I (Jacob) just finished the novel Lord of the World a few days ago, but I had to think about it a few days before I wrote anything about it. It is a science fiction book written over a hundred years ago by a Catholic priest. The book takes place about our time. It is an "end of days" type of book that is, of course, unabashedly pro-Catholic. It is very thought provoking and Robert Benson predicts a great number of things correctly about the future. Here is a list somebody made on the web:
"In 1907, the English convert Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson wrote The Lord of the World, in which he predicted inter-city air travel in "velors" (anticipating Zeppelins and war planes), electric billboards, globalized finance, rapid communications, atomic bombs, and the world progress of Marxism and world war. While abortion was beyond the pale even in this dystopia, he did foresee legalized euthanasia."
Also add television, or "moving pictures" as he calls them, to the list.
There are a lot of thought provoking lines, such as this one on moral relativism and private interpretation of right and wrong:
"[A] supernatural Religion involves an absolute authority, and... Private Judgment in matters of faith is nothing else than the beginning of disintegration."
I recommend reading the prologue, which you can find here.
The book is not a "666" armageddon type of book with some crazy interpretation of the book of revelations. I believe that Robert Hugh Benson gives a counter question to, "Who is John Galt" with "Who is Felsenburgh?" (Even though Atlas Shrugged was written long after Lord of the World.) Whereas John Galt is one who believes first in the principle of persuasion, Felsenburgh is one who believes first in the principle of force, "for the good of all."
I believe the best parts of this book are the arguments that Benson has to defend the anti-Christ. Even his own characters describe them as impervious logic (a little hubris?), and virtually everyone in the entire world joins his side.
Curious little book.
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