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Freedom and Virtue

21 March 2007

Detouring briefly…

qb has been steadily devouring Yoder, Hauerwas and Thiessen Nation, as well as copious amounts of Willard (of course). One of the strains of thought that winds its way through all of that material implicitly – and occasionally, in the case of Willard, explicitly – criticizes the annoying American habit of venerating freedom above all other collective ideals. Their writings, however, argue for a higher level of virtue among the American people.

But qb is wondering: if virtue is the aim (and if agape love is the highest expression of virtue), is not freedom a sine qua non, necessary even though not sufficient? Can a person pursue love without the freedom to choose to do so? Why is devotion to freedom antithetical somehow to the Christian idea of virtue?


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