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Meaning and the Necessity of Theology (James Lindsey starts reading Cardinal Newman


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What is the University? It’s the center of intellectual life in civilizations in the broad era we might call Modernity. And what is the purpose of the University in its essence? If we turn to the 19th century Catholic thinker John Henry Newman and his iconic The Idea of the University, we see that it is to teach all knowledge. The Universities were originally seminaries, though, and theology sat at their heart. Newman, in this iconic and valuable work, makes a convincing case that without theology, which Universities could merely assume would be present in their beginning, other sciences less suited to the task would take up theologizing and would do so poorly. Newman is right, and this is exactly what has happened in the secular Western University over the last few centuries. In that gap, the social sciences have filled in the role of theologians, and the Critical Theory perversion of the social sciences has therefore resulted in a pervasive rot throughout Western Civilization that we are realizing only just in time. In this episode of the New Discourses Podcast, James Lindsay, perhaps an unlikely host for this subject, takes on Newman’s argument and, in fact, agrees that a mature theology must sit at the center of any vital and healthy society, including whatever institution resides at the heart of its intellectual life. What that looks like not just in a post-Enlightenment world (Modernity) but also in one that is entering its Second Enlightenment (Postmodernity) is a challenging question that he believes is the most immediate task for taking humanity through its present and emerging challenges. Join him for an unexpected and groundbreaking discussion of the centrality of theology to a thriving civilization.

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