Agnostism and immanentism represent the negative and positive sides of Modernist thought, the former arguing human reason can only consider scientific phenomenon, the latter arguing that religion comes entirely from within the human psiche.
The principle of immanence or modernism destroys the foundation of morality.
For the immanentist it is impossible both to conform ourselves to either the Natural Law, or the Divine Positive Law known through Revelation. The result is a morality independent of God. In fact, morality becomes what the individual chooses it to be, which is just another way of saying in the area of morality, do-it-yourself or cafeteria Catholicism is acceptable. Eventually this leads the immanentist to assert that objective value, i.e.: what is objectively good or evil, is unknowable.
This is why an immanentist who has an ‘experience’ of God is said to be a ‘religious’ person, even if they do not adhere to the moral code of Catholicism. Religion is allowed without any duties and religion and discussions of religion are allowed in the public forum as long as there are no denials in relation to specific forms of behavior. It is forbidden to tell someone that a specific form of behavior is immoral. Since one’s experience of God reveals to the person God Himself, then that becomes the Will of God – to take it a step further, since one gets a certain pleasure out of doing one’s own will, whatever one does or wants becomes the Will of God. In other words, God’s Will is ‘my’ will. This means that all morality becomes a matter of what one chooses it to be.
As we know, since the dawn of time, people have a general understanding that God forbids some things and allows others, thus limiting an individual’s freedom to do what he will. Immanentists, on the other hand, would deny God in order to guarantee man’s freedom. This is based upon the principle that God’s law might forbid the person to do something he is inclined to do, and so he must deny God in order to continue in his freedom. This is the thinking and the psychology behind the practical atheism often resulting from the principle of immanence. Immanentism destroys common sense. Common sense is always in contact with reality. The principle of immanence, however, cuts one off from reality, and therefore the immanentist cannot rely on common sense. The immanentist simply follows his appetites or emotions – he descends into the emotional and what feels good.
Immanentism, therefore, drastically impacts the traditional disciplines of the Church because of the paramount importance of emotions, and the fact that emotions find discipline, mortification and self-denial disagreeable. For those who adhere to objective reality and who look to the Deposit of Faith in which God reveals to men the effects of original and actual sin, we come to realize man’s dire need of mortification, fasting and self-denial. But once again, these have no sway with those adhering to the principle of immanence, and the result is a certain effeminacy or weakness, since immanentists will not want to do anything disagreeable or arduous. As a result, the traditional discipline of fasting and of penance is rejected because it is viewed as too difficult, too harsh or not understanding of modern man! Of course, we all recognize that modern man is unruly and out of control and, if any generation needs more discipline, it is this one.
The principle of imma-nence conjoined with self-love deceives people into thinking their spiritual life is better than it is. This is one of the reasons why today people think they are more spiritually advanced than people in the past. Those who labour under the mentality of immanentism often delude themselves into thinking that God does not demand great things of them or great sanctity and so they neglect their spiritual life. On the other hand, they often think they will have a very high place in heaven without doing anything to merit it. They judge themselves to have very few defects, hence the popular phrase: ‘I don’t do anything wrong, I just lead a normal, boring, life. I’m not a bad person!’
But didn’t Jesus say: ‘Take up your cross and follow me’? and ‘If you truly want to be my disciple and follow me, you must deny yourself’?