This is not an easy series to read. It is not an easy series to write. In this series, I attempt to describe the context of an admirable life.
Once, we knew that only a life lived in Christ was an admirable life. Even secular persons felt they should recognize Christ in some way. Virtues were described in Christian terms. Moral failings were categorized as "sins," meaning actions against a Holy God.
Christians are now compelled to admit non-believers can live admirable lives. In fact, non-believers are among the most admired persons in our culture. Scientists are endowed with the attributes of complete knowledge, wisdom, sophistication and impartiality. Business leaders have all these attributes, plus the magic midas touch. Military and security personnel are the Protective Father, who ever watcheth o'er us.
Religious persons, particularly Christians? Pedophiles. Fanatics. Money lovers. Out of touch. Obsolete.
Christians will not accept The Cultural Hero who throws their belief system behind. Cultural Americans will scarcely listen to a belief system so patently fallible as to be based on building, body and ancient book. We have no cultural consensus on what it is to live an admirable life.
So, ask your nearest Christian what he considers an admirable life. Then ask your nearest pure secularist. Then, decide how we are to get these two thinkers together.
Search history. Most "progressive" religious thinking is a direct attempt to answer the liberalism of this age or that time, with the liberalizing effect that naturally accrues from answering liberalism. The Christian grows more effete and takes his faith with him.
Sigh deeply. There is too much thinking to do. We hear constant calls to action, appeals to return to the Old Times Religion, et al. We do not hear much of anyone calling us to think, so we have violated the greatest commandment (according to Jesus), which included the love of God with all our mind, as well as other attributes.
If there is a humble, creedal, iconoclastic thinker out there anywhere, find him/her and put him/her in place. Hurry.
Opinions expressed here are mine alone. Believe me, they are pretty much mine alone.