Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Where Have You Gone, Thomas Jefferson?

(This is a little outside the usual purview of my blog, so humor me.)

Pondering the recent constitutional logjam in Iraq, I thought, "If we (America) had to draft a new constitution today, could we do it?" We would experience far more difficulty than Iraq, I think. Can you imagine the weight of the task? Do we possess men and women of the required calibur? There would be infinite squabbling among lawyers. The politicking! The cultural and religious diversity would be paralyzing.

My point is this: America no longer has the intellectual prowess, the shared mores, or the noble spirit necessary for such a great undertaking. Can these things be recovered? Does this say something about where we have come as a nation?
Sunday, August 07, 2005

Bono: De Gratia

I've been waiting for years to confirm what I already suspected. Bono Christianus est. This exceprt from an interview makes it crystal clear. Thanks to McRyanMac for pointing this out to me. Here's a sample to whet your apetite:
"Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: He was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says, No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: 'I'm the Messiah.' I'm saying: 'I am God incarnate.' . . . So what you're left with is either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase. . . . The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me that's farfetched."

Hellooo? Has Bono been reading Lewis? Can you say, "trilemma?" Praise God.
Thursday, August 04, 2005

Intelligent Design?

I appreciate many of the criticisms leveled against the intelligent design (ID) movement, and I understand the concerns voiced by many scientists about bringing ID into the public classroom. What I simply can't stand is the complete failure on the part of said critics to understand the ID movement.

Proponents on both sides act as if they have their hands over their ears, yelling, "La, la, la, la! I'm not listening!" But today, I'd like to forgo my mantle of peace-maker and take the anti-IDers out to the woodshed.

If ID is bad science, let's have a detailed, scientific critique that specifically identifies the problems. But rhetoric is all we get. Moreover, the rhetoric is alarmingly ignorant. Most of the opponents of intelligent design are coming across as knee-jerk reactionaries. They automatically equate ID with "Creationism" and the lot. Trust me, as someone who's read their stuff, ID is a whole new ball game. It is not simply the same monkey in a new suit. It's a new monkey, and the monkey went and got himself a PhD.

Here's what set me off -- an official document from the National Center for Science Education. This article is misleading and gives a very unscientifically biased assay of the situation. The intelligent design movement is charicatured, and the authors clearly use a "guilt by association" tactic to make ID look bad. ID is not even in the same species as creation science. For instance, the ID movement explicitly includes under its umbrella the idea of "theistic evolution" (although many theistic evolutionists would rather stand out in the rain). ID is also labeled as "unscientific" or "not science." To say that Behe's and Dembski's arguments aren't scientific because the scientific community hasn't embraced them is circular reasoning.
"What is scientific?"
"Something embraced by the scientific community."
"How do you acheive this embrace?"
"By being scientific."
Joseph Heller would be proud.

I guess the shoe is now squarely on the other foot. In the Scopes trial, the roles were reversed, and it was the Christians who acted like the proverbial subterranean-headed ostrich. Now who has their panties in a wad? Who won't even give a hearing to their opponents? Who is the witch, and who is the mob? ("How do you know she is a witch?" "She looks like one!")
Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Old Books to Read

As a follow-up from a previous post concerning "runaway faddism," I've spent some time compiling a list of "Old Books" for those of you who want to take Lewis' admonition seriously. This list is undoubtedly incomplete, and I anticipate many suggested additions from my readers. Most of the texts are available online here, but I highly recommend that you buy your own copy, preferably hardcover, for several reasons. (1) You can write in it and make notes (ciritical in the proper study of books), (2) real, physical books possess a certain aesthetic superiority to their digital counterparts, (3) hardcovers last longer, and (4) you can pass it on to your children, which is significant when it comes to classics. I hope you find this list helpful! Tolle lege!

St. Anselm -- Cur Deus Homo?
Aquinas, St. Thomas -- Summa Theologica; Nature and Grace: Selections from the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas
Athanasius -- Incarnatione Verbi Dei
St. Augustine -- City of God; Confessions
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich -- The Cost of Discipleship
Bunyan, John -- Pilgrim’s Progress
Calvin, John -- Institutes of the Christian Religion
Chesterton, G. K. -- Heretics; Orthodoxy
Lewis, C. S. -- God in the Dock; Mere Christianity; The Weight of Glory; The Screwtape Letters
Edwards, Jonathan -- Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
St. John of the Cross -- Dark Night of the Soul
Á Kempis, Thomas -- The Imitation of Christ
Law, William -- A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life
Brother Lawrence -- The Practice of the Presence of God
Luther, Martin -- Table Talk On Christian Liberty; Table Talk on God’s Word; Table Talk on Justification; Table Talk on the Church Fathers
MacDonald, George -- Creation in Christ
Murray, Andew -- Humility; With Christ in the School of Prayer
Pascal, Blaise -- Penses
Tozer, A. W. -- Knowledge of the Holy; The Pursuit of God
Brother Ugolino -- The Little Flowers of St. Francis
Wesley, John -- On Christian Perfection