SATAN’S PLAN, PART 1
Last year, I wrote about a book called “Don’t Let the Culture Raise Your Kids” by Marcia Stegelstein. It was your typical “the culture is going to Hell in a handbasket” diatribe against many of the usual suspects: sex, drugs, the LGBT agenda, disrespect for authority, devaluing of human life, violence, etc. All of what she said is profoundly true – many aspects of the culture-at-large are pretty abhorrent and sinful.
But I took issue with the fact that she speaks of all the branches, but misses the root. The root cause of all this disorder is one thing, and it’s the one thing that our world’s reaction to this Coronavirus has been revealing to me. It’s also the end-game for Satan’s plan.
A society without God.
Salvation without a Savior.
Mankind has the power in its grasp to do all things, cure all things, heal all things through the power of science and rationalism.
This is the insidious plan of Satan which is being put on full display during this virus crisis.
I am realizing more and more that Satan is not going to attack the Church in the same way now as has happened in the past. In Communist Russia, for example, the State made laws to outlaw religion…which caused it to thrive underground. The ancient Romans put Christians to death, and “the blood of martyrs” became “the seed of Christians”. Everywhere that overt attacks on the Faith has happened, it only strengthened the Church.
So a different tactic is being used now. No longer are the halls of the government, the classrooms, and the media going to be filled with frothing atheists, as they were during the French Revolution or the Communist Revolution. The Evil One will not close church buildings, put people to death, or have academic debates between atheists and believers.
Rather, his plan is much more subtle. His plan is to refashion a society that is so thoroughly secular that the only hope of salvation is through human beings.
When we remove God from the pedestal, we set up an idol. We are now worshiping the greatest of all the idols: humanity and its (seemingly) unbridled power. Why do I say that?
- I believe the reason why so many politicians, who are so pro-abortion and even pro-euthanasia, are up-in-arms about the coronavirus is not because of a genuine love for human life, but rather the realization that they cannot control it. The Culture of Death says that we should be able to control who lives and who dies – the coronavirus has upended all that illusion of control.
- I believe that there is a massive fear of death, brought on by a massive lack of faith. For the vast majority of human history, death was a regular part of life. One never knew when their last day would be (consider how St. John Bosco had his boys, as young as eight and nine years old, praying “An Exercise for a Happy Death!”). It was accepted, and prepared for. But for a century now, we have sanitized death. It only happens to “old people” and even then we don’t want to see it or consider it, with its existential implications.
- I believe that we have begun to worship science in a way never seen before. For decades, science has been glorified as the pinnacle of human reason. All human problems can be solved with human means. Are you sad? Do not seek to resolve the existential crisis – take a pill instead! Are you physically suffering? Do not seek a meaning or purpose to your suffering, just make it go away! The rock-solid belief that science will see us through any and every crisis takes many people away from philosophical or theological considerations of why a crisis like this might be happening, what we can learn from it (except in the narrow scientific view), and whether there might be any sort of divine assistance to be gained.
Please don’t misunderstand – science is a good thing, and science itself is not opposed to faith. But when we study creation without reference to a Creator, we run into trouble. We fancy ourselves the creator and “destroyer of worlds” (so said J. Robert Oppenheimer, the inventor of the atomic bomb). Science has now devolved into scientism, the belief that scientific knowledge is the only type of knowledge, which is an offshoot of materialism (the belief that the material world is all there is). Rarely if ever does science acknowledge the possibility of a spiritual world outside of its purview.
- Closely related to this reliance on science is the reliance on technology. Replace the joy of communion (both communion with others, and Communion in the Blessed Sacrament) with a virtual experience – and try to pretend it is the same. Entertain, distract, form addicts to technology. This prevents a real encounter – with oneself, with others, with God.
This coronavirus has exposed, to me, the profoundly disturbing undercurrent beneath our modern world. It is a world that is so thoroughly secular that man believes he is God and can do all things through science, technology. It’s not about a virus, and it’s not about the hard-working people on the front lines. It’s about a philosophical poison that we didn’t know we were drinking.
Many believers in God are so imbued with this cosmological poison that they approach every problem as if mankind alone can provide the solution. This is precisely what Satan wants – people who acknowledge that there is a God, but who live as if there isn’t. The true idol of modernity is staring at us in the mirror: we are entranced by the power and control of humanity itself.
PART 2: THE TACTICS
It was Francis Cardinal George who said, “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”
With all due respect to the late Cardinal, I do not think that he is correct. None of us will die in the public square in America during the upcoming persecution. No, the persecution will be all the more insidious because it will be absolutely non-violent, executed in measured tones with a semblance of reason and rationality. No, our Catholic Faith is under attack but the attacks will look very different, and I think they will fall under two categories: marginalization and shame.
Remember, Satan’s plan is to get people to ignore God, and blur God so that He cannot be found. Bloody martyrs force people to wrestle with the question of God. As the Canadian author and prophet Michael O’Brien wrote, “Blood washes away all ambiguity.” We are approaching a civilized, compassionate totalitarianism – if not in government, at least in ideology. So what will this persecution entail?
- One will lose one’s job, or not be hired, on the basis of one’s beliefs. This could extend to other sectors, such as who will be accepted into graduate programs. One’s social media posts – and perhaps even church attendance or interviews with associates – will be used as evidence against them.
- In education, religion will be greatly ignored. If it is brought up, the most sordid events in Christianity’s history will be used as fodder for mockery.
- There will be an ever-more forceful attempt to separate parents from their children, since education is the way to form young minds to accept a thoroughly secular mindset.
- Christianity will not be welcome in the public square. Their voices will not be consulted or respected. This will be under the guise of “separation of church and state”.
- There will be an endless multiplication of distractions through better technology, greater entertainments, more community activities that are not evil in themselves but serve as an intentional (at least from Satan’s perspective) effort to draw people away from churches and prayer.
- There will be a further desensitization of people’s consciences by a constant stream of normalizing more and more aberrant types of sin.
- Clergy and people of faith will be mocked. False charges, mainly of sexual sins, will be levied against them. Some will be jailed, others will be defrocked and silenced. The world will see this as justice and “protecting children”.
- Frivolous lawsuits will be levied against individual churches, dioceses, and institutions, for the purpose of bankrupting them and smearing their images.
- Sadly, many in the clergy will not speak up against these but will want to keep an uneasy peace with the State. Bishops will abandon priests they know to be innocent because of fear of bad public relations; to avoid lawsuits, they will insist on further guidelines and protocol which will handicap ministry and not allow the Gospel to be preached in its fullness.
The incessant drum-beat of secularism has reached fever pitch. These are some of the ways in which the persecution will occur – although some might note that this is already occurring. Indeed, remember, this will not be an all-out war that is in the headlines.
Some of you might remember the atrocious movie “God’s Not Dead”. They were “dead”-wrong (pun intended) about how persecution is going to take place. It will be far more subtle than a blatant atheist versus a Christian. No, Satan does not want people to wrestle with atheism, because that means they are giving serious consideration to the question of God. Satan would rather them not ask the question to begin with, and keep people satisfied (and stultified) with distraction, entertainment, and the numbness of conscience that comes when every base desire has been fulfilled. For many people, God is a nice idea that’s out there, and maybe if things get bad enough I’ll turn to Him, but for the most part I’m just too busy living my life to worry. Besides, if I have a problem, there’s an iFix to solve it…or science will do the trick (a new pill! a new machine!).
Ignoring God, marginalizing religion, promising happiness through science – these are Satan’s aims. And these persecutions will come upon anyone who lives by a different creed.