3 out of 4 stars
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In Truth: The Golden Heresy: Ethics for Human Nature, Elizabeth Ward Nottrodt shares reflections on human nature and the decline of moral standards. Nottrodt explains that the book's title is based on a poem by George Russell (AE) and provides further clarification in the following quote:
"Truth, that which conforms to reality, can and will be considered heresy if it conflicts with the dominant ideas that are held at that moment in history."
In the primary portion of the book, Nottrodt discusses lasting impressions from her college ethics course. She draws from the course text she describes as "...a collection of pure truths" by Fr. Higgins, a Jesuit priest. Nottrodt contends that morals previously reinforced by family, religious institutions, and schools may not have been learned by everyone. The remainder of the book is a series of stories penned in Nottrodt's weekly small group writing sessions, which she credits with fulfilling her ambition of writing the book.
Nottrodt's writing style is organized, concise, and easy to follow as she expounds on topics such as logic, trust, manifest destiny, communism, socialism, capitalism, conscience, judgment, forgiveness, and virtue. She quotes Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and St. Augustine. It is evident why she favors her college text; it seems to simplify subjects like situational ethics and moral relativism.
I particularly like the chapter that discusses conscience. Nottrodt explains the four kinds of conscience defined by Fr. Higgins: scrupulous, lax, prudent, and tender. While scrupulous and lax are opposite extremes of the spectrum, prudent is considered the mean. On the other hand, a tender conscience is sensitive to correcting small wrongs, such as returning too much change received from a cashier.
In one of the stories from Nottrodt's writing class, she shares an entertaining account of receiving free tickets to attend a formal gala with her husband and being starstruck by icons like Eva Gabor, Jimmy Stewart, Cesar Romero, and Alan B. Sheppard.
My least favorite chapter is on the subject of forgiveness. Although Nottrodt quotes Judeo-Christian principles, her thoughts on forgiveness come across as conditional. I understand her points, but as a Christian, I believe that we are required to forgive others whether our offenders acknowledge or regret their actions. Even so, I realize this may be a controversial topic, and it does not detract from the book as a whole. In fact, I agree with many of Nottrodt's thoughts on various issues.
The book contains no profanity, but, unfortunately, it is necessary to deduct a star due to the number of grammatical errors, including multiple typos, incorrect capitalizations, and missing commas. I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to readers interested in topics related to ethics, human nature, religion, politics, and creative writing. However, it may hold less appeal to readers who dislike reading conservative views.
TRUTH: The Golden Heresy
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