Worth Reading - 6/26

I’ve grown up my whole life hearing that racism was wrong, that “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior” (to use one of the first definitions that popped up on my phone) is sinful. I’ve heard it from my parents, from my public school, from my church, from my college, and from my seminary. The vast majority of Americans know that racism is wrong. It’s one of the few things almost everyone agrees on. And yet, I wonder if we (I?) have spent much time considering why it’s wrong. We can easily make our “I hate racism” opinions known (and loudly), but perhaps we are just looking for moral high ground, or for pats on the back, or to win friends and influence people, or to prove we’re not like those people, or maybe we are just saying what we’ve always heard everyone say. As Christians we must think and feel deeply not just the what of the Bible but the why. If racism is so bad, why is it so bad?

Here are ten biblical reasons why racism is a sin and offensive to God.
For decades, Catholic colleges and universities have debated required classes in theology and philosophy. Some argue for a more “open” system that does not presume a primarily Catholic student body. This usually means fewer required classes in theology and philosophy. Others argue that a commitment to social justice marks a properly Vatican II university. This need not mean fewer required classes in theology, but as a practical matter space must be made for new priorities, and so often requirements are diluted. University education has lately gone in a pre-professional direction, and university leaders committed to Catholic identity now feel a great deal of market pressure to reduce core requirements so that students can quickly advance to the specializations that will get them jobs. But through all of this the consensus has held. Most have agreed that the disciplines of theology and philosophy are the foundations of Catholic education.

It’s striking, then, that the curriculum review at Notre Dame is questioning this consensus. The review goes deeper than how many courses in theology and philosophy should be required. In a shift that reflects trends in higher education more broadly, the review questions the very idea of discipline-oriented requirements that specify courses taught by particular departments. Are disciplines the building blocks of university education and thus the proper focus for a core curriculum? Or should we recognize that academic disciplines are “artificial” and reorient our thinking around curricular “goals” such as “critical thinking skills,” “effective communication,” “ethical decision-making skills”? Or the capacity to “comprehend the variations of people’s relationship with God and develop respect for the religious beliefs of others,” as one Catholic university defines a distinctively religious goal? Some leaders in the current Notre Dame administration seem to favor this reorientation. As Notre Dame German professor Mark Roche put it, the university’s leadership want faculty to get out of their disciplinary bunkers and think about “how the Catholic mission” of Notre Dame “can be enhanced not by thinking about departments alone but by focusing instead on ­overarching learning goals.”

3. A lot of what Peter Enns writes these days is pretty annoying as he has shifted from denying inerrancy to actively trying to undermine the authority of Scripture. However, this humorous post on blog comments is funny and worth a few minutes to read:

Behold, I am he who speaks, the one who will open his mouth and sound speech will come forth, concerning this blog and those who comment on it.

I have read this blog, and although sometimes the Author seems a little full of himself and a little too cute for my tastes now and then, nevertheless the Author has shown wisdom and great insight by allowing almost anyone to comment almost anything, and by exercising light maintenance of comments by utilizing the “moderate comments” function provided by WordPress (may its name be blessed).

I have also read the comments to this blog. Listen, commenters. Hear my words and meditate upon them.

I know your works, your enthusiasm, and your persistence. I know some of you simply can’t wait to post your next comment, and I have seen how you endure patiently as you wait for the Author to remember he has “moderate comments” turned on so he can let your comment pass. Your reward will be great.

4. Economic systems can have victims. While it is popular to demonize the free market, it is worthwhile to remember that the totalitarian nature of the communist system and the expressions it restricted cost many people a great deal. Watch this seven minute video from a victim of the rise of communism: