Feed on


How should we respond to manifestations of Hell on earth?   The answer we give is a matter of prescription. In the preceding sections, we discussed the moral implications of the view of hell we take.  In this section, I want to ask whether: 1) we have a duty to follow our moral principles; or, if so, 2) when we have this duty.



The goal of this section is to meditate on the plight of the refugee, not necessarily to get into the nitty-gritty political questions surrounding the world refugee crisis.  To this end, I would like you to be prepared to talk about the following issues:

What does it mean to be a refugee?
Why do we, as human beings, struggle with the issue of empathy?
If we should be empathetic, how can we be sure that we will be?

Jesus was a refugee:  She brought forth her firstborn son, and she wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a feeding trough, because there was no room for them in the inn   (World English Bible)



24. Thursday, April 18


Luis Alberto Urrea, The Devil’s Highway:  A True Story  Read at least the first half of the book

WWJD?: Jesus the Refugee – Matthew 2:1-15 READ AND PRINT




25. Tuesday, April 23 


Luis Alberto Urrea, The Devil’s Highway:  A True Story  Finish the book
Contrast with “The Forbidding Reputation and Hypnotic Scenery of the Devil’s Highway: HERE
Excerpt from Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem:  RE-READ (focus on the issue of empathy, especially p. 49) Bring this document to class!



26. Thursday, April 25

Discussion:  Do we have the same moral obligation to care for our planet that we have to care for our fellow human beings?

Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future  Read everything but Chapter III on “Market Failure”

A. James McAdams, “Post-Truth, Climate Change and the Idea of the Modern Catholic University”  PRINT AND READ

Laudato Si’:  A SummaryREAD FOR BACKGROUND

“Trump on Climate Change”: READ


27.  Tuesday, April 30

Discussion: In this, our last class session, I would like to discuss the idea of Hope.  Up to this point, we have looked at some pretty awful aspects of the human experience.  Does this mean, however, that this is the whole story.  I would not like you to come away from this class as hardened cynics.  Indeed, I think we can–and should–come to the opposite conclusion. For humans to survive in a troubled world–one which is largely of their own making–we have to cultivate the opposite of cynicism.  We must cultivate Hope.  Today, I ask you to reflect with me about the meaning of Hope in our lives.  Where does Hope come from? How do we maintain it?
Please identify and be prepared to talk about at least one reading from our course that provides a source of Hope.  In addition, please print, read, and bring to class the following short articles:
Kelly J. Baker, “Why I remain hopeful,” Chronicle of Higher Education PRINT AND READ
Samuel Scheffler, “The Importance of the Afterlife. Seriously. PRINT AND READ
Elie Wiesel, “Nobel Lecture”  RE-READ


Your final essay assignment is HERE



Ecclesiastes 9:11  “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.

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