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“Sin is knocking at your door. It wants to rule over you. You must resist it”
In this first part of this series of essays on the connection between rejecting God and rejecting fatherhood, we’ll look at the culture’s war on fatherhood and manhood in general. The next two parts will cover the rejection of God in Western history and how these two rejections connect.
I recently came across an interview in the Catholic Herald with His Eminence, Cardinal Robert Sarah. I was struck by the Eminence’s warning that People in the West “are guilty of rejecting God.” While this may not be a novel observation, what was novel was his correlating it with a concurrent rejection of fatherhood. I found this point to be particularly prescient and I hope to explore this connection in the following work.
After thinking it over, I can’t help but agree that the two rejections are connected and come from deep roots in Western history. Casting our gaze back through the history of Western civilization, we see the pattern of rejecting God and consequent suffering emerge again and again. We’ve seen rejection of God in Biblical history, European History, and in recent American History, but the inescapable and pervasive rejection of fatherhood is a novel to the Western world.
“Western people are convinced that receiving is contrary to the dignity of human persons. But civilized man is fundamentally an heir, he receives a history, a culture, a language, a name, a family. This is what distinguishes him from the barbarian.” -Cardinal Sarah
While the rejection of God doesn’t necessarily manifest as a rejection of fatherhood, it seems probable if not necessary that the rejection of fatherhood requires of a rejection of God. If we are not connected spiritually to our Father, then the earthly analogue of this connection (that of human fatherhood), is degraded in office.
You see, as His Eminence so astutely observes, it is a problem of identity. Are we sons and daughters, as members of a family, heirs of a heritage, children of God? If not, then what are we?
Modernity wrongly believes freedom lies in the severing of family, community and patrimonial bonds – it views them as chains by the very fact that they come from God. We must break free from these chains in order to become our True Selves ™. Put another way, killing fatherhood (and future fathers via the suppression of manhood in general) is how moderns “free” themselves from their God-given heritage in order to build something new…
Cardinal Sarah summarizes better than I ever could in saying “this refusal to claim their inheritance and this refusal of fatherhood is the rejection of God.”
Let’s dive into the origin story of this novel social trend.
Chain Reaction – Cultural Marxism
It’s tempting to believe that the modern assault on fatherhood is the fruit of the sexual revolution that started in the year of Our Lord, 1960. But it goes back a little further than that. The start of this rejection of fatherhood seems to be a permutation of the cultural Marxism that took root in the West as early as the turn of the century. Herbert Marcuse, one of the more notable “fathers” of Cultural Marxism who rose to prominence among American university students (those students are teaching and in politics now) and was known as the guru of the New Left, argued that the strategy for bringing pure Marxism to the West was a slow, long march through its institutions—the schools, the Churches, and the family. We see this playing out today. Schools are dens of progressivism and atheistic secularism, Churches and religious expression are challenged, assaulted, and attacked, and families are broken up by incentivizing divorce, disempowering parents, and elevating the legal rights of children over the natural rights of their parents to guide, teach and form them.
“To build something new, you have to destroy the old (the heritage). In order to do that, God and Fathers must get out of the way.”
Since education, religion, and family values were known pillars of a free society, undoing them was the way to establish a new society and impose it on people by convincing them to think they were freely choosing it. To build something new, you must destroy the old. Or, in classic Nietzschean terms, you must kill God.
So this erosion of the value of fatherhood was never about the social justice or equality causes that are often attributed to it. It was never about the women’s liberation movement, though that was one vehicle for it. Nor was it about equality of the sexes, though social justice issues like equality provide the mask that conceals the true identity of the villain. It was always about changing and subduing the culture. It manifests in the killing of human fatherhood and the traits and characteristics of fatherhood expressed in masculine personality, behavior and identity. The final link in this chain reaction is the relegation of men to irrelevance because men and fathers are, by God’s design, the “guards at the gate” of the family and therefor of civilization.
To make fathers impotent in the protection of their families and formation of their children, it was necessary, according to Cultural Marxist theorists, to sow skepticism about men’s positive qualities while exaggerating their negatives. It’s no wonder then that we have seen a degeneration in the media portrayal of men into caricature – societal dictators who are too vicious, too stupid, and too violent to merit their natural role in the family structure.
“Thus, a good man, though a slave, is free; but a wicked man, though a king, is a slave…”
The culture frees itself of a heritage which it labels as bondage thinking they will attain freedom but in reality they become slaves to a new master. As St Augustine put it “Thus, a good man, though a slave, is free; but a wicked man, though a king, is a slave. For he serves, not one man alone, but what is worse, as many masters as he has vices.”
We see the result of this miscalculation everywhere: gender ideology, gay marriage, riots and protests that advance a Marxist worldview, a growing belief in communism, the erosion of parental rights, that state schools should be the mode of formation of children, and that a child who is too young to be given a Tylenol by the school nurse is old enough to procure an abortion.
So the poisonous fruit we see today—the war against men and fatherhood—was planted in the early 20thcentury, not the mid-to-late 20th century. But the origins of the war against fatherhood go back even further, with the killing of God.
It’s my belief that the West began killing God in the Enlightenment, and ultimately in the French Revolution. It was during those tragic periods of Western history that Western Culture began rejecting its identity as sons and daughters of God, heirs of an inheritance that requires responsibility and accountability; a rejection of identity that manifested in the murder of the Father through the murder of the Mystical Body of His Son.
Spotting the trend?
“But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!” -Mark 12:7
The next part in this series will talk about that murder of God by the rejection of His Fatherhood and a renunciation of our identity as children of God. If you’re signed up for the newsletter you’ll be notified of its publication. If you’re not, we can fix that. See my ad/graphic down below.