Materialism v Spiritualism::

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How Will Future Historians Judge

 the End of the 20th Century?


by Dr. Julio A. Gonzalo

Escuela Politécnica Superior, Universidad San Pablo CEU, Montepríncipe

Madrid, Spain

and Departamento de Física de Materiales, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Madrid, Spain, e-mail:


According to Stanley L. Jaki, the great Hungarian-American historian of science, history, i.e. temporary or permanent victory, will be at the side of those who have the capacity to put into practice the most apt instruments to develop a more advanced society, a society capable of putting itself well above the rest. This was true in the past regarding local conflicts, but it became more evident globally in the twentieth century, when the development of the most apt instruments became clearly connected with advanced technologies dependent of the most exact sciences.

Herodotus, Xenophon and Polybius, the pioneers of historiography who were consummate analysts of the past in classical times, did not ask themselves whether history had a direction or a particular meaning. In particular, when the latter faced the conquest of Greece by Rome (a nation of barbarians for Polybius) he put history for the moment on the side of the Romans, but he pointed out that, in the end, the Romans will fall down themselves because no society, no army is above the law of history, which for Polybius, as for all ancient Greeks, was the law of the wheel or swastikas the inevitable sequence of birth, progress, decadence and death, alternating again and again one after the other.


In a Christian perspective, history will be, at the end, on the side of God. It is increasingly evident however that the Christian foundations of Western Civilization are already under attack since the middle of the Eighteenth Century, specially so in Europe and America since the last third of the Twentieth Century. All Pagan Civilizations, as clearly illustrated by Stanley Jaki, share the belief in an eternal world in which everything repeats itself without end. The Judeo Christian tradition on the other hand affirms from the very beginning an origin and an end for the world. Modern science, the only viable science, has arrived in the 20th century to the concept of Big Bang Cosmos which implies an origin and an end of space-time in a finite universe. Of course there are contemporary cosmologists who try to escape the inescapable implications of this, which entail a contingent, finite, created universe. But they are far from capable of being able to do it in a consistent fashion (logically and metaphysically).


Marxism / Leninism = Dialectic Materialism, Darwinism = Evolutionary Materialism, Nazism / Fascism = Racist / Deterministic Materialism, have dominated the cultural landscape of Europe and the world during most of the Twentieth Century.


The three are materialist, the three deny an immanent-transcendent Creator of the world, and the three dismiss a spiritual dimension in man. Soviet Communism, defeated after a long cold war, has left a bloody heritage of one hundred million victims, Materialist Darwinists, assuming that the Earth is overpopulated, through contraceptive pills and abortions are now suppressing many millions of human lives every year, and Nazism did suppress sixteen million innocent lives, in a decade (1934-1944).


The “progress” promoted by Marxists, Darwinists and national socialists has been (and still is) a very bloody “progress”.


How can the trivialization of provoked abortion be called “progress” ? How can the fact that more than one third of the youth today consumes drugs be seen as “progress”? How can sex “contra natura” be considered normal? Many innocent children come to the age of reason today in a world without moral reference of good and evil. A world in which everything seems to be valid. A world in which a man, like a fish, seems to be guided only by instinct: the large fish devours the small fish. A world in which right and wrong are not objective categories but subjective concepts used to tergiversate and insult the adversary.


Since the Christian medieval époque till relatively recent times Classical Greco-Roman wisdom and the Mosaic Decalogue have been the reference frame of the basic legislation, the uses and the costumes in Europe and America. In particular, as pointed out by the American Monk Fr. M. Raymond, O.C.S.O., religious freedom landed in America bringing persecuted English Catholics in the “Ark” and the “Dove” before the “Mayflower” brought persecuted Puritans. American democratic freedom as registered in the Constitution does not proceed originally from Thomas Jefferson. It proceeds from earlier medieval scholastics, such as the Jesuits Francisco Suarez and Cardinal Belarmino and the Dominican Francisco Vitoria, professor of Philosophy at Paris and at Salamanca, who was the father of International Law. The building of the United Nations in New York did recognize Vitoria’s contribution by dedicating to him a special room.


In the first decades of the 21th century things are changing radically. The United Nations, the O.I.T. (International Organization of Work), the International Red Cross, to mention only a few international organizations of the highest rank, declare themselves “formally neutral” but are in fact clearly hostile to the Christian way of life which is based on the natural rights as inscribed by the Creator in human conscience and encapsulated in the Ten Commandments. The large billionaire American and European foundations, for reasons not too clear to the ordinary observer, are not neutral either. They seem to favor progressive criteria (in fact, agnostic and atheistic criteria) hostile to the Christian way of life. Today fiscal exemptions to the humanitarian, medical and charitable help provided by Orthodox Christian organizations (including the Catholic Church), are conditioned and reduced as much as possible, while pro-abortion international organizations, like “Planned Parenthood” (which not only is against responsible motherhood and fatherhood  but increasingly active in making money, a lot of money selling the byproducts of massive abortions), are given massive support and protection by the UN and other international organizations.


People have not yet become well aware that the considerable increase in world population which took place in the second half of the 20th century was a consequence of the increase in life expectancy, associated to a considerable decrease in the rate of mortality, and not to an increase in women’s fertility, totally inexistent in 1950-2000.


Forty years from now, by the middle of the 21th century (demographic tendencies have considerable inertia) world population is expected to decrease with unwelcome consequences, to say the least, for the world at large.


Careful analysis of the evolution of world population in terms of birth rate (BR) and death rate (DR) and the evolution of available food, water and energy show that world population could be at least twenty of thirty times the present population of seven billion people (see for instance in world population: Past, Present and Future (World Scientific 2016)). In fact food production due to the “green revolution” has increased much more than population worldwide in 1950-2000.


Christopher Dawson (1889-1970) the great British historian, unequaled in the 20th century as an historian of culture, pointed out that Renaissance humanism can be regarded as the fountainhead of the noblest aesthetic and ethical ideals of civilized man. Such ideals have been besieged for many years by a ruthless materialism which has been degrading progressively the human spirit. At the beginning of the 21th Century, a couple of decades after the fall of soviet Communism in Russia, the degradation is becoming more and more evident. In “Christianity and the New Age” (Reprinted by Sophia Institute Press: Manchester, New Hampshire, 1985) Dawson tells why humanism did succumb to the inexorable force of its own inner contradictions. The real source of its transcendent values was obviously Christianity, which alone possesses still the spiritual dynamism necessary to keep those values alive.


Men of the Renaissance rejected their dependence on the supernatural and vindicated their supremacy in the temporal order. The self-affirmation of man leads gradually to the denial of the spiritual foundations of his freedom. Freedom to know intellectually beyond the level of the senses, and freedom to love personally beyond the level of the instincts. In philosophy this leads to the rationalism of Descartes, to the empiricism of Locke, to the radical skepticism of Hume, and from there to the rank subjectivism of Kant, Fichte and Hegel.


In science, the growth of man’s control over nature was accompanied by a growing sense of human dependence on the material forces. Science, however, is nothing else than the intellectual penetration of scientists (a few geniuses and large number of ordinary researchers) on the ordinary laws of nature, and it is therefore not “materialistic” in itself. Science, as a human endeavor, is the result of using the human intellect freely, laboriously and successfully, to discover nature´s secrets. Man’s intellect, man’s will and man’s freedom are therefore involved in doing science.

In economics the independence from the supernatural and the supremacy of the temporal, leading to materialism, ends in the subjection of man to the rule of the machine, i.e., in the mechanization of human life. At the end, economic progress will be viewed as nothing else than the struggle among classes propounded by Marx and Lenin. In the aftermath of the Second World War, however, social security and ordered competition under freedom, demonstrated abundantly that precisely free ordered competition combined with social security is much better for ordinary workers both in Western Europe and America, than the war of classes.


In the political and social sphere, on the other hand, the rejection of the medieval principle of hierarchy, and the unlimited increase of secular power, lead to the absolutism of the modern national state, capable of going much further in practice than a feudalism tempered by workers guilds, municipal representation and the cultural influence of free universities, still ruled by Christian Catholic principles.


Behind all religion and spiritual philosophy there is a metaphysical first step, the affirmation of Being. Behind materialism, on the other hand, there is only a metaphysical negation, the denial of Being. As a young and competent Spanish lawyer (J.A. Primo de Rivera) said, only two years before Marxist-Leninists bullets ended with his life in November 1936, justice and truth ceased to be objective categories of reason when Jean Jacques Rousseau declared them to be so in the “Social Contract” (1762).


Let us take a look to the socio political trends discernible today in North America (USA), Europe, China, Russia and the Islamic World. Socio-political trends can change of course but in the long run fatal determinism is never granted in human affairs. But significant trends, however, if they go on unchecked for a long time must be taken seriously.


Table I gives the trend in Population (109) and in Gross Income ($ 1012) for the World, USA, Europe, China, Islam and Russia for 1992-2016.


Table II gives this umber of Christians, Muslims and Atheist in the World for 1992-2016.


As noted by William Kilpatrick in “Christianity, Islam and Atheism” in today’s America, and more so in today’s Europe, “Multiculturalism” is the official policy of the State, a kind of quasi-religious establishment, hostile to the classical Christian heritage based upon Greco-Roman wisdom, the Old Testament , the four Gospels and the New Testament.


To recover freedom in America, Europe and the World at large, relativistic “multiculturalism” must be defeated: There is no other way out.


Table I.                      Global demographic & economic trends 1992-2016

Population (109) Gross Income ($ 1012) (*)















Gross Inc.












Gross Inc.












Gross Inc.












Gross Inc.












Gross Inc.












Gross Inc.






(*)       Data taken form Encyclopedia Britannica, Book of the Year

(**)     Data for Islam from Global Data on Religious Adherents (E.B.)

            Figures are rounded and may be shifted one or more years back.



Table II.         Christians, Muslims and Atheists in the World 1992-2016 (*)







Christians  (109)





Muslims  (109)





Atheists  (109)






(*)       Data taken form Encyclopedia Britannica, Book of the Year.

            Figures are rounded and may be shifted one or more years back.


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