Patrick Henry College
The second annual Faith and Reason lecture at Patrick Henry College will take place Tuesday, September 26, in Town Hall. Classes will be dismissed that day to facilitate a full day of reflection, dialogue and, perhaps, rigorous debate over this Fall’s theme—“Ten Times Better than the Magicians and the Enchanters”: Christianity as a Framework for Higher Education—delivered by Dr. Gene Edward Veith, PHC’s Dean of Academic Affairs.
“This is a great lecture series,” acknowledged Dr. Veith, “in that we set aside an entire day to reflect upon the some of the more important themes affecting Christian higher education today—the relationship between faith and reason, revelation and the liberal arts, the church and civilization.”
This year’s lecture runs from 10:30-11:30 a.m. in Town Hall, and breaks from 11:45-1:30 p.m. for lunch, in which a special menu will be served. Break-out discussion groups will run from 1:45-3:00 p.m., with faculty and advisees available in various locations across the campus. A Q&A session will close out the day’s events, from 3:30-5:00 p.m., at Town Hall.
September 26, 2006"
"Ten Times Better than the Magicians and the Enchanters":
Christianity as a Framework for Higher Education
Dr. Gene Edward Veith
Christians have often struggled over the relationship between faith and reason, revelation and the liberal arts, the church and civilization. But ironically, today, the secularists—who once attacked faith, revelation, and the church—are also today attacking reason, the liberal arts, and civilization. Christians today have a basis for education that the secularists no longer have. The rich truths of the Bible do not simply give us one ideology to set off against all the others. Rather, the Bible—far from giving us a narrow vision, as is often charged—gives us a truth that is wider, more comprehensive, and more complex than humanly-devised systems. Some of those systems assume human greatness and others assume human weakness. Christians, understanding that human beings bear the image of God and yet are utterly sinful, can see the truth in both perspectives, while also seeing that each is limited and incomplete. Christianity makes this higher synthesis possible in issue after issue, field after field. Thus, Christian scholars can be both affirming and critical, conserving the knowledge of the past while also being open to new knowledge that can never be exhausted. The Bible reveals truth that gives Christians an advantage in the educational enterprise, freeing us to learn and to never stop learning.
|9:30-10:15||Chapel/Spiritual Formation Groups|
|10:30-11:30||Lecture in Town Hall|
|1:45-3:00||Break-out groups (led by faculty advisees)|
|3:30-5:00||Q&A in Town Hall|
“The Rejected Cornerstone of the Liberal Arts”
Dr. G. T. Smith
The first faculty lecture (Fall 2005) endorsed Augustine’s argument from the duplex cognitio—the inseparability of knowledge of God and knowledge of the human soul—to the thesis that the liberal arts have a uniquely important role in a college education pursued in the light provided by a God who is Truth. This starting point and this conclusion are both correct. Since we do not unanimously concur with the Augustine’s reasons for counting a field of study as a liberal art, what common justification if any can we offer to unite and order the various things we call liberal arts? How precisely is theology the basis for other kinds of knowledge? Are we just studying various subjects as if they are united, whether they are in fact? Or can we explain how God’s special revelation grounds, unites, and orders the study of the liberal arts? The duplex cognitio restates the revealed insight that the love of wisdom must be united in the love of Christ. As Holy Scripture proclaims, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Pr 1:7, 9:10) It is a beginning in the sense of the first principle, and the first principle of creation is Jesus Christ. (Jo 1:1, Rv 3:14) This second lecture will further defend a Biblical understanding of human nature as perfected in Jesus Christ—a Christian anthropology—as the best ground and principle for unifying the liberal arts. The lecture will then apply this Christian anthropology to the question of the inclusion and exclusion of certain fields of knowledge from our core curriculum.