The following is a translation of an opinion piece by Gábor Náray-Szabó, distinguished chemist, retired university professor, member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, originally published in Magyar Nemzet.
A few weeks ago, I wrote in Magyar Nemzet that we Hungarians are not willing to give up our thousand-year-old culture under any external pressure. It is our very identity, without which it is impossible to live a life worthy of a human being, so it is understandable that we are trying to hold on to it to the utmost.
Speaking of culture, I mentioned God first, because the belief in his existence and omnipotence, and the resulting Christlike love, is the essence of Western civilization. I feel anxious that our religion, which used to define our daily lives, has come under the crossfire of insidious and coordinated attacks on the entire continent, and, alas, in our country as well.
The erosion of our religion began five hundred years ago when more and more intellectuals questioned the fundamental truths believed to be eternal, and then the faithful started to drop out church as well over the last one hundred and fifty years. In Western Europe, religious activity has decreased to such an extent that our continent might even be considered a missionary region.
Priests from the Third World are arriving in increasing numbers to fill the void left by the declining number of their fellow clergymen in the West.
In our country, in the Soviet system, religion was suppressed, which at first provoked strong, but later, unfortunately, decreasing resistance from the society that became comfortable with the Kádár regime. Forced secularization led to the emergence of a profane reality, contradicting the old sacral world order, and today the liberal media offers seekers a wide array of muddled ideologies as well.
The explosive development of science and technology in recent centuries has posed a serious challenge to two-thousand-year-old Christianity. It is creating great tensions that we cannot always reconcile new scientific findings with our biblical worldview, and even when we think we can, we may often go astray.
The Roman Catholic Church is aware of how important it is to instruct its followers in fundamental matters of faith—it pays great attention to this, and its teaching, albeit slowly, is being renewed. The Vatican accepted Galileo’s teachings on the heliocentric model, and then St Pope John Paul II also declared that the theory of evolution does not contradict the Catholic faith. However, there are a good number of people who are impatient and do not accept the official interpretations—they rather create ever newer explanations for themselves, because they consider the Church to be old-fashioned and want to place their own ideas at the centre of Christian doctrines.
As a result of rapid technological change, prosperity that had never been experienced before has arrived everywhere, which has spoiled Western people, and certainly us Hungarians, too. We take it for granted that food is on our table every day—today the problem is not starvation, but obesity resulting from excessive consumption.
We are used to the fact that at a click of a button, light spreads in the room, and in a relatively short time, we can comfortably reach places that were previously thought to be unreachable. If we have money, we feel safe; we think that we do not need the help of our fellow humans, so we do not need the community either anymore.
Religious rules are the most suitable for keeping excessive consumption and comfort under control—they would best protect us against negative consequences. However, today’s people do not need them. They proudly dilute thousand-year-old values, because they are encouraged to do so by arrogant public opinion, their own myopia, and advertising that uses sophisticated methods pouring towards us from everywhere.
The decline of our Christian faith is a serious threat because I am convinced that
no civilization can survive permanently without a world religion that forms its foundation.
The moral standards prescribed by religion—the most concise explication of which is the Ten Commandments—correspond almost without exception to natural law based on the eternal order of nature, which the vast majority of people, knowingly or subconsciously, accept. If religion is in crisis, ethical foundations will also be weakened, and we will, wittingly or unwittingly, end up in today’s mayhem, in which even advertisements encourage us to expand our borders more and more without limits and break taboos because we ‘deserve’ it.
Today, in the Western world and, unfortunately, in our country as well, conceit has prevailed.
Many believe that man can take the place of God and reverse the Bible’s revelation according to which ‘God created man in his own image’. Instead, people design a god of their own for themselves, whose main job is to fulfil their desires. Practicing Christians are not free from this temptation either, and they want to shape Christian doctrines to their own liking in more and more ways.
Social engineers have gradually abolished conscience; they only want to determine what a crime is and what is not by means of written laws. We see more and more examples of the separation of the law from the eternal truth professed by Christianity. The conscience of many is outweighed by the letter of the law; theologians and other ‘thinkers’ who claim to be Christians are increasingly trying to shape the truth of the Bible according to their own, individual taste, and to ignore traditional Church policies in the name of comfort and freedom.
It has even been said that Jesus Christ was not a man, but a person of neutral gender, because there is no difference between men and women—long live the equality of the sexes! A trend has emerged, called liberal Christianity, the essence of which is that in the spirit of Christ’s love, we must accept and love everything, even sin. However, true Christians only love the sinner, and they hate the sin itself.
It only became apparent to attentive observers that something is seriously wrong when, after a long debate,
the reference to Christian traditions was completely omitted from the Preamble of the Constitution for Europe.
Since then, there is no way of stopping liberalized Christian doctrines, which are Christian in their name only, as they elevate human knowledge and ego to the throne of the highest authority.
Progressive liberal preachers suggest that the kingdom of heaven can be brought down to this world—to the world of shopping malls—, if we cover everything with the sugar-coat of feigned love, but especially with material prosperity. For them, Christianity is only limited to neighbourly love, and they completely ignore the First Commandment: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind!’ They do not notice or do not want to notice that they are trying to accept Evil with a misinterpreted command of love.
Nowadays, we talk more and more about individual rights, and the voicing of desires and opinions is spreading at the expense of the culture of reality. We have come to the point where today’s man has almost only one goal: to satisfy his selfish desires and to realize himself right here and right now. No one else matters, not family, friends, or nation; the past can be completely erased, and man does not have to worry about the future either. At the same time, marginal minorities are trying to impose their deviant views on the sane majority. By twisting the meaning of words, what is bad is presented as good and what is good is presented as bad.
However, the pandemic has shown that man is not omnipotent.
We had to acknowledge that we cannot immediately and completely defend ourselves against it. Tragically, many people died prematurely, and even among those who recovered, there are quite a few who have to suffer from the harmful effects of the complications for the rest of their lives. There has been an erosion in the global world order, and it has become clear that it is not possible to move goods, labour, and services between countries and continents with impunity. God has shown his power! We have to realize that no matter how smart and powerful we think we are, we will not get very far without the Almighty.
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