Friday, July 27, 2012

My three presentations at the upcoming Evangelical Theological Society meeting in Milwaukee, November 14-16, 2012

The Evangelical Theological Society will be holding its 64th annual meeting in Milwaukee on November 14-16, 2012. A draft of the program is now accessible online here.  I am happy to report that I will be giving three presentations at the meeting: (1) In the Bioethics Section I will be delivering a paper that critiques the argument for "After Birth Abortion" recently defended by two philosophers in the Journal of Medical Ethics; (2) In a special session on the book, Journeys of Faith: Evangelicalism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Anglicanism (Zondervan, 2012) (of which I am one of the four main contributors), I will offer a reflection on my return to the Catholic Church five years later; and (3) In one of the sessions sponsored by the  Evangelical Philosophical Society (a group in which I hold membership), I will provide a Catholic perspective on Jerry Walls' book, Purgatory: The Logic of Total Transformation (Oxford University Press, 2011).

There will, of course, be a great number of panels and papers at the meeting. To peruse the offerings, take a look at the program draft.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Egopapism and the Arlington Five

That's the title of my most recent piece over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins:
The Catholic Diocese of Arlington, Virginia has recently drawn national attention because it has asked its catechists to sign a profession of faith that asserts that they believe the catechism that the Church has commissioned them to teach and are committed to the Church as the guardian and custodian of that faith.

In short, they are being asked to admit that they are Catholics and that they believe in Catholicism. This, apparently, is so controversial that five out of the 5,000 diocesan catechists (including parochial school teachers) have resigned over this request. Five, by the way, is the number of popes that have served the Church over my lifetime.

At least one of the five catechists, Kathleen Riley, who is 52, is, like me, a Catholic child of the 1970s (I am 51), which means that we were part of the first generation of Catholics who were spiritually and intellectually formed “in the spirit of Vatican II.”

There was, of course, nothing wrong with Vatican II; its deliverances were a natural development of prior Church teachings. The problem was with how these changes were implemented and understood by clergy and religious who had a different agenda in mind.

As I noted in my 2009 memoir, Return to Rome, the lack of theological seriousness that flowed from this agenda is what pushed me and many others into the arms of Evangelical Protestantism.

When I was in Catholic high school, to provide but one example, I took a mandatory religion class in which Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach was one of the required texts. This was fairly typical of the catechetical infidelity that dominated the era in many parishes and schools in the United States.

 >>>continue reading

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Alvin Plantinga and Nicholas Wolterstorff On the Conduct of the Christian Philosopher

Very wise words by two giants in Christian philosophy:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQBx6asT3og[/youtube]

(HT: Evangelical Philosophical Society blog). The interviewer is the remarkably talented philosopher, Tom Crisp, of Biola University

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Surprise: Famous St. Francis "Quote" is Not a St. Francis Quote

How many of you heard this one:

"Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary."

It is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. Problem is that he never said it. Read Glenn Stanton's blog entry on this famous misquote.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Pluralist Game

That's the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing.  Here's how it begins:
This is how it works. The political liberal, unable to win much support for the goodness of the activity he wants permitted, makes this suggestion to his adversaries: why don’t we let each individual decide for himself whether or not he wants to do X.  His doing X does not affect you, since the state is not forcing you do to X. So, this is a perfectly neutral position consistent with individual liberty. By acquiescing to permit others to do X, you are not approving of X. All you are doing is allowing each person to choose to do or not do X.

The Pluralist Game is the name of a book that consists of a collection of essays by the late political philosopher and Fordham professor, Francis A. Canavan, S. J. (It is also the name of a lecture I have given for several years at Summit Ministries, from where I am writing this present essay). Fr. Canavan makes the point that the pluralist game is a sort of bait and switch. First promising neutrality in exchange for your support, the pluralist winds up giving you something far different than what he promised.  What you are forced to acquiesce to is a set of beliefs that are in fact hostile to what you believe. They become over time part of the unquestioned infrastructure of our public life, and thus make it more difficult for you and your dissenting compatriots to live consistently with what you believe about the nature of the good life.

>>>continue reading