Wednesday 31 March 2021

Taking, Holding, Keeping - Possession and Exorcism Today. My new and free e-book!

I have released my new e-book "Taking, Holding, Keeping -possession and exorcism today" on smashwords.

It is free and is downloadable here -

If you have any feedback to give me, whether it is to do with content or formatting, just email me at

The chapters....

Chapter 1
I give a general introduction along with definitions and general commentary.

Chapter 2
Here I put in relevant history which concerns the period 1920 - 1960 and the organisations which arose in that time period. They still exist as well as their descendants and breakaways.

Chapter 3
Assessing cases of possession.

Chapter 4
Continuing with possession.

Chapter 5
Dealing with exorcism scenarios and ways to identify djinn by the letters in their name.

Chapter 6
Intermission and general comment.

Chapter 7
A lesson about magic centred around the Kabbalah and the Tree of Life.

Chapter 8
The Satanic equivalent which is the Tree of Death.

Chapter 9
Concerning the Shem ha-Mephorash and its 72 angels.

Chapter 10
About the planets, the zodiac, and the calculation of hours.

Chapter 11
Concerning the Goetia and its 72 djinn.

Chapter 12
A couple of pictures.

Chapter 13
Preparation for exorcism.

Chapter 14
Exorcism rituals.

Chapter 15
To do with "pseudo-possession" and the Nuctemeron.

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19
What I didn't tell you in "Creed of Assiah".

Chapter 20
Final bits and pieces.

Tuesday 23 March 2021

V. Beyond Nihilism

 V. Beyond Nihilism

The image of the "new man" presented in these pages has been exclusively a negative one. Many students of the contemporary state of man, while perhaps admitting the truth of some of our observations, would condemn them as a whole for being "one-sided." In all justice, then, we must examine the other side, the "positive" view.

And indeed it cannot be questioned that beside the current of despair, disillusionment, and "a-humanity" that we have described as emerging from the era of Nihilism, there has been developing a parallel current of optimism and idealism that has produced its own "new men." These are the young men both idealistic and practical, ready and anxious to cope with the difficult problems of the day, to spread the American or the Soviet ideal (or the more universal ideal that stands above both) to "backward" countries; enthusiastic scientists, pushing back "frontiers" everywhere in the undeniably "exciting" research and experimentation being conducted today; pacifists and non-violent idealists, crusading in the cause of peace, brotherhood, world-unity, and the overcoming of age-old hatreds; young writers, "angry" for the cause of justice and equality and preaching--as best they can in this sorry world--a new message of joy and creativity; even the artists whose image of man we have mercilessly attacked, for it is surely their intention to condemn the world that produced this man and so point the way beyond him; and the great numbers of more ordinary young people who are enthusiastic to be alive in this "exciting" time, sincere, well-meaning, looking with confidence and optimism to the future, to a world that may at least know happiness instead of misery. The older generation, itself too scarred from the era of Nihilism it has passed through to share fully the enthusiasm of the young, has high hopes for them; is it not just possible that, if the "spirit of the age" is favorable, their dreams may after all be realized?

Without as yet answering this question we must ask another, more fundamental, question: of what nature are the faith and hope that inspire these dreams? The answer is evident: they are entirely a worldly faith and hope. Artistic and scientific novelties, prosperity and comfort, new worlds for exploration, "Peace," "brotherhood," and "joy" as the popular mind understands them: these are the goods of the world that pass away, and if they are pursued with the single-minded devotion which the optimistic "new man" of today devotes to them, they are spiritually harmful. Man's true and eternal home is not in this world; the true peace and love and joy of Christ, which the believer knows even in this life, are of an entirely different dimension from the worldly parodies of them which fill the "new man" with vain hopes.

The existence of this "new man, whose faith and hope are directed solely to this world, is but another proof of the success of the Nihilist program. The "new man" in his "positive" form is taken from the same photograph of which the subhumanity we have described is the negative. In the negative he is seen as defeated and denatured by an inhuman world; the pessimism and despair of this image--and this is their only positive significance--are a last feeble protest against the work of Nihilism, at the same time that they are a testimony to its success. In the positive, the "new man" has set about to change the world, and at the same time to change his own attitude to one of acceptance of the modern world which, though imperfect, is the only one he knows; in this image there is no more conflict, for man is well on the way to being thoroughly refashioned and reoriented, and thus perfectly "adjusted" to the new world. The two images are one in issuing from the death of man as he has hitherto been known--man living on earth as a pilgrim, looking to Heaven as his true home--and in pointing to the birth of a "new man" solely of the earth, knowing neither hope nor despair save over the things of this world.

Between them, the positive and negative images of the "new man" sum up the state of contemporary man, the man in whom worldliness has triumphed over faith. At the same time, they are a sign of transition, a presage of a major change in the "spirit of the age." In the negative image the apostasy from Christian Truth which primarily characterizes the modern age seems to have reached its limit; God being "dead," the man created in His image has lost his nature and fallen into subhumanity. In the positive image, on the other hand, a new movement seems to have begun; man has discovered his new nature, that of a creature of the earth. The age of denial and Nihilism, having gone as far as it could, is over; the "new man" no longer has enough interest in Christian Truth to deny it; his whole attention is directed to this world.

The new age, which many call a "post-Christian" age, is at the same time the age "beyond Nihilism"--a phrase that expresses at once a fact and a hope. The fact this phrase expresses is that Nihilism, being negative in essence even if positive in aspiration, owing its whole energy to its passion to destroy Christian Truth, comes to the end of its program in the production of a mechanized "new earth" and a dehumanized "new man": Christian influence over man and over society having been effectively obliterated, Nihilism must retire and give way to another, more "constructive" movement capable of acting from autonomous and positive motives. This movement, which we shall describe in the next chapter under the name of Anarchism, takes up the Revolution at the point where Nihilism leaves off and attempts to bring the movement which Nihilism began to its logical conclusion.

The hope contained in the phrase, "beyond Nihilism," is the naive one that it has a spiritual as well as an historical reference, that the new age is to see the overcoming of Nihilism and not merely its obsolescence. The god of Nihilism, nothingness, is an emptiness, a vacuum waiting to be filled; those who have lived in this vacuum and acknowledged nothingness as their god cannot but seek a new god and hope that he will lead them out of the age and the power of Nihilism. It is such people who, anxious to draw some positive significance from their situation, and unwilling to believe that the Nihilism through which our age has passed can be entirely unfruitful, have constructed an apology in which Nihilism, however evil or unfortunate it may be in itself, is seen as the necessary means to an end beyond itself, as destruction preceding reconstruction, as darkness preceding the dawn. If the present darkness, uncertainty, and suffering are unpleasant--so this apology continues--they are at the same time beneficial and purifying; stripped bare of illusions, in the midst of a "dark night" of doubt and despair, one can only suffer these trials in patience and remain "open" and "receptive" to what the omnipotential future may bring. Nihilism, it is presumed, is the apocalyptic sign of the advent of a new and better age.

This apology is nearly universal, and is capable of being adapted to innumerable contemporary viewpoints. Goebbels' view of the ultimately "positive" meaning of National Socialism, which we cited in the preceding section, is perhaps the most extreme of such adaptations. Other more "spiritual" versions of it have been common since the great crisis in thought provoked by the French Revolution. Poets, would-be " prophets," and occultists, as well as the more prosaic men whom these visionaries have influenced, while agonizing over the disorders of their times, have found comfort in the thought that they have been a blessing in disguise. W B. Yeats may again be cited as typical in this attitude.

Dear predatory birds, prepare for war.... Love war because of its horror, that belief may be changed, civilization renewed.... Belief comes from shock.... Belief is renewed continually in the ordeal of death.[56]

More specifically, much the same attitude underlies contemporary hopes with regard to the Soviet Union. Being "realistic," most men accept the social, political, and economic transformations wrought by Marxism, while deprecating its violent means and its extremist ideology; at the same time, being optimistic and open to a better turn of affairs, men have welcomed the "thaw" that set in with the death of Stalin, hoping to see in it the first signs of a far-reaching transformation of the Marxist ideal. From "coexistence," perhaps, one may proceed to cooperation, and finally to harmony.

Such ideas are the result of a basic misconception of the nature of the modern Revolution; Nihilism is but one side of this Revolution. Violence and negation are, to be sure, a preliminary work; but this work is only part of a much larger plan whose end promises to be, not something better, but something incomparably worse than the age of Nihilism. If in our own times there are signs that the era of violence and negation is passing, this is by no means because Nihilism is being "overcome" or "outgrown," but because its work is all but completed and its usefulness is at an end. The Revolution, perhaps, begins to move out of its malevolent phase and into a more "benevolent" one--not because it has changed its will or its direction, but because it is nearing the attainment of the ultimate goal which it has never ceased to pursue; fat with its success, it can prepare to relax in the enjoyment of this goal.

The last hope of modern man is in fact but another of his illusions; the hope for a new age "beyond Nihilism" is itself an expression of the last item in the program of the Revolution. It is by no means Marxism alone that promotes this program. There is no major power today whose government is not "revolutionary," no one in a position of authority or influence whose criticism of Marxism goes beyond the proposal of better means to an end that is equally "revolutionary"; to disown the ideology of the Revolution in the contemporary Cc intellectual climate" would be, quite clearly, to condemn oneself to political powerlessness. There is no clearer proof than this of the anti-Christian spirit of our age--the profoundest anti-Christianity being, of course, the pseudo-Christianity which is the goal of the Revolution.

Nihilism itself, in coming to the end of its own program, points to this goal that lies beyond it; that is the real meaning of the Nihilist go apology of Yeats and others. But again, it is perhaps in Nietzsche, that uncanny "prophet" who knew everything about Nihilism except its ultimate meaning, that this idea receives its most striking expression.

Under certain circumstances, the appearance of the extremest form of Pessimism and actual Nihilism might be the sign of a process of incisive and most essential growth, and of mankind's transit into completely new conditions of existence. This is what I have understood.[57]

Beyond Nihilism there is to be a "transvaluation of all values":

With this formula a counter-movement finds expression, in regard to both a principle and a mission; a movement which in some remote future will supersede this perfect Nihilism; but which nevertheless regards it as a necessary step, both logically and psychologically, towards its own advent, and which positively cannot come, except on top of and out of it.[58]

Strangely enough, the very same idea is expressed in the totally different context of Lenin's thought, where, after the exaltation of the Nihilist idea of the universal "factory," he continues:

But this "factory" discipline, which the proletariat will extend to the whole of society after the defeat of the capitalists and the overthrow of the exploiters, is by no means our ideal, or our final aim. It is but a foothold necessary for the radical cleansing of society of all the hideousness and foulness of capitalist exploitation, in order to advance further.[59]

It is this "further" point, which Nietzsche and Lenin are at one in describing as "completely new conditions of existence," that is the ultimate goal of the Revolution. This goal, since it is in a certain sense "beyond Nihilism," and also because it is a large topic in itself, requires a separate chapter. To conclude this chapter and our discussion of Nihilism proper, it will be sufficient merely to suggest its nature, and thus establish the general framework of our exposition in the next chapter; this goal may be viewed as a three-fold corollary of Nihilist thought.

First, the corollary of the Nihilist annihilation of the Old Order is the conception of a "new age"--"new" in an absolute, and not a relative, sense. The age about to begin is not to be merely the latest, or even the greatest, of a series of ages, but the inauguration of a whole new time; it is set up against all that has hitherto been. "It may be," said Nietzsche in a letter of 1884, "that I am the first to light upon an idea which will divide the history of mankind in two";[60] as the consequence of this idea, "all who are born after us belong to a higher history than any history hitherto."[61] Nietzsche is, of course, blinded by his pride; he made no original "discovery" but only found words for what had been "in the air" already for some time. Precisely the same idea, in fact, was expressed twelve years earlier by Dostoyevsky in the person of Kirillov, the most extreme of the "possessed":

Everything will be new ... then they will divide history into two parts: from the gorilla to the annihilation of God, and from the annihilation of God to the transformation of the earth, and of man physically.[62]

Here there is already suggested the second corollary of Nihilist thought. The Nihilist rebellion and antitheism responsible for the "death of God" give rise to the idea that is to inaugurate the "new age": the transformation of man himself into a god. "Dead are all the gods," says Nietzsche's Zarathustra: "now do we desire the superman to live."[63]The "murder" of God is a deed too great to leave men unchanged: "Shall we not ourselves have to become gods, merely to seem worthy of it?"[64] In Kirillov, the Superman is the "Mangod," for in his logic, "if there is no God, then I am God."[65]

It is this idea of the "Superman" that underlies and inspires the conception of the "transformation of man," alike in the Realism of Marx and in the Vitalism of numerous occultists and artists. The various conceptions of the "new man" are, as it were, a series of preliminary sketches of the Superman. For just as nothingness, the god of Nihilism, is but an emptiness and expectancy looking to fulfilment in the revelation of some "new god," so too the "new man," whom Nihilism has deshaped, reduced, and left without character, without faith, without orientation--this "new man," whether viewed as "positive" or "negative," has become "mobile" and "flexible," "open" and "receptive," he is passive material awaiting some new discovery or revelation or command that is to remold him finally into his definitive shape.

Finally, the corollary of the Nihilist annihilation of authority and order is the conception--adumbrated in all the myths of a "new order"--of an entirely new species of order, an order which its most ardent defenders do not hesitate to call "Anarchy." The Nihilist State, in the Marxist myth, is to "wither away," leaving a world-order that is to be unique in human history, and which it would be no exaggeration to call the "millennium."

A "new age" ruled by "Anarchy" and populated by "Supermen": this is the Revolutionary dream that has stirred men into performing the incredible drama of modern history. It is an "apocalyptic" dream, and they are quite correct who see in it a strange inversion of the Christian hope in the Kingdom of Heaven. But that is no excuse for the "sympathy" so often accorded at least the more "sincere" and "noble" Revolutionaries and Nihilists; this is one of the pitfalls we found it necessary to warn against at the very beginning of this chapter. In a world thinly balanced on the edge of chaos, where all truth and nobility seem to have vanished, the temptation is great among the well-meaning but naive to seek out certain of the undoubtedly striking figures who have populated the modern intellectual landscape, and--in ignorance of genuine standards of truth and spirituality--to magnify them into spiritual "giants" who have spoken a word which, though "unorthodox," is at least "challenging." But the realities of this world and of the next are too rigorous to permit such vagueness and liberalism. Good intentions too easily go astray, genius and nobility are too often perverted; and the corruption of the best produces, not the second best, but the worst. One must grant genius and fervor, and even a certain nobility to a Marx, a Proudhon, a Nietzsche; but theirs is the nobility of Lucifer, the first among the angels who, wishing to be even more than he was, fell from that exalted position into the abyss. Their vision, in which some would see a profounder kind of Christianity, is the vision of the Reign of Antichrist, the Satanic imitation and inversion of the Kingdom of God. All Nihilists, but preeminently those of the greatest genius and the broadest vision, are the prophets of Satan; refusing to use their talents in the humble service of God, "They have waged war against God with His own gifts."[66]

It can hardly be denied, and a sober look at the transformations the world and man have undergone in the last two centuries can only confirm the fact, that the war of the enemies of God has been successful; its ultimate victory, in fact, seems imminent. But what can "victory" mean in such a war? What kind of "peace" can a humanity know that has been learning so long the lessons of violence? In the Christian life, we know, there is a harmony of means and ends. Through prayer and a devout life, and through the Sacraments of the Church, the Christian is changed, by the Grace of God, to become more like his Lord and thus more worthy to participate in the Kingdom He has prepared for those who truly follow Him. Those who are His are known by the fruits they bear: patience, humility, meekness, obedience, peace, joy, love, kindness, forgiveness--fruits which at one and the same time prepare for and already share in the fullness of that Kingdom. End and means are one; what is begun in this life is perfected in the life to come.

In the same way there is a "harmony" in the works of Satan; the cc virtues" of his servants are consistent with the ends they serve. Hatred, pride, rebelliousness, discord, violence, unscrupulous use of power: these will not magically disappear when the Revolutionary Kingdom is finally realized on earth; they will rather be intensified and perfected. If the Revolutionary goal "beyond Nihilism" is described in precisely contrary terms, and if Nihilists actually see it as a reign of "love," peace, and "brotherhood , that is because Satan is the ape of God and even in denial must acknowledge the source of that denial, and--more to the present point--because men have been so changed by the practice of the Nihilist "virtues," and by acceptance of the Nihilist transformation of the world, that they actually begin to live in the Revolutionary Kingdom and to see everything as Satan sees it, as the contrary of what it is in the eyes of God.

What lies "beyond Nihilism" and has been the profoundest dream of its greatest "prophets," is by no means the overcoming of Nihilism, but its culmination. The " new age," being largely the work of Nihilism, will be, in substance, nothing different from the Nihilist era we know. TO believe otherwise, to look for salvation to some new "development," whether brought about by the inevitable forces of "progress" or "evolution" or some romantic "dialectic," or supplied gratuitously from the treasury of the mysterious "future" before which modern men stand in superstitious awe--to believe this is to be the victim of a monstrous delusion. Nihilism is, most profoundly, a spiritual disorder, and it can be overcome only by spiritual means; and there has been no attempt whatever in the contemporary world to apply such means.

The Nihilist disease is apparently to be left to "develop" to its very end; the goal of the Revolution, originally the hallucination of a few fevered minds, has now become the goal of humanity itself. Men have become weary; the Kingdom of God is too distant, the Orthodox Christian way is too narrow and arduous. The Revolution has captured the "spirit of the age," and to go against this powerful current is more than modern men can do, for it requires precisely the two things most thoroughly annihilated by Nihilism: Truth and faith.

To end our discussion of Nihilism on such a note as this is, surely, to lay ourselves open to the charge that we possess a Nihilism of our own; our analysis, it may be argued, is "pessimistic" in the extreme. Categorically rejecting almost everything held valuable and true by modern man, we seem to be as thorough in denial as the most extreme of Nihilists.

And indeed the Christian is, in a certain sense--in an ultimate sense--a "Nihilist"; for to him, in the end, the world is nothing, and God is all. This is, of course, the precise opposite of the Nihilism we have examined here, where God is nothing and the world is all; that is a Nihilism that proceeds from the Abyss, and the Christian's is a "Nihilism" that proceeds from abundance. The true Nihilist places his faith in things that pass away and end in nothing; all "optimism" on this foundation is clearly futile. The Christian, renouncing such vanity places his faith in the one thing that will not pass away, the Kingdom of God.

To him who lives in Christ, of course, many of the goods of this world may be given back, and he may enjoy them even while realizing their evanescence; but they are not needful, they are truly nothing to him. He who does not live in Christ, on the other hand, already lives in the Abyss, and not all the treasures of this world can ever fill his emptiness.

But it is a mere literary device to call the nothingness and poverty of the Christian "Nihilism"; they are rather fullness, abundance, joy beyond imagining. And it is only one full of such abundance who can squarely face the Abyss to which Nihilism has conducted men. The most extreme denier, the most disillusioned of men, can only exist if he exempt at least one illusion from his destructive analysis. This fact is indeed the psychological root of that "new age" in which the most thorough Nihilist must place all his hope; he who cannot believe in Christ must, and will, believe in Antichrist.

But if Nihilism has its historical end in the Reign of Antichrist, it has its ultimate and spiritual end beyond even that final Satanic manifestation; and in this end, which is Hell, Nihilism meets its final defeat. The Nihilist is defeated, not merely because his dream of paradise ends in eternal misery; for the thorough Nihilist--unlike his opposite, the Anarchist--is too disillusioned really to believe in that paradise, and too full of rage and rebellion to do anything but destroy it in its turn, if it ever came into existence. The Nihilist is defeated, rather, because in Hell his deepest wish, the Nihilization of God, of creation, and of himself, is proved futile. Dostoyevsky well described, in the words of the dying Father Zossima, this ultimate refutation of Nihilism.

There are some who remain proud and fierce even in hell, in spite of their certain knowledge and contemplation of the absolute truth; there are some fearful ones who have given themselves over to Satan and his proud spirit entirely. For such, hell is voluntary and ever consuming; they are tortured by their own choice. For they have cursed themselves, cursing God and life.... They cannot behold the living God without hatred, and they cry out that the God of life should be annihilated, that God should destroy Himself and His own creation. And they will burn in the fire of their own wrath for ever and yearn for death and annihilation. But they will not attain to death. [67]

It is the great and invincible truth of Christianity that there is no annihilation; all Nihilism is in vain. God may be fought: that is one of the meanings of the modern age; but He may not be conquered, and He may not be escaped: His Kingdom shall endure eternally, and all who reject the call to His Kingdom must burn in the flames of Hell forever.

It has, of course, been a primary intention of Nihilism to abolish Hell and the fear of Hell from men's minds, and no one can doubt their success; Hell has become, for most people today, a folly and a superstition, if not a "sadistic" fantasy. Even those who still believe in the Liberal "heaven" have no room in their universe for any kind of Hell.

Yet, strangely, modern men have an understanding of Hell that they do have not of Heaven; the word and the concept have a prominent place in contemporary art and thought. No sensitive observer is unaware that men, in the Nihilist era more than ever before, have made of earth an image of Hell; and those who are aware of dwelling in the Abyss do not hesitate to call their state Hell. The torture and miseries of this life are indeed a foretaste of Hell, even as the joys of a Christian life--joys which the Nihilist cannot even imagine, so remote are they from his experience-are a foretaste of Heaven.

But if the Nihilist has a dim awareness, even here, of the meaning of Hell, he has no idea of its full extent, which cannot be experienced in this life; even the most extreme Nihilist, while serving the demons and even invoking them, has not had the spiritual sight necessary to see them as they are. The Satanic spirit, the spirit of Hell, is always disguised in this world; its snares are set along a broad path that may seem pleasant, or at least exciting, to many; and Satan offers, to those who follow his path, the consoling thought and hope of ultimate extinction. if, despite the consolations of Satan, no follower of his is very "happy" in this life, and if in the last days (of which the calamities of our century are a small preview) there "shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time"--still it is only in the next life that the servants of Satan will realize the full bitterness of hopeless misery.

The Christian believes in Hell and fears its fire--not earthly fire, as clever unbelief would have it, but fire infinitely more painful because, like the bodies with which men shall rise on the Last Day, it shall be spiritual and unending. The world reproaches the Christian for believing in such an unpleasant reality; but it is neither perversity nor "sadism" that leads him to do so, but rather faith and experience. Only he, perhaps, can fully believe in Hell who fully believes in Heaven and life in God; for only he who has some idea of that life can have any notion of what its absence will mean.

For most men today "life" is a small thing, a fleeting thing of small affirmation and small denial, veiled in comforting illusions and the hopeful prospect of ultimate nothingness; such men will know nothing of Hell until they live in it. But God loves even such men too much to allow them simply to "forget" Him and "pass away" into nothingness, out of His Presence which alone is life to men; He offers, even to those in Hell, His Love which is torment to those who have not prepared themselves in this life to receive it. Many, we know, are tested and purified in those flames and made fit by them to dwell in the Kingdom of Heaven; but others, with the demons for whom Hell was made, must dwell there eternally.

There is no need, even today when men seem to have become too weak to face the truth, to soften the realities of the next life; to those--be they Nihilists or more moderate humanists--who presume to fathom the Will of the Living God, and to judge Him for His "cruelty," one may answer with an unequivocal assertion of something in which most of them profess to believe: the dignity of man. God has called us, not to the modern "heaven" of repose and sleep, but to the full and deifying glory of the sons of God; and if we, whom our God thinks worthy to receive it, reject this call,--then better for us the flames of Hell, the torment of that last and awful proof of man's high calling and of God's unquenchable Love for A men, than the nothingness to which men of small faith, and the Nihilism of our age, aspire. Nothing less than Hell is worthy of man, if he be not worthy of Heaven.


1. The Will to Power, Vol. 1, in The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, New York, The Macmillan Company, 1909, Vol. 14, p. 6.

2. St. John XIV, 6.

3. St. John VIII, 32.

4. The Will to Power, p. 377

5. See, for example, Bakunin's remarks on Louis Napoleon in G. P. Maximoff, ed., The Political Philosophy of Bakunin, Glencoe, Illinois, The Free Press, 1953, p. 252.

6. St. John XVIII, 37

7. The Will to Power, p. 8.

8. Ibid., p. 22

9. A distinction made, for example, by Arnold Lunn in The Revolt Against Reason, New York, Sheed and Ward, 195 1, p. 5 et passim; and by F. A. Hayek, in The Counter-Revolution of Science, Glencoe, Illinois, The Free Press, 1952, pp. 15-16. The former author is more concerned with theoretical, and the latter more with practical, "scientism."

10. Hexaemeron, 1, 4

11. The Will to Power, p. 5

12. Quoted in Hermann Rauschning, The Voice of Destruction, New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1940, p. 6. The rest of this description is based mainly on Hitler's Secret Conversations, 1941-1944, New York, Farrar, Straus and Young, 1953.

13. See, for example, the writings of Corliss Lamont or Julian Huxley.

14. Friedrich Nietzche, The Joyful Wisdom, #343

15. Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, #4

16. Some cogent remarks on this and related topics, with reference to modern literature, are to be found in Graham Hough, Reflections on a Literary Revolution, Washington, The Catholic University of America Press, 1960, P. 66ff.

17. Ivan S. Turgenev, Fathers and Sons

18. Quoted in Karl Jaspers, Nietzsche and Christianity, Henry Regnery Company, 1961 (Gateway Edition), p. 83.)

19. The next chapter was to be on Anarchism (see outline). --Ed.

20. Quoted in E. H. Carr, Michael Bakunin, p. 440.

21. Quoted in Rauschning, op. cit., p. 5

22. My Life in Christ, Jordanville, New York, Holy Trinity Monastery, 1957, Vol. L, P. 178.

23. The previous chapter was to be on the Advent of the New Order (see outline). --Ed.

24. The Joyful Wisdom, #125

25. See, for example, Justice, (cf. de Lubac, Proudhon, p. 27 1).

26. Justice, 111, 179. (Quoted de Lubac, p. 270.)

27. System of Economical Contradictions: or, The Philosophy of Misery, Boston, 1888, Vol. I, p. 448.

28. Ibid., p. 468.

29. God and the State, London, 19 10, p, 16.

30. Psalm LII (LIII), 1: "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God."

31. Maximoff, op. cit., p. 380

32. Ibid., p. 253.

33. Quoted by Robert Payne in Zero, New York, The John Day Company, 1950, p. 53

34. The Will to Power, P. 8

35. On God and Society (Essay on the Generative Principle of Political Constitutions and other Human Institutions), Henry Regnery Company (Gateway Edition), 1959, pp. 84-86.

36. cf. Josef Pieper, The End of Time, p. 58

37. The Joyful Wisdom,#125.

38. See Max Picard, Flight fiom God, Henry Regnery Company, 1951; and Hitler in Our Selves, Henry Regnery Company, 1947.

39. God and the State, p. 2

40. Idee generale de la revolution, also Justice, III, pp. 433-434 (de Lubac, 173).

41. Karl Marx, Capital Chicago, Charles Kerr and Company, 1906, Vol. I, p. 824

42. See the citations in E. H. Carr, op. cit., pp. 173, 435; cf. Maximoff, op. cit., pp. 380-381.

43. For a synopsis of Marx's views of violence see J. E. LeRossignol, From Marx to Stalin, New York, Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1940, pp. 321-322.

44. Left-Wing Communism, cited in Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, New York, International Publishers, 1932, p. 47. (Or: The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, Little Lenin Library, No. 18, p. 19.

45. Quoted in H. R. Trevor-Roper, The Last Days of Hitler, New York, The Macmillan Company, 1947, pp. 50-51

46. Quoted in Ibid., p. 82

47. State and Revolution, International Publishers, New York, 1935, p. 84

48. Loc. cit.

49. St. John 16:33

50. Mythus des 20 Jahrhundens, p. 22

51. Marx and Engels, The German Ideology, Part 1, New York, International Publishers, 1947, p. 69.

52. Ibid., p. 204, n. 46.

53. Erich Kahler, The Tower and the Abyss, New York, George Braziller, Inc., 1957, pp. 225-226.

54. Numerous examples of this art may be seen in two books by apologists for it: Peter Selz, New Images of Man, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, 1959; and Selden Rodman, The Insiders, Louisiana State University Press, 1960.

55. The term is Erich Kahler's, in op. cit., p. 15.

56. A Vision, 1937, pp. 52-53.

57. The Will to Power, p. 92.

58. Ibid., p. 2.

59. State and Revolution, p. 84.

60. Quoted in Henri de Lubac, The Drama of Atheist Humanism, p. 24.

61. The Joful Wisdom, #125.

62. The Possessed, Part I, Ch. 3.

63. Thus Spake Zarathustra)

64. The Joyful Wisdom, #125

65. The Possessed, Part III, Ch. 6.

66. De Maistre, op. cit., p. 85, quoting a phrase of (Saint) Louis IX

67. The Brothers Karamazov, Book V1, Ch. 3.


Introduction: The Contemporary Situation of the World and the Church

Part I: The Two Kingdoms, Their Source and Their Power

Chapter One: The two loves, and the two faiths: the world, and God.

Chapter Two: The power of the world, and the power of Christ.

Part II: The Kingdom of Man in the Modem Age

Chapter Three: An Orthodox Christian interpretation of the modern age.

Chapter Four: The worldly idols of the modern age. 

    I. Culture/Civilization, judged by Orthodox Christian spirituality. 

    II. Science/Rationalism, judged by Divine Wisdom. 

    III. History/Progress, judged by the Orthodox Christian theology of history.


Part III: The Old Order and the "New Order"

Chapter Five: The Old Order: The Orthodox Christian Empire.

Chapter Six: The advent of the "New Order": the Revolution of the modern age.

Chapter Seven: The root of the Revolution: Nihilism.

Chapter Eight: The goal of the Revolution: the Anarchist Millennium.

Part IV: Orthodox Christian Spirituality and the "New Spirituality" (About four chapters.)

Part V. The End of the Two Kingdoms

Chapter Thirteen: The "New Christianity" and the Reign of Antichrist.

Chapter Fourteen: The Kingdom of Heaven.



The destruction of the Old Order, however, and the organization of the "new earth" are not the only items in the historical program of Nihilism; they are not, perhaps, even its most important items. They are but the preparation for a work more significant and more ominous than either: the "transformation of man."

This was the dream of the pseudo-Nietzscheans, Hitler and Mussolini, of a "higher humanity" to be forged through a "creative" violence; "this is the mission of our century," said Hitler's propagandist Rosenberg: "out of a new life myth to create a new human type." [50] We know from Nazi practice what this "human type" was, and the world would seem to have rejected it as brutal and inhuman. But the "mass change in human nature" to which Marxism looks is an end that is perhaps not very different. Marx and Engels are unequivocal on this subject:

Both for the production on a mass scale of this communist consciousness, and for the success of the cause itself, the alteration of men on a mass scale is necessary, an alteration which can only take place in a practical movement, a revolution: this revolution is necessary, therefore, not only because the ruling class cannot be overthrown in any other way, but also because the class overthrowing it can only in a revolution succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew. [51]

Putting aside for the moment the question of what kind of men are to be produced by this process, let us note carefully the means utilized: it is again violence, which is as necessary to the formation of the "new man" as it is to the building of a "new earth." The two, indeed, are intimately connected in the determinist philosophy of Marx, for "in revolutionary activity, change of self coincides with the change of circumstances." [52] The change of circumstances, and more to the point, the process of changing them through revolutionary violence, transform the revolutionaries themselves. Here Marx and Engels, like their contemporary Nietzsche, and like Lenin and Hitler after them, subscribe to the mystique of violence, seeing a magical change to be wrought in human nature through indulgence of the passions of anger, hatred, resentment, and the will to dominate. In this regard we must make note also of the two World Wars, whose violence has helped to destroy forever the Old Order and the old humanity, rooted in a stable and traditional society, and has had a large role in producing the new uprooted humanity that Marxism idealizes. The thirty years of Nihilist war and revolution between 1914 and 1945 have been an ideal breeding-ground for the "new human type. "

It is of course no secret to contemporary philosophers and psychologists that man himself is changing in our violent century, under the influence, of course, not only of war and revolution, but also of practically everything else that lays claim to being "modern" and "progressive." We have already cited the most striking forms of Nihilist Vitalism, whose cumulative effect has been to uproot, disintegrate, and "mobilize" the individual, to substitute for his normal stability and rootedness a senseless quest for power and movement, and to replace normal human feeling by a nervous excitability. The work of Nihilist Realism, in practice as in theory, has been parallel and complementary to that of Vitalism: a work of standardization, specialization, simplification, mechanization, dehumanization; its effect has been to "reduce" the individual to the most "Primitive" and basic level, to make him in fact the slave of his environment, the perfect workman in Lenin's worldwide "factory."

These observations are commonplace today; a multitude of volumes has been written about them. Many thinkers are able to see the clear connection between the Nihilist philosophy that reduces reality and human nature to the simplest possible terms, and a Nihilist practice that similarly reduces the concrete man; not a few, also, realize the seriousness and the radicalness of this "reduction" even to the extent of seeing in it, as does Erich Kahler, a qualitative change in human nature.

(The) powerful trend toward the disruption and invalidation of the individual ... manifestly present in the most diverse currents of modem life--economic, technological, political, scientific, educational, psychic and artistic--appears so overwhelming that we are induced to see in it a true mutation, a transformation of human nature.[53]

But few even of those who realize this much have any real awareness of its profound significance and implications (for these are theological, and so completely outside the scope of any merely empirical analysis), or of a possible remedy (for that must be of the spiritual order). The author just quoted, for example, draws hope from the prospect of a transition into "some supraindividual form of existence, " thus revealing that he has no higher wisdom than that of the "spirit of the age," which indeed--as we shall see--has thrown up the ideal of a social "Superman."

What, more realistically, is this "mutation," the "new man"? He is the rootless man) discontinuous with a past that Nihilism has destroyed, the raw material of every demagogue's dream; the "free-thinker" and skeptic, closed only to the truth but "open" to each new intellectual fashion because he himself has no intellectual foundation; the "seeker" after some "new revelation," ready to believe anything new because true faith has been annihilated in him; the planner and experimenter, worshipping "fact" because he has abandoned truth, seeing the world as a vast laboratory in which he is free to determine what is "possible"; the autonomous man, pretending to the humility of only asking his "rights," yet full of the pride that expects everything to be given him in a world where nothing is authoritatively forbidden; the man of the moment, without conscience or values and thus at the mercy of the strongest "stimulus"; the "rebel," hating all restraint and authority because he himself is his own and only god; the "mass man," this new barbarian, thoroughly "reduced and "simplified" and capable of only the most elementary ideas, yet scornful of anyone who presumes to point out the higher things or the real complexity of life.

These men are all one man, the man whose fashioning has been the very purpose of Nihilism. But mere description cannot do justice to this man; one must see his image. And in fact such an image has quite recently been portrayed; it is the image of contemporary painting and sculpture, that which has arisen, for the most part, since the end of the Second World War, as if to give form to the reality produced by the most concentrated era of Nihilism in human history.

The human form, it would seem, has been "rediscovered" in this art; out of the chaos of total abstraction, identifiable shapes emerge. The result, supposedly, is a "new humanism," a "return to man" that is all the more significant in that--unlike so many of the artistic schools of the 20th century--it is not an artificial contrivance whose substance is hidden behind a cloud of irrationalist jargon, but a spontaneous growth that would seem to have deep roots in the soul of contemporary man. in the work, for example, of Alberto Giacometti, Jean Dubuffet, Francis Bacon, Leon Golub, Jose Luis Cuevas--to take an international sampling [54]--there seems to be a genuinely "contemporary" art that, without abandoning the disorder and "freedom" of abstraction, turns its attention away from mere escape toward a serious "human commitment."

But what kind of "man" is it to which this art has "returned"? It is certainly not Christian man, man in the image of God, for no "modern" man can believe in him; nor is it the somewhat diluted "man" of the old humanism, whom all "advanced" thinkers regard as discredited and outmoded. It is not even the "man" disfigured and denatured in the earlier "Cubist" and "Expressionist" art of this century; rather, it begins where that art leaves off, and attempts to enter a new realm, to depict a new man.

To the Orthodox Christian observer, concerned not with what the avant-garde finds fashionable or sophisticated, but with truth, little reflection should be required to penetrate to the secret of this art: there is no question of "man" in it at all; it is an art at once subhuman and demonic. It is not man who is the subject of this art, but some lower creature who has emerged ("arrived" is Giacometti's word for it) from unknown depths.

The bodies this creature assumes (and in all its metamorphoses it is always the same creature) are not necessarily distorted violently; twisted and dismembered as they are, they are often more "realistic" than the figures of man in earlier modern art. This creature, it is clear, is not the victim of some violent attack; rather, he was born deformed, he is a genuine "mutation." One cannot but notice the likeness between some of these figures and photographs of the deformed children born recently to thousands of women who had taken the drug Thalidomide during pregnancy; and we have doubtless not seen the last of such monstrous "coincidences."

Even more revealing than the bodies of these creatures are the faces. It would be too much to say that these faces express hopelessness; that would be to ascribe to them some trace of humanity which they most emphatically lack. They are the faces, rather, of creatures more or less "adjusted" to the world they know, a world not hostile but entirely alien, not inhuman but "a-human."[55] The anguish and rage and despair of earlier Expressionists is here frozen, as it were, and cut off from a world to which they had at least the relation of denial, so as to make a world of their own. Man, in this art, is no longer even a caricature of himself; he is no longer portrayed in the throes of spiritual death, ravaged by the hideous Nihilism of our century that attacks, not just the body and soul, but the very idea and nature of man. No, all this has passed; the crisis is over; man is dead. The new art celebrates the birth of a new species, the creature of the lower depths, subhumanity.

We have dealt with this art at a length perhaps disproportionate to its intrinsic value, because it offers concrete and unmistakable evidence--for him who has eyes to see--of a reality which, expressed abstractly, seems frankly incredible. It is easy to dismiss as fantasy the "new humanity" foreseen by a Hitler or a Lenin; and even the plans of those quite respectable Nihilists among us today who calmly discuss the scientific breeding of a "biological superman," or project a utopia for "new men" to be developed by the narrowest "modern education" and a strict control of the mind, seem remote and only faintly ominous.

But confronted with the actual image of a "new man," an image brutal and loathsome beyond imagination, and at the same time so unpremeditated, consistent, and widespread in contemporary art, one is caught up short, and the full horror of the contemporary state of man strikes one a blow one is not likely soon to forget.



But we do not yet have to do with the ultimate future, with the end of the Revolution; between the Revolution of Destruction and the earthly paradise there lies a stage of transition, known in Marxist doctrine as "the dictatorship of the proletariat." In this stage we may see a second, "constructive" function of violence. The Nihilist Soviet power has been the most ruthless and systematic in developing this stage, but precisely the same work is being accomplished by the Realists of the free world, who have been quite successful in transforming and "simplifying" the Christian tradition into a system for the promotion of worldly "progress." The ideal of Soviet and Western Realists is an identical one, pursued by the former with single-minded fervor, by the latter more spontaneously and sporadically, not always directly by governments but with their encouragement, relying more upon individual initiative and ambition. Realists everywhere envisage a totally "new order," built entirely by men "liberated" from the yoke of God and upon the ruins of an Old Order whose foundation was divine. The Revolution of Nihilism, willed or unwilled, is accepted; and through the labor of workers in all realms, on both sides of the "Iron Curtain," a new, purely human Kingdom is arising, in which its apologists see a "new earth" undreamed of by past ages, an earth totally exploited, controlled, and organized for the sake of man and against the true God.

No place is secure from the encroaching empire of this Nihilism; everywhere men feverishly pursue the work of "progress"--for what reason they do not know, or only very dimly sense. In the free world it is perhaps ahorror vacui that chiefly impels men into feverish activity that promises forgetfulness of the spiritual emptiness that attends all worldliness; in the Communist world a large role is still played by hatred against real and imagined enemies, but primarily against the God their Revolution has dethroned, a hatred that inspires them to remake the world against Him. In either case it is a cold, inhuman world that men without God are fashioning, a world where there are everywhere organization and efficiency, and nowhere love or reverence. The sterile "purity" and "functionalism" of contemporary architecture are a typical expression of such a world; the same spirit is present in the disease of total planning, for example in "birth control," in experiments that look to the control of heredity and of the mind, in the "welfare state." Some of the apologies for such schemes approach perilously near a strange kind of lucid insanity, wherein precision of detail and technique are united to an appalling insensitivity to the inhuman end these schemes serve.

Nihilist "organization"--the total transformation of the earth and society by machines, modern architecture and design, and the inhuman philosophy of "human engineering" that accompanies them--is a consequence of the unqualified acceptance of the industrialism and technology which we saw in the last chapter as bearers of a worldliness that, if unchecked, must end in tyranny. In it we may see a practical translation of the philosophical development we touched upon in Section I above: the transformation of truth into power. What may seem "harmless" in philosophical pragmatism and skepticism becomes something else again in the "planners" of our own day. For if there is no truth, power knows no limit save that imposed by the medium in which it functions, or by a stronger power opposed to it. The power of contemporary "planners" will find its natural limit, if unopposed, only in a regime of total organization.

Such, indeed, was the dream of Lenin; for before the "dictatorship of the proletariat" comes to an end, "the whole of society will have become one office and one factory, with equal work and equal pay." [47] In the Nihilist "new earth" all human energy is to be devoted to worldly concerns; the whole human environment and every object in it are to serve the cause of "production" and to remind men that their only happiness lies in this world; there is to be established, in fact, the absolute despotism of worldliness. The artificial world erected by men who will to remove the last vestige of divine influence in the world, and the last trace of faith in men, promises to be so all-encompassing and so omnipresent that it will be all but impossible for men to see, to imagine, or even to hope for anything beyond it. This world, from the Nihilist point of view, will be one of perfect "realism" and total "liberation"; in actual fact it will be the vastest and most efficient prison men have ever known, for--in the precise words of Lenin-- "there will be no way of getting away from it, there will be 'nowhere to go'." [48]

The power of the world, which Nihilists trust as Christians trust their God, can never liberate, it can only enslave; in Christ alone, Who has "overcome the world", [49] is there deliverance from that power, even when it shall have become all but absolute.



The first and most obvious item in the program of Nihilism is the destruction of the Old Order. The Old Order was the soil, nourished by Christian Truth, in which men had their roots. Its laws and institutions, and even its customs, were founded in that Truth and dedicated to teaching it; its buildings were erected to the glory of God and were a visible sign of His Order upon earth; even the generally "primitive" (but natural) living conditions served (unintentionally, of course) as a reminder of man's humble place here, of his dependence upon God for even the few earthly blessings he possessed, and of his true home which lies beyond this "vale of tears," in the Kingdom of Heaven. Effective war against God and His Truth requires the destruction of every element of this Old I Order; it is here that the peculiarly Nihilist "virtue" of violence comes into play.

Violence is no merely incidental aspect of the Nihilist Revolution, but a part of its essence. According to Marxist "dogma," "force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one"; [41] appeals to violence, and even a kind of ecstasy at the prospect of its use, abound in revolutionary literature. Bakunin invoked the "evil passions" and called for the unchaining of "popular anarchy" [42] in the cause of "universal destruction," and his "Revolutionary Catechism" is the primer of ruthless violence; Marx was fervent in his advocacy of "revolutionary terror" as the one means of hastening the advent of Communism; [43] Lenin defined the "dictatorship of the proletariat" (the stage in which the Soviet Union still finds itself) as "a domination that is untrammeled by law and based on violence." [44] Demagogic incitement of the masses and the arousing of the basest passions for revolutionary purposes have long been standard Nihilist practice.

The spirit of violence has been most thoroughly incarnated, in our century, by the Nihilist regimes of Bolshevism and National Socialism; it is to these that there have been assigned the principal roles in the Nihilist task of the destruction of the Old Order. The two, whatever their psychological dissimilarities and the historical "accidents" which placed them in opposing camps, have been partners in their frenzied accomplishment of this task. Bolshevism, to be sure, has had the more " positive" role of the two, since it has been able to justify its monstrous crimes by an appeal to a pseudo-Christian, messianic idealism which Hitler scorned; Hitler's role in the Nihilist program was more specialized and provincial, but nonetheless essential.

Even in failure--in fact, precisely in the failure of its ostensible aims--Naziism served the cause of this program. Quite apart from the political and ideological benefits which the Nazi interlude in European history gave to the Communist powers (Communism, it is now widely and erroneously believed, if evil in itself, still cannot be as evil as Naziism), Naziism had another, more obvious and direct, function. Goebbels explained this function in his radio broadcasts in the last days of the War.

The bomb-terror spares the dwellings of neither rich nor poor; before the labor offices of total war the last class barriers have had to go down.... Together with the monuments of culture there crumble also the last obstacles to the fulfillment of our revolutionary task. Now that everything is in ruins, we are forced to rebuild Europe. In the past, private possessions tied us to a bourgeois restraint. Now the bombs, instead of killing all Europeans, have only smashed the prison walls which kept them captive.... In trying to destroy Europe's future, the enemy has only succeeded in smashing its past; and with that, everything old and outworn has gone. [45]

Naziism thus, and its war, have done for Central Europe (and less thoroughly, for Western Europe) what Bolshevism did in its Revolution for Russia: destroyed the Old Order, and thus cleared the way for the building of the "new." Bolshevism then had no difficulty in taking over where Naziism had left off, within a few years the whole of Central Europe had passed under the "dictatorship of the proletariat"--i.e., Bolshevist tyranny--for which Naziism had effectively prepared the way.

The Nihilism of Hitler was too pure, too unbalanced, to have more than a negative, preliminary role to play in the whole Nihilist program. Its role, like the role of the purely negative first phase of Bolshevism, is now finished, and the next stage belongs to a power possessing a more complete view of the whole Revolution, the Soviet power upon which Hitler bestowed, in effect, his inheritance in the words, "the future belongs solely to the stronger Eastern nation."  [46]

IV. The Nihilist Program

 IV. The Nihilist Program

War against God, issuing in the proclamation of the reign of nothingness, which means the triumph of incoherence and absurdity, the whole plan presided over by Satan: this, in brief, is the theology and the meaning of Nihilism. But man cannot live by such blatant negation; unlike Satan, he cannot even desire it for its own sake, but only by mistaking it for something positive and good. And in fact no Nihilist--apart from a few moments of frenzy and enthusiasm, or perhaps despair--has ever seen his negation as anything but the means to a higher goal: Nihilism furthers its Satanic ends by means of a positive program. The most violent revolutionaries--a Nechayev or Bakunin, a Lenin or Hitler, and even the demented practitioners of the "propaganda of the deed"--dreamed of the "new order" their violent destructions of the Old Order would make possible; Dada and "anti-literature" seek not the total destruction of art, but the path to a "new" art; the passive Nihilist, in his " existential" apathy and despair, sustains life only by the vague hope that he may yet find some kind of ultimate satisfaction in a world that seems to deny it.

The content of the Nihilist dream is, then, a "Positive" one. But truth requires that we view it in proper perspective: not through the rose-colored spectacles of the Nihilist himself, but in the realistic manner our century's intimate acquaintance with Nihilism permits. Armed with the knowledge this acquaintance affords, and with the Christian Truth which enables us to interpret it aright, we shall attempt to look behind the Nihilist phrases to see the realities they conceal. Seen in this perspective, the very phrases which to the Nihilist seem entirely "positive" appear to the Orthodox Christian in another light, as items in a program quite different from that of Nihilist apologetics.

Stages of Nihilism - 2. THE WORSHIP OF NOTHINGNESS


Nothingness," in the sense in which modern Nihilism understands it, is a concept unique to the Christian tradition. The "nonbeing" of various Eastern traditions is an entirely different, a positive, conception; the nearest they approach to the idea of nihil is their obscure notion of primal "chaos." God has spoken only obscurely and indirectly to other peoples; to His chosen people alone has He revealed the fullness of truth concerning the beginning and the end of things.

To other peoples, indeed, and to the unaided reason, one of the most difficult of Christian doctrines to understand is that, of creatio ex nihilo: God's creation of the world not out of Himself, not out of some pre-existent matter or primal chaos, but out of nothing; in no other doctrine is the omnipotence of God so plainly stated. The never-dimmed marvelousness of God's creation has its foundation precisely in this fact, that it was called into existence from absolute non-existence.

But what relation, it may be asked, has Nihilism to such a doctrine? It has the relation of denial. "What," says Nietzsche in a statement whose last sentence we have already cited in a different context "does Nihilism mean?--That the highest values are losing their value, There is no goal. There is no answer to the question: 'why?'"  [34] Nihilism, in a word, owes its whole existence to a negation of Christian Truth; it finds the world "absurd," not as a result of dispassionate "research" into the question, but through inability or unwillingness to believe its Christian meaning. Only men who once thought they knew the answer to the question "why?" could be so disillusioned to "discover" that there was no answer after all.

Yet, if Christianity were merely one religion or philosophy among many, its denial would not be a matter of such great import. Joseph de Maistre--who was astute in his criticism of the French Revolution, even if his more positive ideas are not to be trusted--saw the point precisely, and at a time when the effects of Nihilism were far less obvious than they are today.

There have always been some forms of religion in the world and wicked men who opposed them. Impiety was always a crime, too.... But only in the bosom of the true religion can there be real impiety.... Impiety has never produced in times past the evils which it has brought forth in our day, for its guilt is always directly proportional to the enlightenment which surrounds it.... Although impious men have always existed, there never was before the eighteenth century, and in the heart of Christendom, an insurrection against God. [35]

No other religion has affirmed so much and so strongly as Christianity, because its voice is the Voice of God, and its Truth is absolute; and no other religion has had so radical and uncompromising an enemy as Nihilism, for no one can oppose Christianity without doing battle with God Himself.

To fight the very God Who has created him out of nothingness requires, of course, a certain blindness as well as the illusion of strength; but no Nihilist is so blind that he fails to sense, however dimly, the ultimate consequences of his action. The nameless "anxiety" of so many men today testifies to their passive participation in the program of antitheism; the more articulate speak of an "abyss" that seems to have opened up within the heart of man. This "anxiety" and this "abyss" are precisely the nothingness out of which God has called each man into being, and back to which man seems to fall when he denies God, and in consequence, denies his own creation and his own being.

This fear of "falling out of being," as it were, is the most pervasive kind of Nihilism today. It is the constant theme of the arts, and the prevailing note of "absurdist" philosophy. But it is a more conscious Nihilism, the Nihilism of the explicit antitheist, that has been more directly responsible for the calamities of our century. To the man afflicted with such Nihilism, the sense of falling into the abyss, far from ending in passive anxiety and despair, is transformed into a frenzy of Satanic energy that impels him to strike out at the whole of creation and bring it, if he can, plummeting into the abyss with him. Yet in the end a Proudhon, a Bakunin, a Lenin, a Hitler, however great their temporary influence and success, must fail; they must even testify, against their will, to the Truth they would destroy. For their endeavor to Nihilize creation, and so annul God's act of creation by returning the world to the very nothingness from which it came, is but an inverted parody of God's creation; [36] and they, like their father the Devil, are but feeble apes of God who, in their attempt, "prove" the existence of the God they deny, and in their failure testify to His power and glory.

No man, we have said often enough, lives without a god; who then--or what--is the god of the Nihilist? It is nihil, nothingness itself-not the nothingness of absence or non-existence, but of apostasy and denial; it is the "corpse" of the "dead God" which so weighs upon the Nihilist. The God hitherto so real and so present to Christian men cannot be disposed of overnight; so absolute a monarch can have no immediate successor. So it is that, at the present moment of man's spiritual history--a moment, admittedly, of crisis and transition--a dead God, a great void, stands at the center of man's faith. The Nihilist wills the world, which once revolved about God, to revolve now about--nothing.

Can this be?--an order founded upon nothing? Of course it cannot; it is self-contradiction, it is suicide. But let us not expect coherence from modern thinkers; this is in fact the point modern thought and its Revolution have reached in our time. If it is a point that can be held only for a moment, if it has been reached only to be very quickly superseded, its reality cannot for all that be denied. There are many signs, which we shall examine in their place, that the world has begun to move out of the "age of Nihilism" since the end of the last great war, and towards some kind of "new age"; but in any case this "new age," if it come, will not see the overcoming of Nihilism, but its perfection. The Revolution reveals its truest face in Nihilism; without repentance--and there has been none--what comes after can only be a mask hiding that same face. Whether overtly in the explicit antitheism of Bolshevism, Fascism, Naziism, or passively in the cult of indifference and despair, "absurdism" and "existentialism," modern man has clearly revealed his resolve to live henceforth without God--that is to say, in a void, in nothingness. Before our century, the well-meaning could still delude themselves that "Liberalism" and "humanism," "science" and "progress," the Revolution itself and the whole path of modern thought were something "positive" and even, in some vague sense, had "God" on their side. It is quite clear now that the Revolution and God can have nothing to do with each other; there is no room in a consistent modern philosophy for God at all. All further modern thought, whatever disguises it may assume, must presuppose this, must be built upon the void left by the "death of God." The Revolution, in fact, cannot be completed until the last vestige of faith in the true God is uprooted from the hearts of men and everyone has learned to live in this void.

From faith comes coherence. The world of faith, which was once the normal world, is a supremely coherent world because in it everything is oriented to God as to its beginning and end, and obtains its meaning in that orientation. Nihilist rebellion, in destroying that world, has inspired a new world: the world of the "absurd." This word, very much in fashion at the present time to describe the plight of contemporary man, has actually, if property understood, a profound meaning. For if nothingness be the center of the world, then the world, both in its essence and in every detail, is incoherent, it fails to hold together, it is absurd. No one has more clearly and succinctly described this world than Nietzsche, its "prophet," and in the very passage where he first proclaimed its first principle, the "death of God."

We have killed him (God), you and I! We are all his murderers! But how have we done it? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the whole horizon? What did we do when we loosened this earth from its sun? Whither does it move now? Wither do we move? Away from all suns? Do we not dash on unceasingly? Backwards, sideways, forwards, in all directions? Is there still an above and below? Do we not stray, as through infinite nothingness? Does not empty space breathe upon us? Has it not become colder? Does not night come on continually, darker and darker? [37]

Such is the Nihilist universe, in which there is neither up nor down, right nor wrong, true nor false, because there is no longer any point of orientation. Where there was once God, there is now nothing; where there were once authority, order, certainty, faith, there are now anarchy, confusion, arbitrary and unprincipled action, doubt and despair. This is the universe so vividly described by the Swiss Catholic Max Picard, as the world of "the flight from God" and, alternatively, as the world of "discontinuity" and "disjointedness." [38]

Nothingness, incoherence, antitheism, hatred of truth: what we have been discussing in these pages is more than mere philosophy, more even than a rebellion of man against a God he will no longer serve. A subtle intelligence lies behind these phenomena, and on an intricate plan which philosopher and revolutionary alike merely serve and do not command; we have to do with the work of Satan.

Many Nihilists, indeed, far from disputing this fact, glory in it. Bakunin found himself on the side of "Satan, the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and emancipator of worlds." [39] Nietzsche proclaimed himself "Antichrist." Poets, decadents, and the avant-garde in general since the Romantic era have been greatly fascinated by Satanism, and some have tried to make it into a religion. Proudhon in so many words actually invoked Satan:

Come to me, Lucifer, Satan, whoever you may be! Devil whom the faith of my fathers contrasted with God and the Church. I will act as spokesman for you and will demand nothing of you. [40]

What is the Orthodox Christian to think of such words? Apologists and scholars of Nihilist thought, when they regard such passages as worthy of comment at all, usually dismiss them as imaginative exaggerations, as bold metaphors to express a perhaps childish "rebellion." To be sure, it must be admitted that there is a juvenile quality in the expression of most of modern "Satanism"; those who so easily invoke Satan and proclaim Antichrist can have very little awareness of the full import of their words, and few intend them to be taken with entire seriousness. This naive bravado reveals, nonetheless, a deeper truth. The Nihilist Revolution stands against authority and order, against Truth, against God; and to do this is, clearly, to stand with Satan. The Nihilist, since he usually believes in neither God nor Satan, may think it mere cleverness to defend, in his fight against God, the age-old enemy of God; but while he may think he is doing no more than playing with words, he is actually speaking the truth.

De Maistre, and later Donoso Cortes, writing in a day when the Church of Rome was more aware of the meaning of the Revolution than it is now, and was still capable of taking a strong stand against it, called the Revolution a Satanic manifestation; and historians smile at them. Fewer, perhaps, smile today when the same phrase is applied--though rarely with full seriousness even now--to National Socialism or Bolshevism; and some may even begin to suspect that there exist forces and causes that have somehow escaped the attention of their enlightened gaze.