Without Faith

“I fear for the future of the West if it loses its faith. You cannot defend Western freedom on the basis of moral relativism, the only morality left when we lose our mooring in a sacred ontology or a divine-human covenant. No secular morality withstood Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia. No secular morality today has the force to withstand the sustained onslaught of ruthless religious extremism. Neither market economics nor liberal democracy has the power, in and of itself, to inspire people to make sacrifices for the common good. In the multicultural nation states of contemporary Europe, it is increasingly difficult to know whether there remains a compelling sense of the common good.”

“The Judeo-Christian ethic is not the only way of structuring a society and ordering a life. But it is the only way that has succeeded in the long run in the West, the only way that has given rise autonomously to the scientific and industrial revolutions, parliamentary democracy and liberty of conscience, the only system that has combined strong individualism with a social conscience and a highly active civil society. We stand to lose much if that ethic is lost. We will lose our sense of human dignity, our distinctive politics of the common good, our morality of obligation and responsibility, our respect for marriage and parenthood as a covenantal bond, and our best hope for a meaningful life.”

The Great Partnership, Chapter 5, p. 96