Christians must love the Bible. It is absolutely crucial that we, as believers in a transcendent God and standard, fully submit ourselves to the revelation he’s given us. Again, this is extremely countercultural in a society that values creating our own identities and “truths,” but the difference between our worldview and the culture’s goes right down to this root: Is there a God we ought to submit our lives to in order to flourish, or does our flourishing depend on our creating ourselves according to our own desires?
I’ve been reading Modern Fascism: Liquidating the Judeo-Christian Worldview by Gene Edward Veith, and it details the worldview of fascism, an ideology respected—and even popular—among Western intellectuals in the 20th century before Nazism revealed the horrors it can unleash.
The book was written 30 years ago (thankfully, untainted by today’s political controversies and biases), so it’s shocking to discover that not only is it relevant to our situation today, but also the ideas central to the fascist worldview have filtered down from the 20th-century intellectuals and gained a great deal of ground in mainstream, popular thought—just not under the proper name of “fascism.”
Veith sums up the central idea of the fascist worldview this way:
Fascism can be understood most clearly in terms of its archenemy, the Jew. Just as the Nazis sought to exterminate the Jews, fascism sought to eliminate the Judeo-Christian tradition from Western culture.
Ernst Nolte has defined fascism as “the practical and violent resistance to transcendence.” Whereas the Judeo-Christian tradition focuses on a transcendent God and a transcendent moral law, fascist spirituality is centered upon what is tangible. Nature and the community assume the mystical role they held in the ancient mythological religions. Religious zeal is displaced away from the transcendent onto the immanent: the land, the people, the blood, the will.
Fascists seek an organic, neomythological unity of nature, the community, and the self. The concepts of a God who is above nature and a moral law that is above society are rejected. Such transcendent beliefs are alienating, cutting off human beings from their natural existence and from each other.
Specifically, such transcendent beliefs were condemned as being “Jewish.” Fascist anti-Semitism was not merely racial—despite the biological race theory that dominated National Socialism. The rationale for anti-Semitism was also the ideas of the Jews. According to fascist theorists, the Jewish influence—that is, the idea of a transcendent religion and a transcendent moral law—was responsible for the ills of Western culture.
Because fascists rejected the transcendent, they were hostile towards Bible-centered Christianity (and the Judaism that birthed it). They also rejected the idea of knowable, objective truth and viewed the academy as a way to indoctrinate people into the “correct” (that is, their preferred) ideas. Here, Veith explains Heidegger’s argument against academic freedom:
Academic freedom as the disinterested pursuit of truth shows “arbitrariness,” partaking of the old essentialist view that truth is objective and transcendent. The essentialist scholar is detached and disengaged, showing “lack of concern,” missing the sense in which truth is ultimately personal, a matter of the will, demanding personal responsibility and choice. In the new order, the scholar will be fully engaged in service to the community. Academic freedom is alienating, a function of the old commitment to moral and intellectual absolutes.
The concept that there are no absolute truths means that human beings can impose their truth upon an essentially meaningless world. There are no objective, essentialist criteria to stand in the way of united, purposeful scholars forging their new intellectual order and willing the essence of the German people. What this meant in practice can be seen in the Bavarian Minister of Culture’s directive to professors in Munich, that they were no longer to determine whether something “is true, but whether it is in keeping with the direction of the National Socialist revolution.”