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The debate around modernism has always been clouded by vagueness meaning that the meaning of the term modernism is elusive. Abbate Cavallanti observed that the ideology of modernism, is not realistic he argued that it is a state of mind possessed by young Catholics who have a myriad of tendencies, ideals and opinions (hunt et al 100). These habits turn into systems that reform the basis of all aspects of human life namely theology, religion, philosophy, and politics. Modernism was furthered by liberal Protestantism which was against the all powerful doctrine of the church.

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The syllabus of Pope Pius Ix condemned various propositions as false. This is because they tended discredit the Christian faith and wanted to reform power. Many of these propositions wanted to divorce the church from the republic. The ideology was that the government or state should be Indifferent towards those that profess to a faith, and those that do not profess any faith. Many of the propositions were termed as heretic, and censured the authors were often excommunicated from church, and their works proscribed. Despite every effort by the church to fight these ideologies, it still lost (Cobley 45). Notably caught in the middle of this fracas was Pope Pius IX who through a series of letters condemned various propositions which were called principal errors. They were as follows:

  • It is hard to know that God exists by natural reason.
  • Miraculous signs and prophecies cannot explain the origin of the Christian church and are not fit for the modern man.
  • Christ was not the founder of the church
  • The structure of the church can be overhauled
  • The dogmas of the church are subject to change and often fluctuate in meaning
  • Faith is a blind feeling that emanates from the heart.

Nietzsche was a critic who hated how the humans conducted their affairs. He hated all ideals, as well as, philosophy. He was against the church, and also against government. He argued that, man must emancipate himself from the bias around which life is entangled which is only achieved through intuition and instinct. On Christianity, he mentions that man must let go of Christianity, and doctrines because it limits man`s impulse, and is meant for the slaves and the weak. Additionally he claims that the only reason that Christianity thrived during the Roman Empire was because the oppressed lacked the power, wealth and zeal for life these which they termed evil. During the 18th century heresy against Christianity was because Christianity lacked in logic and reason, but Nietzsche`s idea was that Christianity weakened the human soul. His ideology was different from that of other philosophers who were common during the age of enlightenment. Further evidence of modernism in Nietzsche`s work is observable in his view that Christian morality is dead. He claimed that there are no higher worlds, and that man should rise above the set values to be his own master by becoming a nihilist.

Freud a medical doctor was a child of the enlightenment, and like Karl max he observed that people tend to base their logic, and consciousness along the lines of those in power. Most of his scientific work revolved around the unconscious part of the human brain. In every way his work and ideologies too portrayed modernism. Through psychoanalysis he agreed that the intuitions and guesses of Nietzsche were correct. In his modernist ideals he observed that there was a dialectical friction in the human mind: the former philosophers like Marx had seen a conflict in civilization not to mention that scholars like Nietzsche concluded that God is dead.

Conclusively we cannot wholly exhaust the debate on modernism but a closer look at the famous philosophers of the 18th century shows that there was a rise in modernism as people rose to fight for their rights (Gay 200). 

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