The James Wilson Institute’s Deputy Director Garrett Snedeker and intern Jake Rinear recently conducted an interview with Samuel Gregg, director of research at the Acton Institute, about his new book “Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization.”
Gregg answered questions pertaining to a variety of topics such as religious liberty, freedom, natural law, enlightenment ideas, the reintegration of faith and reason and others, many of which Gregg expands upon in his book.
Gregg began by discussing the influence of Pope Benedict on the ideas throughout the book. He continued by discussing an important theme in his book- the idea that freedom is found in the adherence to the laws of nature, rather than in their abolition. Gregg says that Christianity shows “that the ultimate form of freedom is the freedom that comes from choosing the true, the good, and the beautiful and living the life of excellence. Slavery and unfreedom is when we choose to dwell in error. That, I think, is crucial to understanding the West today, and I don’t think it’s a mistake that when we lose sight of that, decadence starts to emerge very quickly.”
Rinear asked Gregg about the ongoing decline in religiosity in the west, and how that will affect civilization. Gregg asserted that even people who claim to be of no religion are actually religious in the way they have made conclusions about the universe and are living their lives in accordance with those conclusions. Further, he stated, “It’s not as if we haven’t been in these positions before…Periods of widespread belief are often succeeded by periods in which people rediscover the faith of their ancestors. An example of this is modern day Israel.”