“Have this in mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” — Philippians 2: 5-8
Vampires and zombies are quite the rage these days in popular entertainment. Much ink has been spilled by philosophers and pundits trying to make sense of the cultural significance the rise of these beasts portends. All of this is fascinating, but misses a vital point, at least about vampires—they really do exist.
Yes, vampires are real. I am not speaking of the suave Bela Lugosi style fiends or the angsty teeny-bopper semi-heroic Twilight cast. I am speaking of something far more insidious—a vampiric force that is not so much after blood, but is after truth, reality, and meaning. This vampiric force is neo-modernism.
Neo-modernism is not terribly new. In fact, it is a revival of the plain old modernism that was thought to have had a stake put through its heart by Pope St. Pius X. But, in reality, it had only retreated to the dark shadows, quietly infecting new disciples until it returned in time for a sequel appearance. Naturally, as in most sequels, the monster is stronger and has more tricks up its sleeve.
So, then, how is neo-modernism like a vampire? Neo-modernism, boiled down to its essence, views reality in terms of private consciousness and personal experience. Dogmas and truth are not solid realities, but instead are more like shells filled with something akin to “meaning-juice.” It is that “meaning-juice” that neo modernists crave. They suck it out and replace it with whatever new ideas have evolved in the private consciousness conglomerate.
Take, for example, the neo-modernist understanding of Jesus. On one hand, a neo-modernist will affirm that Jesus was a true historical figure, but on the other hand will attest that there is a separate “Christ of Faith” shell that has had various meanings and sentiments sucked out and replaced in an evolutionary way over time to meet the needs of various peoples. Some neo-modernists strains are fond of injecting a Marxist liberating warrior Christ of Faith into that shell, and others prefer a meek and friendly enviro-Christ. So, while the neo-modernist vampire uses the same words and dogmatic sentences, his meaning and understanding are entirely foreign to the Catholic deposit of the faith.
Not satiated by emptying dogmas, the neo-modernist vampires have left their mark on all areas of Christian life including culture and morality. A good way to tell if a neo-modernist vampire has been lurking about is to observe what sort of art is on display, as art tends to project the consciousness of the artist. Neo-modernist art tends to have a shriveled, reductionist, husk-like quality, as if the meaning has been sucked out and is waiting for new meanings to be injected. Observe this crucifix for an example, or this this version of the Pieta.
Moral truths are also emptied of significance by neo-modernist vampires and replaced with whatever evolutionary dreams the collective personal consciousness has concocted to adapt to the times. It is not uncommon to hear that abortion or homosexual marriage may have been wrong in the past, but we have evolved to a point where those sorts of things are permitted or even encouraged.
Some may claim that the world has moved beyond neo-modernism into post-modernist times. This may be true, but only in the sense that neo-modernism has entrenched itself in what it feels to be a dominant position. However, neo-modernists are sadly mistaken. Truth is truth, and reality is reality. The deposit of faith may develop, but it does not evolve, nor does it ever lose its revealed meaning.
The Jesus of history is the very same Christ of faith who emptied Himself for our salvation. We cannot empty Him of meaning. His truth will once and for all stake the vampire in the heart and set us free.
Rob Gasper is a senior research analyst for American Life League and is the editor of ALL News.