Naming the Heresy

From an email to a friend …

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I keep searching for the name of the general attitude that unites liberal Catholics (including some bishops and cardinals) with the gender-bending secularists of our day.  I’m trying to find a better word than “Modernism”, which is too vague and has lost most of its punch.  The key mistaken belief of the liberalists / nihilists seems to be that we create meaning, we don’t discover it.  But what’s the word for that belief, and for a life lived in accord with that belief?
Here’s a phrase that works from an article on a website called Areo …

In Plato’s Theaetetus, Socrates inferred that the major weakness of philodoxy is the inevitable capitulation to crowd-speak. Specifically, Socrates made fun of Protagoras’s homo-mensura, which asserts, “Man is the measure of all things.” For clarity’s sake, the homo-mensura can be interpreted as this: “The human-animal’s perceptions and opinions determine the value of all things.” According to Socrates, Protagoras may as well have asserted, “Pig is the measure of all things,” or, “Baboon is the measure,” since those creatures also possess “the power of perception.” Protagoras, foiled by his own maxim, is “no better authority than a tadpole, let alone any other man.” If Protagoras’s homo-mensura is truly so weak, why does anyone bother to uphold it? One possible answer: it makes crowds happy. As the ancient progenitor of truthiness and alternative facts, the homo-mensura helps sophists win over audiences. “Everyone’s opinions are meaningful and valuable! You can decide on any scientific, political or artistic subject for yourself!” (Cue applause.) The worst effect of the homo-mensura is that it renders futile any attempt to examine or refute “each other’s ostentations and judgements,” for each individual demands respect and narcissistic recognition. “This is surely an extremely tiresome piece of nonsense,” Socrates decided.

For “Everyone’s opinions are meaningful and valuable! You can decide on any scientific, political or artistic subject for yourself!” (Cue applause) substitute, “Your individual situation determines the morality of your actions!  You can decide what is right and what is wrong!  For God Himself is asking you to put yourself in that position!  It’s what He wants!” (Cue applause.)
When Man becomes the Measure of all things, then God no longer sets the bar.  In fact, for all practical purposes, God no longer exists.  We can ignore His teaching on adultery or on anything at all.  He does not set the measure.  We do.
Because, we are homo-mensurists, and because, we are secretly certain, we are God.
Kevin O'Brien
Kevin O'Brien is the founder and artistic director of the Theater of the Word Incorporated, which tours the world evangelizing through drama. He and his actors appear on several EWTN television programs, with video clips featured on O'Brien's website, www.stgenesius.net. Kevin teaches many online classes for Homeschool Connections and writes a regular column for the St. Austin Review. His autobiography, A Bad Actor's Guide to the Meaning of Life, will be published soon by ACS Press.

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