Conference Roundup
Monday, July 15, 2013, 10:52 AM

Here are a few upcoming conferences that may be of interest to readers:

Health and Human Flourishing
Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity
July 18-20, 2013

On Being the Church in These Precarious Times
Lutheran CORE Theological Conference
August 6-9, 2013

Thomas Aquinas: Teacher of Humanity
American Catholic Philosophical Association
Oct 18-19, 2013

Kierkegaard: A Christian Thinker for Our Time?
Baylor Institute for Faith and Learning\
Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2013

The Body and Human Identity
Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture
Nov 7-9, 2013

Renewing the Science of Theology for the Present Age
Friday, July 12, 2013, 4:46 PM

 “Students in the contemporary university … suffer from the lack of any normative philosophical orientation or basic formation.  Typically, they are offered no unifying account of reality that would span the diversity of intellectual disciplines.  And indeed where would they get one?”

Last week at a conference on the Renewal of Thomistic Thought, Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP, gave an excellent talk on the problems and needs of Christian theology in the present age.  He covers a huge swath of intellectual territory, from the faults of modern scientific positivism, to the importance of nuance and compassion in engaging the culture.  His lecture is profound, and though oriented specifically toward students of Thomas Aquinas, includes insights that transcend denominational boundaries.

You can view the entire talk here.

Richard Dawkins Takes Us Into His Mind
Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 4:45 PM

As arguably the most successful of the “New Atheist” anti-religion propagandists, Richard Dawkins has made a career spewing theological jibberish and distortions of history to eager audiences of skeptics and atheists. Many of us have, no doubt, wondered what makes Dawkins tick. In a recently released YouTube video, Dawkins gives us a disturbing picture of the inner workings of his mind.  Be prepared—things get pretty psychedelic.

Click Here for the video.  (The good part begins about five minutes in.)

Cheesiness and Gospel Proclamation
Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 12:45 PM

At Ethika Politika, Michael Hannon has an entertaining reflection on superficiality in contemporary Christian evangelism, and a warning against the “juvenilization” of the faith.

We live in a land of WWJD bracelets, Jesus-is-my-homeboy t-shirts, Jesus-is-my-boyfriend music, and “Tebowing.”  We traverse a “Christian” landscape as garish as a Thomas Kinkade painting, strolling to the beat of that sickly sweet poem about footprints.

With these as the most recognizable symbols of our faith, is it any wonder its former adherents fall away disillusioned, or that potential newcomers fail to take it seriously?  Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote, “God is not an uncle.  God is an earthquake.”  First impressions today would suggest that God is something more like a Care Bear.

Frankly, despite having been inculcated with all of this indulgent silliness from a young age, I find it hard to sympathize with the cheerleaders of this style of discipleship.  There are good principled arguments against much of this sentimental excess, of course.  But to be honest, my reaction is more visceral than principled.  It actually turns my stomach to see the fullness of truth so belittled. . . [Read More]

Mr. Hannon’s piece calls to mind Russell Moore’s discussion in Touchstone of Maurice Sendak and the Horror of a Domesticated Gospel.  Both articles are worth thinking over.