My latest encounter with the “post Vatican II” Catholics over at Vox Nova, in conjunctoin with watching a film on the life of St. Francis of Assisi, has me wondering of , in the end, Averroes was right.
Averroes, whose Arabic name was Abū ‘l-Walīd Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Rushd, was one ot the great est Muslim philosophers in history. He is known in the West because of his commentaries on Aristotle.
Now, what’s interesting is that Aristotle’s science contradicts the Bible: far more than modern science does. Aristotle, for example, said the Universe was eternal. The ancient Christians just threw Aristotle by the wayside, and one wonders, given the history of the West since the 12th Century, if that wasn’t the better way to go.
Anyway, Averroes developed a solution to the faith/science debate that has been adopted by many over the years. And while Averroes is regarded as an Aristotelian, his explanation of how to reconcile science and religion is straight out of Plato–and Aldous Huxley.
Plato, in the Republic, teaches an idea called the “noble lie.” He says that government creates religion as a way to keep the people mollified, and that while the “philosopheer kings” should know the truth of how the universe works, the Noble Lie of religion is a way to keep the masses in check.
So, Averroes says there is a truth of Philosophy and a truth of Religion, and that Religion is just a way of teaching Philosophy to the people. The scholars can know the truth, because they have the knowledge to handle it, but it’s OK for the people to believe the religious version of truth.
It is also the basic idea taught by Gnosticism. It’s what “Gnosticism” means: that there is hidden knowledge reserved to the Elite.
There is a persistent attittude among the liberals who graduate from modern Catholic universities which mirrors this. I don’t know how many times I’ve been told in my life that I need to get a theology degree to overcome my overly simplistic view of Catholicism.
I have always taken solace in the saints, especially the mystics and mendicants. They have a simple, Gospel-based faith, and try to live it. They try to live radical poverty, and embrace sufferinng, and adore the Eucharist, and practice spiritual growth.
And in return they get rejected by the authoriities of the Church, who tell them they’re not practicing “prudence” and they’re being unrealistic and not acknowledging how the world really works.
And then you read someone saying that the Church”permits certian pious language” among the laity but generally thinks completely differently.
And it’s all very confusing. One wonders if there are really two “Churches,” and whether that has always been the case. I mean, it’s obvious that there are and always have been many sinners in the hierarchy, but that’s not what I mean.
I mean that, when traditionalists speak of cabals of Freemasons at the Vatican, manipulating the Holy Father and tthe Curia, that’s not just true now, or a hundred years ago, but since before the “Freemasons” existed in name.
I mean whether the Vatican really is like the World Controllers in Brave New World, or like Plato’s philosopher-kings, telling all of us a “noble lie.”
I used to think that claim made no sense because there was no profit motive in it. Now, knowing the lies that have been perpetrated by the likes of Fr. Maciel, Cardinal Bernardin and Archbishop Weakland, knowing the vast extent of the Scandal, wondering how many “false accusations” in the history of the Church have been genuine, I’m quite troubled.