A Brief Study of Modernism*
*Highly Inaccurate and Wildly Oversimplified
One day Isaac Newton was hit on the head by an apple. He said “ouch,” but somehow came out of the situation smarter than before the apple hit his head.
Someone watching Newton’s reaction said, “Hey, I bet that knowledge can save humanity.”
This notion caught on, due in part to a negative ad campaign targeting the “Ignorance can save us” camp. And the Age of Reason was ushered in.
The Church found several ways to over react to this new age.
Part of the Church, knowing that knowledge can’t save, went with an old standby, attacking any knowledge that was “new” or smacked of science, feeling that anything new to humanity must be new to G-d as well, and thus incompatible with faith.
(Sidenote: Did you know that the “Big Bang Theory” was developed by a Christian, and was instantly denounced by the scientific community because it proved Genesis 1:1? Didn’t take us long to reverse that stance.)
Another part of the Church also denounced all things new, but they really really wanted to believe that knowledge could save. You see, these were called Protestants, and they were educated laymen. So they had access to knowledge that their peasant forebears didn’t even dream of.
So they decided that knowledge does save, as long as it is the right kind of knowledge.
And to solidify their new-found power in knowledge, they set about abolishing anything within religion that could not be comprehended by the brain.
The kicked beauty out of the sanctuary, insisting on plainness, since beauty is not in the realm of reason. They eliminated sensual worship – touch and smell and taste and sight—as the senses were not in the realm of reason. (The one exception is music, which was kept because too many of the Protestant fathers were lyricists, and justified their craft as more about making statements than art).
All aspects of worship that were not reason based were labeled as perversions, or at least made highly suspect. Meditation, the sanctity of creation, finding G-d outside of the church walls, or “feeling” the presence of the divine – all were handed over as property of other religions.
And, to erase all doubt that the focus of the Church should be on reason, they moved the pulpit from the side of the sanctuary to the center – so that all attention throughout the service would be focused on the important thing. (Prior to this the cross or the communion table were the center of the service.)
And thus, to complement the Age of Reason, the Church of Reason was born. To be followed quickly by the cult worship of preachers, the degradation of the arts (even the Catholics allowed the secular world to take control of beauty), and the popularization of the “Church Split.”
Post-Modernism couldn’t have come too soon.
Just my thoughts,