October 5, 2020

In my first year philosophy classes I often ask my students why they are going to college. They typically answer: to get a good job.  And the discussion ensues… “Why do you want a good job?” “To live well, eventually raise a family, give to worthy causes….” “But why pursue those things?” Awkward silence…. Then someone breaks the silence and blurts out something like, “Because they are good….” “But why pursue good things?” Again, awkward silence.  To break it, I… Read more

October 2, 2020

Six years ago today my dear friend, Gretchen Passantino Coburn, passed away.  What follows is an essay I wrote a week after her death. —— Gretchen Passantino Coburn died last week [10/02/14] at the age of 61. Although virtually all of my Catholic readers, and most of my Protestant ones, have likely never heard of her, she was, along with her late husband, Bob Passantino, an important influence on many of us who considered ourselves to be intellectually serious Evangelicals. Although I had… Read more

September 15, 2020

Today in my undergraduate class–Contemporary Moral Problems: Law, Morality, and Justice–we began discussing an article authored by Michael Ruse and E. O. Wilson, “The Evolution of Ethics,” published in The New Scientist in 1985.  Later this week we will read an opposing view authored by C. S. Lewis, from the first five chapters of his book Mere Christianity.   I first began using both pieces in class in Fall 2016 while I was a visiting professor at the University of… Read more

September 11, 2020

That’s the title of an article I recently published in the journal, Studies in Christian Ethics 33.2 (2020).  It is a revised version of a paper I delivered at a conference at Oxford University in May 2018.  Here is the abstract: This article critically assesses an account of religious liberty often associated with several legal and political philosophers: Ronald Dworkin, John Rawls, and Christopher Eisgruber and Lawrence Sager. Calling it the Religion as Comprehensive Doctrine approach (RCD), the author contrasts it with an… Read more

August 28, 2020

Today, August 28, is the Feast Day of St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430).  The most influential theologian in the history of Western Christianity, he often is cited by both Catholics and Protestants in support of their respective views on the doctrine of justification. The following is an example of St. Augustine’s brilliance. In these paragraphs, from his On Grace and Free Will (AD 426 or 427), he offers an interpretation of Scripture that, in my judgment, reconciles the apparently contrary… Read more

August 27, 2020

Over the past 24 hours I’ve read several online pieces, three of which stand out. The first appeared in The Bulwark and is authored by Mona Charen.  Entitled, “Why this Prolife Conservative is Voting for Biden,” she writes: Being pro-life is part of an overall approach to ethical questions. It’s wrong to take innocent life. But other things are immoral too. It’s also wrong to swindle people, to degrade and demonize, to incite violence, to bully, and while we’re at… Read more

August 24, 2020

Princeton Politics professor, Keith Whittington, has published an important piece in Real Clear Politics about the growing threats to academic freedom in American colleges and universities.  Entitled “Chipping Away at Academic Freedom,” Whittington draws our attention to an open letter, signed by a group of faculty at his own university, that is demanding “the creation of a faculty committee empowered to`oversee the investigation and discipline of racist behaviors, incidents, research, and publication on the part of the faculty.'”  There is… Read more

August 13, 2020

I always tell this to my students.  Perhaps they will listen to Snoop Dogg: Read more

August 13, 2020

Earlier today it occurred to me that on August 24 I begin my 18th year as a faculty member at Baylor University.  While reflecting on my nearly two decades in Waco, I was reminded of a piece I published 8 years ago in The Catholic Thing the week before I was to begin my 10th year at Baylor.  In it I explain how my arrival in Bear Country was instrumental in my return to the Catholic Church. Here’s how it begins:… Read more

August 7, 2020

I’m happy to report that Hope Leman’s interview of me at New Books Network is now accessible online.  The topic of the interview is my latest book, Never Doubt Thomas: The Catholic Aquinas as Evangelical and Protestant, published by Baylor University Press.  Here’s how she introduces the interview:  Should you care how Protestant theologians and philosophers view a man generally regarded as of interest primarily to Catholics and as a pillar of Catholic thinking? Absolutely. Why? Because much of what… Read more

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