May 19, 2006

by Reb Yudel
Just because they talk about God, doesn't mean they're not fools

If Jews are the people of the Book, are Christianists people of the deep, abiding stupidity? It's just embarassing, really, watching Orthodox rabbis continue to sidle up to the sort of people at whose schools teachers have to deal with this:

Root gave his class a fictional example of the State of Nature, in
which two people were stranded on a lifeboat that would only be able to
save the life of one person. What would ensue? In Hobbes’ State of
Nature, the result would likely not be pretty. This example, Stacey
said, was perceived as an example of postmodern deconstruction and used
to break down morality. So Root's lifeboat example was gone.
This hypothetical was addressed, more or less, by Rabbi Akiva, the better part of two millenia before Hobbes. That the Christians at Patrick Henry College dismiss the discussion as "postmodern" shows them to be people of profound foolishness.


The accusation of "profouond foolishness" has been leveled at Patrrick Henry without any documentaion. Again, the writer of this blog is neither honest nor fair-minded.

From the original feature:

“It’s a unique academic experiment,” Mason, the school’s director of academics, said. “While [students] are here to be educated in a Christian world view, ultimately the purpose is to go out and change the world for Christ and to provide leadership.”

The school has become what some students call “Harvard for Homeschoolers.” The school’s debate team has earned national attention for topping England’s Oxford University—which boasts alums such as Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair—during a moot court tournament in 2004. Patrick Henry’s moot court team has earned the the National Moot Court Tournament Championship twice.

The school has consistently drawn some of the nation’s brightest, who have earned SAT and ACT scores, comparable to and in some cases exceeding, those of students at Ivy League Schools.

Aside from White House gigs—one it should be noted worked with Bush advisor Karl Rove—Patrick Henry students have interned for Sen. George Allen (R-VA) and Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), among others. Janet Ashcroft, wife of former Attorney General John Ashcroft, serves on the school’s board of trustees. >>>

The newsflash that some people do not like parts of the curricula while others do is hardly news. Surely, all academic institutions have controversy in terms of certain profs or certain bits of policy. The writer on this blog has failed to provide infomation or argument that documents why PH is more in disarray than any other school and he fails to give info to readers detailing that this is an elite college with influence far greater than its numbers.

Posted by: David N. Friedman at May 26, 2006 11:11 AM

Let me repeat myself: It is profoundly stupid to have a university where a professor cannot discuss the lifeboat hypothetical, and Hobbes' view of it.

There is a temptation to equate a Christian university like PH with the Jewish YU. The anecdote I cite shows how far removed the two are from each other. The lifeboat example is so much of a piece with classical Jewish ethical discussions that it would not raise an eyebrow among students and faculty at YU. (It is davka the eyebrow-raising explanations that I remember from my philosophy class with Rav Wurzburger z'l).

Instead of rational inquiry combined with religious faith -- Torah u Madda -- PH seems to, in the anecdote cited, substitute name-calling and guilt-by-association to close down discussion.

What would happen in the lifeboat? Is Hobbes useful to us? The question about Hobbes should not be, "is he morally relative," but, given that Rabbi Akiva has told us what *should* be done when there is one canteen for two people, does Hobbes tell us anything helpful about what actually will happen?

Posted by: Reb Yudel at May 26, 2006 3:56 PM

It is the school of choice for people who value the philosophy of the school. It is not your school of choice.

Funny thing, the Left loves to preach about "diversity." Can't the people who run the college, their board of directors and their students agree what is the philosophy of the school--or must they run every little thing by you first, Larry?

Brandeis just hired this Arab who sends money to terror groups and preaches hatred against Jews. It certainly appears Brandeis is more foolish if you insist on a contest.

I suggest no contest and let the free market of ideas rule. Why is this so much to ask? You go out of your way to blast a Christian college with a fine pedigree with obvious malice.

Note that what is appropriate in my opinion is for the Jews to debate Brandeis and the Christians to talk about PH. Your public comments lack propriety.

Posted by: David N. Friedman at May 27, 2006 9:19 PM

They don't need to run everything by me. But if they want to claim to be worshiping the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I'm allowed to point out that they're doing so in a profoundly stupid, and therefore unJewish, fashion. As they march through public life, hoping to dazzle us with their piety and debating skills, I'm just noting that the would-be emperors are intellectually naked.

Posted by: Reb Yudel at May 27, 2006 11:27 PM

Your last response is highly arrogant and cements the fact that this is another one of your bizarre complaints. For those who have erred in one way or another, if you see them as a political enemy, you will invoke a "gotcha" standard to expose the fault.

When the object of your attack has done nothing wrong, you will raise the specter of some supposed failing, in this case, failing to appreciate the subtelty of Rabbi Akiva's explication of a moral dilemma. You are here to claim that they cannot be authentic in their aspirations to follow the will of God if they cannot bring Rabbi Akiva's specific understanding. Of course, Christians lack all kinds of basic Jewish understandings--why harp on this one?

You have highlighted a small school that has a lot positive to its credit and you have the gall to proclaim that it is "intellectually naked" based data that gives only a partial clue concerning what is discussed and not discussed in the classroom. You resent the fact that the school has such a high credentials-- why? If there was real dishonesty, decay would be evident. Sullivan doesn't like the Christian part, that is to say the part they have learned from the Jews. Contempt for Christians is widespread among the gay activists and the Christians are hated because of what they have taken from Jewish texts.

In common cause, we can join in a coalition with Christians in support of marriage. You persistently fail to realize that a coaltion does not exist when two parties agree about all things. It exists when they agree about ONE thing.

Sadly, there is decay at Brandeis, a point that you ignore. The school is very close to having a minority of its students Jewish and if this trend continues, it would be better that the non-Jews are strong Christians than strong secularists.

Can you disagree?

Posted by: David N. Friedman at May 28, 2006 3:05 PM

Goodness! Reb Yudel makes one point and DNF is all over the map.

Posted by: Nos at June 22, 2006 1:01 AM
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