In a conversation with some friends recently about the perilous state of our world and its social institutions, the very elements which hold it together this side of chaos – especially the family and marriage – the following point was made:
We know that reason is on our side when we argue for the protection of the family, and for the institution of marriage which is one of its most important pillars. We know that the natural family has been crippled with things like divorce, the normalization of cohabitation and the latest paralysing threat to it – the removal of the complementarity of the sexes as one of the defining elements of marriage. We can explain all this in rational terms. But we also know that none of the explanations we offer is helping us turn the tide.
Christians know these things on two levels and they have two powerful sources on which they can base their convictions and present their case – faith and reason. With reason they can win the argument but seldom change the heart. They should rely far more on their faith, and its beauty, to win, not just the argument, but the heart as well. That will be when the tide will begin to turn.
The case was made that while the campaigns now in progress in the culture wars – the campaign for the human rights of the children in the womb who are awaiting birth, any campaign to protect children for the plague of divorce which shatters their homes, any campaign to disabuse those who think that the best way to marriage is the experimental one of cohabitation, a way which is leaving millions of children without fathers – all these have reason on their side but there would be no campaign at all if there were not people of faith behind them. Christian faith is the motive power behind them all.
The conclusion was that the surest way to bring the world back to its senses on all these issues was to try to bring people back to the faith. In so doing the world will then again be breathing with two lungs rather than one. Then, and only then, will we grasp the complete vision of humanity and all things truly human, enlightened by the beauty of that mysterious thing which faith is. Only when such a vision is restored will we find a way of living which is truly human.
Shortly after having this conversation I read an article, a personal testimony which seemed to be, on the one hand, a portrait of our self-destructing society, and on the other hand, an illustration of transforming power of faith. It was posted some days ago on Garvan Hill’s Twitter platform and on Garvan Hill’s Facebook page. It is so good, so powerful, that it deserves maximum exposure for it impels us to be courageous about speaking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth when we set out to bring western civilization back from the brink of suicide.
It is the somewhat frightening but very moving and very revealing story of an American woman, Catherine Quinn. Read it here and listen to an interview with her here.
One thought on “The way forward…”
It is very powerful, certainly. What strikes me – what has often struck me, in fact, and this bears it out – is the extent to which the “oppressive” Church has become the default position, with very few ever taking the trouble to dig beneath the bigotry and pseudo-history to the truth. At least Ms. Quinn did this, but then she’s obviously an intelligent person. On the other hand, how many “intelligent” persons just swallow it all anyway? I’m thinking here of your recent post on Anna Furedi’s experience at Trinity, Cambridge. That truly shocked me, not having had much contact with students in recent years and fondly remembering L&H debates over 30 years ago: impassioned, sometimes savage, often very funny and generally an educational experience, but with freedom of expression valued above all. I don’t think that’s just rose-tinted spectacles either.
I agree with you when you say: “The conclusion was that the surest way to bring the world back to its senses on all these issues was to try to bring people back to the faith.” And, as you say, one of the most powerful tools to use in this is reason itself. But if people will not listen in the first place, and furthermore will seek to close down your right to debate, then that task becomes all the more difficult. So, as you say, we must then rely on the beauty of the faith to “win the heart”. I do agree, but I would also say that it might well prove to be a long struggle and involving deprivation of what have up to now been regarded as fundamental rights. Still, the example of Poland in the recent past, and nowadays China, does seem to bear out your conclusion.
And as Somebody else said: “and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world”