Our five great spiritual masses

"The five great spiritual masses that determine the figure of the West are Judaism, Islam, Evangelical Protestantism (mainly American), the Catholic Church, and, finally, the ideology of human rights." -- Pierre Manent, Beyond Radical Secularism, p. 103

Manent's fifth "spiritual mass" indicates something I keep pointing out: enlightenment liberalism is a religion, it is in competition with traditional religions, and it is trying to win that competition. And it's most important weapon in seeking victory is its fanatical insistence that it is not a religion, but merely the conclusions of "reason," and that when it triumphs in the political sphere, it is most certainly not "imposing its values on others." No sir!


  1. Closer to the truth, it is a metareligion, a common, close to minimal, set of ideals religions must adopt to peacefully coexist, with each other and dissenters, the scope of which must be decided in concert with all parties. It must be a part of all such religions, and religions without it are characterized by domination and intolerance, in the same way freedom of religion is freedom from religion and a restriction on it.

    1. Yes sir, you have precisely stated the credal point that enlightenment liberalism wields in seeking dominance over rival religions.

    2. So Lord, yes, this was the cover story that enlightenment liberalism used to sandbag adherents of other religions while they weren't looking. Like the teenage boy who tells his girl, "No, I'm not going to try anything: I just want to show you my bedroom."
      What's puzzling about your comment is that there is no longer any point in his still using that line AFTER she has slept with him.

  2. Gene -

    I think you would enjoy reading Herman Dooyeweerd's Roots of Western Culture: Pagan, Christian and Secular Options (Wedge Publishing Foundation, 1979; reprinted Edwin Mellen Press, 2003). Dooyeweerd is most famous for making that exact point, among others.

    As a religious reader of your blog, though, I wouldn't be surprised if you read two or three books at a time to review for journals!


  3. Liberalism also has lots of guns. Big ones. Which they have used ahem "liberally" in the past.

    In comparison, traditionalists are practically defenseless.