The Wrong Priests and Their Frankenstein
The chief character in Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein, said, “Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.”
Shelley’s fiction regarding the modern Prometheus is reflective of events in her own life (1759-1797), but prophetic of events in our time. Having removed God from every part of public life, we’ve handed the role of priest to scientists. That ancient role, wherein the highest virtues are pursued and made obvious to society, the role of priest, has been handed to mathematicians, physicists, and chemists. What have we done?
Scientists have unduly become the lone priests of society, posturing themselves as endless banks of knowledge and understanding. The Sam Harris’s claiming a scientific explanation of morality, and the Dawkins’s cutting through our religious bedrock in view of a hyped up kind of "progress." Progress is, in fact, a misnomer. Darwin wrote On the Origin of the Species, and yet he and his every disciple cannot and will not supply an appropriate answer for our origins. Beginning with the assumption that there is no God, Dawkins and his own espouse the most absurd, perhaps that aliens seeded our planet, or that every human is mere dust from ancient stars.
If every true thing must be verified by observation and measurability and repeatability, a great many things we now take for granted and know to be true will be made obsolete. We cannot observe the life of Abraham Lincoln, nor can we repeat it or measure it. So can we claim he did not exist? None of history, in fact, meets the test of society’s current scientific priests. How have we granted to them our whole souls?
What of love and virtue and things which are beautiful? Can they be quantified and measured by math or physics? We know them when we behold them—all of us do!—and the sciences are miserably short of describing or explaining them. Sam Harris makes a valiant effort, but his answers are meager--a mockery of human reason.
What have the sciences in the absence of their diviner, God himself, created? A cultural Frankenstein. A ghastly monster. A society so bereft of beauty that mothers will vie for their baby’s demise and artists will produce chaos to be lauded as somehow good. Step yourselves into a museum of modern art and marvel at how far we’ve fallen from the great artists of old, whose works shine the glory of God himself and the artistry he’s placed in mankind, made in his image. Francis Schaeffer speaks considerably to how the arts reflect a society's values. Picasso and Pollock and others give you a picture of the kind of disorder our society produced in the absence of reason.
In college, I studied art and gained a minor degree in it. Some of my least favorite assignments were those of art history, having to assign some deep and profound meaning to a canvas that clearly portrayed chaos. Once when I was asked to explain a piece that I created myself, I simply said, "There is no hidden meaning. I just wanted to create something beautiful."
If you will, listen to the great composers, whose music fills the air of every great moment in film, and whose melodies lift the soul to its highest height and to its lowest depths. And compare that to the likes of mindless techno and the lyrical abyss of Billie Eilish.
Consider the beauty of a humble home, wherein a mother tends to her child and betrothed, inventing culinary delights, fixing most all that can be broken, including hearts and feelings. There she is productive and industrious, laboring from sun up to sun down in whatever ways will profit her home. There also a father whose sacrificial hands are broken daily in the hot sun, but whose spirit is revived by the haven of his own roof. There also children raised in virtue, being taught to love their neighbor, to be kind, to be honest, to be dignified and upright, to be those of charity and general good will, to be productive, to attain to the higher things. These souls of clay are molded into a culture of beauty and truth and goodness—the trivium of philosophy’s pursuits throughout all of human history.
Compare such a house and home to the likes of Dave Rubin, who, in homosexual mirage, along with his roommate, have purchased two children for themselves, legalized by the state. And the old order of conservatism has collapsed, for those bearing the name have nodded on them with approval. Society has nodded with approval. Our system of law has given the stamp of approval. Our spiritless nation has given approval. Many a church, I dare say, has nodded with approval! How we have so desperately sought to be free from the bounds God constrained upon us from the dawn of this creation, where he made us male and female, collective image bearers of the Only God, the true and living God!
Mary Shelley, in her magnum opus, described how a man went from the wisdom of days gone past to an obsession with sciences which are clearly constrained and cannot answer for what is true and what is right and what is lovely. A flash of lightning, and a destruction of a tree by that force, led the man to abandon wisdom in pursuit of something science cannot and will never answer. The creation was Frankenstein, a monstrous thing. An inhuman thing. An ugly thing. Something its creator so desperately wished to be rid of.
I was listening to some guys recently who spoke of Shelley's monster. She was herself a champion of the sexual revolution and is often praised for her work in that area, but the irony is that this very novel is a picture of the ugly thing society created once freed from all bounds. She was an unhappy and miserable product of a movement that promised freedom. Frankenstein was her picture of the ugly thing we wrought.
Nietzsche, himself an atheist, told the fable of a madman, who stormed into a church, crying out desperately for the place where he might find God. Where has he gone? What have we done? What is this we’ve created? Nietzsche knew the consequences of a philosophical or scientific pursuit untethered by the deeper truths which have guided man for all of time.
I am not a gloom and doom kind of thinker. I do not believe the darkness in this time will last for long. I do not believe the church will shrivel into anonymity and irrelevancy. Since the time of Jesus, the church has actually been in constant expansion, working through growing pains and rooting out heresies which have cropped up along the way. Jesus spoke often of the nature of his kingdom, being that which begins very small, the size of a mustard seed, but expanding to be the largest feature in the whole garden. Daniel told of a small stone cut out of the side of a mountain, and that small stone grew up to be a mountain that overshadowed every earthly kingdom. I do not believe the church is destined to doom.
But I do believe this dark hour demands a great deal from the children of light. We must bring the kingdom. We must herald the kinds of painful truths which will peel back slumbering eyes. We need the Lord, Jesus. We need his gospel. We need the old paths. We need wisdom. We need virtue. We need knowledge.
May we remove these worthless priests from their current office and leave them only to explaining the natural world—for such are the bounds of mathematics and physics and the like. It is a myth that science and faith are at odds with one another. They are a beautiful pair. But all of science owes its existence to the orderly Being who impressed his character in physics and math. All of the great scientists of old understood this.
I beg you to look on the fruits of a society bereft of God. Can anyone say our children are in better standing than the pilgrims of old? I read of suicide rates and the statistics of narcotic use and antidepressants in very young children, and it grieves my soul. What we’ve claimed was liberation has been our greatest shackle. The promise of freedom has resulted only in slavery.
The world must now see the beauty of the gospel of Jesus, a God-man who walked among us and lived in such an undeniably superior way. He who daily spoke plain truths which pierced man’s core. He who presented a virtue our conscience somehow knew but had long forgotten. He who supplanted myths and destructive traditions. He who gave of himself, even and especially for those who hated him. We can deny him no longer. He bids us all to come. Without him, I fear many will be face with a Frankenstein we’ve created, far uglier and far more destructive than fantasy imagined.