The Liberal Arts and the Call to Die

          A week or two ago, I saw a friend post a link to a discussion between Robert P. George and Cornel West on the liberal arts. Having spent my time in certain intellectual circles, I was correct in assuming that Professor George would provide a robust and well-articulated commentary on the liberal arts from his Catholic, natural law understanding. Not being familiar with him outside of his appearances on The Matrix and The Examined Life, I was mostly watching to hear Professor West’s under … [Read more...]

What We Are: Mind, Body, and the Dangers of Dualism

This is the first article from our summer issue. The whole issue will be released gradually over the next several weeks.  According to traditional Christian metaphysics, the human has a body and a soul. But these two things aren’t entirely separate substances, as if the soul was “located” in some part of the body and floats away out of the body like ectoplasma when an individual dies. Rather, the soul and the body form a substantial unity: a human being is both body and soul, and the two are ent … [Read more...]

The Bonobo and The Creator

Biologist Frans de Waal is convinced we've gotten it all wrong: morality does not come down from on high but rather emerges from the bottom up. In his new book, The Bonobo and the Atheist, he reveals findings from his careful study of primates that suggest they exhibit traits such as empathy and compassion, behaving ethically in ways that resemble human behavior. He proposes that morality is a natural product of evolution and that religion emerged as a later useful by-product.There certainly … [Read more...]

On the Use of Arguments in Theology

I am currently working through Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologiae, commenting on one article each day.  Given the large interest among the Fare Forward community in the role of reason and argument in the exposition and defense of the faith, I thought a careful discussion of Aquinas's thoughts on this matter would be well received here.  So below is my discussion of Question 1, Article 8 of the first part of the Summa: Whether Sacred Doctrine is a Matter of Argument. (The English text of the arti … [Read more...]

Why I’m Not Going to Talk About “Culture” Anymore (or Bill O’Reilly and the Guinness Shamrock)

Bill O’Reilly, primetime gladiator, walks into a bar. Specifically, it’s an Irish pub. Bill is traveling, covering immigration in El Paso, Texas, and he’s thirsty. He pulls up a stool at the bar, orders a Guinness. The bartender pours it and hands it over. “You’re a patriot,” says Bill. Bill picks up the chilled glass (made in Mexico). He sees that in the beer’s luxuriant head, the bartender has drawn a frothy shamrock. He tips the glass back, then replaces it on the bar top with a satisfied sigh … [Read more...]

The Universe, Briefly Summarized

Before anything else there is God, absolutely simple and unique, utterly exhausting his own potentiality, totally free, impassible, immaterial, transparent to himself.[1] God first of all is, and his being determines the being of everything else. There could be no fuller answer to the question “What is?” than “God.” In God’s perfect possession of the highest actuality, his being lies open to itself, and communicates itself to itself in an eternal relation of knower and known. The divine essence a … [Read more...]