This little glossary may help reading comprehension of the Aintsobad series, "An Admirable Life"
An Admirable Life-Worthy living and the means by which we define worthy living. Western culture once had a generally agreed upon (consensus) to describe worthy living and, so, an admirable life. Our loss of this consensus is perhaps the greatest loss in our history.
Nihilism-From the Latin, nihilo, the word most closely translates as "nothingness." Christians historically teach a creation ex nihilo, or from nothingness. When applied by some secular philosophers, however, nihilism is a school of philosophy bent on reducing life to a series of unrelated, meaningless events, ending in physical dissolution.
Fanaticism-Fanaticism is self-deception. The fanatic knows he has a meaningful sense of all that is admirable. Further, he knows all persons must share his beliefs as ardently as he holds them. Without a passionate commitment to his system of beliefs, persons are less than admirable, other than desirable and perhaps not worthy of survival.
The story of the 21st century is the conflict of fanaticism versus nihilism. Some religionists, for instance, fanatically insist all persons either share their opinions or risk annihilation. An increasingly acceptable response to religious fanaticism is its banishment from the cultural main stream. There is increasing pressure to disdain religion altogether. This would mean, finally, to remove a God-figure from discussion of morality and ethics, so that all things become subjective.
There is less middle ground than ever between the two camps, nihilism and fanaticism. The world, in my opinion, is poorer and more dangerous as a result. Nihilism has no place for God. Fanaticism has no room for any god but its own.
A middle ground might be recreated (or regained) if we could agree on what it means to live an admirable life. There was a time when we know, just knew, that an admirable life meant living for God. By God, in the West, we overwhelmingly meant the Christian God of the Bible. We are now forced by example to admit non-Christians are able to live admirable lives and many Christians in leadership are less admirable.
Humility-The Early Church Fathers paired meekness with humility. By meekness, and by implication, the early believers found humility to be a regular preference for the will of God.
Iconoclast-An iconoclast is an "Idol" (icon) smasher, one who believes idols should be doomed to cataclysm.
Creed-From creedere, itself from cor dare, meaning "from the heart." Creedal chanters learned their repeated beliefs by the heart, rather than reading from a book. In fact, there was no book for the longest time. When the book did become available, it was not available to many. Somehow they learned, repeated what they learned and the faith they repeated moved across the known world.
The proposed audience of this series is the convention of baptist churches in Texas now in the process of choosing a leader. The committee entrusted with the search is a particular audience for this series. At some point, a new leader will be posited, and we will be told why he is admirable. The last fellow was admirable in large part because he was not in Texas during the worst part of the wars. The fellow before him was admirable because he had been so personally involved in the wars, but had never actually bloodied his hands.
There is a conflict here. Political expediency had a great deal to do with both selections but political expediency has not actually helped the organization move out of its conflicts. Something more is needed.
This series, which will finally be book length, from 30,000 to 40,000 words, sans appendices, will point out some of the facets of the chosen one we might actually admire, and so emulate.
Opinions expressed here are mine alone.