A question tripped me up in my (pleasure) reading tonight and I e-mailed it to Brother John (includes a nsfw picture; kidding), who is my rhetoric professor, advisor and abrother in the Congregation of Holy Cross. I thought you folks might be into doing a bit of pondering as you walk down the hallway at work or from school to the bar and reporting back to the blog or me in e-mail. I’d really enjoy any thoughts.
The assumption is always made in disciplines such as rhetoric (and philosophy, religious belief, ethical theory and so on) that he or she who attains knowledge of justice and truth (or, as I’m taking them all to be somewhat the same without meaning to demean any of them, attaining Enlightenment in the Buddhist tradition or, I suppose, in the Christian religions, God and Jesus’ status) will automatically act justly. Or, as William E. Hull, research professor at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, writes about God in the current issue of Christian Ethics Today, “To say that God can act only for good does not mean that he is restrained by some power greater than himself, but rather that he chooses to limit his power by his perfection. In short, God is NOT free to NOT be God!”
How is the assumption that knowing truth, beauty and justice will lead one to champion those ideals in his or her deeds arrived at?