Secularism is not failing but has failed. All its promises of freedom, happiness, rights, equality and so forth have been found to be but lies and falsehood.
I live in one of the golden experiments of European “values” – America. The festering wounds of “freedom” from God begin to bear more and more fruit, of which a part is the plague of violence that is growing more and more rampant (exhibited not only by the rash of public shootings but by the overall violence in which the West maintains itself). I will not call it senseless violence because it is violence deeply rooted in the sensibilities of godlessness that have been driving “Western” society for a number of centuries now. The fruit of the “enlightened West” is becoming painfully clear – a descent into greater and greater debauchery, whether it wears a serene mask or a violent one is at this moment besides the point.
While pondering the state of our (American/Western/European) “values” (of which we are always being nebulously reminded), I stumbled upon an article by St. Nicholai Velimirovich (he repose in the Lord in 1956), the great Serbian saint, called, Through the Prison Window, in which he critiques European “values.” A true critique is done not to deride but to bring to light, and in this case also to bring to repentance and healing. For the only hope for the “West” is indeed heartfelt repentance.
It is also to warn. The “West” continues to maintain a facade of vitality while it is full of death and decay. It still can flatter and awe with glitter and gold, sexuality, sensuality, and a longing for the “goods life.” Sadly, ill-informed people around the world still take its bait. But, if you eat the food of the modern West then its fruit will eventually be yours.
St. Nikolai traces the root of “Western values” to its two principle spiritual forces – Roman Catholicism and its daughter Protestantism. He evaluates, “Misled by popish and Lutheran heresies, (they) were proud of their wisdom without Christ. So they scorned Orthodox Christians as unwise and uncultured. But they have, indeed, fulfilled Paul’s words: Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools (Rom. 1:22) … What is Europe (my note: which also includes America)? Greed and reason, both human: human lust and human reason. These two are personified in both the Pope and Luther, What then is Europe? The Pope and Luther. Human lust and human reason, both satiated to the maximum. The European Pope is human lust for power. The European Luther is man’s determination to explain everything by his reason … A new European generation has arisen in our time. It has married lust and reason … and rejected both Pope and Luther ….” St. Nikolai is clear, the foundations of “Western/European/American values” (they are all synonyms) are firmly rooted upon the spiritual innovations which were birthed in Western Europe after the 1,000 AD – Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, which the discerning person will understand to be two heads of the same coin. Although in the modern-day these “values” have seemingly “progressed” past their parents, they could not be as they are today without having grown upon a clear and methodical path.
Towards the end of his article, St. Nikolai writes “The Protocol of the Court Case between Europe and Christ.” It is this that I wish to share with you in full (so much so, that I’m typing it out by hand!), found below in italics. It is a stinging critique, but one we must have ears to hear.
Please keep in mind that Europe stands for the collective of “Western values,” of which America and Canada are an organic part (one could most likely also include Australia and New Zealand, in short, those standing in direct European lineage).
“The case between Christ and Europe develops like this:
Christ tells Europe that it was baptized in His name and that it should remain faithful to Him and His Gospel.
Accused Europe retorts:
All faiths are equal. That is what the French encyclopaedists have taught us. No-one can be forced to believe one thing or the other. Europe tolerates all faiths as popular superstitions for the sake of its imperialistic interests, but it does not give allegiance to any faith. When political goals are achieved, all these popular superstitions will quickly be dealt with.
Then Christ asks sadly:
How can you men live by imperialism alone, by imperial, material interests, by bestial greed for bodily food? I intended to make you gods (my note: the Christian doctrine of Theosis by grace) and sons of God, but you resist and hurry to make yourselves equal to beasts of burden.
You are old-fashioned. In place of your Gospel, we have discovered zoology and biology. Now we know that we are not descended from you or your Father in heaven, but from orangutans, gorillas, and monkeys. We are not grooming ourselves to be gods. We do not recognize any other gods but ourselves.
Then Christ speaks:
You are more stubborn than the Jews of old. I raised you from the darkness of barbarianism into heavenly light, but you want to go back into the darkness like a buffalo into mud. I gave My blood for you. I showed My love for you when all the angels turned their heads away from you, being unable to bear your hellish stench. When you were in darkness and stench, I was the only one to stand by you, to sanctify and cleanse you. Do not be unfaithful to Me now, or you will return to that unbearable darkness and stench.
At this Europe mockingly exclaims:
Depart from us; we do not know you! We uphold Hellenic philosophy and Roman culture. We want freedom. We have universities. Science is our guiding star. Our motto is: liberty, equality, and fraternity. Our reason rules supreme. You are an Asiatic. We reject you. You are just an old legend of our grandmothers and grandfathers.
Christ says with tears in His eyes:
I shall go, but you will see. You have strayed from God’s paths and gone Satan’s way. Blessing and happiness have been taken away from you. Your life and your death are in My hand, for I gave myself to be crucified for you. Nevertheless, I shall not castigate you, but your sins and your falling away from Me, your Savior, will. I have demonstrated the Father’s love for all men, and I desire to save you all by love.
What love? Rather a healthy, virile hatred for all who disagree with us, that is our programme. This love of yours is nothing other than a fairy-tale. In place of the fairy-tale, we have set nationalism and internationalism, stateism and progressivism, evolutionism, evaluationism and culturalism. In this lies our salvation; but you, depart from us.
My brethren, the quarrel has come to an end in our time. Christ has departed from Europe as He did in the past from Gadara at the request of the Gadarenes, But no sooner has He departed then war came, fury, horror, destruction and annihilation. Pre-Christian barbarism has returned to Europe, the barbarianism of the Avars, the Huns, the Lombards and the Africans, but a hundred times more horrible. Christ took His Cross and His blessing and departed. The darkness and the stench remain. Now you decide with whom you will go: with dark and stinking Europe or with Christ.”
And so we all must choose.
Yet, can the West live again? Yes. Only if it repents and returns to the Truth of Jesus Christ and its ancient heritage of Orthodox Christianity. Otherwise, I fear, the West and those who follow its ways will slip deeper and deeper into the abyss.
(Please remember that this article is dealing with overarching values and their inevitable effects on society, it is not, necessarily, addressing persons.)