Magazine January 28, 2019, Issue

Our Spiritual Opioid Crisis

(Carlos Barria/Reuters)
The Idol of Our Age: How the Religion of Humanity Subverts Christianity, by Daniel J. Mahoney (Encounter, 163 pp., $23.99)

Religion, Marx said, is the opiate of the masses. But some drugs are better than others. The religion of our day, writes political philosopher Daniel J. Mahoney, is a “religion of humanity” or even “humanitarianism” and takes not God but man as the measure of all things. It’s not a new religion, really. In The Idea of a University, John Henry Newman called it the “religion of civilization,” noting that it pops up in the ancient world as well as the modern. Mahoney traces its contemporary incarnation (or perhaps excarnation, given its anti-Christian and abstract quality) to the 19th-century philosopher

David P. DeavelMr. Deavel is the editor of Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture and teaches at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

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