A slickly organized fair took place in early November in Brussels. In better times, this would be the beginning of the Christmas market season when people buy gifts for their children, and prepare for the Nativity of our long-awaited Savior. But the essence of this fair was quite different—even antithetical to the Christmas spirit. Instead of gifts for children, children themselves were for sale. Author Grzegorz Górny on the website Remix writes:
“A two-day long international child expo took place in Brussels over the weekend. No, this isn’t about an expo for products for children, but trading actual, real children in the form of surrogacy.
“The event conducted by the pro-LGBT Men Having Babies organization has an itinerant character, with the organization moving to different locales to promote its activities on a regular basis…
“The goods being sold are children and the buyers are rich gay men who can afford to spend between $90,000 to $150,000.”
At this market, gay couples moseyed from booth to booth and discussed pricing. The price list would include things like the transfer of male and female gametes, the nine-month rental of a woman’s womb, and travel expenses for the inextricable owner of that womb.
“Due to the pandemic, the expo has a hybrid character—some of it is in-person while other parts are conducted online. Gay couples are invited to booths to check out prospectuses, and given the wide selection of products, it appears that many have difficulty even making up their minds. You can choose a race, gender, hair, eye color, and other attributes for the child.
“Women are being treated like broodmares because that is their only job. No one is asking for their opinions, feelings, dreams, or plans. They’re simply females whose usefulness has been reduced to the uterus.
“Everything points to a new battle in the cultural war, this time concerning the legalization of surrogacy.
“The fair takes place in Brussels despite commercial surrogacy being banned in the country. In all reality, if such deals are being made and uteri are being used like incubators, then it is clear this law no longer has any relevancy.”
The price lists remind us that no one becomes a surrogate mother in order to experience the pains and joys of childbirth. Europe has become a marketplace for surrogate mothers simply because so many women from Eastern Europe or other low-income nations are utterly impoverished and ready to do this for money. They are basically selling their reproductive organs into slavery, at the inevitable expense of their own physical and psychological, not to mention spiritual, well-being. And the happy, rich gay couples are ready to take advantage of their poverty.
One gets the impression that hardly anyone is batting an eye at this outrage. After all, children are being sold for money. Everyone has been groomed to believe that the “happiness” of these open practitioners of a sexuality that cannot produce babies is more important than the impoverished Eastern European, Asian, or African women—in fact more important than their children.
“There is no doubt that we’re dealing with a form of enslaving women and human trafficking. Surrogacy tramples on human dignity in every aspect. It is likely that nearly all the women involved would not freely agree to being a broodmare and giving birth to a child for gay couples if they were not forced to do so by tragic financial situations,” writes Górny. “What is in reality the debasement of women and instrumentalization of children is being presented by the media as a great good and human right. Sentimental stories about celebrities, such as Elton John or Ricky Martin, who bought children from surrogacy and proudly display them are meant to legitimize this shameful procedure… It very well might be that surrogacy—the enslavement of women and child trade—[just as “pro-choice” abortion] will be considered a human right and thousands will go out onto the streets to protect that right at some point in the near future.”
So, why are we not surprised? How did we get to such a pass where so few of us even feel revolted by this? In order to arrive at an explanation, we can begin by reading the book by Eugene (Fr. Seraphim) Rose entitled, Nihilism. The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age. This book is widely read even by secular professors of philosophy, and is cited in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Nihilism.
Nihilism comes from the Latin word, “nihil” meaning “nothing”—that which does not exist. The philosophy of Nihilism is traced back to the Skeptics, who believed that nothing can be proved as certain. Because they denied the possibility of certainty, Skeptics could denounce traditional truths as unjustifiable opinions. This kind of thinking would find resonance in post-medieval Europe. The French Revolution, for example was spearheaded by the Jacobin philosophy of the need to completely dismantle the old system and replace it with a radically new structure.
The early Russian revolutionaries, anarchists such as Mikhail Bakunin, took this destructive philosophy even further. “Let us put our trust in the eternal spirit,” Bakunin wrote, “which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unsearchable and eternally creative source of all life–the passion for destruction is also a creative passion!” The movement advocated a social arrangement based on rationalism and materialism as the sole source of knowledge and individual freedom as the highest goal. By rejecting man’s spiritual essence in favor of a solely materialistic one, nihilists denounced God and religious authority as antithetical to freedom.1 Bakunin encompassed what would come to be known as two classifications of Nihilism: political nihilism, which calls for the complete destruction of the existing political, social, and religious order as a prerequisite for any future improvement; and ethical nihilism, which rejects the possibility of absolute moral or ethical values. Instead, according to the nihilist, good and evil are nebulous, and values addressing such are the product of nothing more than social and emotive pressures.2
But probably the most famous proponent of nihilism was Friedrich Nietzsche, whose life ended in insanity. Nietzsche both feared active nihilism and supported it as a necessity. He wrote, “Every belief, every considering something-true, is necessarily false because there is simply no true world.” “Nihilism is… not only the belief that everything deserves to perish; but one actually puts one’s shoulder to the plough; one destroys” (from his book, Will to Power).
Nietzsche argued that all of European civilization needs to be scrutinized through the lens of nihilism, so that all the moral norms would be shown to be myths. Nihilism, he thought, would have to destroy all those norms in order for mankind to come out on the other end.
“What I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism… For some time now our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end… (Will to Power).
It is clear to us that Nietzsche’s prediction has come true; the first things that comes to mind for most in this regard are the bloody revolution in Russia and Hitler’s attempt to annihilate whole races, based on rational, material precepts. Nevertheless, Nietzsche praised nihilism as the only way out for mankind:
“I praise, I do not reproach, [nihilism’s] arrival. I believe it is one of the greatest crises, a moment of the deepest self-reflection of humanity. Whether man recovers from it, whether he becomes master of this crisis, is a question of his strength. It is possible…” (Complete Works Vol. 13)
Meanwhile, the movers of nihilistic philosophy, who are willing to implement this precarious experiment with total disregard for results on the ground, are still quite active in the social, ethical, and moral spheres. The pilons of our Christian civilization have been and are being pulled up one by one. After all, the institution of the family is a fundamental part of Christian civilization, and this ancient institution has always been understood as consisting of one man and one woman, with their own children if the Lord blesses. Isn’t the current trend of smashing this institution to pieces a manifestation of modern nihilism?
Fr. Seraphim (Rose) very succinctly identified the stages of nihilistic movements in society, from Liberalism, to Realism, to Vitalism, and finally to the definitive stage of the Nihilism of Destruction. He identifies Liberalism as a passive nihilism, a breeding ground for advanced stages of it, and an indispensable prerequisite for the appearance of nihilist phenomena.3 Realism he defines as various forms of “naturalism” and “positivism”—in its simplest form, materialism and determinism. It is the concept behind “not finding a human soul in an autopsy” and the notion that mankind will ultimately be saved by science. Vitalism, the next stage, is a reaction to the vagueness of Liberalism and the sterility of Realism. But because it still rejects the divinely revealed Truth of Christianity, it is a cure worse than the disease. This would include all the “mystical searches” and so forth, with no return to Western civilization’s Christian roots. “There is no form of Vitalism that is not naturalistic, none whose approach to any other world is anything but a parody. The path of Nihilism, let us note again, has been ‘progressive’; the errors of one of its stages are repeated and multiplied in its next stage.”4
We’ve offered this brief explanation of Nihilism in order to point out that such events as Belgium’s Child Fair, where homosexuals—who already personify the destruction of Christian morals—come to choose blonde, slant-eyed, or black babies, purchasing them as on a futures market, renting the womb and buying the gamete of a woman they don’t know and may never meet, is quite obviously part of the nihilist project, possibly the Vitalist stage. Already weary with each other, these “couples” are seeking a new “life” to make them feel alive and to justify their illicit “love”. Although, this may be a justification only to themselves, since most Europeans have willy-nilly already started accepting their way of life. Meanwhile, Destructive Nihilism is already clearly in play at the abortion clinics, where babies are classified as a defective commodity that has to be deposed of.
Whether we recognize it or not, such things as LGBT, abortion, and other deviations from God’s laws are manifestations in our society of political, ethical, and destructive nihilism.
Alan Pratt, the author of the entry on Nihilism in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, follows the chronology of nihilism to postmodernity. He shows that nihilism—that is, the destruction and rejection of our Christian civilizational norms—has become an accepted fact that people are expected to cheerfully abide.
“In The Banalization of Nihilism (1992) Karen Carr discusses the antifoundationalist response to nihilism. Although it still inflames a paralyzing relativism and subverts critical tools, ‘cheerful nihilism’ carries the day, she notes, distinguished by an easy-going acceptance of meaninglessness. Such a development, Carr concludes, is alarming. If we accept that all perspectives are equally non-binding, then intellectual or moral arrogance will determine which perspective has precedence. Worse still, the banalization of nihilism creates an environment where ideas can be imposed forcibly with little resistance, raw power alone determining intellectual and moral hierarchies. It’s a conclusion that dovetails nicely with Nietzsche’s, who pointed out that all interpretations of the world are simply manifestations of will-to-power.”
This encapsulates the reason for our general passivity in the face growing evil. These new norms are being forced on us, and we are trying to remain cheerful about it. However, we as Christians must not accept these precepts voiced by such “prophets” as Nietzsche and his witting and unwitting followers. As Fr. Seraphim (Rose) through his writings and his life as an Orthodox Christian and monastic ascetic tells us, at the other end of this nihilistic tunnel is no new order, but an old one—the order of the devil and his fallen angels, who were also at the beginning of the tunnel and have been inspiring such “thinkers” all along in order to bring us to this seeming impasse and lull us into giving up and acceding to Nihilism as something banal. Whatever is going on around us, we have the choice of accepting it or not. It is not possible to destroy true Christian morals in us if we don’t agree to that destruction, because these morals come from Christ Who is the Source of all Life. Christ our God is indestructible. His Resurrection should have put an end to all discussion of what needs or does not need to be destroyed for the sake of mankind. Nevertheless, the devil tries frantically to make us take seriously all sorts of philosophical nonsense, and think that we can do something for mankind without God. If the philosophy of nihilism—whether we recognize its manifestations or not—is taken to its logical conclusion it forces us to deny God and destroy each other, all the while supposing that we are doing the right thing for the good of mankind.
As Fr. Seraphim explains to us, nihilism leads to hell—that is its purpose. We should not enter into a discussion with it or ponder whether it has its merits or not, or we will go mad as did Nietzsche. But knowing of its infernal origins we should reject it and its manifestations out of hand and move forward to the Kingdom of Heaven, through our repentance over all that has led us to this abominable state.