Michael Novak passed away today. I owe this remarkable Catholic intellectual a debt of gratitude, because his lecture “Awakening From Nihilism” was crucially formative for me. At the First Things blog, I’ve written a brief reflection on Novak’s insights and why they are so relevant right now.
Here’s an except from the blog:
What I found in “Awakening From Nihilism” was (at last) a coherent, fully-formed case for truth. In my evangelical education, every teacher I learned from cared about and loved truth, but few could explain why truth mattered to freedom. My evangelical teachers stressed, rightly, that without regard for the truth, Christ and his kingdom were inaccessible. But for many of my peers, the pursuit of truth was—and is—diametrically opposed to the pursuit of freedom. “Truth” is often received as a frozen, cerebral word; “love,” “justice,” and “authenticity,” by contrast, are the words of the artist and humanist. Even those in my life who knew that truth mattered seemed resigned to this mentality, appealing to truth over and against freedom in the name of religious obligation, not human flourishing.
In his lecture, Michael Novak destroyed this false dichotomy.
Read the whole piece here.