MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 55

Guests on Volume 55: John Kelsay, on Islam, the West, and the threat of secularism; Robert George, on Oliver Wendell Holmes and the rise of legal realism; Michael McConnell, on Christian responses to the dominant theories of law in the 20th century; Mark Noll, on The Old Religion in a New World: The History of North American Christianity; J. C. Whitehouse, on Georges Bernanos and the mystery of the human person; and Paul Woodruff, on recovering the virtue of reverence.

This is a back issue. Subscribe for immediate access to the current volume. Alternatively, you may purchase back issues or log in to access your library.

Part 1

  • Description

    John Kelsay on Islam, the West, and the threat of secularism

    Islam and War: A Study in Comparative Ethics (Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993)

    Professor John Kelsay discusses the ambivalence many Muslims feel towards America and the West. Kelsay, author of Islam and War: A Study in Comparative Ethics, explains that while many Muslims admire America for fostering personal liberty and democracy, they also fear and resent the separation of religion and political life found in America. Islamic nations see America's "naked public square," that is, the lack of religious language in public and political discussions, as problematic. They use religious language to address public issues because part of the mission in Islamic nations is to build a just public order by commanding the good and forbidding the evil. Kelsay notes that Islamic nations are afraid that the secularism of the West will creep into their countries and establish itself in their public discourse.

  • Description

    Robert George on Oliver Wendell Holmes and the rise of legal realism

    The Clash of Orthodoxies (ISI Books, 2001)

    Political theorist Robert George discusses the difference and conflict between secularism and the Western tradition of law. George is author of The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion, and Morality in Crisis. The Western tradition affirms that law is based on transcendent truths and principles; secularism, however, believes that law and all notions of the good and just are human inventions. George traces the history of how secularism usurped the Western tradition in American legal philosophy. He notes which cases and eras promoted secularism, and which eras tried to revert to a transcendent view of law.

  • Description

    Michael McConnell on Christian responses to the dominant theories of law in the 20th century

    Christian Perspectives on Legal Thought (Yale University Press, 2001)

    Professor Michael McConnell discusses the book he edited and various legal philosophies. Christian Perspectives in Legal Thought is divided into three sections. The first and last parts offer commentary on legal thought and law from a Christian point of view. The second section surveys contemporary, non-Christian thought about law. McConnell gives a brief description of the themes addressed in the middle section of the book.

Part 2

  • Description

    Mark Noll on The Old Religion in a New World: The History of North American Christianity

    The Old Religion in a New World: The History of North American Christianity (Eerdmans, 2001)

    Historian Mark Noll describes the conditions in America that shaped how the Church settled and developed here. Noll is author of The Old Religion in a New World. He compares Europe and the Church's presence there to America and its presence here. He notes that while many Americans attend church on a weekly basis, Christianity does not influence the institutions of society as it has in Europe. This odd imbalance can be explained in part by the size and diversity of America. Noll explains how those characteristics, and others, influence the imbalance.

  • Description

    J. C. Whitehouse on Georges Bernanos and the mystery of the human person

    Vertical Man: The Human Being in the Catholic Novels of Graham Greene, Sigrid Undset, and Georges Bernanos (St. Austin Press, 1999)

    Professor J. C. Whitehouse compares Georges Bernanos (1888-1948) to Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881). Whitehouse, author of Vertical Man: The Human Being in the Catholic Novels of Graham Greene, Sigrid Undset, and Georges Bernanos, has translated many of Bernanos's novels. Both Bernanos and Dostoevsky, he says, engage the profound questions: What is a human being? What motivates us? Why do we act as we do? The answer Bernanos's literature provides is that human beings can begin to be known and understood only when seen in relationship to God. Whitehouse names two themes in Bernanos's works, sanctity and grace, and explains what the terms signify.

  • Description

    Paul Woodruff on recovering the virtue of reverence

    Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue (Oxford University Press, [2001] 2014)

    "[Reverence is] felt recognition of human status, who we are in weakness, mortality, and general foolishness compared with our ideals of the transcendent."
    Paul Woodruff

    Professor Paul Woodruff discusses reverence and how it is expressed. Woodruff is author of Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue. He states that expressions of reverence appear in various manners in all healthy cultures; they exist in the vocabulary of the arts and music, and in ceremonies. To practice reverence is to learn how to respond to God and others with deep awe and respect. Woodruff briefly defines reverence, noting that it involves trying to understand a thing or another in a complex context, rather than analyzing either objectively.