The Weekend Read
Fear, Faith, and Courage

Marilynne Robinson has, throughout her essays and fiction, looped an iron chord around the twinned facts of faith and the moral self.

Published on: October 5, 2014
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  • gbaker13

    There is certainly no doubt that fear is used as a threat to encourage censorship. Right now in America, anyone who speaks anything that is perceived as unflattering to a minority group, women, or Islam is threatened with everything from physical violence to social censure. Whether it is true or not is considered irrelevant. This is a poisonous climate for freedom of speech, communication, and understanding.

    • Corlyss

      That is what makes discussing Murray’s findings so difficult.

  • Anthony

    “Moral courage comes not from a superhuman morality but flows from an internal strength.”

    “…Excellent people, well-meaning people, their lives do not yield what they hoped. You know? This doesn’t diminish at all the fact that their dignity is intact. But their grief….” In particular, are we dependent on other people for our self definition?

    • gbaker13

      My opinion is that we have seldom been at a time in this country where a greater percentage of the population are dependent on others for their definition (making the term “self definition” highly questionable from my standpoint. There have always been cries from those who wish others to shoulder their responsibilities. Sadly, since the time of FDR the government has been answering this call to a greater and greater extent. The result has been a greater standard of living for some overall, but at the expense of dignity, honesty, self-reliance, character, and the people who still attempt to practice those virtues.

      • Anthony

        Perhaps thinkers like you can help to to change that perceived percentage. But my question is turn on response to Wyatt Mason by Marilynne Robinson that paradoxically we are dependent on other people for our self definition. Though I understand thought behind her response (and your intimation), my use above is rhetorical. Still, I agree with her that you have to live with your mind your whole life – and it may be that fear of making self-revelation that speaks to your dependency and haunts.

        • gbaker13

          In most cases I care very little as to whether perception is changed or not. When a percentage of the population decides no not deal with its responsibilities, society as a whole suffers. If the trend continues, society collapses. A more positive perception won’t stop that. The current administration is an excellent example of the limits of trying to “put a happy face” on an increasingly bad situation. Perhaps the most damaging aspect is the role that academia has played. In the past, institutions of higher learning encouraged people to explore truth no matter how painful. Now they encourage the protection of self image above all, with the result being increasingly fragile young adults. Of course they are afraid to look at themselves. For most of their lives they have been told they are wonderful and perfect. Even a cursory self exam will destroy that myth. My big question is how far things will have to collapse before people are prepared to abandon the useless in favor of the useful.

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