Exact predictions about the future are almost impossible to make. For
example, nobody knows on what day the next war will begin, or what the
outcome will be. It has been jokingly said that one must never make
predictions, especially about the future. But there are future happenings
that can be foretold in advance.
It shouldn’t surprise us to learn that scientists have worked out the exact
time of tomorrow’s sunset and sunrise, according to the calendar. In fact,
planetary charts show the position of planets years in advance. This is
possible because stellar movements are part of a repeating pattern.
The seasons also can be predicted. They come and go one after the other, in
regular succession. Human life, as well, follows a cycle. The baby becomes a
boy and the boy becomes a man. Finally, there is old age and death.
Therefore, the largest fact about our life — where we are ultimately
headed — is known in advance. Each one of us will die.
This is genuine foreknowledge.
What we know about the future is based on our knowledge of the past. All
men are mortal. Therefore, all men will die. When will they die?
Thankfully, we do not have charts to tell us the day and the hour of our
Wherever we see a repeating pattern, prediction becomes possible. We notice
that history also repeats itself. We see patterns in social change, in the
rise and fall of empires. We also know that periods of peace are always
followed — in history — by periods of war.
Two weeks ago I was a guest on a radio program here in Northern California.
The radio host had conscientiously read my book, Origins of the Fourth
World War, and he was puzzled by it. “By what authority,” he asked, “do
you say that future world wars are inevitable?”
My answer went something like this: What if you claimed, in A.D. 500, that
mankind had outgrown war? What if you claimed, in A.D. 1000, that peace had
finally arrived on earth? How sensible is it to claim, in 1999, that war is
obsolete? In the last 5,500 years there have been over 14,000 wars. Man has
always made war, and he always will.
“But we’ve changed,” protested the show’s host.
Yes, we’ve changed — for the worst. The human race has entered into a
period of decline. Elevation of thought and nobility of soul have almost
disappeared from our midst. Our increased scientific knowledge has only made
us arrogant. For all our alleged sophistication we remain ignorant, foolish,
and worse. Crime and depravity have been increasing for decades. To prove
this I might present a long list of statistics. But even our statistics have
Even our science cannot be trusted. A better proof of our decline is found
in our principal entertainment — the movies.
I recently had the misfortune of seeing a film entitled “Dogma.” In 41 years
of living on this planet I have never seen such a register of spiritual
decay. The film’s cynicism is boundless, its blasphemy is unprecedented, and
its sacrilege gives testimony to the sorry state of its spiritually sick
Allegedly written and directed by a practicing Catholic, this movie depicts
angels as foul-mouthed alcohol-craving psychopaths. The movie’s lead
character is a divorced Catholic who works at an abortion clinic. It gives
us a leering buffoon as an apostle of Christ. It depicts Almighty God as a
ditzy woman. The narrative is sex-obsessed and trivial.
This movie is a box office hit. People are flocking to see it, and here our
degradation is revealed. Anyone who approves of this film is a public
menace. Even atheists should be offended by it.
But an even more subversive film — dangerous because of its subtlety — is
“The Messenger.” It is about Joan of Arc. Shamefully, the film belittles the
hero, casting doubt on her divine inspiration, psychologizing her motives by
reinventing her childhood.
The image of a teenage girl in armor, riding a warhorse alongside veteran
generals, is something strange and terrible. Joan of Arc’s victory against
impossible odds should inspire us with awe. Her fulfilled prophecies are
among the best documented in history. But a hero of this type must be
deconstructed. She stands in the way of our modern prejudices. There is a
malicious desire — in the modern mind — to shrink her down and explain her
away. Our own smallness and meanness require this. We cannot tolerate a
hero. Such people expose the raw nerve of our culture’s shriveled, envious
Thomas Carlyle, an English writer of the 19th century, wrote that hero
worship is “the most solacing fact one sees in the world at present. There
is an everlasting hope in it for the management of the world.”
But where is hero worship today, at the end of the 20th century? Our respect
for great things has collapsed. We no longer know what a hero is. We have
no great leaders — only pygmies. The qualities that make greatness are no
longer taught to our children. Those who were used as models of goodness are
ridiculed. One of history’s greatest heroes — Joan of Arc — is now
depicted as a vengeful schizophrenic. More than five centuries ago she was
burnt at the stake as a witch. Now she is burnt a second time — by modern
Our movies are symptoms of a deep sickness. A popular movie — like
“Dogma” — reveals the newfound immorality of the populace. Meanwhile, the
deconstruction of a heroic person — in “The Messenger” — reveals the
bankruptcy of our cultural elite. These are infallible indications of things
Those who believe it is “peace in our time” are deluded. They live in a
pathetic fantasy of their own construction. They do not suspect that today’s
moral wasteland precedes an actual wasteland — a landscape of rubble and
death. Oh yes, destruction is coming because we have courted it. We have
made love to it.
Our well-foddered, famous wise ones believe that pygmy leaders can keep
Western civilization safe. They imagine that a malicious disrespect for
greatness can continue unpunished. They imagine we can survive without
heroes and without religion.
But history’s theme is clear. Depravity leads to destruction.