Mahoney Lecture - The Idol of Our Age | Benedictine College

Mahoney Lecture - The Idol of Our Age

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Idol of Our Age Book Cover - MahoneyDaniel J. Mahoney, the Augustine Chair of Distinguished Studies and Professor of Politics at Assumption College, will present a public lecture on his latest book, The Idol of Our Age: How the Religion of Humanity Subverts Christianity, on Wednesday, March 20, at 7:30 p.m., in the McAllister Board Room, located on the fourth floor of the Ferrell Academic Center. This lecture is sponsored by the Victims of Communism and the Honors Program.

Mahoney received his B.A. from the College of Holy Cross and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Catholic University of America in political science. In 1999, Professor Mahoney was the recipient of the prestigious Prix Raymond Aron. He is the editor of Perspectives on Political Science. A renowned expert on French political philosophy, his books also include the critically acclaimed Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Ascent from Ideology.

“Daniel Mahoney is one of those true intellectuals whose wide reading feeds into and is fed by his experience of life. The world he lives in is a world illuminated by books, and one in which books are also put to the test. Few writers today are so aware of the pervasive influence of ideas, especially among those who have no ability to grasp them. In this study of the religion of humanity, propagated by Auguste Comte, but now the source of a thousand escape-routes from the burden of responsible existence, Mahoney shows the great damage done by forgetting that man is made in God’s image. His devastating criticisms of the self-congratulatory sentimentalism of Pope Francis are backed up with refined studies of thinkers who today are unjustly neglected, partly because they saw what is at stake in the religion of humanity: the American Catholic convert Orestes Brownson, the Russian social thinker Vladimir Soloviev, and the Hungarian phenomenologist Aurel Kolnai―all three of them at odds with the humanism of their day. Those thinkers do not agree about the alternative to humanitarian ways of thinking, but, as Mahoney shows, they are united in their belief that being human consists in the search for something higher than the human. I recommend this book to all who share that belief, and who want to know exactly why it should be adhered to.”
―Roger Scruton, writer and philosopher

“With rare clarity, The Idol of Our Age exposes the degree to which a post-political, post-Christian humanism has acquired quasi-religious status in contemporary Western societies to the detriment of authentic political life. Like a Paul Revere of the spirit, Daniel Mahoney sounds an alarm that should be heeded by all who are concerned about maintaining the indispensable cultural conditions for common life in a decent polity.”
―Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University

“Christ said: ‘Ye are the salt of the Earth, love your enemies.’ The new humanitarian religion says: ‘Ye should be the sugar of the Earth, you have no enemies.’ This spiritual diabetes affects Christians, too, and deprives them of any possibility of action. The new idol is all the more dangerous that it apes Christian charity and tries to replace it. As a diagnosis, and proposal of a cure, Dr. Mahoney draws upon the insights of Orestes Brownson and the great Russians Soloviev and Solzhenitsyn, as well as the little-known Hungarian Aurel Kolnai. By unmasking the ‘Religion of Humanity’ as the soft version of the old enemy of mankind, Dr. Mahoney gives us a precious help for us to exorcize it.”
―Rémi Brague, professor emeritus of philosophy, University of Paris, University of Munich