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Justice, Morality, Power, and Idealism in a World of Harsh Reality

Published on Jan 21, 2016.

All through the first semester in Honors, it’s been non-stop discussion of justice, morality, power, and idealism in a world of harsh reality. Plato’s utopian republic, for better or for worse, utilized brainwashing and slavery to maintain society. Augustine claimed nothing in this world really matters, since your soul is what counts and getting to heaven should be our only pursuit. Dante gave grotesque depictions of the consequences of our actions in majestic poetry, and Machiavelli instructed the proper ways of a ruler, to be cold and relentless like a rock jutting from the ocean. Hobbes took every perception of grace, right, and wrong, and threw them out the window, instead establishing that we only look out for ourselves and our own matters. Throughout all these perplexing, fascinating, sobering, and hilarious conversations, the Honors course and its brilliant professors have challenged us to think broader and deeper about human nature and the progression of big ideas over the centuries. I, for one, have learned a great deal more about what it actually takes to lead a city or nation and the complexities that come with any type of government system. As a novelist, having a greater understanding of politics has allowed me to explore the faults of the fantasy world my stories take place in, as well as better appreciate the tangled-up mess humans have found themselves in.

 

Yet what makes Honors truly worth the late hours of reading Old-English texts of 17-line sentences and utterly confusing vocabulary is that we are reminded daily that we do not have to believe what these authors believed. In fact, there are many cases where the writer blurts out something absurd, so contrary to reasoning that words cannot begin to encompass it. However, this controversy is what brings us to these authors, that made them famous to begin with. It starts a dialogue between students from different majors and forces us to consider what is being posed, and on top of that, what are we to do as Christians?

 

Many times, we end class without a definite answer. More often than not, the author has wedged us between a rock and a hard place, and there is no good answer. What we’ve found most clearly, though, is that as Christians, we are to do what we can with what we have, and pray to God that tomorrow we may do better.

 

Honors College

The Honors College offers a unique, interdisciplinary educational experience for students who meet the academic qualifications and who desire stimulating participation in small, challenging classes.


Quote from an Honors College student, Kirsten Jenson“Honors College has prompted me to grow and determine where I fit in the academic world.”

—Kirsten Jenson (class of 2017)