Ellul’s Religious World

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Never have people believed as much, everything and nothing. The modern world is above all else a religious world. It is loaded with religions–communism, Maoism, nationalism, revolution–all are purely and specifically religious attitudes. The modern world is not really secularized, in spite of all the absurd ballyhoo based on a whole series of misconceptions, and on an extremely superficial analysis. This is essentially a world of the sacred. The political enemy is “damned.” Wars are ideological wars, that is to say, wars of religion. Social movements are sacred. Revolution is an act of God. Technology belongs to the domain of the sacred, and science even more so. The most that can be said is that modern humans have completely desacralized the natural environment, they have transferred all the sacred to the cultural and the social. One need only observe the entranced state of those who talk revolution, or the complete irrationality of discourses on politics, irrespective of the specific question under discussion. The modern world is overflowing with myths. It is constantly producing myth, but they are no longer the same myths as before, and they no longer come by the same process. This contradicts the superficial view that humanity, attached to ancestral forms of myth, is being demythologized. We are caught up in the development myths (and those of underdevelopment), in the myths of self-management and growth, as well as in the myths of fascism and imperialism. World and humanity are crammed with faith, with religion, with belief, with mythology.

Jacques Ellul, Essential Spiritual Writings, p. 40

Right on, Ellul.

These words, sourced from Hope in Time of Abandonment, were written in 1972.

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