Saturday, January 21st, brought a massive crowd of woman to our Nation’s capital, the march coincided with several similar marches in major cities around the world. It’s safe to say that collectively it was one of the biggest protest marches ever. The protesters marched for and / or against many things. For equal rights, equal pay and women’s empowerment. Against misogyny, racism, and fascism, for Obamacare and against the wall, and of course, for abortion rights and funding.
While the march lacked a clear articulated message, it managed to become something it probably didn’t intend. The march was the coming out party or the new-paganism. It’s message, we live in a post-Christian society.
Let me be clear, I have no doubt that many, if not most, women who participated in this March are good people. Many are likely Christian. All of them are probably genuinely concerned with the character of the new President and/or the effect of the policies he has indicated he intends to implement.
However, as Catholics, we know that the flow of history is not a random series of events that haphazardly follow from one to the next. Secular society recognizes this truth as well. James Joyce said, "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to wake." We recognize that there are cycles which tend to repeat themselves.
One of the grandest cycles is paganism. The world started in paganism. In a world without God, men worshiped the stars, the trees and body – just a few of the many gods of paganism. From out of it, God drew his people, the Hebrews, and set them apart. They remained a tiny island of faith in a sea of superstition, until the coming of Jesus. With the dawn of the Christian era, paganism was slowly beaten back. Superstition gave way to learning, magic gave way to science, and survival of the fittest gave way to love thy neighbor. For the west, that arc of history is ending and paganism is beginning to rise again.
Catholics must remember that the battle between Christianity and Paganism is not just a battle between two competing philosophies. Underlying that battle is the struggle between good and evil itself. Paganism is what man believes without the influence of God in the world. Paganism is superstition influenced by the forces of darkness to cause man to worship evil and reject God.
The new-paganism is a demonic twist on the old. The new-paganism cloaks superstition in scientism and social justice. In discussing these matters, we must be clear. Scientism is not science. Science is good. Using science to properly understand the world, why things happen and to advance our society is good and what we are supposed to do. Scientism is the excessive belief in the power of science to the exclusion of all other things. It is through scientism that the new-paganism brings back the old false Gods. For example, whatever your take on climate science, scientism tells us that the science is “settled” and that we must sacrifice everything to turn global warming back. Scientism doesn’t allow us to ask the question of whether the supposed cures will have any effect at all on global temperature and whether it is moral to devote vast amounts of our societies resources to the problem when that will necessarily mean that other priorities are excluded. Scientism clouds the debate on global warming, green energy, stem cell research and more.
Social Justice has also become of tool of the new-paganism. What used to mean caring for the sick and fighting against poverty now means recognizing things like a potentially infinite number of genders and a borderless society. Again, the new social justice doesn’t allow us to ask the questions about how best to address these problems. Rather, it presumes that if your beliefs are not in line with their teaching, then you are wrong. That’s why these beliefs are neo-pagan – they are religious beliefs – and if you disagree with the orthodoxy, you’re a heretic.
That is what was on display at the women’s march last Saturday. The country convulsed in a display of the new-paganism going from loose knit strands of thoughts in disparate communities into a cohesive movement. Vagina hats became the new talismans. Celebrities are its priesthood. Hedonism returns as its overarching philosophy. Human sacrifice returns in the abortion mills of its church, Planned Parenthood.
Again, it's important to emphasize, many if not most of the people involved probably didn’t even understand the greater spiritual implications of the march. In general, people don’t do bad things that they know are evil, they do things that that are evil because they have convinced themselves that it is good. This is as old as sin itself. Satan didn’t convince Eve to pick the fruit by telling her it was part of a spiritual battle. He told her that it would be good.
We have a society that is growing more secular, and secular people are easy prey to the philosophies of the new-paganism. They are untrained in recognizing the true nature of moral questions, and often not of strong enough character to resist when they do. Pope Benedict saw this coming and predicted a smaller but more faithful Church. How do we, as Catholics, address the rise of the new-paganism? The answer is simple: know and live the faith. Remember, this is not an intellectual battle. We will not stem the tide with a really good post on Facebook. We must be ready for the day when that one soul reaches out to us for answers. We must be ready to love them into the Church.