Tuesday, May 14, 2013

An Urgent Suggestion for American Schools

There are a number of changes I think ought to be implemented in the education system, but among the chief of them is this: we desperately need philosophy and logic classes, starting at the middle school level. Most of the pressing issues of our day are inescapably philosophical: the gay marriage debate, the abortion debate, immigration, welfare, racism, sexism, etc. Everyone becomes a philosopher when these issues come up, but hardly anybody is any good at doing philosophy. Related to this, most of us are terrible at constructing sound arguments. While humans are gifted in that they can proceed from premises to conclusion, the vast majority of American citizens receive hardly any instruction in this ability. This is disastrous given the nature of American government. The citizenry are the government, but they are woefully under-equipped to fulfill this role. As of now, most discussions about this aforementioned issues disintegrate into ad hominem arguments and talking past each other. Using the abortion debate as an example: the nature of what it means to be alive, what it means to be a person, what constitutes murder, what the very words "right" and "wrong" mean are all things that have to be taken into account if we are to have a profitable dialogue. As yet, I don't think we, as a nation, are anywhere near being prepared to talk about these matters intelligibly. But I hope that we will soon begin to remedy this situation.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


"By descending into hell, he made hell captive.
He embittered it when it tasted of his flesh.
And Isaiah, foretelling this, cried:
"Hell was embittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions."
It was embittered, for it was abolished.
It was embittered, for it was mocked.
It was embittered, for it was slain.
It was embittered, for it was overthrown.
It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains.
It took a body, and met God face to face.
It took earth, and encountered heaven.
It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.
O Death, where is your sting?
O Hell, where is your victory?
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown.
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen.
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice.
Christ is risen, and life reigns.
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave.
For Christ, being risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
To him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen."

-St. John Chrysostom