A long time ago when I was a freshman in college, I took Introduction to Philosophy from a wonderful teacher named Doctor Charles Lovitt. He taught me to love his subject so much that for a time I considered making Philosophy my major. I wish sometimes that I had. He taught me that the fundamental assumptions of religion are the ultimate questions of philosophy. He introduced me to Hegal and Plato, to Aristotle and Descartes, to Reinhold Niebuhr and to Immanuel Kant.
It is Kant that stayed with me the longest, probably because Kant seemed to have the solutions for so many of the things that were wrong with the America of Viet Nam and Watergate. One thing in particular comes to mind as the Dominionist wing of Fundamentalist Christianity once more attempts to make their particular set of moral imperatives into the law of the land: Kant believed that virtue had to hurt. For a moral act to have any value it must be a hard choice. Forcing people to lead a virtuous life benefits no one.
Sadly, when I looked up the good doctor in Google to be sure that I spelled his name correctly I learned that he passed away March 15th of this year.
The world is a poorer place now that he has left it.