har-bin-ger (hahr-bin-jer)
2. anything that foreshadows a future event; omen; sign: Frost is a harbinger of winter.

The news of the day:

…rapid transit, rapid communication, the densely populated cities are bathed in artificial light. A particularly health conscious populace abhors discomfort. Suffering is solved quickly by official euthanasia. A godless humanism has rejected traditional religion and morality. A highly socialized system moves quickly to a one world government. The new leader comes from an obscure background, but suddenly captures the world’s stage though no one seems to know anything about him. He is praised with an emotional wave as a universal peacemaker and hailed as the Savior of the world.

And yet with all the tolerance and understanding and peace and euphoria, there is still an excuse to openly persecute and even kill Catholics and do everything possible to destroy the Catholic Church. Though the new Humanitarians regret the recourse to violence, they are nonetheless thankful for the results.

Sound familiar? It should. Would it also surprise you to know this is a part of the premise behind a book published in 1907?

Robert Hugh Benson

Orwell’s 1984 gets the most press acknowledgement. Huxley’s Brave New World is more chilling to me than 1984. But the best of the lot just may be Robert Hugh Benson’s Lord of the World. I read all three back-to-back-to-back around four years ago (not something I would advise, by the way. A rather dark period of time that can be) and I thought Benson’s was the best of the three excellent books.

Dale Ahlquist brought Benson’s book back to mind when I read what he wrote here:

Robert Hugh Benson was the son of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He converted to Catholicism in 1903, was ordained a Catholic priest, wrote 15 novels, and died in 1914 at the young age of 43.

Whether or not Monsignor Benson’s picture of our future is accurate, the fact is his picture of our present is chillingly accurate.

The author apologizes for the sensational nature of the book, but he says he chose it as the best means by which to make his point: a picture of what the world would look like as “the necessary culmination of unimpeded subjectivity.” In other words, relativism. But the term was not even yet known when Monsignor Benson wrote his book.

Relativism…hmmm, who have I heard a warning about that word before? Oh yeah, this guy.

How many winds of doctrine have we known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of the thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves – flung from one extreme to another: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism and so forth. Every day new sects spring up, and what St Paul says about human deception and the trickery that strives to entice people into error (cf. Eph 4: 14) comes true.

Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be “tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine”, seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.

Lord of the World is free for downloading to your Kindle.


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