DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     April 23-25, 1999     vol. 10, no. 80

ECCLESIAL ECHOES

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    INTRODUCTION
          Today's article was written by R. Kenton Craven, Ph.D., who goes by Ken Craven. Ken is a Catholic writer who presently lives and works in the Sultanate of Oman. He writes a column on Islam for the Day Star Tribune, a nondenominational Christian newspaper in West Virginia, which is his home state.

          He also pens the TRUE WEST series which is a private publication circulated among friends such as John Hamlon of St. Ignatius Institute and a few others in "catacombs" here and there.

          He is presently working on an extensive piece on what it is like to be a Catholic in Oman, where the American version of the renewal has not infected the real purposes of Vatican II.

THAT'S IT: DUNGEONS, DRAGONS, AND DEVILS!

          "The shooters who turned Columbine High School into an unspeakable landscape of carnage yesterday were members of a small clique of outcasts who always wore black trench coats and spent their entire adolescence deep inside the morose subculture of Gothic fantasy, their fellow students said." -Media report

          Ok, that's it. A doctor who had worked in Benin today told me that he and other doctors started killing the snakes that have been killing the children in the village. Then the villagers started killing the doctors. Why? Because they worship the snakes.

          That's it. Friends of mine who spend their last pennies to fly to Peru to cosset up to Aztec shamans tell me they have at last found the true spirituality. But anthropologists have just unearthed the frozen bodies of children who were buried alive as part of Aztec religion.

          That's it. When I saw Dragonheart, a fantasy movie of a few years ago, I complained that dragons are evil, not good, and are images of the devil, not misunderstood nice guys. My friends made fun of me, told me to straighten up, and went on wondering why their children "act out" strange fantasies and scream during nightmares.

          That's it. That's what Michael O'Brien, Christian artist and novelist, said when he wrote "A Landscape with Dragons: The Battle for Your Child's Mind" (Ignatius, 1994). Damn it, dragons are evil, serpents are evil, and there is objective evil in the world. Movie after movie, toy after toy, and book after book try to convince children that evil is all just a big case of misunderstanding and dragons and serpents are just in need of a pet and a hug.

          That's it. A big lie, the biggest of all: the snake told it to Eve, and Eve told it to Adam, and so it has come down, the promise of godlike power if only you accept the devil's view that good is relative, depends on your point of view, and God just doesn't want you to know freedom.

          Yes, that's it, the lie bought by the Trenchcoat Mafia, who followed a disgusting creature (I use the word advisedly) named Marilyn (a him) Manson (a name to conjure with). Marilyn Manson fields something called shock rock, which is inspired by Marilyn' first love (after himself)--the church of satan, the Serpent and Dragon Supreme. In ugly lyrics, Marilyn reveals the true source of his inspiration, Friedrich Nietszche, the philosopher who taught that God is dead and everything is, therefore, permitted. Manson's latest album is "AntiChrist Superstar."

          That is it, my friends. There is objective evil in the world, the evil of principalities, powers, and dominions, the evil of satan's rebellion against God. As I say that, I can almost feel the horrid shock that runs down the spines of liberal modernists and liberal Christians of every stripe. You're saying that! You're really saying that! You're a fundamentalist!

          Yes I am, as fundamental as Paul, Peter, Augustine, Aquinas, and a long list of those who understood what the old priest understands at the beginning of the film version of "The Exorcist," when he sees the dog-god of Egypt in a statue-that there is an ugly demon that he must face and conquer with Christ's heroic love.

          That's it--that's it with political correctness, liberal stupidity, rationalist illusions, relativist education, amoral art and culture and, yes, pointy-headed intellectuals.

          As I write this I am listening to the endless gibbering of the concerned specialists the media drag out whenever something like the Littleton carnage happens, especially if it happens in our schools. If it were not so serious, it would be funny to listen to therapists and educators and commentators telling us that we simply need to understand and hug each other and whistle a happy song. "We have to bring children into the mainstream," a congressman says. Into the mainstream? With Clinton?

          These, my friends, are the rhetorical suppositories of script writers who have brought us where we are. Though they decry violence in the films, they don't see the deeper evil--the evil that comes from not believing that there is evil roaming about seeking the ruin of souls. It is, by the way, particularly laughable to hear Billy Boy explaining that violence is not the answer . . . . that the culture of death is not the answer . . . that honesty is the answer . . . .bla bla bla . . . .

          What is the answer? First, we have to deal with the biggest lie of our culture (other, of course, than the "I never" of Billy Boy). The answer is that we must go back to teaching that language actually means something other than a statement about our feelings. As long as we teach children that there are nothing but feelings and that each one of us is simply a feeling-container, we are setting them up to be manipulated by the manipulators, beginning with satan, who was the first of the serpentine rationalists.

          Now take Eve again. Eve wants so hard to believe that what God said about moral law is just His feelings, and if she will rebel, all that awful stuff about obedience will go away. As C.S. Lewis points out so powerfully at the beginning of "The Abolition of Man," modernist educators saturate children with the notion that a statement about something is really a statement only about our feelings. "That sky is beautiful" means only "I am looking at the sky and I am having beautiful feelings." Once the connection between objective reality and language is cut, no true education can take place. And there can be no talk of good and evil, as Plato demonstrated long ago. And there can be no teachers.

          Lewis said that education is the education of "chests"--of hearts and emotions--but education in relation to the perennial moral values that are brought to perfection in the Gospel and the mainline tradition of the Christian West. And that would include, by the way, using violence when it is necessary to protect our families and countries. What would Lewis say, face to face with Marilyn Manson?

          He'd simply say, I thought so, and he would remember that Milton's God laughs in Satan's face. In his space trilogy, he contemplated what would happen to society when it was surrendered to "the Conditioners," the modernist liberals who think that man is simply a biochemical substance we can reshape into--what? Whatever it can be shaped into. The problem is that the "whatever" keeps assuming the shape of a Dragon.

          More money for the schools, anyone?

April 23-25, 1999       volume 10, no. 80
ECCLESIAL ECHOES

DAILY CATHOLIC

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