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Powerful Ideas

  09/27/08 22:58, by jsignal, Categories: random ramble
School of Athens

It's been one of those nights where I find myself thinking of the big picture, this time pondering warfare, philosophy, religion, and politics. This is a true "ramble" full of generalizations and broad, sweeping statements. But I think, generally, true.

We are always at war these days. The favorite enemy right now seems to be terrorists hiding in Islamic nations and the nations who cooperate with them. In the past, it was Hitler's national socialism, the Communists under Stalin, the Fascists under Mussolini, and innumerable others. Many millions have died, and for what? What do us in the Western world fight so hard to preserve?

The buzzword is "freedom," but what does that word mean, exactly? The answer is very complex. In my off-the-cuff rambling, I suggest it entails an entire framework of incredibly powerful ideas that we take for granted, much to our detriment, these days: the dignity of the human person, importance of inalienable rights, religious freedom, existence of an innate conscience in each of us, the rationality of creation, and the existence of a transcendent "Good" that all men seek, to name a few.

These ideas have shaped nations in the Western world for thousands of years. They are given us by Plato, Aristotle, Saint Augustine, to name a few off the top of my head. These ideas were taken up by the Catholic Church, refined, and spread throughout the world for the betterment of all mankind. Science, technology, racial equality, religious freedom, and our ideas of justice all flow from these ideas, whether we remember it or not. God has worked through the Church to preserve what we call "freedom" in this half of the globe. But today we seem to be apathetic about these ideas. Relativism is taking over.

We're straying from our Western ideological patrimony. And whenever we stray from them, bad things happen (Hitler and Mussolini, as I mentioned). The prime example today of our forgetfulness is Britain's toying around with the idea of allowing Islamic Sharia Law to be enforced in Islamic communities there.

We are forgetting our Christian heritage in the name of relativistic, political correctness. And that worries me. What is replacing it, and how bad will it be?

The image above is Raphael's "School of Athens." I took the snapshot when I visited the Vatican in 2006. Click here for info on the painting.

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