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"We admit, however covertly, the existence of transcendent values"

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Luc Ferry's _A Brief History of Thought_ takes us through five major eras of philosophical thinking. It is, true to the title, a brief ride (I completed the book in a couple of days). He begins with Greek thought (particularly the Stoics), then to Christianity, followed by humanism (in Kant), a lengthy wrestle with Nietzsche's postmodernity, ending with his own appeal to what he calls "post-Nietzschian humanism." Though the French philosopher says he is no Christian, he presents all the philosophical movements as an effort to address "salvation." Each era of thought is shown to argue for three things: a particular "theory" (a way of seeing the heart of reality), ethics (a way of behaving that comes from the theory), and salvation (particularly seen as a solution to the fear of death). His critique of Stoicism's solution (which advised us to refrain from "attachment") is relevant in the Western world listening to Buddhism's same call. And his dissatisfaction with where deconstruction has left us should resonate in the reader, too. It's notable that the concept of self-sacrifice is what forms the basis of his call back to transcendent values: > Counter to the the inevitable logic of a thoroughgoing materialism, we continue to believe (whether or not we profess to be materialists) that certain values could, in a given situation, lead us to risk our lives....Sacrifice, which returns us to the notion of a value regarded as_sacred_ (both from Latin, 'sacer'), paradoxically retains, even for the committed materialist, an aspect which can almost be described as religious. It implies, in effect, that we admit, however covertly, the existence of transcendent values, superior to our material and biological existence (p. 244). This way of thinking should be encouraged by believers. At the least it is a "common grace" defense of transcendent values, without which societies cannot be healthy. Even more, though, this way of thinking can serve as a "common ground" for Christian witness. A philosopical argument from the act of sacrifice and an acknowledgment of the need for salvation from the ultimate problem of death? The Christian story stands very, very close by.

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1 Sarah R = "Everyone in our broken world knows there is something wrong. Something wrong with the world, something wrong with themselves. People try many different ways to make sense of the world and their place in it, or they try to avoid the uncomfortable feelings by diving deeply into a passion, pursuit, or addiction. As a Christian, I believe the problem is broken relationship with God because of sin, and the solution to "salvation" is reconciliation with God through Jesus."
2 Sarah R = ""For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it." - Matthew 16:25"
3 Abigail Borah = "Great insight into the human person. Whether or not people profess belief in the divine, we all create religion for ourselves. Whether this is nature or nurture is another conversation. Perhaps the very universality of the religious urge (for ritual, etc.) is proof of a divine/transcendent truth. "