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rant

Intellectual integrity, more often than not, has punishment for its only reward. This is true not only at large, in our culture, or throughout history, but also and especially within academia. The result of intellectual integrity, if pursued with consistency, is inevitably a complex and nuanced position which cannot be easily classified. The rote response is that this makes others "uncomfortable". I am sure that it does. More to the point, howveer, it challenges the easy, and desirable, tendency to oversimplify in identifications; the ideological binary of "yes" or "no" when it comes to identifying an individual with a doctrine or a position; of idenitfying someone as either with, against, or neutral in regards to a position.

By and large, most intellectual inquiry, when pursued systematically, is pursued within a very narrow perspective, walled in by a framework founded on limiting principles. Anything which does not fall within this framework is considered as irreconcilable with the founding principles, and therefore held somehow in opposition. That there may in fact be problems with the framework itself is a proposition very few who have done their work within such are willing to entertain, let alone investigate seriously; and even fewer to admit.

For instance, that there is a God who orders all things by providence is not an unreasonable proposition in which to believe, particularly if one believes that there is a God who creates all things. That God's providential ordering for oneself, specifically, is such that one's own personal, private, earthly good will "work out" or that it will lead to some sort of conventional, terrestrial happiness, is something unreasonable. It could be better for the ordination of the whole that one's life be of misery and suffering. It could be that the greatest offering of one's life is the struggle, the difficulty, and the reflections thereupon. It could be that the best thing to come out of an individual's life is to serve as a warning to others. Nevertheless, many believers extend divine providence to the care for the particular goods of this life, despite it being the case that God could, in fact, ordain suffering for one's whole life.