Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Excerpts from "Religion and the Modern State" by Christopher Dawson (1935)

This is the situation that Christians have to face. The great danger we have to meet is not the danger of violent persecution but rather that of the crushing out of religion from modern life by the sheer weight of a State-inspired public opinion and by the mass organization of society on a purely secular basis. Such a state of existence has never occurred before because the State has never been powerful enough to control every side of social life.

The coming conflict is not one between religion and secular civilization but rather “between the God-religious and the social-religious,”—in other words between the worship of God and the cult of the State…

Communism is not simply a form of political organization; it is an economy, a philosophy and a creed. And its hostility to Christianity is due not to its political form, but to the philosophy that lies behind it. Communism, in fact, challenges Christianity on its own ground by offering mankind a rival way of salvation. In the words of the Communist poster, “Jesus promised the people paradise after death, but Lenin offers them Paradise on earth.”

Consequently it is in Communism that the latent opposition between the new state and the Christian religion attains its full realization in the social consciousness of our age. For the first time in the world’s history, the Kingdom of the Antichrist has acquired political form and social substance and stands over against the Christian Church as a counter-church with its own dogmas and its own moral standards, ruled by a centralized hierarchy and inspired by an intense will to world conquest.