These hells [of Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot] were constructed in order to be able to bring about the future world of man who was his own master, who was no longer supposed to need any God. Man was offered in sacrifice to the Moloch of that utopia of a god-free world, a world set free from God, for man was now wholly in control of his own destiny and knew no limits to his ability to determine things, because there was no longer any God set over him, because no light of the image of God shone forth any more from man.
Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith, 284-5
Reflection – One of the things Catherine de Hueck Doherty found rather difficult about living among North Americans for most of her adult life was that most of us didn’t have a clue, really, about the experience of Russia and Europe in the first half of the 20th century.
Oh, we might know the history—and of course, in her earlier years most of the young people with her had lived through the history themselves, but from this side of the
She, meanwhile, had been there. She had been shot at by Communists, bombed by Nazis, heard Hitler and Lenin speak, had to run for her life more than once. She was a witness to the rampages of Moloch that the Pope describes in this passage.
And of course, so was he such a witness, growing up in the horror of Nazi Germany. We who are either too young or from another part of the world simply did not witness it, however well we may have tried to study the history of things.
Both of them, then, speak with a certain intensity and seriousness about this question of building a world without God. The idea that we can toss God out the window and somehow keep on being nice sweet people to each other had been shown to be a lie in their own countries.
The truth is, super-nature abhors a vacuum. If God is dethroned, something else rushes in to fill the void. And that something else has not had a good track record so far: the Soviet worker’s paradise, the Aryan supremacy, the Maoist great leap forward… and tens of millions of corpses later, here we are.
To live without God on a society-wide scale ultimately turns against man; without God, some temporal social good is elevated to the level of the highest good, and since it is strictly temporal, it must be achieved at all costs. And so we kill anyone who stands in the way. This is the simple tragic history of the 20th century. Other centuries have other tragic histories, and some of those tragedies have to do with the dangers and distortions of religion, but the story of the past 100 years has simply been that of the insane outcome to the project of modern atheism lived out in a society.
Atheists will object that all of those massacres derive, not from atheism, but from ideology, and that atheism does not necessarily lead to ideology. What they fail to understand is that atheism does lead necessarily to ideology, for the simple reason that human beings need to have a reason to live. If our reason to live cannot be found in some transcendent, divine sphere, it must be found here and now; if the kingdom is not to come, it must be here, or we will do everything and anything to make it here. And without a God who watches us as Judge, there is no real reason to stay our hands from any monstrous deed to achieve it.As I say, this is the simple sad story of the last hundred years in much of the world. Will it be the simple sad story for the next hundred years, and maybe not only in ‘those places over there’, but here too? I guess that’s our decision.