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It has been, and is, argued that the United States was founded as a Christian nation; of course, that is not true! The Founders of the United States of America and its founding documents presupposed Christendom, the worldview synthesis of the Hebrew, Roman and Greek cultures stitched together – with the thread of Christianity – predominantly by Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274; Catholic priest, philosopher and theologian; Doctor of the Church) although he had many antecedents thinkers – beginning with Saint Paul – which he rendered consonant with Christianity of Roman Catholicism.

Christendom was affected by an organic ‘wedding’ of philosophy and theology; each serving to check/limit the other i.e., theology grounded philosophy in God (providing philosophy with the certitude of an ultimate meaningfulness of existence i.e., a ‘target’ for which the philosopher – as a “lover of wisdom” to aim), and theology was made rational by philosophy; thus Aquinas’s dictum: “Faith highly taxes, but never contradicts reason.”

The worldview Christendom began to emerge shortly after Christ’s Ascension – beginning with Saint Paul and his utilization of philosophy to establish a common-ground with pagan cultures e.g., the Greeks, and also as the Church Father’s found a utility in philosophy in defending the faith (theology) against error (heresy). As the 13th Century began many of the errors which plagued the Church (heresies recycled, so to speak) were addressed systematically by Aquinas via the Summa Contra Gentiles and the Summa Theologica; even as Aquinas breathed (lived) he had to correct errors of fellow Churchmen…

Christendom received its first major wound roughly 50 years after Aquinas’s death from William of Ockham arguing nominalism (resolving the problem of universals by denying of universals e.g., species, classes, groups i.e., God did not create human beings, dogs, cats etc., instead God created individual entities; note that “entity” i.e., the “existent” is a universal, as well). Ockham also followed Muslims in subordinating God’s Mind to God’s Will (Allah’s Will is not bound by the good, the true, or by reason; Allah is irrational…); Ockham – like Muslims – thought if God was bound by truth, He would be limited, and thus not all powerful and therefore not God… Ockham was a logician Catholic friar unconsciously – like Islam – promoting an irrational God… Ockham laid the ground (not consciously) for the Church’s divisions beginning with Luther’s departure in 1521 (excommunication from Catholic Church) and for the denominational Christian Churches divorce of philosophy and theology; thus, Luther’s Sola Scriptura…

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All of this – the separation/divorce of faith-and-reason (i.e., theology and philosophy) set the table for the modern age philosophy and was followed by Descartes, Locke, Hume et al, and finally Kant, his Copernican Revolution and the intellectual impetus for the University inversion…

Consequentially, Christendom – as a worldview and intellectual force (having been smothered by wrong-headed accretions, post the death of Thomas Aquinas) – was largely out-of-gas* at the time of the Founders thought it still informed the Founders, the culture and its institutions. Besides the Declaration of Independence invocation of God and the Natural Law, the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution details 6 goals at which the Constitution is aimed at realizing; those goals each presuppose an objective intelligent order (i.e., a reality ordered by God) i.e., the Founders & Founding documents presuppose Christendom; apart from Christendom the Constitution is reduced by the University Law schools to a “living document.”

*In 1781 Kant’s The Critiques of Pure Reason was published, and in effect, the Critique provided an organic gradual inversion of the University and the displacement of its dominant worldview, Christendom with its antithesis…

As it is, Pope Saint John Paul II hoped to promote the reconciliation of philosophy and theology with his 1998 encyclical Fides ET Ratio (i.e., on “faith and reason”) – whereby Western Culture may begin to recover from the resultant nihilism which supplanted Christendom in the University and its correlate culture (culture-of-death) – but of course Pope Francis seems to be actively working to reverse what reforms Popes JP II and Pope Benedict XVI put in place… The Catholic Church – directed by Pope Francis – seems to have very little interest in fulfilling Jesus Christ’s mission for His Church (“…Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…” Matthew 28: 20-21); rather pope Francis seems intent upon reconciling the Church to the World…

The Founders included in the 1st Amendment the establishment clause – something of pragmatic moral ‘cut-out’ – whereby Churches may act to order souls to the rule of law, and formerly public moral conduct and civility were once near norms in the United States. Though the Catholic Church – post Vatican II – and Christian denominational Churches have generally not encouraged immorality and incivility, they gradually –– have acted to end cultural criticism and discourse on moral virtue (excluding Pope’s JP II and Pope Benedict XVI and a few downstream Bishops and other clergy, who were – as previously noted attempting to reverse the decay…) leaving moral institutions (family and traditional i.e., natural law – morality) undefended; the Church has tacitly accepted the gradual inevitable cultural decay – advanced by the social-political Left – as derived from the University dominant weltanschauung, viz: pragmatic nihilism.

As the Church has retreated from cultural criticism the social-political Left has mainstreamed abortion and sodomy and sundry perversities, the traditional family has become anachronistic and the Church has become enfeebled, even moribund – following Europe in emptying its pews (shrinking attendance) and closing of Churches; we suggest that flattery (Pope Francis seems to flatter and dissemble doctrine, for momentary emotional personal advancement) may temporarily draw congregants, but it cannot keep them, nor can it re-invigorate the Church…

One cannot help but wonder how the Church – and society – would be faring if it was actually consistently attempted to preach the entire gospel (The Church/Christian should not aim to be hated, but Christ indicates hatred will be the world’s wage for the faithful follower…) and fulfill the Mission the Lord left Her… As it is it may be that we should all take note of the signs of the times and the hour of the day and prepare ourselves and one’s loved ones for the eschatological culmination…

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.

TJDonegan7

 

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