Archive for the ‘social impact of Christianity’ Category

Men of intemperate minds cannot be free

April 7, 2013

It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.

Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

The self-restraint of genuine Christianity provides the conditions of a truly free society. Conversely, as society degenerates into licence, restraint must be imposed by the state. Ultimately this leads to totalitarianism.

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If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes

May 27, 2011
If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes. Then you must start painfully again, and you cannot put on a new culture ready-made. You must wait for the grass to grow to feed the sheep to give the wool out of which your new coat will be made. You must pass through many centuries of barbarism. We should not live to see the new culture, nor would our great-great-great-grandchildren: and if we did, not one of us would be happy in it.
Eliot, T. S.

Leisure is the mother of philosophy

September 5, 2009

Leisure is the mother of philosophy; and Commonwealth, the mother of peace and leisure. Where first were great and flourishing cities, there was first the study of philosophy. The Gymnosophists of India, the Magi of Persia, and the Priests of Chaldaea and Egypt are counted the most ancient philosophers; and those countries were the most ancient of kingdoms. Philosophy was not risen to the Grecians and other people of the West, whose Commonwealths, no greater perhaps than Lucca or Geneva, had never peace but when their fears of one another were equal; nor the leisure to observe anything but one another. At length, when war had united many of these Grecian lesser cities into fewer and greater, then began seven men, of several parts of Greece, to get the reputation of being wise; some of them for moral and politic sentences, and others for the learning of the Chaldaeans and Egyptians, which was astronomy and geometry. But we hear not yet of any schools of philosophy.

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, 4, 46

So peace is necessary to the advancement of culture and science etc.

Compassion Prompted by the Return of Jesus

August 26, 2009

I do not think in the last forty years I have lived one conscious hour that was not influenced by the thought of our Lord’s return.

Anthony Ashley-Cooper, the Earl of Shaftesbury

no one (says a biographer [Battiscombe?]) has “ever done more to lessen the extent of human misery or to add to the sum total of human happiness.

Shaftesbury reformed treatment of the insane, pioneered legislation against the exploitation of labour, sponsored low-cost housing for the urban poor, free education for destitute children etc.

Do Atheists die younger?

August 26, 2009

(apparently, and probably not the right motivation to attend church…)

Going to church can increase your life expectancy by up to 7 years and life expectancy increases the more you go to church.

US Study, Demography (1999), 36, 273-85

Mind you, one wonders if church-going is also attended by other factors such as being less likely to drink and smoke heavily etc.

Society needs the Gospel not merely laws

August 4, 2009

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

John Adams, 2nd US President, October 11, 1798

I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it…

Learned Hand

Billings Learned Hand (January 27, 1872 – August 18, 1961 ) was a United States judge and judicial philosopher. He served on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and later the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Hand has been quoted more often than any other lower-court judge by legal scholars and by the Supreme Court of the United States.

To these three sorts of law must be added a fourth, the most important of all, which is inscribed neither on marble nor brass, but in the hearts of the citizens, a law which forms to true constitution of the state, a law which gathers new strength every day and which, when other laws age or wither away, reanimates or replaces them; a law which sustains a nation in the spirit of its institution and imperceptibly substitutes the force of habit for the force of authority. I refer to morals, customs, and, above all, belief: this feature, unknown to our political theorists, is the one on which the success of all the other laws depends; it is the feature on which the great law-giver bestows his secret care, for though he seems to confine himself to detailed legal enactments, which are really only the arching of the vault, he knows that morals, which develop more slowly, ultimately become its immovable keystone.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract