Secular Religion in American, Western Culture, and the end of history: Terence Nichols, Peter Augustine Lawler and Fr. John O’Malley

by Anna Blanch on June 21, 2012

Today I want to share a couple of interviews.

The first is with Terence Nichols on how and why religion has become so privatized in America, the second was  Peter Augustine Lawler on “Bobos” and the end of history and the third with John W. O’Malley, more on Four Cultures of the West.

Terence Nichols is a Professor in the Theology Department in the University of St. Thomas. This interview linked to above is on American secular religion. In a book called Death and Afterlife: A Theological Introduction, Terence Nichols wrote:

I am writing from a Christian perspective and will appeal primarily to a Christian audience… Although I believe that ultimately all who are saved are saved through the work of the incarnate Logos, Jesus the Christ, I emphatically do not believe that only professed Christians can be saved. As Peter says in his speech to Cornelius, “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. (Acts 10:34-35) (16)

This is certainly a controversial line of thinking. What do you think?

Peter Augustine Lawler, is a New Atlantis contributing editor and the Dana Professor of Government at Berry College. He is the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Modern and American Dignity: Who We Are as Persons, and What That Means for Our Future(ISI, 2010). Professor Lawler is the author of the blog Rightly Understood on, and he also contributes to the blogs Postmodern Conservative and No Left Turns. He is also the editor of the journal Perspectives in Political Science and the co-director of the Stuck with Virtue conference series. He served on the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2004 to 2009.

Rev. John W. O’Malley, S.J. is a Distinguished Professor of Church History at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Georgetown University. He is a renowned historian of the early modern Catholic Church, author of more than ninety articles and four books, and editor of six additional volumes. His citation for an honorary doctorate from Marquette University reads in part:

When recently asked why it is important for Jesuits to engage in research, writing, and scholarship, he responded, “Books influence people, and if they are important books, they can influence a whole culture. I believe in the power of ideas, which is what scholars deal with. Through the results of their scholarship, scholars help us to see things differently, help us break out of our narrowness, help us ask questions that break the logjam of our predicaments. Even aside from the universities, I maintain, it’s essential that some priests be capable of holding their own with the intelligentsia if the Church’s message is to maintain credibility. I think that’s what the Society of Jesus is particularly called to do.”

These are  volumes 67, 56 and 73 respectively of the free Mars Hill Audio bonus tracks ! Here is the full list of free interviews.  If you are interested this is a good reason to join the Emerging Scholars Network, which is free, because Mars Hill Audio offers all ESN members a substantial discount on new subscriptions for one year (six issues) of the Mars Hill Audio Journal in either format: cassette for $33, CD for $35, or $25 in MP3 format. (That comes to $5 to $13 off their usual rates, by the way.) Non-US residents receive this discount but will need to pay an extra shipping cost. Even before you subscribe, you can order a free demo CD or cassette or listen to several bonus interviews for free in MP3 format.
Anna M Blanch is founder of Goannatree, and a PhD student in the Institute of Theology, Imagination, and the Arts at St Mary’s College, University of St Andrews, Scotland.

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