct connection between the Reformation and the Enlightenment. No, it had to be the scientific revolution of the 1600s, the break with traditional Aristotelian thought, that ushered in the Age of Reason. Ironically, Aristotle himself probably wouldn’t have approved of the static cosmological model that bore his name.

  6. “Both Catholics and Protestants emphasized different elements of Augustine’s thought.”

    there’s the eternal ‘rub’.

    both subject Man to the mental tyranny of the imposed external necessity of an intercedent 3rd party to ‘get to’ God.

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