We have met the enemy and he is us
There is a near universal sadness and shock at the loss of what is arguably the most iconic cathedral, not just of France, but of Western Christianity. There will no doubt arise an acrimonious debate about penultimate causes. Who’s negligence? Or was it terrorism? I foresee a thousand theories launched. Let’s skip all that and proceed to the ultimate cause, who is God. And by the way, who is God?
Does this offend you? That God would burn down his own cathedral, using whatever human agency might be at hand. If you are offended, then good, since it means you have already inferred the reasoning behind God’s action, that we are no longer worthy of Notre Dame, or any of the beautiful things which were made by men and women of faith (however imperfect that faith might have been) to glorify their Creator.
What kind of God would do such a thing? A God with integrity. If you think, no, that is impossible, then your god isn’t even as honorable as the hero in an Ayn Rand novel. Rand was an atheist, but she tried to endow her characters with fragments of the very divinity which she denied. In The Fountainhead, when architect Howard Roark’s plans for a housing project are compromised by faithless colleague, architect turns arsonist and burns down his own creation. God is like that. It is odd that many atheists have a better grasp on a theology which they eschew, than self-professed “Christians.”
From Christians to Europeans
The reaction is predictably histrionic. Even with the flames still licking at the nave, Macron vows to rebuild. The very Macron who perfectly epitomizes the essence of post-Christian, post-national Europe. Why rebuild? Because it is a symbol? A symbol of what? Perhaps a symbol of an ancient faith, like the Parthenon, which has been preserved for aesthetic and historical reasons. The one thing we can be sure of, is that Notre Dame no longer symbolizes the reality of the secular society which surrounds it. Secular France replaced Christianity, and Europe (if Macron has any say about it) will replace France, just as the Planetary Over-soul is scheduled to replace Europe and the other regional civilizations. In the meantime the historic buildings are to be kept around, as a solace for the nostalgic and a lure for the tourist industry.
This is what the Bible calls an “abomination” and even those who are loath to receive Moses might take note of how gently a certain Yeshua ben Yosef treated merchants who commercialized sacred space. That’s God in action, and he is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I’m sorry, I’m truly sorry about Notre Dame, but I didn’t make the rules, He did.
Mark Sunwall, who taught at universities abroad, blogs regularly at Pico Ultraorientalis.