In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

We are the heirs of a great tradition which we can call the Greco-Judeo-Christian. It is made up of Platonic idealism, Aristotelian realism, Judaic monotheism, Cartesian rationalism, and Newtonian mechanism. Perhaps it is time to add Einsteinian relativism. But these gifts from the past, which help shape our identity and give us spiritual strength, can also bind us like prison bars. If we fail to examine them they become, as Ibsen reminds us in one of his most famous plays, like ghosts haunting us, ideas that may be dead but that still cling to us. Mrs. Alving tells Pastor Manders:

I started going over your teachings, seam by seam. I just wanted to pull out a single thread; but after I'd worked it loose, the whole design fell apart. And then I realized it was only basted.1