A Golden Mean Between Galt and Gone

Aristotle wrote his Nicomachean Ethics 340 years before Christ was born. Within that text, we find the Golden Mean–a call to virtue, the mean between two extremes, a deficiency of a virtuous quality, and an excess of the quality.

For example, if courage is the mean, rashness would be the excess, and cowardice would be the deficiency.

Today in America, we struggle to find a mean between Galt–a reference to Ayn Rand’s objectivism–and Gone–absolute rejection of American tradition.

Galt refers to a character in Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. John Galt attended Patrick Henry University, a fictional institution of higher learning.

Galt’s philosophy, the mirror of Rand’s, exalts the human spirit, capitalism, and atheism.

In alluding to Patrick Henry, Rand lauds his revolutionary quest for independence but rejects his faith.

And she wasn’t neutral in her renunciation of faith. She was virulently atheistic.

Not so Patrick Henry. When he argued that the colonists must go to war against the British, he declared that “An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!” Henry built his argument on a foundation of faith.

Many in the Galt camp today are gearing up for arms without God. A 2013 study claimed that 30 percent of those surveyed believed an armed revolution may be necessary to secure our constitutional rights.

We are no less divided now than we were then.

The Galt faction professes an excess of American bravado, absent the balancing influence of faith. It has moved beyond deficiency in faith to hostility.

The Galt excesses of bravado and hostility to faith eliminate the effects of faith: “Objectivism rejects the altruistic premise of self-sacrifice”–a pillar principle of Christianity.

The Gone faction in America is also hostile toward Christianity. But unlike the Galt perspective, this deficiency (of faith) and excess (of hatred for it) includes a rejection of American values. It equates Christianity, a conservative moral code, and a capitalist economy, with all the evils of slavery.

Gone urges deficiencies in order and faith and an excess of chaos. It preaches the message of critical theory–that society is comprised only of oppressed and oppressors. Every person is one or the other. There is none else.

Neither of these extremes can ever bring us to a peaceful, virtuous mean.

F.H. Buckley has written American Secession: The Looming Threat of a National Breakup. Here’s part of what goodreads.com says about the book:

“Across the world, large countries are staring down secession movements. Many have already split apart. Do we imagine that we, almost alone in the world, are immune? We had a civil war to prevent a secession, and we’re tempted to see that terrible precedent as proof against another effort. This book explodes that comforting belief and shows just how easy it would be for a state to exit the Union if that’s what its voters wanted.

“But if that isn’t what we really want, Buckley proposes another option, a kind of Secession Lite, that could heal our divisions while allowing us to keep our identity as Americans.”

Secession Lite would require a live and let live mentality. I’ve written before about the divide between city and country–the demarcation of much of our disagreement over faith, economics, and morality.

Perhaps Buckley has found a philosophical mean that could ensure freedom of conscience. For example, freedom for municipalities to respect life, if they choose. Freedom for pharmacists to refuse to provide the means for abortion. Freedom for children to openly pray in government-run schools.

Localities could be free to democratically decide what to do about crime, immigration, and education.

The idea of secession today sounds crazy. He tells us it’s not. It’s real and on the way.

Crazy is what we’re experiencing in 2020. Our divided house hovers over a chasm of chaos. And crazy will continue until we find a Golden Mean of citizenship we can agree on.

Or see our nation destroyed for its lack.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Center of Truth

Leah Libresco Sargeant was an atheist who found the arguments for God too strong to resist.

Since 2012, she has been one of us–a believer.

The question that moved her from disbelief to faith was this one: “How is it we come to know truth?” She couldn’t reconcile the notion of no God with the idea of man-made morality, moral laws originating within people.

Moral law transcends people. It comes from outside them, not from within them.

For where did moral law come from if not from God?

Her acknowledgment of truth as something that transcends humanity emerged from the study of C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, and Augustine.

It was a process–one that took time–of reconciling what she grew up with–an assumed atheism–with truth, what she came to understand through study. Eventually, the truth of God became obvious to her.
 
Libresco Sargeant’s journey was an intellectual one. Not everyone who believes takes such a path to faith.

My own journey wasn’t nearly as intellectual as Libresco Sargeant’s was. My path certainly had nothing to do with mathematics as hers did.

But I assumed truth. Not that I knew all of it, just that I knew it existed.

I didn’t realize until later that I had begun by presuming truth.

When we come to faith, we arrive at truth–and perhaps we’ve reached the center, the bull’s eye circle. We’re standing in it, but there is always more to know, more to seek. There is always a journey toward a better understanding of God.

We spend the rest of our lives trying to find and inhabit that center. Every day, we move closer to truth–or of our own wills–further away.

Others who aren’t standing near us are on their own journeys to the truth. How quickly they arrive at the big circle of faith may depend on us.

And how close we are to the center of the bull’s eye may depend on how well we treat those not standing right next to us.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Turning Bad into Good

For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow. If we are afflicted, it is for your encouragement and salvation; if we are encouraged, it is for your encouragement, which enables you to endure the same sufferings that we suffer. II Corinthians 1: 5-6 (NABRE)
Earthquakes, wildfires, floods, mudslides, blizzards–and war, poverty, abuse, and hunger. If there were a God, atheists claim, such bad events would never happen. Because bad things happen, there cannot be a good God–they claim.
But how good would people be if no one ever had to be a hero? If everyone escaped tragedy, there would be no heroes to celebrate. Without bad things happening–how could we be good? Continue reading “Turning Bad into Good”

Helping Them Want the Sunlight

It’s something there isn’t much room for in the Church. It’s something that can make us uncomfortable to even think about.
Even as I write, I feel just a bit…anxious.
But it’s something we have to face.
Andrea Lucado’s English Lessons: The Crooked Path of Growing Toward Faith is a memoir of her experiences during the year she spent attending graduate school in England. It was also the year she climbed a mountain of doubt about her faith. Continue reading “Helping Them Want the Sunlight”