But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

The Underground Thomist - Apologetic Report
Sunday, 13 October 2019 11:49

Reading

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How much do we read?  I suppose the answer depend on what one means by reading.  Much of what we call by that name is barely the same activity.  We say we have no time for real reading.  But we seem to have plenty of time for snack prose.

Unlike the older forms of prose,...

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Wednesday, 09 October 2019 16:00

Limerick

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imageOn a cold summer day in the morning

Edward’s teacher gave Ed a grave warning.

“Read humbly, my boy,

“Learning’s not just a toy,

“For you can’t learn from what you are scorning.”

 

Authors: jbudziszewski...

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Sunday, 06 October 2019 16:00

Spontaneous Homicide

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imageFrom time to time someone argues that abortion couldn’t be against the natural law, because sometimes during the course of gestation spontaneous abortions occur.

Here is the difference.  In one case, the unborn child dies because something goes dreadfully wrong during the natural...

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Sunday, 29 September 2019 16:00

History’s Highest Function

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image“This I regard as history’s highest function,” says the Roman historian Tacitus, “to let no worthy action be uncommemorated, and to hold out the reprobation of posterity as a terror to evil words and deeds.”

Curious.  Today we tend to think that the...

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Sunday, 22 September 2019 16:00

Math and Morality

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imageFor it is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits.  --  Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

How is morality like and unlike mathematics?

Alike:  In both math and morality, there are right and wrong...

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Tuesday, 17 September 2019 16:00

Thanks for Telling Me

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From a young scholar:

I keep your How to Be Full and Exact post open on my smartphone.  Now that I've settled into my first academic job, I should really work on practicing more of your suggestions!

 

Reply:

You would find it hard to believe how absurdly pleased that makes this humble...

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Sunday, 15 September 2019 16:00

Old Reliable

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imageReliably supporting a cause is not the same thing as being consistent.  Case in point:  Old reliable Richard Dawkins, who has been writing for years about how meaningless everything is, but who can’t keep his own claims straight.

Dawkins writes, “The universe that we...

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Sunday, 08 September 2019 16:00

I’m With Stupid

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imageI am not one of those (actually there are very few) who believe that natural selection does not explain anything.  Yet this godlike properties attributed to this mechanism are more than a little bit difficult to credit.

Geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky famously wrote, "Nothing in biology...

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Sunday, 01 September 2019 16:00

Where Do Rights Come From?

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imageQuery:

What exactly would you say are our rights, and where would you say they come from?

Reply:

That’s a great pair of questions.  I’m not sure how helpful it would be to offer just a list of our rights, partly because there would never be an end to it, and partly because...

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Sunday, 25 August 2019 16:00

How to Ruin Lives

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imageFor several months each year I live in a high-government dependency, high-drug addiction, high-family disorder region of Appalachia.

Yes, there are jobs.  At present the unemployment rate here is only a little higher than what economists call full employment.  Just like everyplace,...

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Sunday, 18 August 2019 16:00

Disclosure

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imageThe only excuse for broadcasting how one thinks about the upcoming election is that plenty of other people are probably having the same difficulties.  If this sort of disclosure bears no interest for you, try again next week.

The last presidential election was the first in which I did not...

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Sunday, 11 August 2019 16:00

What’s Up with Conscience?

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imageQuery:

I don’t get it about protection of conscience for medical workers.  Why would anyone think doctors should be allowed to refuse to give medical care to people with whose beliefs they disagree?

Reply:

No one thinks doctors should be allowed to do that:  That’s...

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Sunday, 04 August 2019 13:43

Politics in the Pulpit

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imageQuery from a pastor:

When most American Christians think of politics, they think of promoting their favored candidates for office.  I think of politics in the broader, more ancient sense, as promoting the common good.  In this sense, I, as a pastor, can talk all day about politics...

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imageQuery:

I am writing a thesis on the politics of virtues, and I know you have written about this.  But where?

Reply:

The politics of virtues is a way of thinking about government and politics that gives first place to considerations of moral character.  As thoughtful people have...

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Sunday, 28 July 2019 16:00

Only Truth Is Merciful

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imageSays one internet news outlet, “Since his election in 2013, conservatives have sharply criticized Francis, saying he has left many faithful confused by pronouncements that the Church should be more welcoming to homosexuals and divorced Catholics.”

Such reportage is typical. ...

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Thursday, 25 July 2019 16:00

Natural Law for Lawyers

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For years I’ve been teaching a group of law students called the Blackstone Fellows about the classical natural law tradition.  I think this is one of the most important things I do every year, and it is certainly one of the most satisfying.  These young people are interns with...

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Tuesday, 23 July 2019 16:00

Evangelicals in the Public Square RIDES AGAIN

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Query:

I use your book Evangelicals in the Public Square, about the formative influences on Evangelical political activism, in a course I teach at an Evangelical college.  However, the book is no longer in print.  Though I'm trying to figure out a way to keep it in the course, if it...

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Sunday, 21 July 2019 16:00

I Have Changed, Therefore I Exist

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imageFrom a student:

I like learning about natural law, but the theory of it involves a certain amount of metaphysics, and I’m scared of metaphysics.  A friend of mine wrote an essay for another course, in which he denied the persistence of personal identity.  According to my...

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Sunday, 07 July 2019 16:00

Hooking Up High

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imageNeedless to say, a man who takes advantage of a woman by having sexual intercourse with her while she doesn’t know what is happening is a rapist, and should be punished to the full extent of the law.  But let’s not talk about that.  Let’s talk about

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Sunday, 30 June 2019 16:00

The Philosophical Effects of Broken Homes

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imageWe should always reason logically, but right reason isn’t just about logical arguments.  The pain of growing up in a broken home deeply affects how some of my students think about the natural laws of marriage, family, and sexuality.  Sometimes they draw the wrong lessons.

One...

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Sunday, 23 June 2019 16:00

Connecting the Dots

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A reader sends this anecdote:

“My nephew and I talked last night about abortion.  I could tell that he was troubled by the fact that at the earliest stage in his or her development, the developing child looks like a glob of cells.  “‘Most people can’t connect...

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Sunday, 16 June 2019 16:00

Just a Little Clarification

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imageSanctuary cities have been much in the news lately.  The idea of cities of refuge is biblical, of course.  They were for those who were in danger of being killed in retaliation for an accidental death.  Far from being means of escaping from law, in fact they were established by...

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Sunday, 09 June 2019 16:00

What Is a Common Good?

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imageI doubt that we give enough thought to what we mean by the common good, because a good may be common, or shared, in a number of different ways:

Type 1.  It may be like the good of conversation for those participating in it:  Unless they are competing for approval, if the conversation...

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Most of the founders of the Republic took for granted that it was impossible to maintain a decent political order without good moral character on the part of both the citizens and the rulers.  Some, like John Witherspoon, went so far as to think that we always get exactly the government...

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Sunday, 26 May 2019 16:00

The Old, Middle, and New Liberalism

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imageThe old sort of liberalism thought the law should promote good character, but considered it unwise for the law to demand so high a standard that the demand for virtue backfires.  This is a very ancient idea, and it is true.

The middle sort of liberalism said that the law should repudiate...

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