MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 61

Guests on Volume 61: Ian Dowbiggin, on the history of the “right to die” movement; Arthur J. Dyck, on Life's Worth: The Case against Assisted Suicide; Daniel Dreisbach, on the building of Jefferson's "wall of separation"; Michael L. Peterson, on the elements of a Christian philosophy of education; Stephen Schwartz, on the differences between Balkan Muslims and those of Saudi Arabia; Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, on how young people are taught to invest in themselves rather than family or community; and John H. Timmerman, on the person and poetry of Jane Kenyon and on how she lived and worked.

Part 1

  • Description

    Ian Dowbiggin on the history of the "right to die" movement

    A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America (Oxford University Press, 2003)

    Historian Ian Dowbiggin discusses the history of the right-to-die movement and physician-assisted suicide. Dowbiggin is author of A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America. Many people associate the social acceptance of euthanasia with medical and legal developments in the 1950s and 1970s. Dowbiggin explains that the foundations for such acceptance were laid decades earlier in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He mentions which groups and ideas laid the foundations, and how their legacy informs contemporary debates about physician-assisted suicide.

  • Description

    Arthur J. Dyck on Life's Worth: The Case against Assisted Suicide

    Life's Worth: The Case against Assisted Suicide (Eerdmans Publishing, 2002)

    Professor Arthur Dyck describes some of the problems of euthanasia and the benefits of "comfort-only care." Dyck is author of Life's Worth: The Case against Assisted Suicide. One of the problems of euthanasia is that it repudiates the value of life while undermining people's instincts to nurture and preserve life. Dyck names several additional moral and practical reasons for avoiding, in particular, physician-assisted suicide. He describes what "comfort-only care" is and why it is a humane alternative to physician-assisted suicide—for patients, relatives, and, ultimately, society.

  • Description

    Daniel Dreisbach on the building of Jefferson's "wall of separation"

    Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation between Church and State (New York University Press, 2002)

    "Federal government had no authority to interfere with one's exercise of religion or matters of free speech or press or assembly. This was a matter—insofar as government had any authority—it was a matter left to state governments."
    Daniel Dreisbach

    Professor Daniel Dreisbach discusses the origin of the phrase "wall of separation between Church and State." Dreisbach is author of Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation between Church and State. The phrase, he says, is not original to Thomas Jefferson but became popular because of Jefferson's use of it in a letter to a group of Baptists, in which Jefferson explained why, while President, he would not proclaim religious holidays. In the letter he noted that state legislatures had jurisdiction over such matters but that the Federal government did not. Dreisbach compares Jefferson's use of the phrase to contemporary uses of it.

  • Description

    Michael L. Peterson on the elements of a Christian philosophy of education

    With All Your Mind: A Christian Philosophy of Education (University of Notre Dame Press, 2001)

    "My point is that it could be fantastic if we could regain in our culture, as well as in our educational institutions, the vision that gets communicated that we are unified beings, our humanity is essentially the same everywhere and at all times, and that it has meaning, it has value, under a Christian orientation toward reality."
    Michael L. Peterson

    Professor Michael L. Peterson discusses how Christianity could inform society's understandings of education and human nature. Peterson is author of With All Your Mind: A Christian Philosophy of Education. Christianity, he says, describes human nature as complex, comprised of many faculties that are separate from each other but in need of integration. One of the goals of education, if it is influenced by Christianity, is to cultivate their integration. Peterson describes how curricula and professors could achieve that goal.

Part 2

  • Description

    Stephen Schwartz on the differences between Balkan Muslims and those of Saudi Arabia

    The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa'ud from Tradition to Terror (Doubleday, 2002)

    "The real Islam is based on the idea that God judges; that of course men judge crimes . . . But in the long run of things, God judges."
    Stephen Schwartz

    Journalist Stephen Schwartz compares Wahhabist Islam to "real Islam." Schwartz is author of The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa'ud from Tradition to Terror. Schwartz's critique of Wahhabist Islam comes from his encounter with the Islam practiced by Muslims in the Balkans. The peaceful and non-judgmental attitudes of Bosnian Muslims surprised Schwartz when he lived with them in Bosnia; their attitudes were different from those that he had previously associated with Islam. Schwartz explains the history of the origin of Wahhabism and how that accounts for its attitudes and practices.

  • Description

    Barbara Dafoe Whitehead on how young people are taught to invest in themselves rather than family or community

    Why There Are No Good Men Left: The Romantic Plight of the New Single Woman (Broadway Books, 2002)

    Professor Barbara Dafoe Whitehead discusses why single women are having trouble finding Mr. Right. Whitehead is author of Why There Are No Good Men Left: The Romantic Plight of the New Single Woman. She mentions that people are investing in themselves—in, for example, education and professional experiences—instead of investing in long-term relationships. They are also more likely to live with someone in order to have romance while still trying to remain independent. Whitehead explains what televisions shows like "Sex in the City" indicate about the tension singles feel between their longings for marriage and family life and their unwillingness to accommodate the demands of intimate relationships.

  • Description

    John H. Timmerman on the person and poetry of Jane Kenyon

    Jane Kenyon: A Literary Life (Eerdmans Publishing, 2002)

    "She wanted her reader to live inside the poem and make it his or her own."
    John H. Timmerman

    Professor John H. Timmerman discusses the poetry of the late Jane Kenyon (1947-1995) and his visit to her home, Eagle Pond Farm. Timmerman is author of Jane Kenyon: A Literary Life. He describes what impressed him about Kenyon's work and how he came to visit Eagle Pond Farm. Kenyon's poetry is informed by the sights she saw at her home, her marriage, and her struggles with depression and cancer. It is appealing to a diverse audience, says Timmerman, because it is candid and because Kenyon delighted in delighting her readers.

  • Description

    John H. Timmerman from the bonus track of the CD edition, on how Jane Kenyon lived and worked

    Poet Jane Kenyon (1947—1995) had a great compassion for humanity and it comes across in her poems, states professor John H. Timmerman. She also had a great concern for the craft of her work; she revised it through—on average—seventeen to twenty drafts per piece. The resulting verse was characterized by a rhythm of solitude and intimacy, the experience of pain, and a longing for God. Her poems, which can be compared to those of Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) partly because of their engagement with nature, display a confident faith in God. Timmerman describes how Kenyon's faith guided her writing and shaped the concerns that are evident therein.