Teaching predestination at Berkeley

The New York Times has a fascinating article by Berkeley history professor Jonathan Sheehan about how he teaches John Calvin in his secular classroom.  Specifically, he uses the scary stuff in Calvin–particularly, double predestination–to blow the minds of his students and to teach them their limits.  Read the article and a response to what he says from someone else who teaches Calvin to secular students (linked and excerpted after the jump).

We Lutherans believe in predestination, though not Calvin’s double predestination.  But we certainly believe in the limits of human beings, a message considered salutary today.  Maybe teaching Luther’s Bondage of the Will would have a similar effect.

What do you think of this use of Calvin?  Is it really accurate to his thought?  Do we take away from this that it’s okay to teach Law to secular students, just not the Gospel?  (The emphasis here is on those who are not chosen to salvation, I guess a group the secularists identify with.  But what about those who are?) [Read more…]

Leftists go from frightening to frightened

When someone chalked “vote for Trump” messages on the sidewalk, students at Emory University protested, saying seeing these words made them feel “frightened.”  The administration, playing the role of in loco helicopteris parentis, held their hands, offering counseling and promising to investigate who committed this brazen act of democracy.

Similarly, in Scripps College in California, someone wrote “Trump 2016” on a whiteboard, leading to charges of “racism” and the claim that the campaign slogan was an act of “violence.”  This is all of a piece with university students demanding “safe spaces” where they will be protected from any words or ideas that they find disturbing.

Leftists used to project a menacing swagger.  The old Marxists made posters of themselves as brawny workers with hammers and sickles and openly talked about “liquidating the bourgeoisie” (that is, exterminating the middle class).  In my day, the “new left” college radicals stencilled a clenched fist on sidewalks and whiteboards.  They taunted their opponents with “up against the wall, ************!” (referring to the use of a firing squad).

But now these “post-Marxist” leftists–who substitute race, gender, and sexual identity for the old left’s concern for economic justice and class struggle–are so timorous, so fragile, so easily frightened by opposition, that it’s hard to take them seriously. [Read more…]

Defining dissent as violence

First you define the expression of ideas that you disagree with as a form of “violence.”  Which means you are justified in using actual violence against those ideas in the name of self defense.

From Pete Spiliakos, When Dissent is Equated with Violence | First Thoughts | Blogs | First Things:

UC Santa Barbara Professor Mireille Miller-Young is more imprudent, but no more ideologically insane than the administration of Stanford University. Miller Young forcibly took a sign from, and allegedly assaulted a pro-life protestor at her college. The Volokh Conspiracy cites the police report, in which Miller-Young argues that her actions were “in defense of her students and her own safety.” [Read more…]

Universities partnering with dictators

That blind Chinese dissident who was under house arrest for opposing forced abortion and escaped to the United States was given an academic appointment at New York University. But it’s being pulled now, some say because the university wants to open a satellite campus in China.  Jackson Diehl tells of other major universities that seem willing to throw out their commitment to academic freedom in order to land lucrative deals with dictatorial regimes. [Read more…]