The courage of our convictions is a phrase that means a willingness to stand up for what we believe in the face of opposition. Until recently, beyond a little ridicule, the cost of expressing our convictions hasn’t been too great for America’s Christians. But the ante on Christian courage is about to go up dramatically. The question then becomes, are we ready to pay that cost?
For Christians of my generation – the baby boomers – the cost may not be too onerous. Many of us are at or approaching the ends of our careers and so have less on the line. But for our children and grandchildren, the cost could be very great indeed. At Public Discourse, Ryan Shinkel lays out that cost in his excellent essay, “The Courage to Be on the Wrong Side of History: Lessons from Burke and Nietzsche.”
A senior studying philosophy and literature at the University of Michigan, Shinkel articulates well the challenges that his generation will likely face. But he doesn’t flinch from those challenges.
“Moral courage” Shinkel writes, “means placing more value upon the integrity of conscience over the stability of external events: being denied tenure, a plum internship, some job, friends who cannot tolerate “bigoted” opinions . . . prudence is necessary, yet those of my generation who stand for what the family is, what marriage is, and what the foundational institutions of civil society rooted in our rational and social natures are, make possible a new counter-revolution.”
I came of age during the sexual revolution of the ‘60s. Considered counter cultural at the time, that revolution – along with other misguided ideas regnant in those years – has wreaked unbelievable destruction on the well being of our nation and its citizens. If Shinkel can persuade others of his generation to grab hold of the moral courage to become the counterculture of today, to resist the so-called “right side of history,” and simply stand for what is right – whatever the cost – there may be hope for our nation yet.