Philosophy, Ethics, and Moral Law

By Linda Mihalic

The Old Testament era sacred writings are the most widely recognized religious basis of Western ethics and morality. To this we add the distillation of some ancient and a few modern philosophers on the Good, the True and the Beautiful as the nature of reality, and as the framework of all moral law. By combining the logical-intellectual philosophers with the mystics’ emotional and devotional approach, we can more clearly discern the roots of our ofttimes paradoxical belief systems.

As we study the frequently scanty historical records of the ancient philosophers’ lives, beliefs, and teachings, we find that the search for meaning in life has always led man to examine the nature of morality as an essential element in how we interact with the universe. We know that an absolute objective standard of moral conduct does exist as the Ideal.

This standard is the moral imperative, which is our personal compulsion to right action, arising from the voice of conscience or the sense of right and wrong, which varies only slightly from soul to soul, based on the soul’s choices and experiences. This soul influence has led the honorable leaders of every civilization to establish an objective ethical standard of conduct and behavior, a moral compass inherent within a framework of laws.

“An absolute objective standard of moral conduct does exist as The Ideal.”

Whenever and wherever evil, materialism, hedonism, and moral relativism have subverted our moral and ethical standards, the result is decadence and decline in that culture. Plato wrote of this issue in the Protagoras dialogue and in the Republic. The dilution of ethical standards by the cancer of atheism and hedonistic moral relativism always greases the slide into immorality, amorality, mob rule posing as democracy, and barbarism results. As philosopher George Santayana wrote,

“Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. In the first stage of life the mind is frivolous and easily distracted; it misses progress by failing in consecutiveness and persistence. This is the condition of children and barbarians, in whom instinct has learned nothing from experience.”

To see the proofs of this, witness the final decadence and fall of the Greek democracies; witness the decline and fall of the Roman Republic into demagoguery and dissipation; witness the slide of Europe and the Christian West into the brutality of the Dark Ages. Finally, view the rising tide of atheism, materialism, hedonism, perversion, moral relativism and secular humanism in the Western cultures and nations, and understand that the barbarism of unenlightenment stands at our gates today:

“There is a true and a false philosophy. As the froth in new-made wine swims upon the top and hides the true wine below, likewise there is a froth of sophistry and pseudo-philosophy swimming at the top of true philosophy; it looks like knowledge, but it is the outcome of ignorance, gilded and varnished to deceive the vulgar.” – Paracelsus

We invite you to explore the thoughts and contributions of the greatest Masters of Philosophy and religious thought whose works we have assembled here. It is but the barest minimum to start, yet if we spark the interest of a single soul to grow and to know more, we shall have succeeded in our intent.

“By eliminating the materialists, sophists, atheists, hedonists, utilitarians and mere pragmatists, we bridge an abyss of moral and ethical confusion.”

Be assured that the Platonic and Idealist Philosophy we present here is no mystery but is accessible to all earnest seekers after truth. Philosophy is the love of wisdom, and to the pioneering mystic who travels the Via Christa, wisdom is best represented by this well-known verse: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 2:5. Every embodied soul has access to the same Divine Mind. The only price is the effort you are willing to expend to open that door.

To navigate the realm of philosophy, we provide a pilot’s rutter by which to trace the emergence of The Word in the form of Idealism as taught by philosophers in the Western World, from Pythagoras, through Plato, to the present day. We begin with the Ancients and draw the line at Aristotle. Next are the Platonic successors, the Scholarchs, men who flinched in the face of the exacting standards that Plato had set. Then came the Neoplatonists, from Plotinus to Dionysius the Areopagite. The so-called Moderns begin with Cudworth, Conway, and Leibniz.

By eliminating the materialists, sophists, atheists, hedonists, utilitarians, and mere pragmatists, we have bridged an abyss of moral and ethical confusion. We have also bypassed the German ports of Kant, Hegel, and Lotze, et al., which appeared promising but led to the tedium of an unnecessary, near impenetrable jargon and several dead ends.

Instead we plotted our course to Great Britain for the next flowering of religious philosophy as Idealism, planted by the Cambridge Platonists, and by Bishop Joseph Butler, William Whewell, and Benjamin Jowett, who was first to translate Plato’s unparalleled body of work into English in 1871. His efforts, with those of his student, Thomas Hill Green, led to a rebirth of Plato’s Idealism through the works of mind later created by Bradley, Bosanquet, and Taylor. They, in turn, passed on Plato’s gifts to Royce, an American, whose recommendation led Edna Lister to F. H. Bradley’s Appearance and Reality in her search for the truth of the Ideal, which Jesus Christ embodied.

We include references to provide a reading guide, and recommend texts for more in-depth study of these great minds and avenues of interest. Finally, never, never, never cease to learn, and thus you can be assured that your God-given mind will never be closed to Truth because “We have the mind of Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 2:16.

A Note on Greek

“Greek words and quotations are printed without the accents. It is difficult to get them printed correctly, but there is a better reason for dispensing with them: they are practically useless. They ‘seldom occur in Greek manuscripts before the seventh century’ of the Christian era. Accents were invented by Aristophanes of Byzantium about 200 BC for the purpose of preserving the true pronunciation of the Hellenic language. This they failed to do: the true pronunciation is lost, beyond recovery. We should remember that accents were not devised for scholars.” – Thomas Moore Johnson, translator, Proclus’ Metaphysical Elements, p. xii., 1909.

— Linda Mihalic, Via Christa site editor.

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Philosophia φιλοσοφία
The love of wisdom,
Plato, The Original Idealist,
the Father of Idealism



Gerson, Lloyd, “Plotinus”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, (Fall 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.) [Accessed March 4, 2022.]

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV) This work is in the public domain.

Johnson, Thomas Moore. translator, Proclus’ Metaphysical Elements, Osceola, Missouri; 1909, quote on Greek, p. xii. [University of Minnesota: TC Wilson Library; ref no: 192P94 OM.] This work is in the public domain.

Paracelsus. The Life of Paracelsus. Franz Hartmann, trans. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co Ltd., 2nd ed., 1932. [The Life of Philippus Theophrastus Bombast of Hohenheim, Known by the Name of Paracelsus.] This work is in the public domain.

Proclus. Proclus’ Metaphysical Elements, T. M. Johnson, trans. Osceola, MO: Press of the Republican, 1909. This work is in the public domain.

Santayana, George. The Life of Reason, vol. 1 of 2, Chapter 12, “Reason in Common Sense,” p. 292, 1906. This work is in the public domain.