I had an afterthought for my last post. In the two historical examples I explored, the Protestant Reformation and the movement to abolish slavery, I made two points: In each case, 1) the individuals who were agitating for social change managed to align themselves with historical trends that favored their cause; and 2) ultimately, both movements were only successful after a great deal of very brutal violence. However, I need to also point out that neither Martin Luther (nor the Reformers), or William Wilberforce (and the Quakers, Moravians and Methodists) had any idea that they were “riding a wave” of history. They did what they thought was right, and their timing happened to be very good. So I suppose that something can be said for taking one’s stand on moral issues, regardless of which way the wind seems to be blowing.
I suggest that there is ancient wisdom in the traditions of the Hebrew prophets, the teaching of the 'Middle Way' of the Buddha, the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus the Prince of Peace, the Greek Stoics and even more recent examples such as Gandhi and King that can illuminate a path forward, and open a way of reason, love and courage to face the challenge of our times.