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The One Civilization

Popular culture in the West, and especially in North America, is an illusion, mostly electronic, that does not feed the soul.  Indeed, it claims to do nothing but feed the senses, and as such it tends toward universal barbarism, fostering ignorance and encouraging violence.

Beneath the illusion there is, however, one great civilization, and it is the civilization built upon the Hebrew Scriptures and the best of Greek philosophy, as these were incorporated into a living religion based on the regenerating power of life in Jesus Christ.  If its claim that God became Man is true, it is the fulfillment of human destiny and human history.  It is the only thing that matters.

In the beginning this civilization did not raise monuments to itself, no great basilicas, no Dante, no Adoration of the Lamb, but it was nevertheless in place around the Mediterranean within the historical span defined by the New Testament, between a.d. 50 and 80.  In the most fundamental sense, this one civilization, in contrast to the great civilization of the East, rested and rests upon two presuppositions: that being is good—that, in Gerard Manley Hopkins’ words, there is a “freshness deep down things” that cannot be overborne by the smut of human failure and folly—and that something, something individual that is itself and not some other thing, truly exists.  If these seem obvious it...

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