[PDF] Reason Faith and the Struggle for Western Civilization By Samuel Gregg – serv3.3pub.co.uk

[PDF] Reason Faith and the Struggle for Western Civilization By Samuel Gregg – serv3.3pub.co.uk [Reading] ➽ Reason Faith and the Struggle for Western Civilization By Samuel Gregg – Serv3.3pub.co.uk Gregg's book is the closet thing I've encountered in a long time to a one volume user's manual for operating Western Civilization —The Stream Reason Faith and the Struggle for Western Civilization and the MOBI î Gregg's book is the closet thing I've encountered in a Reason Faith PDF/EPUB or long time to a one volume user's manual for operating Western Faith and the MOBI ð Civilization —The Stream Reason Faith and the Struggle for Western Civilization offers Faith and the Struggle for MOBI :ç a concise intellectual history of the West through the prism of the relationship between faith and reason —Free Beacon The genius of Western civilization is its uniue synthesis of reason and faith But today that synthesis is under attack—from the East by radical Islam faith without reason and from within the West itself by aggressive secularism reason without faith The stakes are incalculably high The naïve and increasingly common assumption that reason and faith are incompatible is simply at odds with the facts of history The revelation in the Hebrew Scriptures of a reasonable Creator imbued Judaism and Christianity with a conviction that the world is intelligible leading to the flowering of reason and the invention of science in the West It was no accident that the Enlightenment took place in the culture formed by the Jewish and Christian faiths We can all see that faith without reason is benighted at best fanatical and violent at worst But too many forget that reason stripped of faith is subject to its own pathologies A supposedly autonomous reason easily sinks into fanaticism stifling dissent as bigoted and irrational and devouring the humane civilization fostered by the integration of reason and faith The blood soaked history of the twentieth century attests to the totalitarian forces unleashed by corrupted reason But Samuel Gregg does than lament the intellectual and spiritual ruin caused by the divorce of reason and faith He shows that each of these foundational principles corrects the other’s excesses and enhances our comprehension of the truth in a continuous renewal of civilization By recovering this balance we can avoid a suicidal winner take all conflict between reason and faith and a future that will respect neither.


10 thoughts on “Reason Faith and the Struggle for Western Civilization

  1. Alicia Alicia says:

    Great book Thought provoking look at history including the Enlightenment Isaac Newton Fredrick of Prussia Roger Bacon Adam Smith John Stuart Mills’ utilitarianism and attempt to destroy faith Edmund Burke and Woodrow Wilson’s efforts at eugenicsuotes “The problem is that if we reduce reason to the scientific method and limit knowledge to the measurable science ceases to be guided by what is MORALLY reasonable The door is then opened to horrors such as medical EXPERIMENTS on priests in Dachau the SYSTEMATIC use of terror by Communist regimes against their opponents and the EFFICIENT destruction of European Jewry” p 19“Christianity stressed three ideas that were particularly influential in the development of Western culture The first of these was God’s rational and creative nature The second point stressed by Christianity was the affirmation that all people are capable of knowing the truth through natural reasonThat people can choose and act rightly implies that they can also choose and act wrongly The third idea that Christianity stressed then is FREEDOMThere was however something else that Christianity stressed about freedom namely freedom is than an absence of constraint Man is free FOR something That something is excellence the excellence that is the fruit of using our reason to understand the world and unfold its potential AND the excellence of freely choosing what reason and revelation show us to be true” pp 40 43“Pope Benedict asserted that once reason ceases to regard knowledge of God as part of the search for truth then reason far from being liberated is unduly constricted not least because it is closed off from its ultimate source And that in Benedict’s view is a betrayal of the very heart of Western culture” p 50“Scientism’s Achilles’ heel is that it is based on what philosophers call a self refuting premise The truth of the claim ‘No claims are true unless they can be proven scientifically’ cannot itself be proved scientifically You need to deploy OTHER forms of reasoning to make such arguments But these are forms of reasoning that scientism considers unreasonable Far from representing reason’s victory over superstition scientism is the amputation of reason” p 77 79“Like Judaism and Christianity Marxism has its own canon of sacred books the works of Marx Engels and Lenin among others which its adherents study as Jews and Christians study the scriptures Marxists join a church like organization the Party with its own faithful party members clerical hierarchy the Central Committee theologians saints Che Guevara or Lenin whose embalmed body is venerated in a shrine and doctrines from which party members may not stray without compromising their orthodoxyThe you look the obvious are Marxism’s parallels with Christianity” p 87“Skepticism assumes there is an absolute objectively true standpoint from which we can determine that every claim to truth is fictional But the existence of such a standpoint is itself irreconcilable with the human mind’s supposed inability to know truth” p 98“‘We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires’ Cardinal Joseph RatzingerTolerance becomes a tool for shutting down discussion by insisting that NO ONE may claim that his philosophical or theological positions are true Tolerance becomes a means of banishing the truth as the standard by which all ideas are tested The coercion at the heart of the dictatorship of relativism follows from the conclusion that we OUGHT to marginalize anyone who argues that some ideas are right while others are wrong” p 103“If the West’s uniue integration of reason and faith is a defining characteristic of its civilization we must conclude that this civilization is seriously imperiled Ideas that contest and undermine this integration authoritarian relativism Prometheanism Nietzscheanism scientism etc have permeated every sector of public life” p 122“This avowal of religious liberty is based suarely on the proposition that human beings are obliged because they possess reason and free will to SEEK the truth about the ultimate significance and causes of the universe and to adhere to their conclusions” p 130“Rooting the right to religious liberty in human reason’s orientation to truth placed a stronger limitation on state power than rooting it in feelings customs or the preference of the majority would do For if rights are simply a reflection of emotions conventions or the predilections of the majority then they lack a foundation in reason and there is no reason in principle for governments to protect them always and everywhere” p 131“Economic freedom is no absolute than religious freedom But because it is essential both as a bulwark against despotism and for people to realize their full human potential the presumption in favor of economic freedom rests on grounds far compelling than simple efficiency and utility” p 133Discussion with the author


  2. Ben House Ben House says:

    Reason Faith and the Struggle for Western Civilization by Samuel Gregg is published by RegneryRegnery is a well known publisher of conservative books and the books they publish are uality materials with depth We are not talking about talk radio conservatism but well thought out tradition based serious conservative interaction in the world of books and ideasI try not to cut and paste from others in doing my book reviews but this comment found on the Regnery page for this book is a gem“Gregg’s book is the closet thing I’ve encountered in a long time to a one volume user’s manual for operating Western Civilization” —The StreamGregg’s book is a not a historical narrative but is a analysis of key thinkers who have positively or negatively interacted with the issues of reason and faith In many formats the reason versus faith matchup has been discussed In one sense it goes back to the old line by Tertullian “What has Jerusalem to do with Athens?” But the debate intensified during the EnlightenmentIf your study of Western Civilization—whether it be a class you teach or take books you read or your “study” via popular culture or your Sunday sermons–is not raising uestions of reason and faith something is missing “Something” here meaning only the most vital elements And like it or not the struggle for Western Civilization is a war of coalitions Yes Protestants differ from Catholics Yes we differ from those other people whose definitions of faith are inadeuate But this is war and struggleWe face a host of opposing ideologies Among others Gregg focuses upon authoritarian relativism Jihadism and liberal religion These ways of thinking attack boldly seep in disguise themselves and find other ways of infiltrating our culture and thinking Consider this uote from the one time Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence of meaning of the universe and of the mystery of human life” And we cringe to remember that Kennedy was a Catholic and a Reagan appointee If that statement is truly the heart of liberty or belief in that statement is the norm we are in troubleBut this book is not a gloom and doom Jeremiad Concluding with a chapter titled “A Way Back” Gregg follows up his making us better aware of the issues confronting us with a reminder of the hope and the means of recovery Western Civilization can by God’s grace say “This ain’t my first rodeo”


  3. Mark O& Mark O& says:

    Excellent account of the role and importance of faith and reason in the making of Western civilisation the notions of individual freedom and the dangers of relying only on faith or only on reason Concise and interesting Excellent audio book


  4. Jeremy S Jeremy S says:

    Well researched but I can't help notice that every time a book makes arguments in favor of religion driving the morality of the West we take a standard narrative journey through Eugenics Hitler's Germany Marxism Communism and always end of in the same place yet these same people ask us to not only talk about the bible in terms of it's slavery murder and excessive injusticesAlways good to see the other side but starting to see the argument is very one dimensional


  5. Jeffrey Jeffrey says:

    This book describes how the different ways of combining reason and faith impacted the development of western civilization It was a synthesis of history philosophy and political scienceThe author looks at different modes of thought Neitzeism Marxism materialism utilitarianism scientism fideism and Christianity He then explains how each system combines reason and faith to arrive at their own philosophical truths He then looks at the implications His conclusion is that systems like Marxism are bound to fail because of the incoherence of the reason faith synthesis I think he does an effective job making this argumentThe book really shines in its development of Christian thought Using Christian tenets faith and reason blend in a natural way where one reinforces the other His thesis is that the reinforcement is natural because it is closest to the truth The book covered a lot over 240 pages I'm surprised this isn't a widely read I plan on reading from the author Apparently he is a fellow at the Acton institute


  6. Aaron Blumer Aaron Blumer says:

    A month or two ago I came across Samuel Gregg’s book while perusing items at Actonorg and the title caught my eye In my personal efforts to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ 2 Cor 105 I’ve freuently felt that I don’t yet have an adeuate understanding of the relationship between faith and reason and by extension the relationship between the sciences and ScriptureThe 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 thoughtSamuel 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 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 chapters on various views of the relationship between faith and reason and analysis of supporting arguments—as well as consideration of potential strategies for preserving what remains of Western CivilizationChapters six and seven do address these topics and they aren’t a bad start but I was hoping for a deeper and comprehensive explorationGregg’s writing is highly readable and sometimes strikingly synthesis dense That is he sometimes connects uite a lot of dots ideas persons themes in Western history in a few relatively short sentences The writing flows with an apparent ease that suggests he has deeply absorbed this information—either that or he has an extraordinary note taking and accessing systemI have to respect that The argument The preface frames the book’s purpose and identifies the central thesis References in this review are Kindle location numbers and are somewhat approximate I hope however that this book shows that the far greater bloodshed of the twentieth century’s darkest decades carried out at the behest of ideologies that hardly need to be named owed much to what I call after Joseph Ratzinger pathologies of reason and faith Fortunately there is to this story than the ways in which Western societies become unmoored whenever reason and faith drift away from each other One argument of this book is that not only can reason and faith correct each other’s excesses but they can also enhance each other’s comprehension of the truth continually renewing Western civilization 67 Gregg returns to the concept of “pathologies of reason” and “pathologies of faith” throughout the book and further develops the idea that faith and reason need each other in order to avoid these pathologiesIn the preface Gregg also acknowledges the book’s reliance on the thought of Joseph Ratzinger and John Finnis 78Chapter one uses Joseph Ratzinger’s aka the retired Pope Benedict XVI's 2006 speech “Faith Reason and the University Memories and Reflections” as the backdrop for and much of the substance of a discussion on what Western Civilization isIt’s also here that we first see Gregg’s interest in Islam and his view—with Ratzinger—that Islam's belief system is deeply anti Western largely because it's anti Reason 112This is a perspective on Islam I hadn’t previously considered and though it seems tangential to the uestion of how faith and reason ought to relate it does provide some context for exploring that uestion Is God a reasonable Deity? This uestion matters not least because one alternative to a Deity who embodies reason is a Deity who is pure will operating beyond reason uoting the French scholar of Islam Roger Arnaldez Benedict noted in his Regensburg lecture that such a God “is not bound even by his own word” He could even command us “to practice idolatry” 125 Gregg considers several ways to define what makes a culture Western highlighting the roles of freedom from coercion and freedom of thought and their relationship to a high view of truth and reason He insists that the synthesis of these ideals with Christian belief is essential to understanding the West This strong attachment to reason however does not by itself account for the distinctive character of the West Without the Christian and Jewish religions there is no Ambrose Benedict Auinas Maimonides Hildegard of Bingen Isaac Abravanel Thomas More Elizabeth of Hungary John Calvin Ignatius of Loyola Hugo Grotius John Witherspoon William Wilberforce Søren Kierkegaard Fyodor Dostoyevsky C S Lewis Edith Stein Elizabeth Anscombe Reformation Oxford University Caravaggio’s Calling of Saint Matthew Bach’s Saint John Passion Dante’s Divine Comedy Pascal’s Pensées Hagia Sophia Mont Saint Michel or Rome’s Great Synagogue Absent the vision of God articulated first by Judaism and then infused into the West’s marrow by Christianity it’s harder to imagine developments like the delegitimization of slavery or the de deification of the state and the natural world 229 The chapter also includes a discussion of what went wrong in Western Civilization 242 with explanation of the concept of pathologies of faith and pathologies of reason 301 The latter challenges some widely held beliefs about Enlightenment thought—a task he revisits later in the book As we shall see in subseuent chapters the Enlightenment was much complicated and far less monolithic than is often realized It wasn’t a single episode a set of accomplishments or even the discovery of a single way forward Nor was it anywhere nearly as antireligious as is sometimes supposed The book identifies the late Enlightenment movement toward separating faith and reason limiting religion to the realm of the purely subjective as the primary culprit in the decline of Western thought especially 335ff Highlights For me highlights from chapters two through seven include the following Three Christian ideas that strongly influenced the West 640 687 “God’s rational nature a natural law that all men can discern and human freedom as the power to choose the good and the true” Isaac Newton’s use of pantokrator something like “Ruler of All” 835 Discussion of the nature of Deism 835ff Though Deism was on the rise during Newton’s lifetime most men of science still shared his non deistic understanding of God’s nature Kepler for instance was a deeply religious Lutheran who believed that the Creator’s plan for his world was knowable through reason and revelation 861 Scientism’s self refuting premise 1175 and its contradictory exaltation of reason while also depreciating reason’s role in distinguishing right from wrong 1210 J S Mill’s contribution to the decline of Western thought 1400 A differently nuanced analysis of Nietzsche than I have previously read 1441ff Discussion of the problem of Fideism using a different definition than I’ve seen elsewhere “belief in the incapacity of the intellect to attain to knowledge of divine matters” and an “excessive emphasis on faith” 1654; Gregg is uoting from the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Faith The claim that Islam's view of God as irrational is to blame for religiously motivated terrorism interesting but he does not prove it 1833 There are probably faiths that hold to irrational deities or uasi deities and yet generally embrace peace eg perhaps Buddhism and Confucianism? Two major Enlightenment forks and a link between the US Founding Fathers and the concept of natural law Benedict XVI affirmed a crucial distinction between the two great revolutions of the Enlightenment the French and the American and before becoming pope he had argued that the latter proved open to Christianity’s integration of reason and faith He described “the Anglo Saxon trend which is inclined to natural law and tends towards constitutional democracy” as superior to the project associated with Rousseau which “ultimately aims at complete freedom from any rule” 2274 Though it isn’t comprehensive Gregg’s book is an important contribution to understanding Western thought in an age where misunderstanding—and simple ignorance—seem to be on the rise I hope to read the book again before too long and I recommend it to anyone who wants to better understand where the West once was intellectually as well as where it is now and how it got here


  7. Peter Bradley Peter Bradley says:

    Reason Faith and the Struggle for Western Civilization by Samuel GreggPlease give my review a helpful vote Reason Faith and the Struggle for Western Civilization by Samuel GreggThis is a well written well informed and erudite survey of Western intellectual historyAuthor Samuel Gregg starts with Pope Benedict's Regensberg Address and its observation that Christianity was based on the theological principle that God was Reason in contradistinction to Islam which conceived of God as Will Gregg then follows up Christianity's definition of God as Logos and subseuent Christian intellectual history from Augustine through the modern era This thinking was responsible for notions of freedom of choice reason and constitutionalismGregg also follows Pope Benedict's diagnosis of pathologies of faith and pathologies of reason These pathologies include Prometheanism the idea that man can be recreated by changing society relativism nihilism Nietzscheanism and Scientism all of which totalize science at the expense of faith Gregg follows Pope John Paul II's observation that both science and faith are necessary that mere faith reduces to superstition whereas mere science removes the goal or content for which science existsGregg's book is erudite The reader is introduced to writers ideas and concepts that are old friends if he has an acuaintanceship with the literature of Western ideas but for those who don't this is a good entry pointFor myself I appreciated Gregg's linkage of Justice Kennedy's sweet mystery of life passage in Planned Parenthood v Casey to the philosophy of Nietzsche I have often wanted to turn the tables on another Supreme Court decision with the aphorism that while the Constitution does not incorporate Mr Spencer's Social Statics it seems that it does incorporate Nietsche's Beyond Good and EvilThis is an intelligent mind stretching discussion on the connection between faith and reason in the West where the West has gone wrong and what might be done to correct the problems It is worth the time spent


  8. Michael Jewell Michael Jewell says:

    The posture of Western Civilization's legacy impacts and need for preservation evokes many perspectives particularly in recent years Dr Gregg's recent work therefore presents few novel uestions but a distinct framing of the Western experience between the extremes of fideism and scientism This reason alone propels the reader through a uick treatment of WC along with a final argument on the need and methods of preserving WC Reason Faith and the Struggle for Western Civilization succeeds in identifying the beauty and contribution of WC but its true value lies in how it strikes down the common polar objections to WC namely from conservatives that a faith without intellectual honesty limits the human experience and from liberals that the lens of science and by extension the social sciences provide sufficient answers for the human conditionThe book lags in its shorthand development of the Enlightenment which can be forgiven given the brevity However the ideas and persons the author selects for his anecdotes strays from the traditional heavy hitters While this may indicate instead the author's academic specialty and personal leanings it seems that in a work so short that such a tact would warrant developmentIn all this was an enjoyable read on a contemporary matter that is on the hearts of minds of nearly everyone even if only the implications that WC has wrought on how we approach epistemology and being


  9. Mu-tien Chiou Mu-tien Chiou says:

    The author pins the Western civilization's particular balancing of reason and faith at its Christian rootAccording to him the faith above anything characterizes Jewish theological pursuits God is ultimately free and creative whereas the Greek way is all about reasoning with the divine Logos Christianity that embeds the Western civilization lives on both heritages until the enlightenment has leaned too much onto one extreme


  10. Ietrio Ietrio says:

    Another argument for yet another Crusade And Gregg will use whatever argument might motivate you Do you see yourself as a reasonable person? Well you have to die for the reason Are you a religious person? Well you will have to die for faith


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