My brother in the priesthood Fr Jonathan Munn has summed things up rather well in The Lie of Progress. I posted a comment there, which I quote here (with a couple of slight tweaks):
Ideas are converging because you and I are getting to the bottom of the excesses of the Enlightenment and so-called “realist” materialism.
I have been finding some of the worst examples of the “Utopia” of which you speak. Stephen Hawking died yesterday. I can’t judge what happened to him, but what is sure is that it is not what he expected. He discovered consciousness and eternal life without machines, without human pride.
Take technology out of the picture, we are back in those chilling days of the 1790’s, the Terror and the emergence of Napoleon. Reason is good, but it must work with the heart and the imagination, with faith and love. We are conscious and spiritual human beings, and evidence suggests that all nature is endowed with these gifts of God’s Logos. We arrive at another end of the Enlightenment, and I am doing all I can to contribute to a new Idealist and Romantic movement to bring culture and humanity to Christ and the Kingdom within.
That “Enlightenment” is the one that takes every technological invention and makes it into a weapon of war! The world of Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins is no more than that of Reichsführer Himmler and Dr Mengele. Hawking is now dead, and Dawkins will also be when his time is up, as for you and I. Supposing they did find a way to prolong bodily life indefinitely, it would be available only to the stinking rich and most other people would have to be killed to make place (Lebensraum) for the new Ubermensch. Thank God for death, because each of us can only take so much! If this world has to be run according to such principles, not only do I not fear death, but I yearn for it – that I may do God’s will here and move on to a better world.
Hawking’s idea of finding another planet to live on is a complete illusion. If there is one, and it were possible to get there, the chances are that human “refugees” wouldn’t be welcome. It’s all academic and pseudo quack science. It’s all speculation and belief. If man did live on another planet, what happened to Earth would happen to it too. Anyway, the distances for beings existing in time and space make such an idea impossible. It would take thousands of years assuming that near light speed became possible.
We have to be ourselves, human, in order to relate to God and the natural world we live in and are called to preserve as best we can. We can’t roll back science and technology, but we can set reason in its human context of beings with hearts, imagination and emotions. We don’t need a planet millions of light years away – if it exists – but the Kingdom within ourselves. There’s no need to go anywhere in a rocket! We need a new Christian humanism, a new Idealist movement and “new hearts for old” as in one of the prophetic lessons of yesterday’s Lenten Mass. Then there will be hope.
That a number of us are converging brings me considerable joy and hope. Christian Idealism and Romanticism have been around for a long time and have not converted the world, but the message like Christianity itself remains. Each of us is born and dies at the time God appoints for us. This alone makes us stand out from those who maintain the illusion of earthly immortality and “post-humanism”. I feel sorry for those who cannot accept the inevitable that is common to us all.
Those of us who follow the liturgy of Lent will be in tune with these notions and our Sehnsucht for God, the Transitus Domini and the land flowing with milk and honey.