It is always dreadful to hear that National Socialism is a regression to barbarism, to the Dark Ages, to the times before the more recent advances towards humanism, without the speaker’s sensing that the secularisation of life, which the concept of humanism brought with it, is precisely the soil in which anti-Christian religious movements such as National Socialism could grow. The religious question is taboo for these secularizing minds. And to pose it seriously and radically seems suspect to them – perhaps even a barbarism and return to the Dark Ages.
That’s a fascinating quote because, although my immediate instinct is to disagree with it, it’s hard, in the light of what occurred in Europe within months of Voegelin writing that, to argue against it. Rationalists who cannot countenance any semblance of the spiritual or supernatural would do well to consider this point. The fact that Dawkins or I, for example, do not believe in trans-mundane powers is to some extent irrelevant, because there is something hardwired into the human brain which appears to require them. And, if God is killed, human beings will replace him with something else. In 1930s Germany it was a new political religion called National Socialism.