Monday, 20 September 2021
Deaf to moral discords
For Christianity, in its essence and origin, was an urgent summons to repent and come out of just such a worldly life as modern liberty and progress hold up as an ideal to the nations. In the Roman empire, as in the promised land of liberalism, each man sought to get and to enjoy as much as he could, and supported a ponderous government neutral as to religion and moral traditions, but favourable to the accumulation of riches; so that a certain enlightenment and cosmopolitanism were made possible, and private passions and tastes could be gratified without encountering persecution or public obloquy, though not without a general relaxation of society and a vulgarising of arts and manners.
That something so self-indulgent and worldly as this ideal of liberalism could have been thought compatible with Christianity, the first initiation into which, in baptism, involves renouncing the world, might well astonish us, had we not been rendered deaf to moral discords by the very din which from our birth they have been making in our ears.
George Santayana - Winds Of Doctrine Studies in Contemporary Opinion (1913)
We certainly have a ponderous government neutral as to religion and moral traditions - and the din is a good deal louder now. The tone is changing too. There are shrill sounds of outrage that things are not going well for the world of indoor fantasy.