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“Before there was a West, there was Christendom.” Fr. John Strickland has written a monumental four-part history of Christendom—from the first millennium of Christendom which he deems “the age of paradise” to our current cultural condition which he labels “the age of nihilism.” telling the story of how both came to be.

On this episode Fr. John Strickland joins Hank to discuss his book The Age of Utopia: Christendom from the Renaissance to the Russian Revolution, which covers the period between the Italian Renaissance of the fourteenth century and the Russian Revolution of the twentieth, when secular humanism displaced Christianity to become the source of modern culture. The result was some of the most illustrious music, science, philosophy, and literature ever produced. But the cultural reorientation from paradise to utopia―from an experience of the kingdom of heaven to one bound exclusively by this world―all but eradicated the traditional culture of the West, leaving it at the beginning of the twentieth century without roots in anything transcendent.

Topics discussed include: Petrarch, the father of humanism, and how the rise of pessimism in Christianity led to the rise of secular humanism (3:30); how anthropological pessimism shaped and influenced Western culture and civilization (15:00); how the wars of Western Christianity—such as the Crusades—helped advance secular humanism (21:00); the radical separation of heaven and earth in Calvin’s sacramental and liturgical theology (26:35); the rise of science as a replacement for religion and a rationalistic explanation for everything (35:00); distinguishing between science and scientism (41:05); Voltaire and the impact of the Thirty Years’ War (44:05); the cult of reason that has replaced God and altered the historical narrative of the world (49:10); the role of the Encyclopedia on the growth of secular humanism (53:30); the unique nature of the French Revolution (58:30); the rise of Romanticism as a response to the loss of transcendence in the world (1:03:00); the dangerous ideals of the Darwinian revolution (1:12:15); the rise of scientism (1:22:00); how liberal Protestantism is shaped by secular humanism (1:26:05); Marx, Marxism and the idea of inevitability whereby violence becomes the engine of progress (1:29:40); how World War I exposed the myth of progress (1:41:00); the secular path to utopia ultimately leads to dystopia (1:49:30); the age of nihilism—an age in which virtually anything is possible (1:56:00).

For more information on receiving The Age of Paradise, The Age of Division, The Age of Utopia, and the Age of Nihilism individually, as a package of two or three or the full 4 Volume set for your partnering gift please click here. 

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