We continue to see the expansion of freedom and the economic prosperity around the world. And yet, despite having enjoyed such freedom and its fruits for centuries, the West is stuck in a crisis of moral imagination.
For all of its blessings, modernity has led many of us to pair our comfort and prosperity with a secular, naturalistic ethos, relishing in our own strength and designs and trusting in the power of reason to drive our ethics.
The result is a uniquely moralistic moral vacuum, a “liberal paradox,” as Gaylen Byker calls it — “a hunger for meaning and values in an age of freedom and plenty.”
In the past, American prosperity has been buoyed by the strength of its institutions: religious, civil, political, economic, and otherwise. But as writers such as Yuval Levin and Charles Murray have aptly outlined, the religious and institutional vibrancy that Alexis de Tocqueville once hailed appears to be dwindling, making the space between individual and state increasingly thin.
The revival and restoration of religious and civic life is essential if we hope to cultivate a free and virtuous society, occurring across spheres and sectors, from the family to business, from the church to political institutions.
Given the increasing attacks on religious liberty, Christian colleges and universities are standing particularly tall, even as they endure some of the highest heat. In a recent talk for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, David Brooks demonstrates the cultural importance of retaining that liberty, explaining how his recent experiences with Christian educational institutions have affirmed their role in weaving (or re-weaving) the fabric of American life. (Read his full remarks here.) (more…)