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
Wednesday, 13 June 2018 16:00

Website Pollution

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This is a between-posts-post.  Websites get viruses too, so I’ve just updated my security.  Though I have never received any complaints, please let me know if you do run into anything fishy (for example a link which takes you someplace where no decent person would want to go).

&...

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Sunday, 10 June 2018 10:52

“We Consider Ourselves Married”

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imageRecently I spoke with a student who was strongly attracted to the view of marriage maintained by the natural law tradition.  He told me, though, that he had been cohabiting with the same woman for five years, and “we consider ourselves married.”  His question: ...

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Sunday, 03 June 2018 16:00

On Trying to Be Good Without God

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The mainstream of the classical tradition links the reality of the natural law with the reality of God.  Thomas Aquinas, for example, says that just as the authority of good human laws depends on the natural law, so the authority of natural law comes from the Eternal Law – from the...

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Sunday, 27 May 2018 16:00

Reading the Omens

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imageA reader comments:

I hadn’t seen your important point about the woman being at a disadvantage in cohabitation made before in quite the way you did in your post “Cohabitation Is Not Marriage Prep.”  A personal anecdote:

In January I attended the wedding of a distant...

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Saturday, 19 May 2018 16:00

Polarized

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Never underestimate the brutal power of desperation, on either the right or the left.

Early in the previous presidential administration, a young man showed up during my office hours to tell me his strategy for overcoming the other side in the culture wars.  He wasn’t one of my...

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Sunday, 13 May 2018 16:00

Father Frog

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Curiously, many people today think that God pays attention only to big things that affect everyone at once.

I guess this means He keeps the galaxies in their orbits, but doesn’t listen to the prayers of Aunt Lucy.

If we claim God as Father, shall we not at least be consistent?

For to say...

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Sunday, 06 May 2018 16:00

Must All Men Fight in War?

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imageQuery:

I have a question about the role of men in society, particularly in the case of a hypothetical war. While I believe that we, as men, do have a role to play in society (protectors of our family would probably be just one easy guess), my understanding of our role in society is still a...

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Sunday, 29 April 2018 16:00

It’s All About Me

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I think an honest relationship is a better one.  Even a high-spirited argument between two people can be friendly and courteous.  By bringing their errors to light, the frank exchange of differences helps both parties advance toward the truth.  It also helps each fellow avoid...

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Sunday, 22 April 2018 16:00

A View of Marriage

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imageThis is the text of a brief talk I gave recently at the fiftieth anniversary symposium on the document Humanae Vitae, where I had been asked to present a Thomistic view.  I hope to post the video within a few weeks.  When I say the talk is ”brief,” I mean it; the paper...

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Sunday, 15 April 2018 16:00

Cohabitation Is Not Marriage Prep

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imageThe idea that cohabitation is good preparation for marriage is amazingly persistent, considering that it isn’t even close to being true.

Research consistently shows that couples who do cohabit have poorer relationships before marriage, poorer marriages if they do marry, and much higher...

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Sunday, 08 April 2018 16:00

Optimism, Pessimism, Neither of the Above?

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During a beautiful conference last week about marriage, sexuality, love, faithfulness, and fruitfulness, there was a great deal of discussion, both between and during sessions, about whether we should be optimistic, pessimistic, or hopeful about the state of things today.  An optimist, I...

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Saturday, 31 March 2018 16:00

Gregory of Nazianzus on Easter

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imageThe following reflection on the Resurrection, its meaning, and its celebration is from the fourteenth oration of Gregory of Nazianzus, fourth century Byzantine Theologian, a defender of the doctrine of the Trinity and a Father of the Church.

Today we have absolutely escaped Egypt, and Pharoah,...

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Sunday, 25 March 2018 16:00

Divine Pedagogy

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imageWhy does the Old Testament include all those ritual purity rules?  Are they just arbitrary taboos?  There is nothing intrinsically wrong with consuming the blood of an animal, or wearing a garment woven of two different kinds of fiber, is there?

The assumption behind these questions...

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Sunday, 18 March 2018 16:00

Lost Time

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imageSince I’ve lost time recovering from surgery this week, I’m not composing a “proper” blog post.  But since I do hate to let readers down, I’m offering a few words about lost time itself -- and about blogging.

About lost time.  When I grouch about time...

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Sunday, 11 March 2018 16:00

St. Thomas and the Happiness Gurus

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imageFor the past two years I have been writing a book on Thomas Aquinas’s theory of happiness and ultimate purpose.  One of the topics he considers is whether we can attain happiness just through our own natural powers.  Wondering how others might answer, while writing the chapter...

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Sunday, 04 March 2018 15:00

Conversion

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imageCurious how conversion works.

One may think the only difference is that one’s beliefs have changed.  Or that one’s moral standards have changed.

It is more like rising from the dead.

Perhaps without having realized that you were dead.

Imagine having a family photograph and...

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Saturday, 24 February 2018 15:00

Would You Like to Swing on a Star?

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Aspiration is better than self-esteem.  Many of us were serenaded in childhood with lyrics like this:

Would you like to swing on a star

Carry moonbeams home in a jar

And be better off than you are

Or would you rather be ...

Each stanza presented something one might rather be – a mule, a...

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Sunday, 18 February 2018 15:00

Political Partying

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imageQuery

I am an attorney considering running for office.  This consideration raises new questions for me and I am curious about your thoughts.  How would you go about choosing a political party?

Reply

Interesting question.  It can be difficult to decide whether a party is...

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Sunday, 11 February 2018 15:00

Reasons for Relativism

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imageMotives aren’t reasons.  Someone might find it congenial to believe that sexual morality is all relative because he is sleeping with his girlfriend.  Or that the morality of abortion is all relative because she’s pregnant and he doesn’t want her to be.  Or...

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Sunday, 04 February 2018 15:00

Judging God

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imageA certain ethicist, let us call him G, is among other things a proponent of abortion, but has greater ambitions too.  He argues that traditional moral principles must be replaced with a manmade morality which is “less likely to be eroded.”  The reason he thinks manmade...

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Sunday, 28 January 2018 15:00

A Mother’s Sorrow

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Query:

My son lost his faith in college, if he ever had a faith to lose.  He says he doesn't believe in sin, which is quite ironic coming from a man very much against the injustices in the world as he sees them, and who thinks God (if there is a God, which there isn’t according to...

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Sunday, 21 January 2018 15:00

Scrubbing Memory

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Does the fad of removing historical monuments seem to you a strange new thing?  Think again:  It may be strange, but it certainly isn’t new, and not all historical reminders are made of bronze and stone.

During one recent semester I discovered that many of my students...

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Sunday, 14 January 2018 15:00

Doubleplusgood Ducktalkers

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In the Year of Our Lord nineteen-seventy, I graduated from high school and matriculated in paradise.

Or so it seemed for a while, because every second person at my university fancied himself a socialist, just like me.

Maybe not just like me.  It was confusing, because there seemed to be so...

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Sunday, 07 January 2018 15:00

Would Dropping This Class Be Faithless?

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imageQuery:

I'm a Christian at a community college in Michigan.  When I registered for classes I thought I'd like the "Bible as Literature" course, but it didn't work out the way I expected.  From the rude things the teacher has said, I think he must be an atheist.

The teacher made it a...

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Sunday, 31 December 2017 15:00

Comfort for the New Year

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Though in early adulthood I suffered strongly from acedia, the “oppressive sorrow which so weighs upon man’s mind that he wants to do nothing,” today I am almost always cheerful.  This cheerfulness, a product of faith and hope, is not native to my temperament, since I...

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