Monday, June 7, 2010

Al and Tipper Gore, Freedom and Nothingness

Dear Parish Faithful,

Something a bit different ... I found the attached Op-Ed "interesting," but also deeply troubling because of its implications and omissions. I would venture to say that many/most people married for 20 - 60+ years, face at least some of the temptations - if only fleetingly or passingly - that are outlined in this study. It would have to be a remarkable marriage to be totally unscathed by such "thoughts." But what I find very troubling is the self-absorption and self-centeredness that informs the decisions that are leading to more divorce among people married for so long. There is no infidelity, or abuse; just that "itch" to "move on," which has become a mantra for further "self-discovery." I may have missed something, but there is no comment in this study as to how "modern" people view such virtues as fidelty, commitment, trust, self-sacrifice, etc. Such virtues seem to be obstacles in the pursuit of self-gratification. Certainly, the word "freedom" is losing all meaning. If this is the future, then we must realize that our children and grandchildren are going to grow up in a (Godless) world that is "slouching toward Gomorrah," and exchanging sanity for insanity.

When all is said and done - and thought over deeply - the "self" has no foundation besides the "nothingness" from which it emerges. Only if God is the One who draws being forth from nothingness, does the "self" have a grounding that is stable and meaningful. However, I have attached a response sent to me from Fr. Tom Hopko, who develops that very theme in his brutally straightforward manner. Perhaps you may want to read his response following the Op-Ed itself.

Further comments are always welcome.

In Christ,

Fr. Steven

OPINION | June 04, 2010
Op-Ed Contributor: The 40-Year Itch
For many married 20 to 60-plus years, the decision to divorce does not mean failure and shame, but opportunity.

HERE’S an old French expression I found useful when I wrote a book about couples who divorced after long marriages: “I wasn’t holding the candle.” It means that I couldn’t know what happened between the two people in a marriage, so how could I possibly know why they split?

That hasn’t stopped speculation about Al and Tipper Gore, who are behaving with grace and dignity as they keep to themselves their reasons for ending 40 years of marriage. Public reaction has followed a pattern, beginning with shock and disbelief: “They seemed like the ideal couple, so perfect together.” Outrage came next: “Was it all a sham, especially that kiss on the convention stage?” And finally fear: “Are all marriages doomed to wither and die — and will mine be among them?”

But such questions expose just a few widespread but unrealistic assumptions about late-life divorce. Divorce lawyers tell me the fastest-growing segment of their clientele is the middle-aged and elderly... Continue reading the Op-Ed on

Reply from Fr Thomas Hopko:

Dear Fr. Steven,

Nothing new here.

Just read Roger Scruton's Modern Culture. His analysis is excellent. His solution...sad.
Also read David Bentley Hart's Atheist Delusion His analysis is excellent. His solution....surprising.

Freedom and Nothingness and the exercise of my self-will in freedom informed by nothing are everything..

All claims of meaning are actually ploys of the powerful to preserve their power.
Talk of sacrifice and fidelity are also lies of the powerful to maintain their power

(Even the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is a "text" of the powerful to maintain their power.)

There is no objective reality, nothing transcendent, no meaning of any kind beside the freedom to be bound by Nothing.

Those claiming belief in God (like, perhaps Al Gore and Tipper) see 'God' as that which affirms and even commands (not creates, informs, orders and enables) their freedom to be bound and formed by absolutely Nothing -- because 'God' wants them to be free and happy as they decide to be in a completely meaningless reality actualized solely by their freedom to be constrained by Nothing.

That's it: the "post-modern culture". It is essentially a Culture of Unending Adolescence. Scruton calls it Yoofanasia.

Its spirituality -- fantasy, sentimentality, romanticism and unbounded freedom which is, in fact, madness. It is not a culture of 'disbelief' (which would give some sort of reality or status to 'belief)'. It is a rather a 'culture' of absolutely nothing; an enslavement to Absolute Nothingness. It is wholly demonic, the product of the Devil, in the literal, etymological sense of the term..

That's it.

Love to all.

Fr Tom

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