The following is a midterm exam that I gave to my Early Western Civilization students several years ago. How would you have performed on it?
1. What date does Susan Wise Bauer give as the approximate date for the origin of written history?
a. 300 AD
b. 300 BC
c. 3000 BC
d. 3300 BC
e. 8,000 BC
2. True or False: According to Bauer, when the Sumerian flood story was first translated, most historians assumed that the Genesis account was derived from it, but further study of the differences between the two stories suggests that they are far more likely to have arisen separately from the same source event.
3. True or False: Mesopotamia means the land “between the rivers.”
4. True or False: Mesopotamia is the cradle of western civilization.
5. True or False: Ionia is the cradle of western philosophy.
6. Which of the following was NOT an Egyptian king?
A. Scorpion King
b. Raging Catfish
7. The Rosetta Stone played a role in (select one)
a. David slaying Goliath
b. Proving the large extent of the Hittite kingdom
c. God inscribing the Ten Commandments
d. Deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs
e. Preservation of the Epic of Gilgamesh
8. Place the following empires in the correct order
b. Medes & Persians
9. Match the following with the most appropriate location of origin. Each answer will be used only once.
a. Epic of Gilgamesh
b. Code of Hammurabi
c. Homeric Poems
[possible answers: Babylon, Ionia, Sumer]
10. Match the definitions with the best choice of terms from the list below
a. The practice of a king assuming the identity of his predecessor
b. Refers to the name which God gives to himself
c. Using names familiar to contemporary readers rather than names in use during the historical past.
d. A human figure with the face of a bull and imprisoned in the Labyrinth
e. A foot soldier
f. Philosophy of the “living stuff”
[List of possible answers: 1. Positional succession, 2. Hoplite, 3. Anachronism, 4. Minotaur, 5. Hylozoism, 6. Tetragrammaton]
11. True of False: It would have been impossible for the Egyptians to have built the pyramids given their technological abilities. The only reasonable answer is that aliens came through a Stargate and used an energy coil called the “Caduceus Coil” to tap into the planetary energy grid in order to levitate the blocks into place.
12. Place the following in correct order, earliest to latest.
13. The birth story of which of the following is very similar to that of Moses’?
14. Place the following in the correct order
e. Tower of Babylon
g. Period of the Judges
i. Divided Kingdom
j. Babylonian captivity
15. True of False: The Hyksos once ruled in Persia.
16. True or False: The legend of the Minotaur is an example of one of the Greek myths which has been proven to be a very precise description of an actual event.
17. True of False: The exodus of the Hebrews shows up nowhere in the Egyptian records.
18. True or false: The Egyptians did not write.
19. True or false: The Philistines kept the Israelites in a position of military inferiority by forbidding them to manufacture any sort of iron tools.
20. True or False: There was no country called Phoenicia.
21. True or False: Jeroboam was Solomon’s son.
22. True or False: Around 721 BC Sargon II wiped the political state of Israel off the map, and removed large numbers of Israelites from their homeland all the way over to the territory of the Medes. This resulted in the despised mix of peoples that the Jews later called Samaritans.
23. Match the following leaders with the location of their rule.
e. Cyrus the Great
[Possible answers: Babylon, Medes & Persians, Judah, Egypt, Assyria]
24. Match the following gods (God) with their followers.
[Possible answers: Egypt, Babylon, Hebrews]
25. True or False: The Great Pyramid of Giza and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are two of the Seven Wonders of the World.
26. True or False: The war between the Greeks and Persians was central to the life of the Greeks, but receives barely a mention in Persian histories.
27. True or False: The Delian League and the Peloponnesian League were manifestations of the rivalry between Athens and Sparta.
28. Which of the following are historians upon which Bauer relies for material. (Select all that apply)
29. True or false: One characteristic of Orphism is that by ritual purifications and an ascetic life they hoped to win release from the body and return to the company of the gods.
30. The logic of which philosopher was the starting-point for both Platonic dialectic and Aristotelian logic.
e. Tyrannosaurus Rex
31. The Logos is most often associated with which of the following philosophers?
e. Latissimus Dorsi
32. Complete the sentences by filling in the blank spaces with the correct answer from the list provided below.
a. __________ influenced Plato more than any other philosopher. Important elements passed into Plato’s thought from his predecessors which through him have influenced the later development of European philosophy.
b. From the __________ Plato derives much of his conception of the matter of the physical universe.
c. From the __________ comes the essence of Plato’s doctrine of the nature and destiny of the soul, his insistence on eternal form and order as the supremely important reality and proper object of the intellect, and the emphasis in his though on mathematics and astronomy.
d. From __________ he gits his vision of the transitorinesss of all sensible things and the flux of the material world.
e. __________ and the Eleatics leave him a clear though inadequate vision of eternal being, the beginnings of logical reasoning, and a logical problem to solve.
[Possible answers: 1. Heraclitus, 2. Parmenides, 3. Pythagoreans, 4. Milesians, 5. Socrates]
33. Match the following statements about “pleasure” with the school it most accurately depicts.
a. “As a humanist agnostic I enjoy pleasure when it is practical as part of a successful civilized human life.”
b. “I can’t really know if pleasure is good or bad, but I have an opinion about it.
c. “I enjoy my pleasure in public and could care less what you think about it.”
d. “It is our feelings of pain and pleasure which are the test by which we determine what is bad and good for us.”
e. “Pleasure? I am utterly indifferent to all external things. I am free from all passion, emotion, and affections.”
[Possible answers: 1. Stoicism, 2. Cynicism, 3. Sophism, 4. Skepticism, 5. Hedonism]
34. True or False: Socrates believed that the first and foremost business of man was care of the soul.
35. True or False: Plato was not very systematic and it is often difficult to find out his solution to the problem he raises.
36. True or False: Plato founded the Lyceum.
37. True or False: Aristotle believed that there exists a world of eternal realities, “Forms” or “Ideas” that are entirely separate from the world our senses perceive, and knowable only by pure intellect.
38. True or False: Plato did not believe in the soul’s pre-existence, but did believe that it could not be extinguished.
39. Place the following in chronological order;
a. John the Baptist
c. David, son of Jesse
e. Alexander the Great
40. True or False: Aristotle rejected Plato’s Theory of Forms.
41. True or False: Aristotle denied the existence of universals.
42. True or False: Socrates wrote no philosophic treatise himself.
44. Which of the following had a more family-friendly political philosophy.
by Bertolt Brecht
Who built the seven gates of Thebes?
The books are filled with names of kings.
Was it the kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?
And Babylon, so many times destroyed.
Who built the city up each time? In which of Lima’s houses,
That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?
In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished
Where did the masons go? Imperial Rome
Is full of arcs of triumph. Who reared them up? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Byzantium lives in song.
Were all her dwellings palaces? And even in Atlantis of the legend
The night the seas rushed in,
The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.
Young Alexander conquered India.
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Was there not even a cook in his army?
Phillip of Spain wept as his fleet
was sunk and destroyed. Were there no other tears?
Frederick the Greek triumphed in the Seven Years War.
Who triumphed with him?
Each page a victory
At whose expense the victory ball?
Every ten years a great man,
Who paid the piper?
So many particulars.
So many questions.
- All history is His story.
- We must work to differentiate between civilization and Christianity.
- The past is a “foreign country.” – hermeneutics emic vs. etic
- Persecution of Christian during the reign of Domitian (81-96 A.D) came to forefront in Asia Minor where the imperial cult was centered.
- Persecution resulted in two significant literary productions: apologetics and martyrdom.
- Heresy promoted doctrinal systematization.
- Irenaeus important for representing orthodox reaction to heresy (Against Heresies).
- Tertullian’s writings tell us much about alternative understandings of Christianity.
- Origen produced the first systematic theology.
- Claims against Christians included obstinacy, disloyalty, atheism, cannibalism, incest.
- Philosophers such as Celsus, Galen, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius argued that Christians were “weaklings”, irrational, gullible, and fanatics.
- Persecution was sporadic but “always present as a possibility.”
- The early church fathers gave us a rich theological inheritance, but were not immune to error.
- Irenaeus – Trinitarian, fought Gnosticism, but also apostolic succession, emphasis upon tradition, priority of Roman bishop
- Perhaps the most influential second century apologist was Justin Martyr. Others included Tatian, Athenagorus, Thophilus and Minucius Felix.
- The Logos was prominent in apologetic literature (a) The Logos as the reason or wisdom of God, (b) the Logos as God’s spoken word, (c) the Logos as immanent in the world, (d) the Logos as the revealed word of God in the prophets, (e) the incarnate Jesus.
- Martyrdom literature took three forms, letters, passions, and acts.
- “Beginning with Constantine, the church entered imperial history in such a way that one cannot deal with the secular history of the fourth century without discussing the church and cannot deal with the religious history without considering the state.”
- Arius believed that, “Thee was when Christ was not” — that Jesus was the first and highest of God’s creations – a god.
- Arianism was addressed at the Council of Nicea, called by Constantine in 325.
- The council adopted the word homoousious to describe Christ’s relationship with the Father.
- The first four ecumenical councils were Nicea (325), Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451).
- The fourth century dealt with the Trinitarian conflict. The fifth century with the Christological controversy.
- Apollonarianism = the belief that the divine Logos replaced the human soul/spirit of Jesus.
- Nestorianism = Christ exists as two natures, the man Jesus and the divine Son of God, or Logos, rather than as a unified person.
- Eutychianism = Monophysitism – only one nature of Christ, the human nature overcome by the divine nature.
- Ebionites – Denied the full deity of Christ (As the Christ, he functioned as God on earth)
- Docetism – Appeared to be a man
- Eutychianism – Human nature became absorbed into the God nature such that
- Monarchianism/Seballianism – Modalism
- Adoptionism – man in the beginning but adopted as the Son of God and became deity
- Kenoticsm – God became less God to become man, he set aside part of his deity
- We must watch out for language games – equivocation
- Constantine moves capital in 330
- The Eastern Empire becomes seat of power and wealth
- Roman bishop left as single most powerful person in the West
- By the end of the 4th century barbarians serious problem in the west (Visgoths, Huns, etc)
- After the sacking of Rome in 410, Christian views of society and history were put forth, including the most prominent which was Augustine’s City of God.
- Compare Augustine’s Two Cities with Genesis 4-5.
- Other important works of Augustine which we will discuss include his Confessions, and On the Trinity,
- Augustine – bridge between ancient world and Middle Ages
- Roman bishop won primacy over other bishops
- When imperial throne falls into the hands of the barbarians in 476 people look to the Roman bishop for political leadership as well as spiritual leadership
- Western civilization was created in medieval Europe (institutions, mentalities, struggles, books, etc.) No more Roman Lake.
- Spontaneous mission work in 4th & 5th centuries
- “Medieval history, from one point of view, is the story of the movement of the centre of gravity of civilization from one side of the Alps to the other.”
- “The movement of the centres of civilization from south to north and from east to west during the medieval centuries involved a change from the empires of Rome, Byzantium, and the Arabs, empires of vast geographical extent and great military power but which were relatively loosely controlled.” Creation of new societies.
- Christians among the Britons by the end of the second century.
- When Roman missionaries came England in 6th century they found three distinct expressions of Christianity (1)Romano-British Christians in the South, (2) Irish Christians, and (3) Celtic Christianity.
- Boniface evangelizes Teutonic tribes occupying modern Germany
- In the East, political stability achieved through reducing taxes and trimming expenses. (common vision)
- Syriac speaking Christians took gospel to Persian where there was interest in medicine, philosophy, advanced education.
- Persians make peace treaty with Justinian in 532
- Justinian had eyes on Africa and Italy
- 539 Khosru declares War on “Rome”
- Bubonic plague, Slavs, Goths keep Eastern empire from “glory” – Justinian’s reign relentless, austere quality
- Persia becomes stronger than at any time since Darius I
- Time of weak leadership makes susceptible to be conquered.
- In the sixth century many Arabs had converted to Christianity, but most continued to worship tribal deities.
- Mohammad lived 570-632.
- Ten years = 65 raids or campaigns
- Eventually becomes powerful enough to take Mecca, destroys idols, establishes Islam
- Islam means “submission.”
- Muslim means “one who submits.”
- The century of Muslim expansion is traditionally dated as 632-732.
- By 650 his Muslims had overrun the Persian empire, taken Syria, Egypt, and Palestine
- Western empire makes gains in the North through evangelism.
- Missionary task included making sure converts would be loyal to the pope.
- Emperors in Constantinople thought the church should be subordinate to the ruler of the state.
- Pope seeks ally
- Frankish rulers
- Rulers of new empire were Teutons rather than Romans
- Franks had accepted the Roman culture
- Clovis (466-510) had unified the Franks and conquered most of what would be modern France
- Franks accepted Christianity in 496 and became bulwark of papal power in Western Europe
- Eastern Empire barely hold its own against Muslims
- 718 Eastern empire under Leo the Isaurian stops Muslim advance
- Charles Martel stopped the advance of Islam in Spain in 732.
- Muslims, influenced by Greek culture, set out to build a splendid Arabic civilization centered in Bagdad
- Eastern Influence Diminishes (North African church disappears, Egypt and Holy Land lost to Muslims, Roman bishop has been growing stronger and stronger)
- The Franks “snatched western Europe from decline and brought a brief cultural revival” when Charlemagne crowned as true successor to the Roman empire.
- Charlemagne had Augustine’s City of God read to him every night and it was his inspiration for a Frankish-Roman empire.
- Charlemagne saw “missions” as part of a military strategy.
- By the time of the new millennium (1000) almost all of Europe was “officially” Christian.
- Charlemagne was crowned by Pope Leo III on Christmas day of 800, but intentionally avoided having the Pope present when control was passed to his son (816).
- “The Constitution romana (824) spelled out relations of emperor and pope. The emperor had supreme jurisdiction, while the pope as a local ruler was to exercise ordinary judiciary and administrative power in his territories. The pope was to be chosen by the Roman people without constraint. The emperor was to confirm his election, and before his consecration he was to take an oath of loyalty to the emperor. The pope had the right to crown and anoint the emperor.
- Henry III, German emperor, was the last emperor able to dominate the papacy. Deposed three rival popes and installed his own.
- Excommunication of Henry IV by Gregory VII in 1076.
- Pope Boniface VII: Unam Sanctum (1302)For when the Apostles say: ‘Behold, here are two swords’ [Lk 22:38] that is to say, in the Church, since the Apostles were speaking, the Lord did not reply that there were too many, but sufficient. Certainly the one who denies that the temporal sword is in the power of Peter has not listened well to the word of the Lord commanding: ‘Put up thy sword into thy scabbard’ [Mt 26:52]. Both, therefore, are in the power of the Church, that is to say, the spiritual and the material sword, but the former is to be administered _for_ the Church but the latter by the Church; the former in the hands of the priest; the latter by the hands of kings and soldiers, but at the will and sufferance of the priest.
- Erastians –
- Calvin –
- Luther –
- Anabaptists –
- What Does the Bible Say? Deut 17:8ff
- 1 Samuel 13
- 2 Chronicles 26:16-21
- Luke 20:22ff
- First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
- Aristocracy = weakness, meritocracy = strength
- Six things that lead to cultural change: war, politics, religion, migration, economics, education.
by Susan Stilley
For years, cultural critics have drawn parallels between our society and that of the dystopian novels, 1984, by George Orwell (1949) and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932). Both novels deal with the idea of evil in the form of oppression. In 1984, it is outward oppression from ‘Big Brother’. In Brave New World, it is oppression from within as people live in what Kyle Smith terms, “a consumerist, post-God happyland”.
Another novel I have been contemplating recently is The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin (1972). It too deals with evil in the form of oppression. I read it as a kid and found it both fascinating and macabre. The overarching theme was in keeping with the Women’s Lib movement of the seventies. Men were the sinister antagonists who sought to subjegate and ultimately kill off their wives for their own selfish motives. Beyond the obvious ‘battle of the sexes’ motif, I think Levin tapped into some important truths about the nature of evil. The screenplay and 1975 film starring Katherine Ross, depicted those horrifying truths in ways particularly instructive for our day.
The protagonist, Joanna Eberhart, moves with her husband and children from New York City to the surburban town of Stepford. She finds the women in Stepford odd – obsessed with housework and domestic duties. She finds a kindred spirit in Bobbie and Charmaine, other new arrivals who are sharp witted with a variety of interests. They decide to organize a group meeting with the Stepford women in an effort to get them to open up about their lives. Instead, the conversation turns to talk of spray starch and baking, the women repeating a series of mindless talking points that resembles a bad T.V. commercial.
What’s wrong with these women? Joanna and her new friends wonder. Are they brainwashed? Does the creepy Men’s Association in town play a role in their behavior?
The plot takes a disturbing turn when Joanna and Bobbie go to Charmaine’s house days later and discover she has ‘changed’. The old Charmaine was gone, her personality morphed into a programmed automaton. Joanna and Bobbie investigate the Stepford water supply for answers and when that proves a dead end, Bobbie declares she’s getting out of town. Yet, after returning from a weekend trip, Bobbie too has changed into a ‘new and improved’ version of herself.
Desperate now, Joanna appeals to her husband, Walter, that they move away. He agrees, provided that Joanna get professional help for her growing paranoia. Distrustful of the men in town, she returns to the city to see a female psychologist. At first, the psychologist seeks to assuage Joanna’s concerns, but as Joanna shares her suspicions about the Men’s Association – their pattern of sketching the women’s portraits and recording their voices – the psychologist also grows alarmed.
Joanna laments, “It’s so awful. If I’m wrong, I’m insane…and if I’m right, it’s worse than if I’m wrong.” The psychologist advises Joanna to gather her children, drive someplace safe, and they would meet to sort everything out.
Joanna returns to Stepford. Her search for her children ultimately leads to the gothic mansion which headquarters the Men’s Association. She has a confrontation with the leader, Diz (nicknamed because he used to work for Disney), and her worst fears are confirmed.
As she tries to escape, she stumbles upon a replica of her own bedroom and there sits an animatronic Joanna brushing her hair at the vanity. All that is missing is the eyes, presumably awaiting Joanna’s ‘real’ eyes that will complete the transformation. The lifelike robot emerges from the dressing table with a nylon in hand, ready to strangle, and she approaches a stunned Joanna.
The D Word
So what does this twisted tale have to do with the cultural trends we see in our day? Is there a common theme?
There is. It is Delusion. Not just delusion in terms of deceiving other people but about deceiving ourselves. The Men’s Association successfully pulled off multiple, elaborate hoaxes which had the town fooled. But first they deluded themselves. They convinced themselves that exchanging their wives for ‘woman like’ robots was in their own best interest. On it’s face, it seems ludricous. What man would trade in a living, breathing woman made of flesh for something that is only a facsimile? That has the appearance of a woman but is not even real? Is indeed an elaborate charade? Only a man willing to delude himself because of the manufactured pleasures of the moment.
When we look at the draw of homosexuality, we also find men willing to trade in living, breathing women for a facsimile. Often it is an effeminate male that has the mannerisms, the appearance of a woman but is not. He is also participating in a charade. Conversely, amongst lesbians, one partner often has the appearance of a man and physical relations seek to replicate the act as if a man were actually present.
This is delusion on a high order. The homosexual doesn’t ‘kill off’ the woman physically, as in Stepford, but metaphorically. Practically. He eliminates her as a viable option for a mate. He strikes the fatal blow to her as the divinely designed and complementary creation of God.
What kind of man does such a thing? Reject the obvious? Cut off that which is corresponding and beneficial to him? It is a man who has deluded himself because of manufactured pleasures of the moment. The Apostle Paul refers to it as “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness”. (Romans 1:18)
Another suppressed truth is the disturbing fact that in the Stepford story, the wives were not merely exchanged, but actually murdered. How did the husbands rationalize it? What parallels can we draw today?
In one scene, Charmaine’s husband, Ed, is leaving the Men’s Association at night and he is distraught. He sits in his car, staring blankly, bathed in sweat, visibly shaken. Another member remarks that he is in no fit state to drive. We later learn this was the night Charmaine met her doom.
Whatever remorse Ed feels, he quickly gets over it. The next day he is standing by a bulldozer, smiling as Charmaine’s much loved tennis court is ripped up to make room for a heated swimming pool. The ‘new’ Charmaine doesn’t mind at all. She smiles and waves from the window and Ed waves back. What’s a little murder after all? Ed always wanted a heated pool.
In that sense, Ed and the rest of the men in the association are very ‘pro-choice’. They want to choose that which benefits themselves even if it means killing a human life. And not just any life, but that of one’s own family. One whom they are charged by the created order to cherish and protect.
Similarly, those who claim a pro-choice position regarding abortion believe it acceptable to kill a human life if doing so benefits themselves. Again, delusion is the culprit. They are deluded by both a desirous ideal and an illusion of freedom.
The Stepford men desired an ideal – sparkling house, four course meals, beautiful (surgically enhanced) wives, plentiful sex. They sought freedom from a wife with competing interests, contrary opinions, PMS, mood swings. But it was all an illusion. The men’s happiness was dependent on their ability to live within the illusion. To continue to forget that the care they receive is artificial. To suspend the knowledge that their sensual experiences do not flow from a genuine woman’s passion but only mechanistic, programmed responses.
Those who champion a woman’s right to abort her own child also have a desirous ideal. For certain men it is simply the ideal of numerous sexual encounters with no commitment or financial responsibility. For some men and women driven by a political mindset, it is the picture of themselves as progressive and chic.
For women facing an unplanned pregnancy, it is the ideal of an uninterrupted life. The education they will embark upon, the career ladders they will climb. The romantic walks along the beach they will enjoy, frolicking in the surf with Mr. Right. No screaming toddler in a stroller to destroy the mood. Women of all social classes have dreams for their lives, both vocational and romantic. When powerful voices bombard women with the message that the new life inside her will derail all her fondest hopes, it isn’t a big step to consider the unthinkable. As long as we don’t call it murder.
And should any doubts prick her conscience there is a ready made answer waiting in the wings. The theory that killing is actually ‘good’ for the baby. A horrifying theory? Yes. Nonsensical? Absolutely. But to a woman seeking desperately to live within her illusions, it is the rationalistic lifeline she is willing to grasp.
Consider this chilling bit of dialog from The Stepford Wives film. Diz, the Association Chairman matter-of-factly explains the process by which the men exercise their choice, including Joanna’s impending death.
“It’s nothing like that at all…you’ve got quite the wrong idea. You’ve had the wrong idea all the time. It’s nothing like you imagine. It’s just …..another stage. Think about it like that and there’s nothing to it.”
“Why?”, Joanna asks.
“Why? Because we can. We found a way of doing it and it’s just perfect. Perfect for us and perfect for you.”
So in what manner is this arrangement perfect for Joanna? Because even though she will be dead, she can presumably die happy, knowing her husband and children will thrive in her absence. In her death, Joanna will get credit for being the perfect wife and mother as her duties are carried out by a machine which supposedly functions better than she ever could.
Or so goes the evil logic. Yet this line of thinking is not relegated to science fiction. Pro-choice proponents offer similar justifications in articles such as, How My Abortion Enabled Me To Be A Better Mother, in which the author theorizes that killing her child was a good thing which led to a less stressful home, more opportunities and more money for herself and her older child. She and her daughter are happy and thriving. For the dead baby it’s just…..another stage.
Another woman posted online, “I am getting an abortion next Friday. An open letter to the little life I won’t get to meet.” She begins:
I can feel you in there. I’ve got twice the appetite and half the energy. It breaks my heart that I don’t feel the enchantment that I’m supposed to feel. I am both sorry and not sorry.
I am sorry that this is goodbye. I’m sad that I’ll never get to meet you. You could have your father’s eyes and my nose and we could make our own traditions, be a family. But, Little Thing, we will meet again. I promise that the next time I see that little blue plus, the next time you are in the same reality as me, I will be ready for you. Little Thing, I want you to be happy. More than I want good things for myself, I want the best things for the future. That’s why I can’t be your mother right now….
The sad letter continues from a woman who is untethered from reality, who is living in full blown delusion. She physically feels the baby within, yet speaks as if it is floating in some metaphysical nether region. She will meet the baby again, when they are in the same reality. As if the child will ‘return’ from a state of limbo, confirmed by the blue plus she will see on a future pregnancy test. Perhaps then the woman will feel the enchantment she doesn’t feel now. In the meantime, she just wants the Little Thing to be happy.
Like Diz explains, “…..and it’s just perfect. Perfect for us and perfect for you.”
Evil doesn’t exist only in dark shadows. It flourishes quite well in broad daylight, provided the delusion is strong enough, the propaganda repeated often enough, and carnal desires are satisfied thoroughly enough. Yet every once in a while, truth cracks the illusion.
As life hummed along in Stepford, evidence of the deception occasionally surfaced. When one of the wives had a fender bender in a grocery parking lot, her mechanism malfunctioned and she began to repeat herself. At a garden party, a wife consumed alcohol which apparently caused a similar animatronic misfire. She began to approach various party guests, repeating the same line. “I’ll just die if I don’t get that recipe…..I’ll just die if I don’t get that recipe…..”
The men of the Association swung into quick action. The grocer made a call and an ambulance was summoned for the car accident victim, yet as Joanna observed, it drove away in the opposite direction from the hospital. The wife determined to “get that recipe” at the party was hurriedly whisked away by her husband, lest onlookers grow suspicious. The Association even steals Joanna’s dog so it can be ‘retrained’ with the Joanna robotic counterfeit. A barking dog unaccustomed to it’s new owner would have drawn unwanted attention.
At this writing, Planned Parenthood, an organization which aborts hundreds of thousands of babies every year in the U.S., is flourishing in broad daylight with millions of taxpayer dollars. The propaganda of ‘Choice’ is repeated often and at full volume. The delusion is strong, yet truth is beginning to make new cracks. Undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials candidly discussing murder, as well as video of the dismembered babies themselves, are currently circulating.
Like the men of the Association, Planned Parenthood, headed by Cecile Richards, is swinging into quick action. They are launching a PR campaign to convince the public that what they are hearing isn’t really what they are hearing; what they are seeing isn’t really what they are seeing. The little dismembered baby arm seen raised out of a pan strewn with an infant’s dismembered remains isn’t really a baby’s arm. It is merely a specimen. Planned Parenthood is taking legal steps to prevent future videos from airing. Will that be enough to squelch the truth? To ease everyone comfortably back to the delusion?
Perhaps. But perhaps there will be enough Joannas around that will raise their voice and ask, “Why?” The answer is ultimately the same as the arrogant reply of the chairman. “Why? Because we can.”
Perhaps we’ll decide that’s not good enough.
It’s Gotten To You Now
In the wake of the Supreme Court Obergefell decision, I wasn’t surprised by the celebratory mood of the culture. I was disappointed to see some of my friends’ facebook pictures festooned in rainbow colors. I wasn’t surprised by the new evidence graphically depicting murder in the womb. I was disappointed that my progressive friends who normally champion the cause of the downtrodden, were strangely quiet.
It is difficult to watch your friends fall to the prevailing zeitgeist. When Joanna went to Bobbie’s kitchen and found her all made up and robotically spouting the Stepford suburbia talking points, she knew something terrible had happened. Something deeper than just a change in wardrobe and sudden interest in perking the perfect cup of coffee. She had taken on a new identity. In exasperation, Joanna said, “It’s gotten to you now.”
I have listened to spokesmen for same sex marriage as well as pro-choice advocates and in both cases, there is a talking points repetition that strikes me as Stepford-ish. Almost as if there is a pre-programmed list of buzz words, euphemisms, catch phrases and someone, somewhere has hit the play button. Love is love. Homosexuality is an orientation. Being gay is like ‘being African American’. Women have the right to choose. Don’t stand in the way of women’s reproductive health.
In our case, our loved ones who are seemingly captivitated by the trends and philosophies of this world are not robots. They are men and women created in the image of God and as such, there remains the possibility their hearts and minds will yet be opened to truth. But as Christians, we must face squarely the reality of what has happened. We stand somewhat in the position of Joanna when she was trying to make sense of her situation and she stated, “It’s so awful. If I’m wrong, I’m insane…and if I’m right, it’s worse than if I’m wrong.”
What happened is The Fall. Satan offered an illusion to Eve that she could attain wisdom just like God. He launched the first PR campaign and deceived her into believing that God’s prohibition wasn’t really a prohibition. God’s word wasn’t really His word. God’s love and care wasn’t really loving and caring. They could eat fruit from the tree God had declared ‘off limits’ and no repercussions would follow. And that fruit looked good. Adam willingly joined. Satan had all the elements in place for evil to take root – the delusion was strong enough, the propaganda repeated often enough, and the carnal desires were satisfied thoroughly enough.
The evil we see flourishing today is the direct result of The Fall. While the physical ramifications of the Fall are obvious – disease, death, decay – the spiritual effect is also devastating in scope. The Fall affected our intellect, our reasoning and our emotions. Satan employs multiple worldviews to appeal to people’s inclinations toward the self and away from God. We are all narcissists, post Fall. Humanism, materialism, individualism, cultural relativism, and postmodernism are worldviews popular today because they feed our inherent narcissism.
When you observe friends spouting the propaganda of the current spirit of the age, it is indeed disheartening. It might seem as if they have been programmed and someone has hit the play button. Indeed someone has. But Satan is largely working by way of philosophy and through worldview. The reason your friend believes as he does is because he is looking at life through a particular lens. Yet as entrenched as it is, that worldview is substantially weak when compared to the Christian view and to “the gospel, which is the power of God for salvation.” (Romans 1:16)
Joanna despairingly said, “…if I’m right, it’s worse than if I’m wrong”, because she knew the reality of what was actually transpiring in Stepford meant that the wives were already dead. Her friends were dead. She couldn’t rescue them. She might not even be able to rescue herself.
We are in a better position for we know that Christ is able to rescue anyone from the most mind numbing of philosophies. We have hope. But we must understand these are spiritual battles and they should be approached as such. Thankfully, it’s not too late.
Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually. The spiritual person , however, can evaluate everything , yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. For who has known the Lord’s mind, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:10-16)
Justice turns the scale, bringing to some learning through suffering.
Liberty, equality – bad principles! The only true principle for humanity is justice; and justice to the feeble is protection and kindness.
~ Henri-Frédéric Amiel
At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.
The virtue of justice consists in moderation, as regulated by wisdom.
In the absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organized robbery?
Punishment is justice for the unjust.
If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us.
~ Francis Bacon
Next to religion, let your care be to promote justice.
~ Francis Bacon
It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.
~ James A. Baldwin
The dead cannot cry out for justice. It is a duty of the living to do so for them.
~ Lois McMaster Bujold
Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society; and any eminent departure from it, under any circumstances, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all.
~ Edmund Burke
Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.
~ Edmund Burke
Justice while she winks at crimes, stumbles on innocence sometimes.
~ Samuel Butler
Justice consists in doing no injury to men; decency in giving them no offense.
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
Justice is the set and constant purpose which gives every man his due.
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
The more laws the less justice.
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero, in De Officiis
Parents are not interested in justice, they’re interested in peace and quiet.
~ Bill Cosby
Justice is truth in action.
~ Benjamin Disraeli
Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin.
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
There really can be no peace without justice. There can be no justice without truth. And there can be no truth, unless someone rises up to tell you the truth.
~ Louis Farrakhan
Let justice be done, though the world perish.
~ Ferdinand I
Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.
~ Benjamin Franklin
The first requisite of civilization is that of justice.
~ Sigmund Freud
Justice that love gives is a surrender, justice that gives is a punishment.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
We win justice quickest by rendering justice to the other party.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Justice delayed is justice denied.
~ William E. Gladstone
I think the first duty of society is justice.
~ Alexander Hamilton
Justice will overtake fabricators of lies and false witnesses.
Justice should remove the bandage from her eyes long enough to distinguish between the vicious and the unfortunate.
~ Robert Green Ingersoll
Mere precedent is a dangerous source of authority.
~ President Andrew Jackson
A man must be willing to die for justice. Death is an inescapable reality and men die daily, but good deeds live forever.
~ Jesse Jackson
Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men’s skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact.
~ Lyndon B. Johnson
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Compassion is no substitute for justice.
~ Rush Limbaugh
I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.
~ Abraham Lincoln
Justice is a temporary thing that must at last come to an end; but the conscience is eternal and will never die.
~ Martin Luther
Peace is more important than all justice; and peace was not made for the sake of justice, but justice for the sake of peace.
~ Martin Luther
I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice no matter who it’s for or against.
~ Malcolm X
Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what sting is justice.
~ H. L. Mencken
Justice without force is powerful; force without justice is tyrannical.
~ Blaise Pascal
Justice means minding one’s own business and not meddling with other men’s concerns.
Knowledge without justice ought to be called cunning rather than wisdom.
Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create.
~ Pope John Paul II
If you want peace, work for justice.
~ Pope Paul IV
Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
If we are to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment; ‘Thou shalt not ration justice.’
There is a time when even justice brings harm.
Law and justice are not always the same.
~ Gloria Steinem
Fairness is what justice really is.
~ Potter Stewart
Justice is expensive in America. There are no Free Passes…You might want to remember this, the next time you get careless and blow off a few parking tickets. They will come back to haunt you the next time you see a cop car in your rear-view mirror.
~ Hunter S. Thompson
Justice is sweet and musical; but injustice is hard and discordant.
~ Henry David Thoreau
Nobody gets justice. People only get good luck or bad luck.
~ Orson Welles
Judging from the main portions of the history of the world, so far, justice is always in jeopardy.
~ Walt Whitman
Made for spirituality, we wallow in introspection. Made for joy, we settle for pleasure. Made for justice, we clamor for vengeance.
~ N.T. Wright, in Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense
What was your reading experience like? Did you enjoy it, or suffer through it? To whom could you recommend this book?
What factors might result in this text being difficult for some people to comprehend or enjoy?
Through where is Dante traveling? Does he ever explain why he is there?
Dante’s circles of hell seem to represent degrees of punishment for sin? What does the Bible say about degrees of eternal reward and punishment?
Is it spiritually beneficial to think of what Hell might be like?
The three beasts in Canto I have been traditionally interpreted as fraud, pride, and greed. How might Jeremiah 5:6 provide insight on the matter? (1.31-51)
Who is his guide? Why this person? (1.73-75)
How are Virgil and Beatrice related to Dante? Why do they appear in this work?
How might this work be considered as a “love story”?
Do you think this work might be considered as both literal (heaven and hell) and as an allegorical reflection of the world in which Dante lives – as a commentary on is own culture and times?
Do you think that it is common for people to systematically evaluate their own life and values when they have lost loved ones?
Why do you think Dante mixes so much classic mythology with Roman Catholic theology in this text?
Were there places in the text that you thought were inconsistent with what the Bible teaches?
How well do you think the average Christian understands the doctrines of sin, salvation, and hell?
One of the most famous lines in all of the western canon is found in Canto 3.9, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.” Why do you think that quote has had such lasting influence?
In Canto III it talks about those who commit to neither God nor Satan. Is this possible?
In the first circle of hell (Canto IV) Dante gets invited into a group of poets of immense stature to engage in conversation. This is similar to the modern question, “Who from history would you invite to a dinner party?” So, who would you?
Dante places Aristotle, Socrates and Plato and other admirable people in the first level of hell because they were not baptized. What kind of theology lays behind this?
Who is in Dante’s 2nd circle (Canto V)? It might be said of many from this section that they were “led astray by love.” Do you think this a problem for very many people?
Dante writes “There is no greater sorrow, than to think backwards to a happy time.” (Canto V) Do you think this is true?
Dante’s 3rd circle (Canto VI) includes those who were gluttonous. Is gluttony really that bad? Do we really understand what is entailed by gluttony, or have we turned it into nothing more than “overeating”?
Clergymen are prominent among the greedy (avarice) in Dante’s 4th circle (Canto VII)? What historical reality might have led Dante to put them here?
Can Canto 7.64-66 be seen as commentary the level of satisfaction that the greedy achieve in this world as well as a picture of their eternal condition?
What do the angry in the fourth circle have in common with the greedy? Do you agree with this portrayal? (7.28-30, 112-115)
Dante gets a little payback on Filippo Argenti (Canto VIII). Many other authors have done the same. Do you have someone that you would want to put into a work like this? What might be a better way of dealing with your feelings?
In Canto VIII we see a connection between arrogance and wrath. Do you think this to accurately reflect human proclivities?
Many of you mentioned “fear” in the text as something worth consideration. What was it about “fear” that caught your attention/imagination?
Over the last few days I have repeatedly heard a common refrain from people in regard to very different circumstances.
From a prominent philosopher and a well-meaning theologian we hear that the scriptural claims of the dead rising and walking after the crucifixion of Jesus must be the inclusion of a legend not to be taken literally because it is otherwise unbelievable. (Matthew 27)
From several television journalists we hear that the actions predicated of a person in a very public case are so improbable as to be inconceivable, unbelievable.
These incidents and others reminded me of an essay by Ambrose Bierce in which he defended his art form from novelists who were criticizing the validity of short story composition. In the process of doing so he addressed the issues of probability and believability. Here is an excerpt:
“Among the laws which Cato Howells has given his little senate, and which his little senators would impose upon the rest of us, in an inhibitory statute against a breach of this “probability”– and to them nothing is probable outside the narrow domain of the commonplace man’s most commonplace experience. It is not known to them that all men and women sometimes, many men and women frequently, and some men and women habitually, act from impenetrable motives and in a way that is consonant with nothing in their lives, characters, and conditions. It is known to them that “truth is stranger than fiction,” but not that this has any practical meaning or value in letters. It is to him of widest knowledge, of deepest feeling, of sharpest observation and insight, that life is most crowded with figures of heroic stature, with spirits of dream, with demons of the pit, with graves that yawn in pathways leading to the light, with existences not of earth, both malign and benign–ministers of grace and ministers of doom. The truest eye is that which discerns the shadow and the portent, the dead hands reaching, the light that is the heart of darkness, the sky “with dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms.” The truest ear is that which hears
Celestial voices to the midnight air,
Sole, or responsive each to the other’s, note
not “their great Creator,” but not a negro melody, either; no nor the latest favorite of the drawing-room. In short, he to whom life is not picturesque, enchanting, astonishing, terrible, is denied the gift and faculty divine, and being no poet can write no prose. He can tell nothing because he knows nothing. He has not a speaking acquaintance with Nature (by which he means, in a vague general way, the vegetable kingdom) and no more find
Her secret meaning in her deeds
than he can discern and expound the immutable law underlying coincidence.
Let us suppose that I have written a novel–which God forbid that I should do. In the last chapter my assistant hero learns that the hero-in-chief has supplanted him in the affections of the shero. He roams aimless about the streets of the sleeping city and follows his toes into a silent public square. There after appropriate mental agonies he resolves in the nobility of his soul to remove himself forever from a world where his presence can not fail to be disagreeable to the lady’s conscience. He flings up his hands in mad disquietude and rushes down to the bay, where there is water enough to drown all such as he. Does he throw himself in? Not he–no, indeed. He finds a tug lying there with steam up and, going aboard, descends to the fire-hold. Opening one of the iron doors of the furnace, which discloses an aperture just wide enough to admit him, he wriggles in upon the glowing coals and there, with never a cry, dies a cherry-red death of unquestionable ingenuity. With that the story ends and the critics begin.
It is easy to imagine what they say: “This is too much”; “it insults the reader’s intelligence”; “it is hardly more shocking for its atrocity than disgusting for its cold-blooded and unnatural defiance of probability”; “art should have some traceable relation to the facts of human experience.”
Well, that is exactly what occurred once in the stoke-hold of a tug lying at a wharf in San Francisco. Only the man had not been disappointed in love, nor disappointed at all. He was a cheerful sort of person, indubitably sane, ceremoniously civil and considerate enough (evidence of a good heart) to spare whom it might concern any written explanation defining his deed as a “rash act.”
Probability? Nothing is so improbable as what is true. It is the unexpected that occurs; but that is not saying enough; it is also the unlikely–one might almost say the impossible. John, for example, meets and marries Jane. John was born in Bombay of poor but detestable parents; Jane, the daughter of a gorgeous hidalgo, on a ship bound from Vladivostok to Buenos Ayres. Will some gentleman who has written a realistic novel in which something so nearly out of the common as a wedding was permitted to occur have the goodness to figure out what, at their birth, were the chances that John would meet and marry Jane? Not one in a thousand–not one in a million–not one in a million million! Considered from a viewpoint a little anterior in time, it was almost infinitely unlikely that any event which has occurred would occur–any event worth telling in a story.
(Excerpt taken from Tales of Soldiers and Civilians and Other Stories by Ambrose Bierce)
Delsol asserts that modern man has given up on hope; “that hope today consists in doing without hope.” Do you agree with her? What evidence would you use to support her assertion or to argue against it?
Delsol describes those living without hope and expectations as a “the society of well-being alone” who are locked into a material world that “makes of us the sad heroes of emptiness.” What alternative does she offer to living in such a state? Do you agree with her diagnosis and prognosis? (page 4)
Delsol describes the “new culture” in which we find ourselves as “late modernity.” Why does she not use the more commonly employed term – “postmodernity”? (page 5)
She cites Plato as stating that “every institution ends up dying through the excess of its own principle.” She explains in following chapters how 19th century ideologies (principles) failed in the 20th century (excess) leading to the current “new culture.” How would her argument related to Francis Schaeffer’s assertion in How Should We Then Live that there is a flow to history? How far do you think we have to go back in time to understand our own identity, values, culture? (page 6)
Consider this question/comment from the text: “But can the principle of personal dignity be maintained and secured without the cultural world that justifies and sustains it? This principle, the fulcrum of human rights thinking , is not an isolated and insular belief, a concept that can simply stay afloat and find sustenance in nothingness.” (page 8) How does this question assertion echo Nietsche’s madman speech in The Gay Science? (see video below)
Do you agree with Delsol when she says, “The dignity of man as a unique being without substitute is a postulate of faith, not of science.” (page 8) Why, or why not? How might this argument be employed as part of a “taking the roof off” apologetic?
Delsol writes, “The ideas of human dignity depends upon an inherited cultural world. Indeed, it was by destroying this heritage that Nazism and communism pulverized it.” (page 8) In what ways did communism and Nazism attempt to destroy an inherited cultural world? Do you think that this strategy is being employed by some ideologues today? How? We make a distinction between western civilization and the western heritage and that of the rest of the world. Does that mean that those who are not part of the Western World do not believe in human dignity?
Delsol writes, “Because dignity is a distinction, the philosophy of human rights rests upon anthropocentrism: no man can have dignity if Man himself is not King of nature.” (page 12) Can you give examples of man being treated as one without dignity (poorly, inhumanely) due to the denial that man is distinct from the rest of nature? How does this relate to historical attempts to deny human status to certain people groups by denying that they have a soul or referring to them as “animals” or “monkeys”?
In the “enlightened” world in which we live, are there remaining attempts to deny human status (personhood) to anyone? How does this discussion relate to the moral philosophy of Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University? (pages 14, 24)
How does euthanasia, abortion, forced sterilization, infanticide, and eugenics fit into this discussion? (pages 14, 24)
Delsol writes, “Scientific progress was able to sweep away the certainty that the human species is unique because science found itself in charge of establishing certain criteria and definitions after religious messages had lost their legitimacy. Scientism, not science, disunites humanity, and scientism operates through the despotism of a rationality placed above all else.” (page 15) What is the distinction that Delsol is making between science and scientism? Are Christians anti-science?
Delsol argues that 20th century totalitarianisms were the logical result of the desacralization of humanity; “if humanity is no longer sacred, everything becomes possible, from hatred to mass assassination.” (page 21) This argument moves beyond that of Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamozov, “If God does not exist, everything is permitted“; not only is God necessary for morality but the idea that man is special to God – created distinctly in the imago dei. Do you believe that Delsol’s additional step is required as a basis for morality?
Delsol writes, “And perhaps the biblical tale does indeed represent the only guarantee against the temptation to displace the human species. It is nothing more than a story one might object. Yet dignity does not exist without this story, for dignity was discovered or invented along with it, and all our efforts to establish other foundations have turned out to be poor substitutes.” (page 21) Sartre posited a morality based not on an antropocentrism of derived dignity as Delsol describes, but on an antropocentrism that results from a “doctrine of action.” Do you think that Existentialism is one of the “poor substitutes” Delsol is referencing? What about Kant’s categorical imperative? To what other substitutes might she be referring?
She continues, “The creation story which bestows meaning, guarantees human dignity better than any form of reason ever could. For the problem is not to ensure that human dignity exists: this is the only certitude that we have. We do not need to prove it since we hold it to be above any proof.” (pages 21-22) Do you think that most people believe as Delsol does that the dignity of man is axiomatic (self-evident, unquestionable)? Do you think that the moral argument for the existence of God is persuasive? For whom in the “new culture” would it not be persuasive? (Further reading: The Abolition of Man, by C.S. Lewis)
Delsol writes, “An offense against the good is always accompanied by a rejection of the true, and since Plato, philosophy has known that justice and truth walk hand in hand.” How might today’s moral relativity be considered the result of failed (or rejected) epistemologies? (page 27)
How might the following comment of Delsol be applied to the study of late modern history? — “It is not enough to have lived through experiences to enter into the future. They must also become the objects of our consideration. They need to be observed, translated, pondered, brought forward with us, so that the future can become more than just the passage of time.” (page 28)
Do you agree with Delsol that the failed totalitarianisms of the twentieth century were attempted utopias built upon the myths of self-creation, self-foundation, and self-sufficiency of mankind?
Delsol writes, “Egalitarian utopia undoubtedly represents the most ancient social dream, having been longed for for centuries.” (page 35) What examples might she give to support this claim?
Delsol repeatedly speaks of “the events of 1989”. (pages 36, 48) To what is she referring?
Delsol talks of belief (ideological commitments) becoming an identity that cannot be renounced “without committing a kind of symbolic suicide.” (page 36) What are the consequences of this for those who are committed to failed 19th century mythologies of utopia or progressivism?
What does Delsol mean by “the logic of resentment”? (page 37) How serious an issue do you think this is in terms of American public policy?
Delsol describes the hypocrisy that occurs when someone refuses “to suffer the catastrophic consequences of his ideology, but he is too proud to publicly abandon it. He leads an upper middle-class life, but relentlessly disparages the middle class; he runs things as though he were a free-market advocate, but jeers at free market ideas; he enrolls his own children in demanding, even austere schools, while preaching indulgence for delinquency in schools attended by the children of others. In other words, he continues to propagate the utopia he no longer lives by and attacks the moralism of those who simply put into words what he himself is doing.” (page 37) Can you think of examples of this in public life? Delsol goes on to claim that such a person salvages their honor at the expense of “a diminished life for everyone else.” Do you think the general public is aware of this hypocrisy and its results? If so, why does it allow it to continue?
Delsol claims that derision and sarcasm are extremely effective cultural change agents employed by those embracing failed utopian ideologies and those committed to progressivism. (pages 38-40) Do you agree?
Delsol writes, “The ideology of progress equates happiness with ‘maturity’, or replaces happiness with ‘maturity’ as a criterion of the good. Maturity means a distancing from childhood. The more society differentiates itself from the past, the better it will be.” (page 50) How does her comment relate to what C.S. Lewis says about “chronological snobbery”?
What do you think that Predrag Matvegevic means when writing, “The dissident is a hostage of truth.” (page 50)
Delsol writes, “The heaven’s were closed by magistrate’s order.” What does she mean? (page 51)
“Due to lack of interest, tomorrow has been cancelled.” If asked what this means, you would probably respond that it is a reference to modern apathy. Why is apathy prevalent in the “new culture”?
MORE QUESTIONS FOR CONSIDERATION
In what ways might the radical behaviorism of B.F. Skinner be considered a continuation of failed 19th century utopian ideologies.
Delsol writes much about the communism of eastern Europe and the USSR but has little to say about China. Why do you think this might be?
Course Syllabus – Fall 2014
Late Century to the Present
The College at Southwestern
HIS 4203-A T/Th 7:00-8:15 a.m. Room S-119
Instructor: Kevin Stilley
Office Hours: By Appointment
- (I keep office hours a few blocks from the college at Stadium Drive Baptist Church: 4717 Stadium Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76133)
A study of social/political trends and philosophies from 1964 to the present.
- To gain knowledge of the main events, ideas and persons that shaped western civilization during the late twentieth century to the present.
- Exploration of twentieth century trends, politics, and culture will help students place their experiences, interests, and information from other history courses into context.
- The Penguin History of the 20th Century, by J.M. Roberts (isbn. 9780140276312)
- Great Speeches of the Twentieth Century, by Bob Blaisdell (isbn. 0486474674)
- The Unlearned Lessons of the Twentieth Century, by Chantal Delsol (isbn. 1932236473)
- Postmodern Times, by Gene Edward Veith, Jr. (isbn. 0891077685)
(Please bring a Bible to class with you.)
Blackboard and SWBTS student email will be used for class communications. Students should check both Blackboard and student email dailyfor possible communications from the instructor.
Grades will be determined based upon completion of two exams, a student presentation, an editorial exercise, and class participation.
- Midterm Exam (30%) – This exam will be conducted via Blackboard so please be sure to have a good internet connection available on the day of the exam. Mac users, I encourage you to NOT use the Safari web browser when taking this test or navigating the Blackboard interface.
- Final Exam: (20%) – The final exam will be a single essay question, asking you to distinguish between the concepts of “late modernity” (Chantal Delsol) & “postmodernity” (Gene Edward Veith), and to make an argument for the one that you think best describes the world in which we live.
- Student Presentation (20%): Each student will select one speech from the book Great Speeches of the Twentieth Century, explain the historical context of the speech, and share how and why it is culturally significant. All students will be reading the speeches in advance so group discussion will follow the presentation.
- Editorial Exercise (25%): Assume the role of an editorial assistant who has been tasked with revising the book Great Speeches of the 20th Century. Your assignment is to find one speech from the late 20th century that should be added to the book. In addition to the text of the speech, you need to present a point paper with adequate argumentation for its rhetorical qualities and its historical significance. Further, in order to add this speech to the text, you must select one speech to remove from the book and explain why you selected it. This assignment is to be submitted via Turnitin and is due no later than midnight on October 31. Late papers will receive a 50% reduction in grade.
- Participation (5%): All students are expected to attend class, be punctual, and participate appropriately in classroom discussion. To engage in classroom discussion of the assigned reading it is imperative that all reading assignments be conducted in a timely fashion.
- Attendance will be recorded at the beginning of all class sessions. Absences or tardiness will adversely affect your grade. Absences in excess of 25% result in an automatic failure of the class.
- Students are free to record the class.
- Guests are welcome, but please notify the instructor in advance.
- Laptops, iPhones, and similar devices may NOT be used during class as their usefulness is far outweighed by their ability to create a distraction and contribute to the cultural habit of inattentiveness.
- If you become drowsy you may stand at the back or the side of the room until you can resume your seat without falling asleep.
Grades will be determined by the following scale: 100-98 (A+); 97-93 = A; 92-90 (A-); 89-88(B+); 87-83 (B); 82-80 (B-); 79-78 (C+); 77-73 (C); 72-70 (C-); 69-68 (D+); 67-63 (D); 62-60 (D-); Below 60 = F.