Bruce Gore is right up my alley.
There are few subjects that I enjoy more than intellectual history. As longtime readers know, I could easily turn this blog into a history blog and have done so on many occasions in the past.
In this video, Bruce Gore traces the roots of the American Revolution back to John Calvin. He explains how Calvin’s belief in the sovereignty of God and total depravity led to the belief that “all men are created equal” which was a strange idea which was unknown in the West before the Early Modern Era.
Calvin, of course, meant that “all men are created equal” in the sense that all men are created in the image of God, but also that all men have been thoroughly corrupted by sin. He believed that human beings are rotten at their core which is why is no one is born better than anyone else. Kings were corrupted by sin. Aristocrats were as rotten and corrupted by sin as anyone else. Calvinists created republics like the Dutch and Swiss republics and the short lived Commonwealth of England.
The key turning point which paved the road to liberalism came in the 17th century when the traditional, negative view of human nature that was rooted in Augustinianism – one that was shared by Catholics, Lutherans and Calvinists during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation – was challenged by the revival of the Pelagian heresy. This is the positive view of human nature which had been marginalized for over a thousand years by St. Augustine. Human beings really aren’t corrupted by Original Sin. Humans are born good. Humanity can be morally perfected. The problem is not the bondage of the will as Luther thought, but society that drags us down and holds us back from creating paradise on earth.
Christianity was holding us back. It was leading us down a blind alley and thwarting progress. We can use reason, science and common sense to create a better world. Not only has The Science and common sense shown that race is a social construct, but we have recently discovered that the “gender binary” is a myth too. Children as young as 4-years-old are “transitioning” into the opposite sex.
“It is an unpopular theme to deny human progress and human improvement. We flatter ourselves that we are more enlightened as well as more moral than the ancients, yet we imitate them in all save the mechanic arts. …
Divest us of our Christian morality, and leave us to our moral philosophy, and we might dread the comparison with any era of the past. We have but one moral code, and that a selfish one; the ancients always had two, one of which was elevated, self-denying and unselfish.”