The religious minister has the obligation to defend values; what happens is that the political world can become overly scrupulous: it listens to a pastor and they say that he is preaching against so and so. We do not preach against anyone; we refer to the value that is in danger and that must be safeguarded. — Pope Francis “On Heaven and Earth”
There is an underlying narrative that we seem to be glossing over as we try to make sense of what happened in Charlottesville. It is the movement from modernism to post-modernism, from truth to post-truth, from purpose to nihilism, from traditional party politics to identity politics, from freedom to equality.
Our nation was founded upon Enlightenment principles, which are reflected in our Declaration of Independence, “We hold these Truths to be self–evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
This was the modern era in which moral truths were self-evident and scientific truths were verifiable. It was a time when freedom of religion, speech and the right to bear arms were a reflection of these self-evident truths. As our country matured and our life conditions changed, we began to see that all Americans did not share these freedoms.
The counter-culture of the 1960’s called the country to move beyond freedom to equality with the feminist movement, civil rights and, finally, LGBTQ rights. As our world has become smaller through the rise of globalism and the advent of social media, we have begun to question our self-evident truths and, in recent years, even scientific truths–to the point where truth itself has become relative and personal, and objective news reporting is portrayed as “fake.”
One consequence of this post-truth world is that many are left either capitalizing on this with creating our own narcissistic social media world and/or falling into a nihilistic fatalism where nothing matters and there is no purpose in life. Continue reading Finding our Moral Grounding in a Clash of Values