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

The new Hungarian ambassador to the Court of St. Peter, Eduard Habsburg-Lothringen, who wrote a dissertation on Thomism, comments in an interview about why Thomistic philosophy disappeared for a while in the twentieth century:

"I found that the Thomistic philosophy that I wrote about was always closely linked to Thomistic theology.  And

Sunday, 17 January 2016 23:00

Angels and Confirmation Bias

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Question:

Suppose someone suddenly gets sick, pulls off the road, and witnesses a three-car pile-up that he would have been involved in otherwise.  Would he betray confirmation bias if he concluded that his guardian angel had assisted him?

Reply:

It is not unusual to pull off the road because of sudden illness, it is not unusual for three-car

Wednesday, 13 January 2016 23:00

Hedonism

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Philosophical hedonists think that in the final analysis, the good is nothing but what we desire, and the only thing we actually desire is pleasure.   Did you think you desired love, knowledge, meaning, friendship, or friendship with God?  No, you only desire the pleasure of those things.

Most of my students find this argument

Tuesday, 12 January 2016 23:00

Change of Heart in Confucius

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After speaking of the duties between sovereign and minister, father and son, husband and wife, elder brother and younger, and friend and friend, Confucius writes gracefully, “Some are born with the knowledge of those duties; some know them by study; and some acquire the knowledge after a painful feeling of their ignorance.”

By those who

Monday, 11 January 2016 23:00

Which Diversity Matters (If Any)?

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Julie R. Posselt, an assistant professor in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan, has written a new book, Inside Graduate Admissions, about what she observed after obtaining permission to sit in during the meetings of the graduate admissions committees of six highly-ranked departments at

Sunday, 10 January 2016 23:00

Putting a Burr under His Saddle

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Today is another reader letter day.

Question:

During the holidays, I had the opportunity of visiting my hometown and attending a high school reunion.  Since it was a Christian school, naturally there was a religious service preceding the reunion proper.  One of the organizers -- who did not participate in the service -- approached me

Saturday, 09 January 2016 23:00

Remorseless

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Everyone has a conscience.

But most psychologists think that people with “antisocial personality disorder” don’t.

For example, Robert D. Hare says they are “completely lacking in conscience and feelings for others,” so that they “selfishly take what they want and do as they please,” violating norms

Friday, 08 January 2016 23:00

Equal Insanity Under Law

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“Women ... have the talent, capacity, and right ‘to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation.’  Their ability to realize their full potential ... is intimately connected to ‘their ability to control their reproductive lives.’  Thus, legal challenges to undue restrictions on abortion

Wednesday, 06 January 2016 23:00

Getting Well

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The natural restorative faculties are double-edged swords.  Although their natural tendency is to fight illness and infection, they can also bring about new harm.  Excessive fever and inflammation may cause organ damage and death.

I have been speaking of the restorative faculties of the body, but the soul also has restorative faculties,

Wednesday, 06 January 2016 23:00

Women

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A recent panel of the daily comic strip The Lockhorns depicts the wife saying to the husband, with a knowing smile, “Of course I understand you, Leroy – what would you like to know?”

Both men and women tend to assume that women understand men better than men understand either women or themselves.

Plainly this is not true in all

Tuesday, 05 January 2016 23:00

From the Undiscovered Notes of John Bunyan

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I wrote this little fable in the style of the author of The Pilgrim’s Progress some years ago to dispel the oppression incident to the writing of a book review.

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I dreamed that when Amoralist saw that he could neither make Pilgrim turn back by the blows of his hammer, nor pierce him with his darts, he left him for

Monday, 04 January 2016 23:00

Tribute

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So it went for years:  Every summertime when school was out, almost every day, the little girl ran down the hill to see my wife.  She taught the child how to bake and sweep a floor, showed her how to say grace before a meal, encouraged her to read and work hard at school, gave her snacks when she helped with the chores, and sat in the

Sunday, 03 January 2016 23:00

Triage

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The writer doesn’t say so, but I think she was responding in part to the post “Punishing Singles.”

Question:

I think that when you show why single parents or gay parents are not as good for children as a normal couple would be, you might overlook the number of children who have much worse growing environments.  As you yourself

Thursday, 31 December 2015 23:00

The War Against the Sexes

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Book:  On the Meaning of Sex

Although the temperamental differences between men and women cause friction, they are also what make us attractive to each other.  We like the difference.  Mostly we laugh about it.  Human life is a much more profound affair because there are two kinds of us; but also more musical, more colorful, and

Wednesday, 30 December 2015 23:00

Same Diff

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Protesting the classical understanding of marriage, a young man said to me, “What two guys have with each other is the same as what I have with my wife.”

I take him at his word.  If he insists that what he and the young woman “have with each other” has nothing to do with the polarity and complementarity of the sexes,

Tuesday, 29 December 2015 23:00

“If I Were a Nightingale”

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Nightingale’s song

Last Monday, and again yesterday, I discussed a colleague’s anecdote about the insistence of his students that human life has no purpose.  In amazement, he asked, “So, if I were to tell you that the Westminster Confession says the chief end of man is to glorify God and love him forever, you would say I was

Monday, 28 December 2015 23:00

Revisiting “Because”

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I am still thinking about my friend’s anecdote about the students in his class who thought life had no meaning.

He adds, “there were two or three students who did not buy the nihilism line -- they thought that maybe, perhaps we had a purpose.  But they were either unable to articulate it, or unwilling to, due to the strong majority

Sunday, 27 December 2015 23:00

What? They Disagree?

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Question:

How can any one religion be correct when each claims to be correct?

Reply:

I respect your question, but I don’t think you need my help to answer it.  Suppose you were an astronomy student.  How would you answer if someone asked, “How could one theory of planetary formation be correct, when each claims to be

Saturday, 26 December 2015 23:00

The State of the Controversy (in a Very Long View)

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Pagan natural law theory is non-historical.  Human nature cannot change, and its condition has not changed.  We are what we are, and we are as we are, forever and ever.

Christian natural law theory is historical.  In itself human nature cannot change, but its condition can change, and it has.  We were created; we have lost our

Monday, 21 December 2015 23:00

Because

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A friend who teaches at another university tells me that recently he made his class read Ursula LeGuin’s novel science fiction novel The Lathe of Heaven.  He writes,

“One of the characters talks about the purpose of man.  So, I asked my class if they thought human beings had a purpose.  I know I should not have been

Sunday, 20 December 2015 23:00

That Mourns in Exile Here

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Question:

For the past two years, I have been struggling with my faith, not due to a lack of love for the Church, but due to a struggle with religion in general.  As a cradle Catholic who has been devoted to her faith throughout college, this has deeply bothered me.  My doubt is not about the details of what the Church teaches, but about

Wednesday, 16 December 2015 23:00

But He’s Our Thug, Take 2

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But He’s Our Thug, Take 1

The following exchange between Bill O’Reilly and Charles Krauthammer, televised on Fox News Network, Tuesday, December 15, 2015, requires no comment.

O’Reilly:  Do you believe that Donald Trump would murder people if he were president of the United States?  Do you, Charles Krauthammer, believe he

Tuesday, 15 December 2015 23:00

Letting Go

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Some people hang onto bitterness because of malice toward others, toward God, or toward themselves.  Others hang on long after the original impetus is spent because there is a morose pleasure in sucking at dregs.

But there are yet others who hang onto bitterness because they think letting go would betray some cossetted conviction. 

Monday, 14 December 2015 23:00

The Moral Case for Manners

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To see the dancers in motion,

click here or click the image

A man who cannot keep an appointment is not fit even to fight a duel.  --  G.K. Chesterton

I published the following article in The National Review in 1995, during the Clinton Administration.  Considering how the tendencies I described have not only accelerated since then but

Sunday, 13 December 2015 23:00

Sins of the Fathers

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Monday, as always, is letter day.

Question:

I have questions about the Catholic Church, but I want to talk with someone that acknowledges my own conflicted views, and that does not seek to treat me like an idiot, or wicked for denying self-evident truths.  I want you to explain to me the (at times) total disconnect between lofty ideals and