The Dream of Reason

From Chalcedon, The Dream of the Golden Age of Reason
[Excerpted from “The Dream of Reason,” Chalcedon Position Paper No. 13, June 1980, in An Informed Faith, vol. 3 (p. 950-955).]

By R. J. Rushdoony

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The Platonic … ideal of a rational state has long been a dream of Western man. The French Revolution was a classic example of it: the revolutionaries debated as to what would be an ideal population for France, and then began to exterminate people to reduce France to the desired status. Unwanted peoples and classes were similarly executed. The Russian Revolution gives us the same ideal. From top to bottom, men are expendable at the altar of the ideal order. Classes are liquidated; Christianity is made the target of obliteration, and mass murders made a policy of state. … All things are to be destroyed, to make way for the “rational” and planned society. This same goal is very much with us. It is basic to the thinking of virtually every modern state. For this reason, the modern state is at total war with its peoples: they are its real enemies, who must be remade, and, if they refuse, destroyed in one way or another, economically, if not physically.

The means to the goal are twofold. The older version, as in the Soviet Union and Red China, holds to total terror as the main instrument in attaining the dream of the golden age of Reason. The more “advanced” humanists of the West have an improved version of the dream, … [T]his new model relies on the control of education, economics, and technology. In this dream, efficiency requires that the slaves of the philosopher-kings be educated to love their slavery and to regard it as freedom…

… If this sounds familiar to Americans, Canadians, and others, it is with good reason so. It is all a part of the same rationalistic dream of a scientifically planned order by philosopher-kings. These philosophers now have added science and behaviorism to their repertoire; they have moved from a rigidly planned to an existentially planning order, but their goal is the same.

Justice has now become, not the righteousness and law of God, but the law and interests of the modern and humanistic state… “Justice to them means upholding the interests of the State, not primarily guaranteeing fair play to the citizen.” This is increasingly true of every modern state.

This course of events should not surprise us. When men despise God’s law and its requirement of very severely limited civil and human powers, they will create their own dreams of order. If we deny God’s law, we will choose man’s law; if we deny God’s predestination or plan, we will substitute a man-made plan or decree of predestination. The dream of reason, a nightmare reality, will be with us as long as we deny God’s law and government.

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When Will We Change?

So, how long will we – “we”, meaning Bible-believing Christians – deny God’s law and government?

If it were up to the solid majority of churches, the answer would be “functionally forever”.
Romans 13 and all that, you see.

‘We have no king but Caesar!
No law but Caesar’s Law,
from Caesar’s Certified Authorities.’

But God didn’t establish some Roman mystery religion cult, to provide spiritual consolation while the State did all the real work, establish what actual justice is, and both claimed and enforced its ownership of all men, all property, all liberties.

That’s the way for pagans, and run-from-reality mystics, and God-despisers of every flavour, naturalist and supernaturalist alike.

But that’s not the way for Christians.

So again, how long will Bible-believing Christians deny God’s law and government?

When the Checks Run Out (As Usual)

My guess is: until the treats from the government handouts run out. No more “free”, government-supplied health care (for the poor, or the elderly, or anyone else). No more checks for the masses, or for the corporations.

No more saviour-state.

The end of government-supported real estate will accelerate things… and not just in China, either. So would an increased, obvious inability of the State to stifle crime.

But really, it’s going to be the end of Free Stuff — no more treats to pacify the dogs — that really will wake people up.

“No more leeks and lentils? Bad Caesar! Bad Pharaoh!
No more obedience and respect for you!”

By this time, naturally, the cultural course for the grave would have been quite firmly fixed, so far as both East and West are concerned. Even if the masses mouth Christian words as the latest fashionable pose a generation from now, they will still do exactly as they please.

And why should God regard and bless mouth-service?

He won’t.

Yelling “Lord, Lord” in the flood of may waters will only hasten your drowning.

The Survivors, the Rebuilders, the Future-Shapers

That is, the men, women and children who held fast to their faith in King Jesus before the hard times came. And prepared wisely for that judgement, as did the five wise virgins.

For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.

Psalm 32:6, KIng James Version

Any independent Christian culture that survives a profound disintegration of the State will have to be strongly grounded in Divine Authority.

Not the rule of priests and churches: they will be going down with their actual, functional Lord and God, the real Source of Their Law.

When I say Divine Authority, I mean rule of the Word of God, accessible and enforceable to any man who makes the effort to consistently obey the Law of God.

A strong mind and a strong faith will be needed.

A strong community, too!

I believe that even one single faithful man may well be protected by God, if he asks for that protection and obeys the Protector (so signifying who is that man’s REAL Lord).

But as the Bible teaches, two are much better than one, three stronger still.

As for individuals, so for families.

Debts to Pay

Now is the time to prepare.

Before the Hard Times arrive in force, not leaving for decades or even a century or more.

In recent decades, God hasn’t spent much time or energy on destroying His external enemies… the Warsaw Pact being a major exception, and the Islamic State the minor one.

Mainly, He has spent the time crushing and humiliating and rendering powerless His internal enemy, the faithless church – pastor and layman alike.

But now, as these worthless servants have been ground down into the complete and total cultural irrelevance they have always sought, God can now deal with the less important enemies: in the courts and academia, the corporations and the media, the legislators and the government palaces.

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men

Matthew 5:13-16, King James Version

The savourless, tasteless salt has been properly disposed of, under the heels of contemptuous men.

But God now turns His eyes – and His fury – on the idols of those contemptuous men.

Most certainly including the tyranny they have placed their full faith in, the Rational State.

The times, they are a-changing.

And all debts will be paid in full.

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