Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Culture War

Besides perhaps G. K. Chesterton, no writer has played a bigger part in the formation of my faith than Dr. Peter Kreeft. A Calvinist turned Catholic, he is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and the author of somewhere around 40 books on Christianity, culture, theology, philosophy, and social issues. His entire body of work is, to me, the most compelling evidence there is that reason and faith are not enemies, but best friends.

Recently, over the course of a year or so I began to turn away from orthodox Catholicism. I began to live in the world. For several months, I could feel God beginning to call me back. Ultimately, He used Dr. Kreeft's book, You Can Understand the Bible, to win back my soul. A loving, worshipful, enlightening exploration and synopsis of each book of Scripture, this book acquainted me with God again by whispering excerpts of His love letter to me -- the Bible -- into my ear and explaining to me their significance and meaning. I highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to learn more about God and Who He really is.

Dr. Kreeft is a warrior for Good, and therefore for God. His writing teaches you how to fight the good fight. For example, it is profoundly important that pro-life activists be able to make a sound secular argument against abortion. I was a liberal agnostic when I was converted to pro-life. It took one Conversation (I capitalize it because it was probably the most important conversation of my life) with a Catholic to change my mind. She didn't mention God, which would have turned me off right away. She used reason and an appeal to human rights -- which, like most liberals, I was all for! -- to change my mind. She also, with my permission, showed me some photographs that sealed my conversion instantly. A picture truly is worth a thousand words, and it's impossible to look at an image of a broken, mangled little baby's body and not know in your very soul that it is WRONG. I had an instant, irrevocable, visceral reaction that I can still recall. It was a horrifying, soul-shattering experience that I liken to Paul's on the road to Damascus. Although my realization that I had been addressed by Christ would not happen instantly, I saw the face of God in those children just as surely as Paul heard His voice.

Although I had been vocally, stubbornly, even angrily anti-Christian for years, almost exactly one year after the Conversation that made me pro-life, I was received into the Catholic church. A coincidence? I don't think so. In fact, I no longer believe in them. But my story is important for Christians to hear because many of them think they are somehow thumbing their nose at faith when they do not mention God in their pro-life argument. I say, tailor the argument to the person. God will use any foothold he can get in a person's soul. Once I recognized that Catholics were absolutely right about abortion, it made me wonder what else they were right about. The Truth really will set you free, and the Truth -- not to mention the Way and the Life -- is not just an idea, but a Person. Saying yes to Truth is, whether we know it at the time or not, saying yes to Him.

I strongly suggest you visit Dr. Kreeft's website, http://www.peterkreeft.com/, and visit the Featured Writing and Featured Audio sections. Please note there is a small link at the bottom of those pages where you can find more writing and audio. Read everything you can of his. His words will strengthen your faith and your power to reason. In particular, I urge pro-lifers to read "The Argument for Personhood." It is a sound, and in my opinion irrefutable, secular argument against abortion.

I also strongly urge you to read his writing on spiritual warfare, available on his website and also at http://www.catholiceducation.org/. (Enter his name into the search box for pages of his articles.)

I would like to post here a brief excerpt from "A Defense of Culture War: A Call for Counterrevolution." This is itself an excerpt from his book How to Win the Culture War by Intervarsity Press. The following excerpt specifically concerns abortion:

Even people who identify themselves as "pro-choice", like President Clinton, say they want to reduce the number of abortions. This means they, too, assume abortion is bad, for no one wants to reduce the number of something good. Surely the deliberate killing of unborn children is not something good!

Most Americans will not deny that abortion is at least a moral tragedy. But it is more than that. It is a barbaric act that degrades a civilization.

Polls repeatedly show that the majority of Americans are ignorant of the basic facts about abortion:

the stages of development of life in the womb: just what it is that is aborted;

the biological and medical facts about just how an abortion is performed. You can see absolutely anything today on TV or MTV or HBO except the most frequent medical procedure in America. There is a total media censorship of the facts;

the numbers: more than one and a half million abortions per year. One out of every three children conceived in the United States is aborted;

the fact that Roe v. Wade did not restrict abortions, but any woman in America can get an abortion for any reason at all (including sex selection: wanting a son, therefore aborting a daughter) at any time whatsoever;

the fact that abortion clinics are not legally subject to the same stringent standards of sanitation and safety as all other medical facilities;

that the anti-abortion movement is much larger than the civil rights movement of the sixties ever was, in numbers of participants and numbers jailed, but the media simply black out these facts;

that an overwhelming number of women who have had abortions say they regret it later and wish they had not done so;

that post-abortion trauma is common and crushing; that most women who abort—by their own admission—do not believe their "fetus" was "only tissue" or "only potential life" but believe they killed their baby; and this sense of guilt haunts them for life if not dealt with. But this fact is also denied or censored by a total media blackout.

Abortion splits the family in a literal and lethal way. It literally rips mother and child apart. And it desensitizes us in a gruesome way. We are starting to see the next stage in our "culture of death"—legalized suicide and euthanasia. The same principle that justifies killing at one end of life justifies it at the other: we will dispose of unwanted people.

Read the full article here at Dr. Kreeft's website.

1 comment:

  1. Certainly a very powerful post. Thanks for sharing your insight!