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Home » How to Win the Culture War: Dr. Peter Kreeft (Transcript)

How to Win the Culture War: Dr. Peter Kreeft (Transcript)

Full text of Dr. Peter Kreeft’s talk titled “How to Win the Culture War” at Franciscan University.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here:


Dr. Peter Kreeft – Professor of Philosophy at Boston College

I hate to disappoint you. I can’t live up to that. But there is a deeper reason I will disappoint you. I’m not Peter Kreeft. I only look like Peter Kreeft. I am really Screwtape, C.S. Lewis’s famous senior demon from the Screwtape Letters.

I look like a human being, don’t I? My disguise is pretty good. My business is to give advice to Wormwood, my junior associate and student, about how to win the culture war. So if you’re overhearing this, this is how you can lose the culture war.

So my topic is not how to win the culture war, it’s how to lose it. Especially, I’m going to tell Wormwood how to tempt the Catholic Church, which is the only thing that stands in the way of the total collapse of Western civilization into a swirl of garbage down the drain.

I suppose I should remind you that it might be a little confusing for you to try to follow my line of thinking as Screwtape, because for you everything will be upside down. For instance, whenever I refer to the being you call God, I use the name the Enemy. So maybe you should stand on your head while you listen to this lecture, at least mentally.

Ah, Wormwood, my sweetly bitter, beautifully ugly, and virtuously vicious demon. I give you today, from my superior and successful demonic wisdom, seven basic ideas which you must keep planting in the unconscious minds of American Catholics, especially their theologians and their bishops. Always remember Judas Iscariot was a bishop, the first bishop to accept a government grant. I believe it was 30 pieces of silver. They’ve upped the ante nowadays, though.

So that they can continue to lose the culture wars that they have been losing quite spectacularly for the last five decades.

The SEVEN IDEAS are, in a single word each: One, POLITICIZING, politicizing their faith. Secondly, PRATTLING CONTINUOUS HAPPY TALK, even as they swirl down the drain. Thirdly, THE WORSHIP OF ORGANIZATION and treating religion as a business. Four, THE WORSHIP OF FADS AND FASHIONS, the worship of the new, or neo-worship. Five, THE ABOLITION OF EXCELLENCE and the worship of egalitarianism, especially sexual egalitarianism. Six, THE WORSHIP OF MAMMON, consumerism, worldliness, materialism, or yuppiedom. And seven, TURNING SANCTITY INTO SPIRITUALITY.

Now you can remember these seven ideas by the acronym PHONEYS… P-H-O-N-E-Y-S: politicization, happy talk, organizationalism, neo-worship, egalitarianism, yuppiedom, and spirituality. Seven roads from the real to the phoney, from being to non-being, from heaven to hell.

The whole strategy of hell, of course, is to get these human souls out of the real, the authentic, the true, and into the unreal, the phoney, the false. Our enemy is being, being itself, for that is ultimately what God is: perfect, infinite, unlimited being.

Fortunately, there are many roads from the heavenly heights of being down to the hellish depths of non-being, and those who travel on those roads become more and more unreal, in other words, phonies. So here are seven ways to turn Catholics into phonies. These seven are not the only roads, of course, but they are seven that have worked very well for us in the last 50 years. They are part of our master plan. Of course, you must take care not to let our secret out, not to let any troublemaker reveal what we’ve been actually doing to them, namely convincing them to embrace seven ways to gradually commit spiritual suicide.

I will present to you these seven ways in no particular order except that of the easily remembered acronym, phoneys, P-H-O-N-E-Y-S.

So we start with P… POLITICIZATION. We have persuaded most Americans to treat their religion as a kind of politics, and their politics as a kind of religion. In the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, the Catholic church used to be defined as the Democratic Party at prayer. In Iowa, it’s the Republican Party at prayer. Treating politics religiously is, of course, a form of idolatry, and all forms of idolatry are deeply gratifying to us. So it doesn’t matter to us whether they worship the donkey or the elephant, as long as they don’t worship the enemy.

You see, they have to absolutize politics because they relativize religion. Everybody needs an absolute somewhere. So we have persuaded many of them to judge their faith by the standard of political correctness, rather than vice versa. To relativize everything supernatural and absolute, and to absolutize something natural and political. Any one particular political agenda will do. And if they do fight an important culture war, like abortion, or homosexual marriage, or contraception, or the sexual revolution, even the traditionalists can often be tempted to use their religion to justify their political goals, to reverse the means in the end. The trick is to get them to focus all their energies on political success regarding their favorite issue, and have them to treat the rest of the faith as a mere means to that end.

The most wonderful thing about politicization is that it makes them sacrifice concrete persons to abstract, impersonal causes. They can even come to think that they’re saints and heroes of charity, because their hearts bleed for people they’ve never met in some faraway place, even while they’re neglecting the people closest to them, usually their own family. In other words, it’s surprisingly easy to get them to fall in love with humanity instead of their neighbors.

You’ll be surprised how easy it is to get them to that state of mind where they are genuinely shocked if someone points out to them that not once does the Bible ever tell them to love humanity, that glimmering, glorious, abstract cloud of idealism, but always their neighbor, that humdrum, inconvenient, unspectacular idiot they live with. We have to get them to practice what Charles Dickens called telescopic philanthropy, as if they were looking at the world through the wrong end of a telescope, seeing the things that are near us as far away, and things that are far away as near, so that the farther away a thing is, the more passionately concerned they are about it, and the nearer it is, the less they focus on it.

Above all, keep them focused on what other people ought to do. Don’t let any of them make themselves the object of their own passion. Don’t let them demand of themselves that they become saints. Suggest to them that it would be selfishness to work passionately for their own sanctification. Of course, that’s the biggest lie in the world, since the essence of sainthood and sanctification is unselfishness.

But as one of our most successful disciples, Adolf Hitler, so brilliantly taught, they can often be suckered in by the big lie more easily than by little lies.

The second principle is HAPPY TALK. Let them always talk up the achievements, the successes, the progress that the church has made in the last 50 years. Insist that they insist that the church in America is healthy, even though the statistics are devastating. Keep them at this relentlessly nose to the grindstone, 24/7, especially the Bishops. Keep that bland smile on their faces. Make them forget that they’re supposed to be prophets. And if they remember, make them think that it’s socially profitable to be a prophet. Of course, that’s another really obvious big lie. That’s what makes it so delightful to us.

Keep the laity ignorant of the facts, if you can. And if you can’t keep the facts out of their minds, well, let’s at least keep the facts out of their wills, so that even though their minds are not ignorant, their wills will ignore the cultural abomination of desolation that has removed half of the church’s priests, two-thirds of its nuns, nine-tenths of its children’s theological knowledge, belief in the real presence among 75% of Catholics, decreased mass attendance from 75% to 25%, confession even more, and destroyed Catholic families at the same rate as non-Catholic families, since Catholics in America abort, contracept, sodomize, fornicate, divorce, and sexually abuse at almost exactly the same rate as non-Catholics, and thus contribute to the gradual suicide of their society through the attack on its single most fundamental foundation, the family.

Amid this devastation, keep them happy-talking. Keep them saying peace, peace, when there is no peace, exactly like those false prophets in the Bible. Keep them pretending that the battlefield they live on is really a playground, and that those bullets are really butterflies, and those landmines are really the yellow brick road to the land of Oz, as they blandly celebrate themselves in songs about how they, not God, are building the city of God, in an orgy of universal tolerance and non-judgmentalism.

In other words, persuade them to be spiritual chamberlains at Munich. Make them ignore their own Scripture’s most obvious and all-pervasive theme of spiritual warfare. That will give us, their real enemies, the tremendous military advantage of surprise when they ignore or deny our very existence. Let them define the church militant as, here comes everybody, or Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Boy, will they be surprised when they meet us.

A third principle is ORGANIZATIONALISM. The church must be seen as an organization, not an organism, as an earthly business, not a supernatural mystery. They must be persuaded to worry about programs and committees and numbers, and of course, success. They must reverse Mother Teresa’s most famous maxim about God not putting them into this world to be successful, but to be faithful. They must work for success, not sanctity, to fear failure, not sin. To that end, they must treat the church as a business, without asking what the business is for, so that they can keep busy turning the wheels and gears of the organization.

Keep them at the slavery of constant activism, like Martha, and make them think this is the essence of charity. Never let them fall into the counter-cultural idea of Mary, who sat at the feet of Jesus and listened. What a dangerous thing to do!

I see that one of them has written something about St. Catherine of Siena on this issue, a very dangerous saint. He says, “I am fundamentally at peace in spite of the disturbed and disturbing position of the Catholic Church in the world today.” St. Catherine of Siena is a great hero of mine. I am not justifying a withdrawal into the inactivity of sentimentalism, far from it. But St. Catherine went about her apostolic work, including her fierce criticisms of contemporary ecclesiastical politics, which were quite bad off in her time, with a surprising serenity, a sense that God was in charge, that it was His mercy to allow evils, out of which He would bring greater goods, and that He would inevitably, in due time, prevail.

What she saw, most basically of all, is that His kingdom prevails more through prayer and suffering than through human activity and the all-too-human mode of attack. I am convinced that all of us, we fallen men and women, find nothing harder to swallow than this idea, for it smashes to pieces all our human conceptions.

We love to talk and especially to complain. But look at Jesus. For 30 years, He remained an unknown carpenter who did not engage the corruption of the Jewish leaders. He did not begin to rush to begin the work of salvation, for which the universe had been groaning in bondage, age after age. In His mere three years of public ministry, though He taught at length, yet as often as not He remained silent. And in the dramatic culmination of His redeeming work, He spoke not a word, but suffered.

Our busy routine often seems to include plenty of time for the launching of complaints like ships in a naval battle, the fashioning of critiques to fit today’s public figures, the cultivation of anxiety almost as a fine art. Let us not forget to make time, I would say more and more time, for humble, heartfelt, meek, and generous prayer for the church, for all her members, beginning with the gloriously reigning Pope and going all the way down to the three most annoying parishioners you have to deal with each week. Or the priest who has most injured or ignored you, or whatever it is that bothers you the most, putting your virtues and your faith to the test. We may even find that after a time we are praying a lot more. I think this will do far more to promote a real and lasting reform of the church than any amount of activism of the usual sort.

St. Catherine prays in one of her famous prayers, O gentle divine love, you saw the need of the Holy Church and its remedy, and you gave it to her, that is, the prayer of your servants. That’s dangerous stuff. We shouldn’t let that get out. If they must pray, prayer is a very dangerous thing, if they must pray, keep them talking all the time, telling the enemy up to date about what is needed as they see it, advising the enemy about how his business ought to be run, and correcting any of his strange ideas that they just don’t understand.

Don’t just let them sit there and listen. Fortunately we’ve arranged it so that it is very difficult to find any literal silence anywhere in their lives anymore. There is always some TV or background music in their minds, if not in their ears. Don’t let them read a poem like W.H. Auden’s: “Faces along the bar cling to their average day. The lights must never go out. The music must always play, lest we know where we are, lost in a haunted wood, children afraid of the dark who have never been happy or good.” They might just see themselves in that bleak picture and seek out silence and become contemplatives. That’s one of the most socially dangerous things they could possibly do, simply practicing the presence of the enemy, simply adoring him, simply letting his mind and will flow mysteriously into theirs and form them. That’s what that other Mary did with her fiat, and the result was disastrous. Don’t let them believe that that was meant to continue.

The fourth principle, which I call NEO-WORSHIP, the worship of the new, the fashionable, substituting new for true, and telling the truth with the clock. This gives us a lot of enjoyment. It’s so silly. After all, what’s new is easily answered by the holy writ of newspapers, while Pilate’s question, what’s true, can then trail off safely into skeptical space, even when it literally is addressed to the face of truth himself standing right there in front of Pilate.

If they do come to admit the reality of the culture war and of the need for spiritual warfare, at least you can persuade them to ignore all the strongest weapons that heaven has provided for 2,000 years against us, their principalities and powers of hell, by dismissing them as, quote, pre-Vatican II.

Pre-Vatican II, let’s see, that would include the mass, the Eucharist, Eucharistic adoration, frequent confession, traditional devotions to Mary, such as the rosary, negative things like sin and repentance and sacrifices and fasting and mortification, the infallibility of divine revelation, dogma itself, all the creeds, the lives of the saints, all those are pre-Vatican II.

Jesus Christ is pre-Vatican II. So is the universe by about 13.7 billion years. Another really, really big lie, you see, and they lap it up like good little lap doggies. Of course, the real Vatican II continually referred to and based everything it said on pre-Vatican II things. But it’s surprisingly easy to persuade them to ignore that uncomfortable fact, since they don’t actually read the documents of Vatican II. They read the books of heretics who tell them what the church really said, which is almost exactly the opposite of what you really said. They actually believe their big media mouths, which we have so massively manipulated, because they worship the new. And they worship the new because they believe the big media mouths, the chattering classes, a perfect example of Hell’s logic, arguing in a circle like a snake swallowing its own tail.

Fifth, have them believe that EGALITARIANISM is the highest wisdom everywhere. Even regarding the thing that they are the most concerned about, namely sex. It’s a dangerous thing. The enemy invented it, of course, and made men and women superior and inferior to each other. Men are definitely superior to women at being men, and women are definitely superior to men at being women. In fact, this is one of their greatest passions, the otherness of the other. How interesting. Vive la différence. But we have contrived to label this invention of the enemy’s sexism and persuade them that they are not really superior or inferior at all, but equal.

Thus, the colorful difference between red and green is erased into a boring brown, and the difference between the beauty of black and the beauty of white is reduced to a boring gray. Thus, we have simultaneously made them the most sexualized and the least sexualized culture in history. For on the one hand, we have weakened the moral constraints against uninhibited sex, and on the other hand, we have made sex more boring than ever before by erasing not only the excitement of the constraints, but also the excitement of the spiritual and psychological differences, the otherness, the mystery.

And we have persuaded them to label any questioning of this new unisexist orthodoxy as male chauvinist piggery, or at least injustice, since we have reduced justice to equality. Of course, that’s another obvious big lie, for it’s just as unjust to treat unequals equally as it is to treat equals unequally. But they love to believe these big lies.

Because of this confusion about justice, we have succeeded in making most Catholics, especially many bishops and theologians, to feel intimidated by those who hate them the most, namely the hard, angry so-called feminists. Of course, this is another big lie. Calling these people feminists is like calling cannibals chefs. They are the bitterest enemies of everything feminine. They resent their wombs because they want to be as randy and selfish and irresponsible as the men who use them and abuse them. Far more than any male chauvinist do, they hate and fear femininity, God’s masterpiece.

So naturally, they claim to be the lovers and defenders of it. The big lie again. Adolf, you were a genius. We must help them to replace the Madonna with Madonna as their image of what a woman is. See, that little word, the, separates a saint from a slut. Replacing the virgin mother with the anti-virgin anti-mother is the first step towards replacing Christ with Antichrist. Persuade them to treat Mary as a soft, sugary, sweet, fragile, harmless object of devotion for little old ladies and little old men. Don’t let them see her as God’s greatest and most formidable weapon against our father below, the new Eve who reversed the sin of the first Eve and whose seed crushed the head of the serpent, our father below.

Don’t let what happened in Mexico five centuries ago happen again. Keep those Aztecs in power. Americans, by the way, now sacrifice one out of every four of their unborn children to the Lord of Death exactly as the Aztecs did to one out of every four of their born children. Don’t let a spiritual Cortez arise to put a stop to that and pave the way for another Guadalupe miracle.

And by the way, be sure you persuade married men not to listen seriously to their own wives who speak in the name of nature, earth, instinct, family, tradition, common sense, and true practicality. Persuade the men that they know what’s really important. After all, they live in the real world, the world of business reports, growth graphs, computer chips, numbers, ideologies, money, war, and political power games. Don’t let them see that a woman is the most powerful thing in the world because from her womb issues the thing that is greater than the universe, a person with an immortal soul joined into one being with a mortal body of infinite value and destined for infinite and eternal joy. Don’t let them see a woman that way as the enemy does. Make them see a woman either as an object of sexual play for a man or as an inferior man, a soft man, a mistake of nature that demands to be corrected, or just another version of man as the so-called feminists do.

A sixth principle is YUPPIEDOM or hedonism. Make them all shoppers instead of saints, soft, spoiled, self-indulgent consumerists utterly addicted to the comforts of this world and utterly unwilling and eventually unable to practice sacrifice and embrace suffering. In other words, continue to undermine the two virtues that are absolutely necessary in order to practice any other virtue at all, namely courage and self-control.

Give them Christ without the cross. The Muslims embrace the cross without Christ. That’s why they’re winning the world from Christians who are embracing Christ without the cross. Of course, Christ with the cross will conquer everything, but Christ without the cross will never conquer the cross without Christ. Look what’s happening in Europe. For those who have Christ without the cross don’t have the real Christ at all. They have a yuppie revision of their own devising. So don’t let them learn any lessons from the Muslims. Have them demonize all Muslims as terrorists and sneer at them as fundamentalists. It’s a new F word. Let them feel superior about their not feeling superior. Let them feel intolerant about not tolerating the intolerant, judgmental about not being judgmental, and absolute about their cultural relativism.

Have them fear the Muslims, their honest enemies without, much more than their own Judas Iscariots, their dishonest enemies within, the secularists and relativists who have corrupted the church. They can be persuaded to do this because they are yuppies, because they worship themselves and their own comfort. They are the most polytheistic society in history. America worships 300 million gods.

Persuade them to be everything Muslims are not. If Muslims are strong, Christians must be weak, but have them call this compassion. If Muslims are faithful, Christians must be faithless, but have them call this sophistication, maturity, and nuancing, and have them call fidelity fanaticism.

If Muslims are unselfish and willing to sacrifice personal and present gratifications by having large families, teach Christians to be self-indulgent and self-centered and childless. That way the Muslims can take over Christian civilization without shedding a drop of blood, because they will produce more and more of the two most powerful weapons in the world, mothers and children.

Seventh, be sure they fall in love with SPIRITUALITY instead of religion. Be sure they spiritualize and psychologize everything, even the sacraments, even the incarnation and the resurrection. Keep them on the road to Gnosticism, the worship of spirituality instead of God.

Spirituality, of course, is our religion after all. The most evil being in all reality is a pure spirit, our father below. All matter, on the other hand, is good because it was created by the enemy, who continues his incarnation in it through material sacraments. So Catholics must be persuaded to substitute spirituality for sanctity, the subjective good for the objective good, subjective truth for objective truth, pop psychology for divine revelation, tolerance for love, fashionable feelings of concern for genuine passion, philanthropy for charity, political correctness for fidelity to dogma, I feel for I believe, what’s true for me for what’s true, self-esteem for repentance, and the church of cheap grace for the bloody mystery of the cross.

Give them a church in which a bloodless God saves a sinless man from nastiness to niceness, not from hell to heaven. Of course, we mustn’t let them be moral absolutists. Persuade them that the very worst thing in the world is not sin or damnation but fanaticism. Don’t let them remember that all the saints in history were moral absolutists. Make them fall in love with niceness, not saintliness. Remind them that saints, unlike pop psychologists, make trouble, that saints are always counter-cultural in every culture until the culture of heaven, and that’s a very dangerous thing. Make them feel ashamed of being different. Make them aspire not to superiority but sameness, not to excellence but egalitarianism. Then they will be innocuous and harmless, for no one will buy a product that advertises itself this way: Coke is not one more the real thing than Pepsi.

Please don’t think we’re claiming that Hertz gave you a better deal than Avis. Get them to believe that the only sin is making someone upset. Anyone, anyone except the enemy. Replace the fear of God with the fear of man. Make them believe that Jesus promised them that the world would love them. Actually, you know, he did say that. He said that the world would love them just as it loved him. Contrive to have them miss that irony and forget that the world loved him so much that it murdered him.

By the way, be sure they don’t see that dangerous movie of Mel’s about that murder. Inoculate them against that by calling it names like sadistic and primitive and simplistic. If they must see it, don’t let them see it alone. The more you persuade them of these things, the more phony they will become. The persuasion must take place unconsciously, of course, not by any attempt at rational persuasion. These ideas make no sense at all in the light of day.

So your very first strategic rule must be to dim the lights. And to that end, we have supplied you with many establishment philosophers who assure their students that the truth is that there is no truth, that it is an absolute that there are no absolutes, that everything is relative except relativism, and that reason is a dead white male European heterosexual religious plot to rape the minds of women and oppress slaves, liberals, and atheists who are the only free thinkers.

Remember, the bigger the lie, the more the suckers. Some of you might be confused at this point, so it might be a good idea for me to throw away my devil horns and change hats and give you seven points of Catholic advice on how not to lose the culture war.

Now that we know Screwtape strategy, we can know something of CHRIST’S COUNTER STRATEGY.

First, with regard to politicization, what does Christ say? Not much. Doesn’t have to say much. “GIVE TO CAESAR WHAT BELONGS TO CAESAR’S. GIVE TO GOD WHAT BELONGS TO GOD’S.”

The Catholic English philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe’s teenage daughter was protesting abortion in London, and she was hauled into court because she was inside the bubble, and the judge lectured her. She refused to have a lawyer defend her. She defended herself, and the judge said, ‘Your own scripture tells you to render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar’s,’ and she replied, ‘The bodies of our unborn children do not belong to Caesar.’

What does belong to Caesar? Dirty coins with his ugly face. Give them to him. And give to God what belongs to God. What’s that? Your beautiful soul with His beautiful image stamped on it.

Since you’re fighting Christ’s war, use Christ’s weapons. What are they? Not politics. He could have marched on Rome and taken over the world. He didn’t do it. Not power. He could have called down twelve legions of angels. He didn’t do it. Not pragmatism. He could have made compromises. In the wilderness with the devil? Hey, the two of us would make a great team. Nope. Not persuasion by diplomacy.

Christ could have won the world easily with all those weapons. Nope. Instead, He let Himself be crucified by Caesar. It sounds crazy, but it won something better than the world. It won the next world. And He is asking us to join His kingdom, not Caesar’s.

Jesus Christ is not running for president. Don’t politicize the faith. Don’t reverse means and end, natural and supernatural, temporal and eternal. Absolutely nothing wrong with political involvement and social activism and social justice and social peace. All very good things. But they’re not God. Only God is God. There is no God but God. La ilaha illa Allah. Let’s be at least as wise as the Muslims. Let’s remind ourselves of the first and greatest commandment at least five times a day, as they do. Of course, they’ve forgotten the whole thing about Caesar.

What were Christ’s weapons, if not politics? Only two, truth and love. Why? Because that’s all God is made of. The Trinity is not a political system. It’s a family. And so is the church. Politics, in the end, has to be based on force, on soldiers, cops, and lawyers. Those three will be out of a job in heaven.

Second, STOP THE HAPPY TALK. You’re at war. Shut up and fight. Or preach the gospel, use words when necessary. Fight with words, too. But fight with verve and joy and gladness, because this war against the principalities and powers of wickedness in high places is the one absolutely just and therefore absolutely beautiful war in the universe. Hold your head high. It is a glorious war. If you can’t believe that a war can ever be glorious, re-read St. Paul. Re-read Tolkien. You’re in that book. Real life is in that book. That’s not myth, that’s truth.

Third, DON’T BE AN ORGANIZATION MAN OR AN ORGANIZATION WOMAN. If you are a Catholic, you are part of an organism, not part of an organization. When Jesus comes to your house, be Mary instead of Martha. Stop cleaning the house and clean your mind instead by setting it in front of Him.

What will happen then? Something very dangerous. The same thing that happened to all the saints. You will not be left alone. You will be shaken, shook, and shattered, and then put together again, probably very quietly. And don’t be a Martha when you pray, either. Be a contemplative, no matter how hard it is. Practice the presence of God. That’s the essence of prayer, because that’s the essence of reality and sanity. Don’t be phony. Be real. Be sane. Live in the real world. The real world is the world where God is the origin, center, meaning, and end of all things, and is totally present. Prayer is the best way to get sane, to condition yourself out of phoniness and into realism.

Fourth, FORGET FASHION AND NEO-WORSHIP. Attach yourself not to the clock but to Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Be a Christ absolutist. There is only one absolute in all of human history, one literally eternal reality in all of time, one supernatural reality in all of this natural world. It’s the one we still adore in the Eucharist, or at least I hope you do. If you don’t, get started immediately. Sacrifice 10 of your 15 minutes with the newspaper each day for adoration. Read not the Times, read the eternities.

If you give Him those loaves and fishes, He will miraculously multiply them. He will do things to you.

Fifth, WE MUST CONQUER THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION AND SEXUAL EGALITARIANISM. I emphasize the sexual aspect of egalitarianism and the egalitarian aspect of the sexual revolution because that’s how I get an E into this belly of phonies. But how do we do that? Well, I suggest an approach which may seem roundabout at first but I think is really foundational because it unearths the foundations, the causes.

The origin of the moral relativism that justifies the sexual revolution is not intellectual. It’s moral. We are not confused about moral absolutes. We are afraid of moral absolutes. Our moral relativism is almost wholly sexual. Nobody defends nuclear war or insider trading or oil spills or even smoking. But if it has anything to do with sex, it’s justified, sanctified, and glorified, even if it’s murder.

Here are two examples of murder justified in the name of sex. One is divorce. Divorce is a form of suicide and suicide is a form of murder. Divorce is a form of suicide because it’s the suicide of the one flesh that was created by marriage. The basic unit of any society is the family. Suppose there was a society in which half of its citizens committed suicide. What a desperately sex society. Well, that’s us. The only institution in the world that still says no to divorce is the Catholic Church.

Imagine there was some other practice, not connected to sex, as divorce is, that had these three very clearly and strongly scientifically documented effects. First, it violated the most serious oath, the most important promise you ever made in your life to the person that you said is the most important person in your life so that it made you into a liar and a cheater and a betrayer. Why should we believe any of your other promises then?

Second, it harmed the innocent children you brought into the world more deeply than anything else except direct physical or sexual abuse. It scarred them for life and it made it much more difficult for them to be happy and stable persons in or out of their marriages.

Third, it destroyed the single most essential building block of your society and every society in history, namely the family, so that it destroyed not only the new one flesh person you and your spouse brought into the world and the happiness of the children that you brought into the world and for whom you are responsible, but also your whole society. Would any society tolerate such a thing? Of course not, unless it was a plank in the sexual revolution.

Take abortion as a second example. Is there any other example of murdering the innocent that is tolerated in our society? None. Why is this tolerated? Because it’s part of the sexual revolution. Abortion is about sex. That’s the elephant in the living room. Why does any woman want an abortion? Because her birth control failed. Abortion is last-ditch backup birth control.

What is birth control? Birth control is the demand to have sex without having babies. If storks brought babies, Planned Parenthood would go out of business. Every single issue on which there is dissent in the church today is about sex. Feminism, inclusive language, homosexuality, contraception, abortion, fornication, divorce, and remarriage, all dissent is about sexual morality. Every argument I have ever had with moral relativists has always come down to that issue in the last resort, 100% of the time.

Well, no society of moral relativists has ever survived in the entire history of the world. The real terrorist threat to our society is the dictatorship of relativism, and the origin of moral relativism is the sexual revolution.

So what is the answer to the sexual revolution? I’m not going to tell you what my answer is. I’m going to tell you what God’s answer is, because God provided one, just as He provided new insights and new creeds for every heresy in history. It’s called the theology of the body, of blessed John Paul the Great. Reading that today is like reading Augustine in the 5th century, or Aquinas in the 13th century, or the Council of Trent in the 16th century. It’s the big picture, the heavenly truth about sex. It’s the plug in the dike of our society that is cracking.

Six, DON’T BE A YUPPIE, BE A SAINT. You’re not part of the kingdom of this world, you’re part of the kingdom of heaven. Learn the moves of your Lord. John describes Him as full of grace and truth, like a Michael Jordan layup. Learn His moves, follow them, forget yourself. Turn your eyes away from yourself and your problem, keep them on Jesus. Do what He does, give, sacrifice, love. It’s a secret of joy. Try it, you’ll like it, and you won’t need Alka-Seltzer.

There’s two kinds of love, of course. There’s charity and cupidity. There’s giving and getting, agape and eros, love and lust. Selfishness seems to be the way to happiness, but it’s really always the infallible and inevitable way to misery. For the very same reason, self-sacrifice out of love seems to be the way to misery, but it’s really the guaranteed way to joy. Try it, you’ll like it. Experience the thrill of sacrifice. Of course, if you can’t do that out of love, don’t do it at all, because then it won’t give you joy. If you can’t give cheerfully, don’t give. The Lord blesses a cheerful giver.

Why are Muslims growing faster than anybody else in the world today? I think our own scriptures give us the embarrassing answer, because God promised triumph over both natural and supernatural enemies to all those who obey His will and His law, and He promised defeat to all those who disobey. If Christians continue to abort, contracept, divorce, fornicate, sodomize, dishonor, and lie more than Muslims do, Muslims will conquer the Christian world.

Of course, they murder a little more often than we do. No, they don’t. How many terrorist murders have there been in the last year? Oh, a couple hundred, couple thousand. How many abortions have there been in our society in the last year? A million? Oops. Big oops. Short act of contrition. The competition with Islam is not about oil, or about money, or about political power, or even about terrorism, or even about nuclear bombs. The deepest competition with Islam is about saints.

The religion with the most saints will win the world. That always happens. That’s how we won it once, and that’s how we lost it, and that’s how we must win it again.

The way to become a saint is very easy to understand, and very hard to do. It’s simply to give God absolutely everything. T.S. Eliot defined being a Christian as, “a condition of complete simplicity costing not less than everything.” Everything. Start with the mind, because all that we are is made of our thoughts.

Sow a thought, reap an act. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny. So, St. Paul tells us to take every thought captive to Christ. That’s where it starts.

Seventh, DON’T BE SPIRITUAL. BE SAINTLY. Understand who our real enemy is. Evil spirits. Not just psychological miseries or maladjustments, not just false ideologies or philosophies. And the colonies of our enemy in our own souls are our own sins. Those are our two enemies, devils and sins.

Every sin is a drop of blood drained like Dracula from the mystical body of Christ. Every act of love is a drink of cold water given to every thirsty soul in that body. There are no victimless crimes. We help or harm the spiritual health of every single soul in that body, that is, every single person in the world, by every single thought and choice that we ever make.

The salvation of all is dependent on the sanctity of each. The more you love your neighbor, the more likely it is you will see him in heaven. So, simply put, be real. Don’t be a phony. Be a saint. It’s the only way to win, the only war worth winning.

For Further Reading:

The 10 Books Nobody Should Be Allowed to Die Without Reading: Dr. Peter Kreeft (Transcript)

10 Lies of Contemporary Culture: Dr. Peter Kreeft (Full Transcript)

Jordan Peterson: Life, Death, Power, Fame, and Meaning (Transcript)

Sixteen Truths That I Have Learnt (Part 1): Zac Poonen (Transcript)


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