20 August 2008


As the astute reader has by now guessed, Christine has returned from the land of wine and cheese back to the cornfields of the deep Midwest. The medieval cobblestone alleyways have been replaced by under-construction asphalt roads, the Saabs and Citroëns by massive Chevy pick-up trucks, and the tartelettes aux pommes by jelly-filled doughnuts. I'll make no comment on the fashion. Needless to say, it's been quite a switch. St. Bénigne Cathedral, that twelfth-century wonder of Catholic architecture, with its professional children's choir, Latin chant, and daily confession, was too good to last; I've returned to more humble surroundings, the sort of church building you might expect in a tiny midwestern town, with the sort of music you might expect (no guitars or drums, mercifully). But the people are kind and good, the cost of living is low, and we are near family, so all of this makes up for anything else.

Updates will be forthcoming, but be patient, dear reader; things have gotten awfully busy around here, and promise to remain so for some time.

12 August 2008

The Great Debate

Twenty years ago, a Christian philosopher named Dr. Greg Bahnsen (now deceased) debated atheist Gordon Stein, and made history. Dr. Bahnsen went on to publicly debate several more atheists, convincingly winning each debate and earning the reputation of "the man atheists fear most."

Anyone familiar with presuppositionalism already knows about the debate; twenty years on, people are still talking about it. If you are unfamiliar with presuppositionalism, the debate presents an electrifying and inspiring introduction. To date, no atheist has adequately responded to what Dr. Bahnsen termed "The Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God."

You can hear the entire debate at this link.

Nota bene: it's an epistemological heavy-hitter, but the good professor tries to explain his argument in layman's terms. In short, Bahnsen argues the Christian worldview is the most rational system because it is the only one that can account for the laws of logic, uniformity, science, and moral absolutes; atheism can account for none of these and thus results in absurdity and irrationality. The existence of God is necessary for the preconditions of knowledge. But don't take my word for it; listen to him.

Follow-up: Michael Butler, who worked closely with Dr. Bahnsen, offers a more recent defense of the Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God, effectively dealing with objections and finetuning the proof.

11 August 2008

A Blatant Lie

I'll have to delve momentarily into that murky, irritating swamp we know as politics, only because it concerns a misconception widely held by well-intentioned Obama-supporters.

In response to accusations that he supports infanticide because he voted against the Illinois Born Alive Infants Act (which would protect babies born alive after a botched abortion), Obama said he would have voted in favor of the bill if it had included a neutrality clause protecting Roe v. Wade.

New documents show this is a bald-faced lie. The Illinois Born Alive Infants bill was amended to include a neutrality clause, but Obama voted against it anyway.

The charge of infanticide holds.

10 August 2008

Weigel on V-Monologues

In the latest update from Project Sycamore--which has petitioned Notre Dame University to end Eve Ensler's ridiculous play "The Vagina Monologues" on campus--George Weigel makes a worthy suggestion:
Whether or not to produce Eve Ensler's "Vagina Monologues" - a "play" that mocks the settled teaching of the Catholic Church - has become a tedious annual ritual on many Catholic campuses. Prominent among them is Notre Dame: to the public mind, the flagship among U.S. Catholic institutions of higher education. There, the university's president, Father John Jenkins, CSC, has allowed Ensler's 'play' on campus, acquiescing to the demands of some Notre Dame faculty while rejecting the counsel of other distinguished faculty members and the arguments of the local bishop.

In the patristic period, disputes within and among local churches were submitted to the Bishop of Rome for adjudication. So here's my proposal and my test-case: Let Father Jenkins send Pope Benedict XVI a copy of Ensler's 'play,' asking the Pope whether he considers this material appropriate for production or useful for discussion on a Catholic campus.

The answer, I predict, will not please the spin machine.
Fr. Jenkins's decision is cloaked behind the mantle of academic freedom, but one wonders whether it accords with the Holy Father's understanding of the same:
I wish to reaffirm the great value of academic freedom. In virtue of this freedom you are called to search for the truth wherever careful analysis of evidence leads you. Yet it is also the case that any appeal to the principle of academic freedom in order to justify positions that contradict the faith and the teaching of the Church would obstruct or even betray the university's identity and mission: a mission at the heart of the Church's 'munus docendi' and not somehow autonomous or independent of it.
A number of Catholic universities have already dropped the play, but Notre Dame stubbornly persists in its refusal to listen to the local bishop on this matter.

You can add your name to Project Sycamore's petition here.