The Post-Sacred Order Is A Post-Historical Order

Forgetfulness is now the curricular form of our higher education. This form guarantees that we, of the transition from second [sacred] to third [post-sacred] worlds, will become the first barbarians. Barbarism is not an expression of simple technologies or of mysterious taboos; at least there were taboos and, moreover, in all first worlds, the immense authority of the past. By contrast, the coming barbarism, much of it here and now, not least to one found among our most cultivated classes, is our ruthless forgetting of the authority of the past. Sacred history, which never repeats itself, is thus profaned in an unprecedented way by transgression so deep that it is unacknowledged. The transgression of forgetfulness makes the cruelty of abortion absolutely sacrilegious; more precisely, antireligious. According to the unspoken doxology of our abolitionist/abortionist movements, identities are to be flushed as far away down the memory hole as our flush-away technologies of repression permit.

Philip Rieff, My Life among the Deathworks: Illustrations of the Aesthetics of Authority (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006), 160 cited in Carl R. Trueman, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self (Wheaton: Crossway, 2020), 100.


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  1. Dear Dr. Clark,

    PHILIP RIEFF, My Life among the Deathworks: Illustrations of the Aesthetics of Authority (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006), 160 cited in Carl R. Trueman, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self (Wheaton: Crossway, 2020), 100.

    These are more helpful and less depressing in the Light of The Theology of Suffering.

    I equate my position relative to the darkness of barbarism and suffering, to Gideon, I seem to be hiding in the winepress. As I watched the means and extent of election corruption and fraud in our 2020 voting (Mayor Giuliani’s voter fraud hearings before Pennsylvania and Arizona Legislators – mostly Christians and Romans), the depths of dark barbarism horrified and paralyzed me. I seemed powerless, like Habakkuk 1-2 to stop the advance. After praying for God’s Will in His Kingdom, a resolute heart, Habakkuk 3, began to form.

    Because God has revealed Himself to me through His ordinary means, I praise God for opening my eyes to see the destructive schemes of His enemy and mine. I praise Him; He has made His Truth known to me in His prophesy in Isaiah 9:6. The Government I trust is on our Lord and Savior’s Shoulder. Our Lord and Savior is the Wonderful Counselor full of His Wisdom and Instruction. He guides our every step. He is our Mighty God who slays His Enemy. He is our Everlasting Father. He is our Prince of Peace.

    I am grateful for the Theology of the Cross because in it He has set His Joy before us, Eternal Life with Him, that He prepared for us who believe.

    Though I am old and powerless He hears my prayers because He has given them to me to pray. I love to pray for His Will in His Kingdom.

    All Praise, Honor, Glory and Power to the Blessed God, Father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,

    Catherine Paul

  2. Funny, I just finished reading that chapter in Trueman’s latest book this morning and remember the quote from Rieff. Between Trueman’s book, Bork’s 1996 “Slouching Towards Gommorah,” which I re-read a few months ago, and “The Book Wars,” by James Atlas, 1990, which I am also re-reading at the present time, I’m starting to become very depressed about the future. Everything Bork wrote and warned about either has already or is in the process of coming into existing. The Book Wars offers a warning by conservative authors and educators like Allan Bloom (“The Closing of the American Mind”) that we are heading into barbarism due to the shift away from the Great Books in favor of culturally relevant drivel. And Trueman’s application of Rieff’s “third world culture” (a different use of that term than the traditional meaning – primitive societies migrating to more efficient and sophisticated manufacturing, agricultural techniques, etc.), a kind of anti-culture that has distain for anything in prior history and second world ethics, which meshes perfectly with Bork, Bloom, and others, that is leading the West into a bleak future. Pass the bottle, please….

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