Acton Institute Powerblog

Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization is . . . . AVAILABLE!

After a long gestation, I’m happy to report that my book, Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization, published by Regnery Gateway, has just been released and is available for purchase at Amazon.

Over the past two weeks, it’s been listed as #1 New Release on Amazon in 5 categories – History of Civilization and Culture; Science and Religion; Ancient Early Civilization History; Church and State; and History of Christianity. The book has already been reviewed in The Stream and The Daily Caller. The Stream’s reviewer writes, “Gregg’s book is the closest thing I’ve encountered in a long time to a one-volume user’s manual for operating Western Civilization.”

What’s the subject of the book? Essentially it is about the history of ideas – political, economic, and theological ideas – and covers topics of relevance to the growth, development, and the struggles facing the culture that we call the West. But a basic description of the book’s argument can found on its inside cover:

“The genius of Western civilization is its unique synthesis of reason and faith. But today that synthesis is under attack—from the East by radical Islamism (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 more 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.”

Endorsers of the book include the 2002 Nobel Laureate in Economics, Vernon L. Smith; former speechwriter to President Reagan, Peter Robinson; and the late and very great Father James V. Schall S.J. (1928-2019), among others. I’m grateful to them and many others who have helped make this work possible.

Samuel Gregg

is director of research at the Acton Institute. He has written and spoken extensively on questions of political economy, economic history, ethics in finance, and natural law theory. He has an MA in political philosophy from the University of Melbourne, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in moral philosophy and political economy from the University of Oxford.