by Phillip D. Collins ©, Nov. 17th, 2005
One of the many dialectics that has divided humanity throughout history is spiritualism against materialism. As is typically the case with dialectics, the competing ideational entities involved in the conflict are not dichotomously related. Instead, they represent variants of metaphysical irrationality. One elevates the soul to the detriment of the physical body. The other elevates the physical body to the detriment of the soul. Invariably, the synthesis of these two results in cynical nihilism and the primacy of some authoritarian Gnosticism. It was just such a dialectical climate that Christianity successfully circumvented.
In the present cultural milieu, which is experiencing a resurgence of Gnosticism, one of Christianity’s primary goals should be to re-establish the human body as an object of reverence and avoid the morbid preoccupation with death that is intrinsic to the polar extremes comprising the aforementioned dialectic. Otherwise, Western civilization shall become a culture of death. If this sounds like an exaggeration, then one need only consider the case of Terri Schiavo. The state-sanctioned murder of Schiavo is a direct corollary of America’s descent into cultural nihilism and Gnosticism.