Gnostic [liberal] politics is self-defeating in so far as its disregard for the structure of reality leads to continuous warfare.
I am astounded by the connections of modern liberalism and first-century Gnosticism – arguably the most subtle, diabolical and enduring heresy of the New Testament church. Dr. Benjamin Wiker, in his latest opus, “10 Books Every Conservative Must Read,” writing on Eric Voegelin’s great work, “The New Science of Politics” (1952), stated:
Voegelin argues that we cannot properly understand the epically destructive character of 20th-century utopianism unless we understand the nature of a particular, ancient Christian heresy, Gnosticism. For Voegelin, Gnosticism defines the nature of modernity, or more exactly, of a particular virulent and destructive strain of modern thought, a strain that includes liberalism, Marxism and National Socialism.
In his “Ryrie Study Bible” (1978), the great theologian Dr. Charles Ryrie had this important note on Gnosticism and its place in biblical history:
The heresy of Gnosticism had begun to make inroads among churches in John’s day. Among its teachings were: 1) knowledge is superior to virtue; 2) the nonliteral sense of Scripture is correct and can be understood only by a select few; 3) evil in the world precludes God’s being the only Creator; 4) the incarnation is incredible because deity cannot unite itself with anything material such as a body (Docetism); and 5) there is no resurrection of the flesh. The ethical standards of many Gnostics were low, so John emphasized the reality of the incarnation and the high ethical standard of the earthly life of Christ.
Doesn’t the ancient cult of Gnosticism, which systematically sought to pervert and denigrate Christianity, sound strangely similar to modern political liberalism, which, since the Enlightenment Age, systematically sought to pervert and eliminate Christianity from the marketplace of ideas?
Regarding American liberalism, pick any utopian socialist – from Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ, Clinton, Carter, Obama, to the useful idiots of atheism, feminism, gay rights, civil-rights activists, the labor and teachers’ unions – and you will find a person who thinks his knowledge base (politics) is superior to virtue; that the Bible is a collection of myths that isn’t to be taken literally; that moral relativism holds that all religions lead to “god” and that no religion is better (or worse) than any other; that separation of church and state is the singular dogma of liberalism; that there are no miracles, God or need for a savior. The State is god, and god is the State. The state under socialism will give everyone heaven (utopia) on earth through cradle-to-grave care. Private property, liberty and independent man are all relics of a bygone era.
Jeffrey Nelson, a student of Russell Kirk (author of “The Conservative Mind”), writing on Voegelin’s profound contributions to political philosophy, remarked that Voegelin saw communism and its related political philosophies – liberalism, progressivism, fascism and socialism – as only the latest of man’s efforts to “shortcut” heaven and have it on earth. “Voegelin argued that one of the defining marks of modernity was the increasingly popular view that politics was essentially about the pursuit of secular salvation.”
This connects to the modern Gnostic idea to empower this world with all the essentials that orthodox Christianity held to be possible only in the next world, or what Voegelin refers to as the “re-divinization” of the political area, which suggests characterizing the state as a substitute divinity.
During the Age of Enlightenment, it was Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza and Rousseau who advocated the subordination of religion to the aims of the secular state, while later philosophers like Comte, Marx and Nietzsche willfully called for the elimination of religion and the divinization of man.
Since nature abhors a vacuum, what would replace Western Civilization’s Judeo-Christian worldview? The philosophers, humanists and atheists of the Enlightenment Age presented a new science – secular science – that would bring now what Christianity could only promise in the afterlife. Voegelin believed that the secularists rejected religion but redivinized politics, which justified the creation of a totalizing, omnipotent, secular state, or what Hobbes called Leviathan – the supposed provider of all good things and the professed destroyer of every evil vestige of antiquity, especially organized religion. Such is the terrible monster of the modern dictatorship and why liberalism leads naturally to tyranny.
Wiker said, “For Voegelin, then, liberalism is part of this Gnostic rebellion against Christianity, or more accurately, an heretical simplification of it. It offers a fundamentally materialistic view of humanity, where man can be led to a technological utopia administered by an ever more powerful and centralized government.”
From antiquity, the cult of Gnosticism, like Marxism, liberalism and progressivism in modern times, is a form of thinking that claims complete cognitive control of reality. Relying as it does on claims to gnosis – the idea that disorder in the world can be transcended by progressive insight, education, or understanding, Gnosticism therefore believes its knowledge to be beyond any criticism.
Following the continuum from the ancient cult of Gnosticism, to humanism and secular liberalism formed during the Enlightenment, to the 20th-century Progressive Movement, to post-modern times under President Barack Obama, we are faced with the fact that Obama is the embodiment of the Gnostic heresy.
Yes, Obama sat in the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church for 20 years soaking up racist Black Liberation Theology. Yes, Obama claims to be a Christian, yet his socialist policies over the past 18 months have done more to undermine Christianity and every aspect of American exceptionalism than did the three former fascist presidencies of Woodrow Wilson, FDR and LBJ. Yes, Obama arrogantly intoned: “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” and “I want to fundamentally transform America.”
All Americans of goodwill should join Voegelin’s fight against political tyranny, for it was he who 80 years ago exposed communism as the new “secular salvation; the latest of man’s attempt to shortcut heaven and have it on earth.” Let us today apply Voegelin’s brilliant intellect and strategies to defeat Obama’s progressivism, whose dystopia, alienation, anti-constitutionalism and legalized thievery has already brought a measure of heaven to hell in America.