Honor and Its Decline

Honor once served as a barometer of the virtue and vitality of both men and nations.

It is important to remember that any attempt at sundering truth into separate upper and lower categories is merely a pretext for unbelief. The decline and fall of honor in our day is not the second- or third-order consequence of the new fundamentalist dogmas of our abortion-affirming, LGBTQ+, or postmodern soothsayers. Instead, it is unbelief in the unchanging standards of an unchanging God that has precipitated this catastrophic domino effect across the terrain of our culture.

 

It is commonly acknowledged that the cornerstone of the English literary canon is Shakespeare. What is only slightly less commonly acknowledged is that the cornerstone of Shakespeare is the virtue of honor. Just consider a brief sampling of the Bard’s unforgettable lines:

Honor’s thought reigns solely in the breast of every man. (Henry V, 4.3)

Mine honor is my life, both grow in one. Take honor from me and my life is done. (Richard II, 1.3)

If I lose my honor, I lose myself. (Antony and Cleopatra, 3.4)

By Jove, I am not covetous for gold, nor care I who doth feed upon my cost; it yearns me not if my garments wear; such outward things dwell not in my desires: but if it be a sin to covet honor, I am the most offending soul alive. (Henry V, 4.3)

Of course, much has changed since Shakespeare penned those words. The decline of honor has been precipitous from its place at the pinnacle of Western culture and Christian virtue to utter obscurity, or perhaps even ignominy.

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