Western Civilization

Reason, Faith and the Struggle for Western Civilization: A Review

Image of Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization
by Samuel Gregg
Gateway Editions 2019
Hardcover 256

A month or two ago, I came across Samuel Gregg’s book while perusing items at Acton.org, and the title caught my eye. In my personal efforts to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5), I’ve frequently felt that I don’t yet have an adequate understanding of the relationship between faith and reason, and by extension, the relationship between the sciences and Scripture.

The book didn’t take me where I hoped to go on that topic. It did, however, provide an interesting and enjoyable survey of the history of Western thought, and one of the better interpretations of the role of reason and Christianity in Western thought.

Samuel Gregg is the director of research at the Acton Institute and has degrees in philosophy from the University of Melbourne (MA) and Oxford (PhD). Though he has written a pile of books, mostly on economics, his focus in this volume is more history-focused than I expected. Though the hardcover edition has 256 pages, I also felt that it ended at just about the point where there should have been several more chapters on various views of the relationship between faith and reason and analysis of supporting arguments—as well as more consideration of potential strategies for preserving what remains of Western Civilization.

Chapters six and seven do address these topics, and they aren’t a bad start, but I was hoping for a deeper and more comprehensive exploration.

592 reads

Christian Persecution and the Origins of Religious Freedom

Tertullian "asserted that it is a 'fundamental human right, a privilege of nature, that every man should worship according to his own convictions.' He was the first to argue for religious toleration as a general principle and, in so doing, coined the phrase 'freedom of religion' (libertas religionis)." - IFWE

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Calls for social justice are sometimes just ruinous calls for payback

"The dissolution of the academy into intersectional turf wars is already an old story. But Williams’ sad tale points to something beyond that. She notes that 'diversity' was scarcely mentioned on the panel... 'The panel wasn’t really about any of that, or even ultimately about race, but rather about how to destroy classics.'” - Robespierre’s road

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Cheapening the Western Musical Tradition: Some Thoughts Inspired by Theodore Gioia and Andy Crouch

"Andy Crouch, in his excellent book, Culture Making, ties the Western classical tradition to the creation blessing/mandate of Genesis 1. I think he is right: the tradition we have been handed is the result of God’s blessing humanity with the impulse to take the raw elements of creation and make them into something refined, something that makes life better for humanity." - Mark Ward

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"Many of the more progressive nations are not merely overlooking or ignoring their Judeo-Christian heritage, but actively destroying it."

"We have always assumed that when we give money to churches and ministries we will receive a tax receipt, but those days may soon be over for organizations that will not bow before one of society’s sacred cows." - On Living in a Post-Christian Context

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Why Thomas Aquinas Stands the Test of Time

"In a recent op-ed for The Washington Post, Michael Gerson critiques those who prize 'authenticity' and uncensored 'passion' over self-control and contemplative restraint. He contrasts two philosophical systems, one reliant on Aristotelianism, the other derived from Jean-Jacques Rousseau." - Amer. Conservative

318 reads

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