Reason, Faith and the Struggle for Western Civilization: A Review

Image of Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization
by Samuel Gregg
Gateway Editions 2019
Hardcover 256

A month or two ago, I came across Samuel Gregg’s book while perusing items at, and the title caught my eye. In my personal efforts to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5), I’ve frequently felt that I don’t yet have an adequate understanding of the relationship between faith and reason, and by extension, the relationship between the sciences and Scripture.

The book didn’t take me where I hoped to go on that topic. It did, however, provide an interesting and enjoyable survey of the history of Western thought, and one of the better interpretations of the role of reason and Christianity in Western thought.

Samuel Gregg is the director of research at the Acton Institute and has degrees in philosophy from the University of Melbourne (MA) and Oxford (PhD). Though he has written a pile of books, mostly on economics, his focus in this volume is more history-focused than I expected. Though the hardcover edition has 256 pages, I also felt that it ended at just about the point where there should have been several more chapters on various views of the relationship between faith and reason and analysis of supporting arguments—as well as more consideration of potential strategies for preserving what remains of Western Civilization.

Chapters six and seven do address these topics, and they aren’t a bad start, but I was hoping for a deeper and more comprehensive exploration.

602 reads

Bioethics panel: Why ignoring ethics yields horrors, abuses; media deceives about human costs

"During her presentation Lee highlighted the world's first ever human-monkey hybrid that was grown in a laboratory in China, CRISPR gene editing technology, and the research done on 'humanized mice,' which utilizes tissue obtained from aborted human fetuses." - Christian Post

287 reads

Does the Bible teach Big Bang cosmology?

"One of the most popular articles I have written is 'Big Bang—The Bible Taught It First!' . . . In the two decades since then, one of the most common objections I have received from skeptics is that the Bible teaches no such thing. Who is correct?" - Hugh Ross

Somewhat Related, at AiG: Massive Galaxies in the Early Universe

565 reads

Are Atheists Right? Is Faith the Absence of Reason/Evidence?

"Although these atheists may have heard sincere Christians wrongly say things like, “oh, you just have to have faith” as if they didn’t need evidence for their belief, this is not supported by the meaning of the words faith or belief that is found in the New Testament." - AiG

251 reads

The Pro-Life Movement Is on the Right Side of History and Science

By David Gunn

Recent events have thrust the issue of abortion back into the public spotlight. Now the culture war’s battle lines are being redrawn in familiar places as pundits, partisans, and politicians line up to yell at and talk past one another. That’s unfortunate, because this issue deserves to be treated much more seriously than the political football it has become. We’re not talking about the stuff of mundane political discourse. This isn’t about marginal tax rates, trade policy, or property rights. This is about the taking of innocent human life. Even from an irreligious perspective, what more fundamental human concern could there be than that?

Conservatives are often accused of being on the “wrong side of history.” The argument goes like this: conservative values and ideals are quickly becoming outmoded, and eventually society will look back on conservative social norms with the same derision we now reserve for such historical misdeeds as slavery and institutionalized misogyny. Occasionally, there might even be a grain of truth in this line of thinking—after all, William F. Buckley once defined a conservative as someone “who stands athwart history, yelling ‘Stop!’” That’s because conservatives believe that in many cases what society calls progress is in all actuality a foolhardy march toward self-destruction. “There is a way that seems right to a man,” King Solomon wrote, “but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14:12).

917 reads

A Review of “Darwin Devolves” by Michael Behe

Image of Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA That Challenges Evolution
by Michael J. Behe
HarperOne 2019
Hardcover 352

The author of this new book is well known for his earlier works Darwin’s Black Box and The Edge of Evolution. In the former book Michael Behe argued that biological systems, more especially the molecular makeup of incredibly complex structures in the cell, could not have arisen via evolutionary pathways. Natural selection and mutation were simply not capable of building the city-like features that had only recently been discovered. Nor could evolution explain how these structures (like the bacterial flagellum) be constructed as functioning wholes by the processes available to it. The “irreducible complexity” of the structures meant that everything had to be put together at once in just the right way so that the molecular machine would work. Not only this, but in The Edge of Evolution Behe showed that the assembly system of the flagellar itself, with its instructions, had to be in place all at once in order for the machine to be constructed. As he notes in an appendix at the end of Darwin Devolves,

Twenty years on, there has been a grand total of zero serious attempts to show how the elegant molecular machine might have been produced by random processes and natural selection. (Darwin Devolves, 287)

1035 reads