Artwork for podcast The Catholic Teacher Podcast
Avoiding The Traps Of Neo-Paganism
Episode 1713th May 2021 • The Catholic Teacher Podcast • Jonathan Doyle
00:00:00 00:14:39

Share Episode

Shownotes

In today's episode it's time to talk about some of the hard realities that shape our modern world and impact every Catholic classroom. It's easy to overlook the challenges we face but the more we understand the truths of who we are as both physical and spiritual beings the more we can strive to live in ways that conform to the reality of how the cosmos is structured.

Transcripts

Speaker:

Well, Hey everybody, Jonathan Doyle with you.

Speaker:

Once again, welcome back to the Catholic teacher daily podcast, big shout out

Speaker:

to a few people that sent some lovely comments yesterday and a whole new bunch

Speaker:

of subscribers have, uh, Joined the daily list and subscribe to the podcast.

Speaker:

So as always, if you're not subscribed to the daily email,

Speaker:

And I know you all woke up this morning thinking, you know

Speaker:

what I need, I need more email.

Speaker:

Uh, for those of you that don't know, we send out a beautiful

Speaker:

quote each morning to thousands of Catholic teachers around the world.

Speaker:

So, if you want to get on that list, just a, you can email me personally, just

Speaker:

email me jonathan@onecatholicteacher.com.

Speaker:

It's O N E one Catholic teacher.com or, uh, on the

Speaker:

website, one Catholic teacher.com.

Speaker:

There's tons of signup boxes there.

Speaker:

So just find any box.

Speaker:

Poppy details in and we'll get you this each day.

Speaker:

I'm aware that we're all so busy, but it's just a really simple,

Speaker:

quick way to get some thoughtful, encouragement there's ideas you could

Speaker:

probably use with your students.

Speaker:

But, uh, so let's jump in.

Speaker:

Today's quote.

Speaker:

Uh, came from an interesting article from Michael packer.

Speaker:

Look park.

Speaker:

who is the professor and chair of philosophy at Ave Maria university.

Speaker:

And then interesting being the chair of something, you

Speaker:

know, the chair of philosophy.

Speaker:

I wonder where that term originally came from anyway.

Speaker:

It's a really good quote.

Speaker:

It's something that I speak about quite frequently.

Speaker:

Listen to this.

Speaker:

It says when a society dethrones the true God.

Speaker:

It puts a multitude of gods in his place.

Speaker:

Namely our autonomous selves.

Speaker:

Each of which claims the authority to define the mystery of the universe.

Speaker:

Really quickly when a society dethrone to the true God, it puts a multitude of

Speaker:

gods in his place, namely our autonomous selves, each of which claims the authority

Speaker:

to define the mystery of the universe or at a few quick points, yesterdays.

Speaker:

Uh, readings at mass.

Speaker:

Is that great reading, of course.

Speaker:

In acts where Paul turns up in the area of Pagus and begins

Speaker:

to speak to the men of Athens.

Speaker:

You know, this is the great classical center of learning and wisdom.

Speaker:

You know, you mean for species that we've been around as homo sapiens sapiens for

Speaker:

350,000 years, but we've only really it's, it's very recently that our societies

Speaker:

have become so evolved and advanced.

Speaker:

You know, we've been hominids for millions of years.

Speaker:

But classical Greece only emerged two and a half thousand years ago

Speaker:

in a, in a sort of multi-million year journey to where we are now.

Speaker:

And, and, you know, Under the first great philosophers.

Speaker:

Like Parlays.

Speaker:

And then of course, we're all familiar with Socrates and Plato

Speaker:

and Aristotle, but, you know,

Speaker:

Athens was just, it's an incredibly important place in world history.

Speaker:

So Paul arrives in the area of And, you know, he says to them, he's

Speaker:

wandering around and he sees all these, uh, these sort of shrines and

Speaker:

alters to all these different gods.

Speaker:

Because, you know, the Greeks.

Speaker:

You know, they were smart, right.

Speaker:

They didn't want to upset, uh, get more by any God by missing one out.

Speaker:

So of course they had an altar to the unknown God.

Speaker:

And in that beautiful reading from acts, you have Paul basically saying,

Speaker:

you know, men of Athens, he said, I see that you are deeply religious.

Speaker:

But he points out to them that, uh, you know, that this unknown God, this altar

Speaker:

that they've got is the one true God.

Speaker:

So you see this tension between a society.

Speaker:

That has this.

Speaker:

Uh, polytheistic view of reality of multiple gods.

Speaker:

And Paul brings this unifying principle.

Speaker:

This.

Speaker:

This God of the cosmos, who is both so far beyond us, but also intimately

Speaker:

personal and, and, uh, that reading and acts finishes with a great

Speaker:

scandal because, you know, they're shocked that, uh, that a God could

Speaker:

die and be killed and die shamefully.

Speaker:

It was just totally beyond their thinking, but of course,

Speaker:

some of them were interested.

Speaker:

So I mentioned that because.

Speaker:

These pagan influences this.

Speaker:

Uh, you know, is a great part of our pre-history.

Speaker:

You know, the religious impulse.

Speaker:

Is just central to the human story, which makes a modern world.

Speaker:

So particularly crazy because, you know, there's, there's a lot of people

Speaker:

pretending to be incredibly enlightened as though that we've now transcended.

Speaker:

Uh, faith, religion.

Speaker:

And of course, You know, it's, it's something that they're pushing into

Speaker:

the distance superstitious past.

Speaker:

You just can't do that.

Speaker:

It's electronic lock something in the cellar, you know, eventually it gets out.

Speaker:

This deep religious impulses, utterly central to the human story.

Speaker:

You know, in Latin and I say this on stage, you've ever

Speaker:

heard me speak on stage.

Speaker:

You know, that I talk about CapEx day.

Speaker:

Is a Latin.

Speaker:

A term for what it means to be human CapEx day, which means that,

Speaker:

which has the capacity for God.

Speaker:

We are CapEx days.

Speaker:

So the reason I'm mentioning all this is because your work as a

Speaker:

Catholic teacher every day in front of you, state's 20, 30, whatever.

Speaker:

Human persons.

Speaker:

What's the truth about these persons?

Speaker:

Well, our Catholic faith tells us that each of these young people are

Speaker:

made in the image and likeness of God.

Speaker:

They carry within them, the divine spark, the desire for home and heaven

Speaker:

and relationship with the father.

Speaker:

Even if they don't know it, even if they don't articulate it.

Speaker:

That is our faith.

Speaker:

You know, that's the faith that we claim, the faith that

Speaker:

we claim, we believe in him.

Speaker:

And so.

Speaker:

One of the crucial things we're going to do is help young people move from this.

Speaker:

Vaguely agnostic all the way to militant, atheist scientific, Marxist

Speaker:

materialist mentality of reality.

Speaker:

To offering them the proposition of faith.

Speaker:

And remember John Paul two always said the church proposes.

Speaker:

She never imposes.

Speaker:

It was always a beautiful line that the Catholic church proposes.

Speaker:

She never imposes.

Speaker:

She proposes Christ to the world.

Speaker:

She offers the beauty of faith, the, the mystery of the incarnation, the,

Speaker:

the power of forgiveness and mercy, and the way that heaven and the house

Speaker:

to the father has been reopened.

Speaker:

The veil in the temple has been torn.

Speaker:

If you will.

Speaker:

And the way home has been made possible through the man.

Speaker:

Jesus Christ.

Speaker:

We propose that.

Speaker:

Of course, we're not going to tie students to a chair.

Speaker:

And, you know, Keep them there until they agree.

Speaker:

So, how do we propose it?

Speaker:

I had this conversation with Karen yesterday.

Speaker:

You know, the biggest challenge we face in Catholic education has

Speaker:

nothing to do with curriculum.

Speaker:

Well, that's a big statement.

Speaker:

Nothing to do.

Speaker:

Curriculum is important, right?

Speaker:

Because a good curriculum builds on the truth of the human person and integrated

Speaker:

view of what the human person is.

Speaker:

So I'll walk that, uh,

Speaker:

That, um, I kind of classic statement back a little bit, but what I will say is

Speaker:

that you can have the greatest curriculum on the planet, but if your teachers

Speaker:

are not people of faith, if they're not evangelists, if they're not missionaries,

Speaker:

then it's going to be very difficult.

Speaker:

To propose Christ in a compelling way to young people.

Speaker:

Now that offends a few people, friends, well then hit that big unsubscribed

Speaker:

button because this is the truth.

Speaker:

It doesn't matter necessarily how great our curriculum is, what matters

Speaker:

is as with a, we as educators.

Speaker:

No Jesus Christ and seek to do the will of the father in our lives.

Speaker:

And if we haven't experienced his grace and mercy and love

Speaker:

and the sacramental power of our Catholic faith in our own lives.

Speaker:

And it's very difficult.

Speaker:

To want to tell it to someone else.

Speaker:

So what's the outworking of all this.

Speaker:

Well, as this quote says, when a society dethrones God, as our

Speaker:

highly technocratic culture has, especially in the secular west.

Speaker:

Well, there's no vacuum, right?

Speaker:

There's no, it's not as if we just wander on as though, you know, God's

Speaker:

gone, his nature famously said, God is dead and we have killed him.

Speaker:

It's not as if nothing happens, right.

Speaker:

Because of that.

Speaker:

Great.

Speaker:

Saying nature, abhors, a vacuum.

Speaker:

Something fills the place.

Speaker:

And what professor palette PECA.

Speaker:

The look is saying here.

Speaker:

Is that what tends to feel that place as a multitude of gods.

Speaker:

So we kind of reverting culturally to kind of Neo paganism.

Speaker:

In what sense?

Speaker:

Well, you know, If you've been paying attention, there's a fair bit

Speaker:

of earth worship going on friends.

Speaker:

Um, there's a, there's a fair bit of stuff filling the space and it can be.

Speaker:

All sorts of socio-political causes.

Speaker:

You can see the massive polarization politically in the world.

Speaker:

Yeah, again, in the secular west at the moment.

Speaker:

You can see people putting pleasure, distraction into tine.

Speaker:

My media.

Speaker:

Any number of things are being elevated in people's lives to the

Speaker:

place of some kind of dieting.

Speaker:

And no one will ever admit this.

Speaker:

Of course, no, one's going to put their hand up and say, you know what?

Speaker:

I am a Neo pagan.

Speaker:

I worship my iPhone.

Speaker:

I wish she had.

Speaker:

I have redone.

Speaker:

Political news websites.

Speaker:

That is my God.

Speaker:

No one says it.

Speaker:

But if it's creeping thing, right.

Speaker:

We will put something in that place.

Speaker:

We'll put food, we'll put a person we'll put.

Speaker:

Finances we'll put promotion.

Speaker:

We will put success and approval.

Speaker:

We're going to stick something somewhere, right.

Speaker:

It's just in our nature to do it.

Speaker:

And you might be listening to this thinking, well, I'd

Speaker:

never do that, Jonathan.

Speaker:

Well, You have congratulations friends, you've kind of reached enlightenment

Speaker:

because the rest of us are doing it and we all have to watch it in ourselves

Speaker:

and I have to watch it in myself.

Speaker:

So the next part of this of course, is he says that when we place the

Speaker:

God of our autonomous self on the throne of the universe, we get to

Speaker:

define the mystery of the universe.

Speaker:

This is something Pope Benedict was very big on.

Speaker:

Pope Benedict said that, you know, That really, if, if you remove God

Speaker:

from the equation, you're, you're, you're better off just pretending

Speaker:

you still exist because you know, We're going to just reshape reality.

Speaker:

And if we're going to do it.

Speaker:

We really want to be doing it on some good principles.

Speaker:

The other thing that Benedict said, that's really important here is that.

Speaker:

If we dethrone God, then we lose the sense of nature.

Speaker:

Of the cosmos of reality itself as a gift.

Speaker:

As something given to us by the creator.

Speaker:

With parameters with objective boundaries and realities.

Speaker:

And then of course we redefine it.

Speaker:

So a lot of what we're seeing in our political discourse around

Speaker:

the ground, the globe really is.

Speaker:

Multiple groups defining truth and defining reality.

Speaker:

And I've often talked about Tom Holland's crucial book, dominion, this

Speaker:

massive Magnum Opus, this scholarly work on the impact of Christianity.

Speaker:

Uh, in, you know, right throughout history.

Speaker:

And he said that really the great thing that Christianity achieved

Speaker:

was this unifying principle.

Speaker:

Was that it unified diverse peoples under one.

Speaker:

Great sort of.

Speaker:

Philosophical anthropology, if you will, a kind of sense of what it meant to be

Speaker:

human and a sense of where we fitted in the cosmos and the boundaries of that.

Speaker:

And that was the genius of Christianity in, in sort of the stability and.

Speaker:

The prosperity and the relative peace that it brought.

Speaker:

So friends, these are great themes.

Speaker:

And I want to bring it back to the reality of your work because each day.

Speaker:

You're really, probably the main touch point for you.

Speaker:

A generation of young people around these great themes of reality.

Speaker:

And if we withdraw from that space, then you're very well aware that that space

Speaker:

is going to be filled by something.

Speaker:

It will be filled by Tik TOK.

Speaker:

It'll be filled by Instagram.

Speaker:

It'll be filled by all different sorts of things that are

Speaker:

going to take their attention.

Speaker:

You know, my daughter was reading to me an email.

Speaker:

She got yesterday.

Speaker:

She's.

Speaker:

Uh, in junior high school and, uh, you know, it was from, um,

Speaker:

somebody, a senior leader at the school who was, uh, Was advertising

Speaker:

a project to rescue a rare animal.

Speaker:

Now that's a good thing, right?

Speaker:

It's no problem with that.

Speaker:

But the language was highly religious.

Speaker:

It was extraordinary to listen to her, read it out.

Speaker:

It was a deeply evangelistic missionary focused sense of.

Speaker:

Uh, how we would relate to this animal and why it was crucial.

Speaker:

And what was the most important thing in reality now, please,

Speaker:

I'm not being cynical.

Speaker:

I'm not criticizing.

Speaker:

It's crucial that we, we take great care of the environment that's in it.

Speaker:

It's a very.

Speaker:

It's fine.

Speaker:

But I was interested in the quasi religious overtones of it that you

Speaker:

could already see that something.

Speaker:

You know, th there's quest for meaning, for purpose for doing something good.

Speaker:

Was infiltrating, I guess, these young person's vision of reality in a

Speaker:

way that faith might once have done.

Speaker:

So I'm trying to be balanced because I don't want to have you sending

Speaker:

me angry emails, but I'm not saying these things aren't important.

Speaker:

I'm saying.

Speaker:

You can see that transference.

Speaker:

And some of you will look around your schools and you can nod

Speaker:

as you listen to me right now because you see it all the time.

Speaker:

And there's a place for all these things, but they come in a hierarchy of realities.

Speaker:

And the first reality is a adoption as sons and daughters of God.

Speaker:

And God's right to define reality and the universe.

Speaker:

And then I, our invitation to cooperate with him in what he's doing.

Speaker:

So there's a lot in that.

Speaker:

Huh?

Speaker:

I've said a lot today.

Speaker:

Um, uh, public has, I've just done a training ride and had a coffee, some film,

Speaker:

pretty excited, but, uh, God bless you.

Speaker:

You know, I really believe as I speak into the studio every

Speaker:

day in the mark here, that.

Speaker:

You really are doing something special because your courageous decision to speak

Speaker:

the truth to young people each day, and to model and witness the love of Christ.

Speaker:

Is just so culturally important right now, be brave because you really are

Speaker:

doing something counter cultural to stand in the gap between a highly

Speaker:

sexualized technocratic culture.

Speaker:

And the, uh, the mystery of the gospel is a challenging thing

Speaker:

to do at this moment in history.

Speaker:

So don't burn yourself out, rely on the graces of the holy spirit

Speaker:

greater is he who is in you.

Speaker:

Then he, who is in the world.

Speaker:

So.

Speaker:

Uh, as my, you know, as always say, Bishop Peter in Idaho taught me,

Speaker:

um, Don't make Jesus unemployed.

Speaker:

Okay.

Speaker:

Don't make Jesus unemployed.

Speaker:

If you're listening to me thinking, well, Jonathan, you ride the welds.

Speaker:

Burned into the ground.

Speaker:

And it's up to me.

Speaker:

Well, yes it is paradoxically.

Speaker:

Yes, it is up to you, but it's not just up to you.

Speaker:

It's up to the holy spirit, working through you and working

Speaker:

through your colleagues.

Speaker:

All right.

Speaker:

I've got to stop.

Speaker:

And I'll go forever today.

Speaker:

God bless you.

Speaker:

My name is Jonathan Doyle.

Speaker:

Please make sure you've subscribed to the podcast.

Speaker:

Hit that big subscribe button, wherever you're listening.

Speaker:

Uh, Spotify, Amazon, Google, apple podcasts, or wherever you

Speaker:

are, come across to the website.

Speaker:

One Catholic teacher.com.

Speaker:

Whole bunch of great stuff there.

Speaker:

Send me an email.

Speaker:

If you need to jonathan@jonathandoyle.co.

Speaker:

Send this to a few friends, let's get this growing.

Speaker:

But thanks again for what you're doing every day my name's jonathan doll.

Speaker:

this has been the catholic teacher daily podcast and i'll have