Posts Tagged With: Russell Kirk

How Can Christianity and Education Dance Together in a Pluralistic Society?

Do you remember the post from last fall in which I included this quotation by Dr. A.A. Hodge, first published in 1887?

“I am as sure as I am of the fact of Christ’s reign that a comprehensive and centralized system of national education, separated from religion, as is now commonly proposed, will prove the most appalling enginery for the propagation of anti-Christian and atheistic unbelief, and of anti-social nihilistic ethics, individual, social, and political, which this sin-rent world has ever seen.”

Irises pleasantly sway in our front lawn. “Consider the…irises.” (I have no lilies blooming now to consider.)

It is capable of exact demonstration that if every party in the States has the right of excluding from the public schools whatever he does not believe to be true, then he that believes most must give way to him that believes least, and then he that believes least must give way to him that believes absolutely nothing, no matter in how small a minority the atheists or the agnostics may be. It is self-evident that on this scheme, if it is consistently and persistently carried out in all parts of the country, the United States’ system of national popular education will be the most efficient and wide instrument for the propagation of atheism which the world has ever seen.”

A reader inquired:

“Regarding the quote from Dr. A. A. Hodge, “I am as sure as I am of the fact of Christ’s reign that a comprehensive and centralized system of national education, separated from religion…”, what religion might he be referring to? Or perhaps to any religion or a group of religions? If he meant a particular religion, and if that particular religion was Christianity, I would love to hear your understanding of how Dr. Hodge says this works in a pluralistic society. And, if it doesn’t work in a pluralistic society from his perspective, does he advocate theocracy?

I responded with a long response (for the comment section), and the reader responded again:

“I currently struggle to see how his ideas are actionable let alone defensible in a pluralistic society so I really look forward to hearing this unpacked and learning where I may be misunderstanding things (which may simply be a term or two!).”

So today, I’ll do some unpacking.

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Categories: Christian Reader, Dr. A.A. Hodge, Education, Government, Perspectives on Culture, The Roaming Reader | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Back to Kirk (The Roaming Reader: 3)

Back to Kirk! I’m still focused on the first book of the list I gave you in March: The Roots of American Order, by Russell Kirk. (We noted Kirk’s definition and description of “order” in the last post.)

Worth reading.

In the short, first chapter, “Order, the First Need of All”, Kirk tells the story of a scholar born in Russia. He had been a moderate Socialist in 1917, a Menshevik. He fled to Odessa on the Black Sea, but what did he find there? “Bands of young men commandeered street-cars and clattered wildly through the heart of Odessa, firing with rifles at any pedestrian, as though they were hunting pigeons. At any moment, one’s apartment might be invaded by a casual criminal or fanatic, murdering for the sake of a loaf of bread. In this anarchy, justice and freedom were only words.”

So what did this scholar learn?

“Then I learned that before we can know justice and freedom, we must have order. Much though I hated the Communists, I saw then that even the grim order of Communism is better than no order at all. Many might survive under Communism; no one could survive in general disorder.”

Kirk contrasts this story to our American experience. “In America, order and justice and freedom have developed together; but they can decay in parallel fashion.”

While this volume was published in 1974 and reflects the thought and writings of Kirk since the early 1950s, we clearly see its relevance for today. Such is the nature of wisdom.

I lost myself in this book.

Cups of tea encourage me as I read and write. Thankfully, spring is peeking in the windows. Next week is supposed to be warm and sunny here in Indiana!

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Categories: Christian Reader, Government, Perspectives on Culture, The Roaming Reader | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Order, Order – I Hear You! (The Roaming Reader: #2)

Ahh. Today we continue with our new theme of “The Roaming Reader,” begun a month ago in my last post, while I was still in Florida. It has been a hard month of adjustment for me. So, while I did write a draft of what should be the next article two weeks ago, I lacked the drive and clarity to revise and ready it for posting. This is not that essay. I have saved it and may use parts of it at times.

This post is supposed to center on the concept of “order” presented in Russell Kirk’s classic, The Roots of American Order. “Order” holds a ton of meaning and layers of application. So interesting. Order is ubiquitous. It exists in material reality and immaterial reality. When order is absent, its lack increases its importance. When order is compromised, a disequilibrium ensues. Order, disorder, and chaos.

Order is personal. Order is social. Order is political. Order is theological. Order rules biology, chemistry, physics, history, and the arts.  Order is essential for life.

Let’s start with  “order is personal.” For me. Returning home from the sunny south to the cool, often gray barely spring Indiana has left me sad and sadder.  (Yet — anticipation– spring is budding.) Our roots in Fort Wayne are still quite shallow, so I don’t have a full world to return to here.

World. Now, there’s a word that brings us back to Russell Kirk, and what is order, anyway?

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Categories: Christian Reader, The Roaming Reader | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Introducing a New Series: The Roaming Reader

I’ve formed a stack of interesting books in the last five months to read, toting some of them with me for our wintering season in Florida and adding a few selections after discussions with Floridian friends. Today, I introduce to you my new series, a book inspecting and reflecting series, “The Roaming Reader.” My stack represents a variety of genres and topics, yet the variety is still quite limited — based upon my interests and vetting standards. (Now, you wonder what my vetting standards are, so an entire post may be needed, someday, or I’ll simply spoon out my points as we go. We’ll see.)

Paul, Loretta, and I enjoyed the St. Patrick’s Day Festival at the Spanish Springs town square in The Villages. Here in Florida, I’ve found plenty of time to enjoy dear friends, rest, and read.

First, I simply want to present to you the titles and authors comprising this short but heavy stack of eight works. Then, we’ll take note of a warning given to us from another source. Finally, I’ll set up the next post in which we’ll begin to consider two of these books.

Have you read some of these? Maybe you’ll want to explore one of these before I give you my take. Here’s the stack:

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Categories: Christian Reader, The Roaming Reader | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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