Are human beings born innocent or corrupt? Do we have the ability to create a perfect world, or is that impossible? Those drawing on Enlightenment assumptions assert that man is born pure, and that corruption comes through outside forces. In this view, utopia becomes achievable to the extent that we eliminate all sources of corruption. But rather than ushering in heaven on earth, this outlook actually has a long track record of creating totalitarian dystopias. So where is our culture headed at present, and which vision of man and society will ultimately prevail? On this episode, Shane Rosenthal talks with Os Guinness about the thesis of his new book, The Magna Carta of Humanity: Sinai’s Revolutionary Faith and the Future of Freedom.
If you look at the philosophical problem of evil, the two greatest sources of evil are those who have a dualistic view — we are good and they are bad. Whoever you fight, they are the bad people we are the good people. But the even deeper source of evil are the utopians who see nothing bad at all in human nature. The trouble comes when they have to fill the gap between the ideal and the real. Humans are not good. So how do they fill the gap? They fill it through force, coercion and violence.Os Guinness
In an earlier version of this podcast, a reference was made to a “Marxist thinker” by the name of Cleon Skousen. A listener pointed out that Skousen was actually an anti-communist thinker and writer, and his 1958 book, The Naked Communist, sought to summarize the views of American communist leaders. To avoid confusion, this short section was removed from the podcast.
The Magna Carta of Humanity: Sinai’s Revolutionary Faith and the Future of Freedom
Author: Os Guinness
In these stormy times, loud voices from all fronts call for revolution and change. But what kind of revolution brings true freedom to both society and the human soul? Cultural observer Os Guinness explores the nature of revolutionary faith, contrasting between secular revolutions such as the French Revolution and the faith-led revolution of ancient Israel. He argues that the story of Exodus is the highest, richest, and deepest vision for freedom in human history.
A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future
Author: Os Guinness
Summoning historical evidence on how democracies evolve, Guinness shows that contemporary views of freedom–most typically, a negative freedom from constraint– are unsustainable because they undermine the conditions necessary for freedom to thrive. He calls us to reconsider the audacity of sustainable freedom and what it would take to restore it.