From Despair to Light

I read something yesterday which turned over in my mind, but at the same time I felt quite revolted about it. It was someone’s opinion about his refusal of all notion of God or meaning to life. He was not merely absurdist like Albert Camus but a true nihilist. According to this view, we are alone as living creatures in a vast, cold, dead and hostile universe. The person expressed his idea that suicide was a legitimate way out of the depression and utter boredom of it all, or at least inventing our own meaning based on pleasure and getting what we can get out of the world whilst we are still here. The more we think of it, the more this nihilism is offensive and conducive to madness.

We are confronted with the mystery of death, and the nihilist’s conviction that nothing lies beyond it. We pass from existence to inexistence. The thoughts wandered through my mind as I wondered if any other philosophy of life than nihilism was an illusion, wishful thinking. If anything, materialism is an illusion. Matter is only the product of consciousness and energy, and some branches of science come close to proving this when moving away from Newtonian physics to quantum theory.

I was on the verge of letting this subject go and not writing anything, when I discovered Michael Martin’s Romanticism, the Nones, and the Future of Christianity. My own attraction to Romanticism and Platonic metaphysics long predated my discovery of Mr Martin’s site centred on the theme of Σοφία, often symbolised by Mary the mother of Jesus and Θεοτόκος by virtue of the Communication of Idioms, the principle of the theological discipline of Christology that establishes the divinity of Christ. The Holy Wisdom is much more than even Our Lady.

This article reflects so many of my own intuitions over the past few years. The first is that Romanticism is not dead. Michael Martin, like myself, sees an almost perfect analogy and comparison between the period 1790 to 1830 and the same years two centuries later. We are concerned about the same anti-human forces in this world, the nihilism I described above, and that love which is expressed in beauty, art, poetry and the sublime degree to which human beings can come into communion and symbiosis.

He goes into the influence of Jacob Böhme’s mysticism on Nicholas Berdyaev, Novalis and Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin among others. We also find a convergence of Sophiology and Gnosticism.

Some of the Romantics denied Christianity and the God of churches – but not all. This is why I have focused my own attention on William Blake and Novalis. It is impossible to discuss these two men without bringing Christianity into the equation.

There is meaning to life and we are not “biological machines” with no soul. Michael Martin finds little of interest in the institutional churches, most of which leave me with a strong feeling of nausea. Churches are crumbling like all institutions like education, politics and business. Groupthink is incapable of appealing to idealistic and noble minds!

Romantia Christiana is here, and I have given this name to my YouTube channel. I am a priest and I serve the small Anglican Catholic Church under the direct jurisdiction of its Metropolitan, Archbishop Mark Haverland. The lovely thing about a small Church is that it lacks top-heavy bureaucracy and the death-wish characteristic of the so-called “mainstream” Churches. I try to give another dimension of Christianity through music and a philosophy of “universal love” shared between the teachings of Christ, Buddhism and Hinduism. Buddhists call loving kindness Metta, an attitude of universal love that is radiated to all living beings in the world without discrimination. I cannot but suggest that the future of Christianity belongs to minds influenced by Romanticism and the Platonic transcendentals of beauty, truth and goodness, three components of perfect love.

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