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Religion & Philosophy

Glittering Vices

Author: Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung
Brazos Press
Posted on: Oct 6, 2009

Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung explores the seven deadly sins from a historical and biblical perspective.

Harvard for Homeschoolers?

Author: Katelyn Beaty, Class of 2006
Books and Culture
Posted on: Sep 1, 2009

cover of book Right: Portraits from the Evangelical Ivy LeagueWhen did conservative Christians become odd, fascinating creatures to bring under the journalistic lens?

A cheery Happy 500th Birthday to a non-dour Reformer: John Calvin

Author: Nathan Bierma, Minds co-editor
Posted on: Jul 10, 2009

The problem with turning 500 is that you start to sound old. John Calvin, who was born 500 years ago today, will be remembered by many today as a dour old codger who loved to talk about sin and depravity, someone who was always in a bad mood. It’s true that Calvin had his grumpy moments—although I probably would too if I suffered from constant intestinal disorders and a battery of other chronic ailments, as Calvin did. And it’s true that Calvin spared few words when talking about the severity of our condition as a result of sin—though I don’t think Paul or Augustine were much less blunt about our depravity. (The less said about the nasty names Calvin called the Pope, meanwhile, the better.)

I’ve been learning lately that Calvin actually lived, thought, and wrote with a palpable pastoral heart and a vivid vision of God’s goodness and grace—and that without this part of the picture of who Calvin was, all you get is a caricature.

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The Prism of Calvin’s Political Legacy in the United States

Author: James D. Bratt, Professor of History
Posted on: Jul 7, 2009

John Calvin

The writers of the American Constitution were guided by the theology of Calvin and the philosophy of Hobbes.

On the contrary, they were resolute secularists who cared neither for nor about the doctrine of predestination.

Why Believe in the Self? Western and Eastern Explorations of Self, No-Self, and the Divine

Author: Kai-man Kwan, Visiting Professor of Philosophy

Posted on: Jun 22, 2009

Kai-man Kwan, chair of the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Hong Kong Baptist University, was a visiting professor in the philosophy department at Calvin College in the spring of 2009. He gave this presentation at Calvin on April 30, 2009. It was co-sponsored by the department of philosophy, the Nagel Institute, and the Asian Studies program at Calvin.

Nothing seems more certain to us than the fact that we exist, i.e., our selves exist. The father of modem philosophy, Descartes, makes the existence of the self (I think therefore I am—cogito) the foundation of his philosophy. Many philosophers are really self-enthusiasts. For example, J. B. Pratt says: “We know that the self is, and we know what it is by observing what it does. And this we know because every theory of the inner life which fails to recognize a knower and actor does violence to the facts of experience.” H. D. Lewis also asserts that “the self, far from being a mysterious reality behind the scenes, is in fact what we know best. But we know it in a very special way in the very fact of being it and having the experiences we do have, including the activities we initiate.”

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