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Carl Trueman: "The Desecration of Man" - 2023 Erasmus Lecture

As you and watch this video and read the article God remains Sovereign.

Even so under the banner of modernity we, yes even most Christians we readily agree with secular thought, we buy into the disenchantment of our age and we act as if God is a distant and forgotten myth.

Can we disengage from this trend toward the sins of apostasy and denial?

The video below and the article from which the lecture originates is also below.

Video from First Things

Carl Trueman: "The Desecration of Man" - 2023 Erasmus Lecture

"Carl R. Trueman, professor of biblical and religious studies at Grove City College and a fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center, delivers the 2023 Erasmus Lecture, entitled “The Desecration of Man."

His lecture elaborates on the human costs of expressive individualism before charting the course ahead for religious believers." from video introduction

Carl Trueman: "The Desecration of Man"

"This year marks the eightieth anniversary of the lectures that became C. S. Lewis’s book The Abolition of Man. Speaking to an audience at the height of the Second World War, Lewis identified the central problem of the modern age: The world was losing its sense of what it meant to be human. As man’s technological achievements were once again being used to destroy human life on an industrial scale, Lewis pointed to the dehumanization that was occurring all around. And as the war continued, the Final Solution and the atomic bomb served to reinforce his claims. Yet modern warfare was not the only problem. As Lewis argued, the intellectual and cultural currents of modernity were also culpable. The war was as much a symptom of the problem as a cause. Modernity was abolishing man. It represented nothing less than a crisis of anthropology.

Sociologists have proposed a number of concepts that characterize the modern age. These provide a useful backdrop to Lewis’s observations. Perhaps the most influential is the Weberian thesis of disenchantment. Whereas once the local god or saint kept the water supply fresh and sweet, now the local water purification plant does the same. Village life has been replaced by the anonymity of the city. People have come to be valued not for themselves but for their earning potential or their consumption. And disenchantment has worked its way into every corner of life: Whereas once love was a serendipitous force that culminated in a lifelong bond between two people, now we swipe left or right on our apps for the next hookup.

These changes bring with them a sense of loss. Modernity has shunted religion and the supernatural to the margins, at the cost of stripping the world of its mystery. The sea of faith recedes, Matthew Arnold wrote in a great poem, and we hear only its “melancholy, long, withdrawing roar.”

The problem is not merely that the world has become prosaic. It is also that man has lost his sense of his own significance. The more we understand and control nature, the more we realize our own contingency and smallness amid the vastness of an impersonal universe. The unique intellectual brilliance of our species has, ironically, deprived us of any sense that we have special significance. As Pascal observed, the eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens those who reflect upon it. This is the ethos that haunts the work of many modern and postmodern writers: Kafka, Beckett, Sartre, Pinter. With no God-given human nature and no God-ordained human end, the question “What is man?” is easily answered: He is nothing much. His nature too is disenchanted.

A second facet of modernity, identified by Zygmunt Bauman, is its liquidity. We live in a world that is in constant flux. This observation is not original to Bauman. Both Marx and Nietzsche voiced it in the nineteenth century. The Communist Manifesto famously declared that the bourgeois era required a constant revolutionizing of production and of markets and thus of all social relations. Constant disturbance was a hallmark of modernity; as Marx put it, “all that is solid melts into air.” Likewise, Nietzsche’s madman, reflecting on the death of God, described the earth as unhitched from the sun, turning all old certainties into chaos. Both men spoke truth: The modern West is indeed in state of endless flux and offers us no place to stand, no firm grasp of who we are..." from the article: Carl Trueman: "The Desecration of Man"

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