June 27, 2010

Hard choices...

From The Church and the Culture War: Secular Anarchy or Sacred Order, by Joyce A. Little...
...To act as though inclusivity were an end in itself is to deny the fact that, until we are able to make some judgement about the nature of reality itself, we have no basis at all for knowing what ought to be welcomed and what ought to be rejected. We do not after all welcome cancer cells or the AIDS virus on the grounds that to reject them would be an insensitive and uncaring act of intolerance. Before we are in a position to make judgements as to what to include and what to exclude, we must first answer some very hard "either/or" questions. Either there is an objective reality, or there is not. Either there is an intrinsic order to this universe, or there is not. Either there is absolute good, or there is not.

[Walker] Percy stated quite flatly, with regard to his novels, that they are "an attack on the 20th century, on the whole culture. It is a rotten century, we are in terrible trouble." Few would want to have to defend this century. But if there is any silver lining to be found in its closing years, it is the realization that an either/or choice has become virtually unavoidable. With every day that passes, it becomes more and more apparent that one cannot have both the Christian faith and secular liberation.

As Chesterton, himself a convert to the Catholic faith, wrote more than seven decades ago: "The present writer . . . is personally quite convinced that if every human being lived a thousand years, every human being would end up either in utter pessimistic skepticism or in the Catholic creed." Were he still alive, I think he would grant that today the choice between the two is so much clearer that an ordinary lifetime would more than suffice to arrive at that conclusion. Walker Percy, in a self-interview for Esquire, explained that he had become a Catholic because , as he put it, "what else is there?" He then posed to himself the question, "What do you mean, what else is there? There is humanism, atheism, agnosticism, Marxism, behaviorism, Buddhism, Muhammadanism, Sufism, astrology, occultism, theosophy." His answer: "That's what I mean."


Posted by John Weidner at June 27, 2010 8:39 AM
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