An Undergraduate Journal of Christian Thought at Duke by hgh81368


									                                         April 2008
                                         Volume 2, Issue 1

An Undergraduate Journal of Christian Thought at Duke
 Are you a senior or recent alum looking to deepen your faith and
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          2008 – 2009
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                                                                        April 2008

                                                                        Volume 2, Issue 1

Faith, Family and Football: An Interview with David Cutcliffe Duke’s
new head football coach, David Cutcliffe, discusses his Christian faith, his experiences thus
far at Duke, and his hopes for the future of Duke football. p. 6

CHRIST: The Mind and the Body
What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?
Political Philosophy and the Christian Church
Bill English p. 11

Faithful Economics: The Relationship of the Church and the Market
Andy Crewson p. 14

Healing in Mexico: A Perspective on Medicine
Andrew Lee p. 16

A Geek for God: Christianity and the Engineer
Enping Hong p. 18

God is in My Craft: The Presence of God in the Written Word
Lindsay White p. 20

Freud vs. Faith: The Interaction of Psychology and Religion
Maura Styczynski p. 22

The Wisdom of God and the Foolishness of the World
A Reflection on 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 by Julie Matthews p. 5

Where I See Christ at Duke:
Personal Accounts from Members of the Duke Community p. 24

One Man’s Journey: A Perspective on the World Condition p. 26
A Look at the Bahá’í Faith by Shawheen James
                                    Editors Nate Jones and Andy Crewson
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Religio is an Independent Publication recognized by the Duke University Undergraduate Publications Board.

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 Note from the Editors
We are pleased to present to you the spring 2008 issue of Religio—Duke’s first under-
graduate journal of Christian thought. Our purpose is to provide Duke students, faculty
and staff a venue to read and write about the Christian faith. This university was
founded on the premise that knowledge and religion, eruditio et religio, are fundamental
to the development and formation of all persons. Thus, it is our mission once again to
bring Christianity into dialogue with the learning of this university. This project is ecu-
menical in its nature, and we draw upon people from a diverse range of Christian tradi-
tions and fellowships on campus.
      This journal is part of a larger initiative called “The Augustine Project.” This pro-
ject was begun by Jordan Hylden, a Harvard alum and current Duke Divinity student,
and seeks to establish journals of Christian thought at college and university campuses
across the nation.
      The theme of this issue is “Christ: The Mind and the Body.” As students at Duke, we
each study a particular academic discipline, but how does this relate to Christianity?
Some of the questions this issue seeks to explore are: How are our studies compatible with
our faith? Does being a Christian differentiate me from others in my field? Can my aca-
demic work help the Church in meaningful ways? As Christians, however, we recognize
that not just the mind, but the body as well, is part of God’s good creation. We are excited
to share with you an interview with Duke’s new football coach David Cutcliffe, where we
discussed the relationship between Christianity and sport.
     By no means is this an attempt fully to explicate the nature of the relationship be-
tween the mind, body and soul. We will leave that task to Thomas Aquinas and the
church’s great theologians. We instead intend to explore avenues of thinking that will
provoke discussion surrounding these important issues.
        Religio is now accessible online at You can view this
issue and our archives at this site. If you are interested in writing or contributing finan-
cially, please email us at
      We hope the following pages will touch you and encourage you to reflect upon your
vocation as a Christian in the world. Enjoy!

                                                                          Grace and Peace,

                                                            Andy Crewson and Nate Jones
                                                                                 Trinity ‘09

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being
saved, it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelli-
gence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’ Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is
the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since in the
wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the fool-
ishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and
Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness
to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and
the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of
God is stronger than man’s strength.” –1 Corinthians 1:18-25
The Wisdom of God and
the Foolishness of the World:
                                   A Reflection on 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
                                                                              Julie Matthews, Trinity ‘09

 Isn’t this absolutely fascinating? Here we are, at Duke University, a global epicenter of research and learning,
 with some of the greatest scholars and minds to pass through this era just at our fingertips. Here I sit, a stu-
 dent surrounded (and completely intimidated) by individuals in their late teens and early twenties who have
 accomplished more than many people will in a lifetime. So here I wonder, “How does God perceive a place like
 Duke University? He must be so proud of everything we know and are accomplishing in His world.” And here 1
 Corinthians provides some beautiful—and humbling—insight.
         Our supposed “wisdom” is not wisdom at all. Even God’s “foolishness” and “weakness” are greater than
 the collective wisdom and strength of mankind. But if Christians claim God is the omniscient, omnipresent,
 omnipotent Creator of the Universe, how can He possess any “foolishness” or “weakness”?
          Well, He doesn’t, but this is all a matter of perspective. What He did for mankind through Jesus on the
 cross, from a worldly standpoint, looks utterly foolish and weak. Who of us can claim full understanding of a
 message that proclaims that God came down to earth, lived a perfect life and subjected Himself to death in or-
 der that His people—who have rejected Him in the first place—could be reconciled to Him? It seems foolish to
 me, and it definitely seemed foolish to the wise men of Corinth. The Jewish population was not anticipating a
 Messiah born into a humble family who would eventually be painfully and publicly executed. They anticipated
 a King who would ride a chariot, not one who would enter Jerusalem on a donkey. God had demonstrated Him-
 self in miraculous ways to their ancestors, and this was to be no different. How interesting it is, then, that in
 God’s profound wisdom, He brought His Son into the world in a way that would shatter man’s own sense of wis-
 dom and understanding!
          If I have learned anything about God, I have learned that I am not Him. I don’t think like Him, I don’t
 act like Him and I am certainly not as wise as He. My mind is sufficient for getting by at Duke, and probably in
 the world outside of college. I can remember facts for essays and reactions for orgo tests, and I am personable
 enough to get along well with others. But too often I credit this to myself. I try to construe situations to fit how
 I think they should go; I try to explain things that are inexplicable; I try to plan my life, and I end up being
 completely surprised. This is the beauty of faith, which does “not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power” (1
 Corinthians 2:5). God granted us a surprising message of salvation, which depends solely on His grace and love
 and acknowledges fully our lack of ability to redeem ourselves. Yet He still wants to impart wisdom and under-
 standing to us. He promises in Proverbs that if we seek wisdom with all of our hearts, if we cry aloud for under-
 standing, if we search for it as if for silver and treasure, then we will find it. What a loving God, that He invites
 us into His holy light and, as with Moses, allows us to catch a glimpse of His presence in our lives.
         However, Paul makes it clear here that only those who are being saved will recognize this as the power
 of God instead of foolishness. I read this passage very differently, then, as a Christian who has experienced per-
 sonally what the Gospel says is true. But this passage is still a challenge to all. Paul
 asks the wise man or the philosopher to stand against God, offer his own wisdom, and
 see how it compares with that of the crazy and foolish Gospel. This is not a challenge to
 stop exploring; in fact, it is the opposite God wants us to test Him, to read His Word
 and find Him to be who He says He is. No, God probably does not look at Duke and
 think we are the smartest people in the world, but I can guarantee that He looks at
 Duke and sees limitless potential, if we were to stop relying on our limited understand-
 ing and seek His infinite wisdom.

         Julie Matthews is a Trinity junior double-majoring in Religion and History.
         She is actively involved with Campus Crusade for Christ and enjoys talking
         about all things Duke.

Seek Family and Football:
Faith, the Music of Your Soul:
     An interview with Randall Wallace
A Conversation with David Cutcliffe
 David Cutcliffe was announced as the head football coach of Duke in December 2007. Coach
 Cutcliffe served as the Offensive Coordinator at the University of Tennessee for well over a dec-
 ade, coaching notable quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning and Tee Martin. He also had a
 successful stint as head coach at the University of Mississippi, where he coached Eli Manning
 to a 10-3 record in 2003. He is a committed Catholic who very generously sat down to talk with
 us about faith, football and his hopes for Duke's future.

                                                           How do you consider being a football coach as
                                                           part of your calling as a Christian? More gener-
                                                           ally, could you talk a bit about your faith jour-
                                                           As far as being an educator and football coach,
                                                           which I think is one and the same, you’re al-
                                                           ways working with young people. I was raised
                                                           Catholic and still am Catholic. I went to a
                                                           Catholic elementary school. My first teachers
                                                           were all nuns and I learned a lot about disci-
                                                           pline from them, and it was serious discipline.
                                                           We have always tried to help young people
                                                           grow spiritually. Most of the organizations I’ve
                                                           been involved with were predominantly Chris-
                                                           tian. So we supported those guys. I’ve been a
                                                           big supporter of FCA. When I was head coach
                                                           of the University of Mississippi, we had a full-
                                                           time on-campus ministry in place, so we really
                                                           just spent a lot of time enabling those people to
                                                           do their job. But all the Christian principles
                                                           I’ve learned in my life, we try to implement in
                                                           life lessons for our players.

                                                           You recently said that, in order of your priori-
                                                           ties, faith should always come first. You said
                                                           something along the lines of “If faith isn’t the
                                                           most important thing in your life, I suggest it
                                                           should be.” Could you explain that some?

                                                           Absolutely. We try to put what we do in its
                                                           place. We ask Duke football to be fourth. We
                                                           ask for faith, then family, then your future,
                                                           and then Duke football. When you get to my
                                                           age, life gets shorter as the years go by. I’m a
                                                           person that has had open heart surgery, a cou-
                                                           ple other close brushes physically, a couple of
                                                           dangerous situations where I was close to
                                                           death. I was one of the lucky ones. When
                                                           you’re given that gift of life, and I view that as
                                                           a gift, I understand without question that
                                                           nothing really matters if you don’t have faith.
                                                           This is a short walk. I’ve coached Jewish and
                                                           Muslim young people, and I’m going to support
                                                           them to pursue their faith. I don’t think it’s my
position as their football coach to interfere with their families’ beliefs. But the majority of the young
men I’ve been around are Christian. I take guys to church, and I encourage guys to meet me at church.
That’s just kind of a given. That helps me prioritize that my relationship with them should be about
their faith. That’s how you really put it as a priority—not giving it lip service, but living it.

    Duke’s motto is Eruditio et Religio. For the founders of this university, there was no conflict between education and
    religion. In fact, in many ways they illuminated each other. Sport, it seems to me, is a way in which we learn that
    the convictions of our hearts and the convictions of our minds are interwoven together. Have you found this to be the
    case in your time as a football coach?
    I think that it’s about emotion and passion. Football is very much a team sport. All the parts that are on the field
    have to be working together to be successful. But beyond that, whether you’re a starter or a scout-teamer that
    never gets in the game, your job during the week is so critical to the success of the team that it becomes an invest-
    ment in emotion for all the people that are a part of that team. I’ve always loved being a part of that. You men-
    tioned Duke, and the founders viewing education and religion as being one; I think they are. I think that we need
    to learn that all this knowledge we obtain is not really worth a hill of beans if it’s not used in the right way. If the
    ethics, morals and values aren’t taught along with it, that’s a problem. I wasn’t there, and I don’t know, but I would
    think that the founders of this university saw that as a necessity. Higher education is a wonderful thing—but
    higher education without ethics, morals and standards is a dangerous thing in my opinion.

    You may be familiar with Joe Ehrman, a former NFL star who now coaches at Gilman High School in Baltimore
    and does a lot of non-profit work. He claims that sports offer people, and men specifically, fertile soil for learning
    how to become better brothers, fathers, sons and husbands. Have you found this to be the case in your time as a foot-
    ball coach?
    Absolutely. And that’s part of the life lessons we learn. First of all, understanding what commitment means. I
    spend a lot of time focusing on the husband and father part of it. If you don’t learn commitment, you have no
    chance to be a good husband or a good father. Everyone needs to learn the lesson that nothing in life stays the
    same—you’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. You can’t just hold it in the road. You’ve got to continue
    to improve your relationships, and that’s true with your faith. But I think that in coaching we have the greatest
    venue to teach young men lessons that last a lifetime. And that’s why I absolutely love doing what I do.

    For some people, there seems to be a divide between the mind, the soul and the body. But this has not always been so.
    St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, called the soul “the form of the body.” How interrelated, in your opinion, are the
    mind, soul and body?
    Well, you have life of the flesh and you have life of the spirit. The two really can’t be separated. I think the life you
    live has to feed your spirit. Your spirit feeds life into you. It’s kind of amazing—the greatest people I know, they
    just have a glow about them. They look healthier and happier and there’s just something there. Their spirit is so
    powerful. I don’t think you can have one with the other. And I certainly think that the life we live in the flesh af-
                                                                fects our spirit over a period of time. I know it has with
                                                                me. Even when I was a little kid—when you do some-
                                                                thing not quite right, it affects your spirit. I don’t know if
                                                                you call that conscience. But I think the flesh and the
                                                                spirit absolutely go hand-in-hand.

                                                                 The issue of sports and prayer is often a debated one. On
                                                                 the one hand, a Christian ought to pray for everything
                                                                 they do. But on the other hand, there’s a danger in pray-
                                                                 ing for success, because one team’s success is inevitably
                                                                 another team’s failure. How do you think about the rela-
                                                                 tionship between sports and prayer?
                                                                 I think it’s fine to pray for being the best you can be. I’m
                                                                 not going to sit there and pray for the other team to play
                                                                 well, but certainly we always pray before games that
                                                                 both teams stay healthy and avoid injury. I think it’s fine
                                                                 to pray that you do everything you can to honor God and
                                                                 be the best you can be. And that’s OK. We all find our-

selves saying a prayer like, “Lord, just let us get out of this one, and I’ll do this or that…” I’ve seen coaches quit
smoking by saying, “Lord, if you let us win this one, I’ll never smoke another cigarette.” I have a friend who never
has—he’s held true to his word.

The Christian faith centers around trust and forgiveness. But these aren’t two ideas that come to mind immediately
when one thinks of football. I imagine, however, that one might be surprised, for example, at the ways in which
teamwork revolves around forgiving someone for their mistakes. Say a wide receiver drops three straight perfect
passes thrown by the quarterback. There’s an element of trust and forgiveness that needs to be there for the quarter-
back to throw it to that receiver again. Have you found this to be the case?
I think trust is what football is all about. You have to trust your teammates. If you’re a running back, and you’re
given the ball, you’re going to trust that your linemen are blocking the guy and not just letting him come free to
destroy you. If you’re a quarterback and your eyes are downfield, you’re trusting that your linemen are going to
block and, if you throw the ball early, that the receivers are running the right route. It’s all about trust. Part of be-
ing a team, part of being a brother or sister (if you haven’t been a husband or wife), is that if you truly trust some-
one, forgiveness is kind of natural. You don’t go around holding grudges or thinking the worst of somebody. To me,
that just defines being a team member. When teams gets selfish—when you lose trust on a team—you’re going to
have a bunch of bickering. You’re going to have a lot of “locker room lawyers” we like to call them. Trust is a huge
part of football.

What has been your biggest challenge since arriving at Duke? Has anything surprised you?
I think the biggest challenge is changing a way of thinking that everyone has about football. There’s a certain way
that I believe in doing things when it comes to running a football program. It’s going to take a whole new way of
thinking. That’s going to be an everyday challenge for me—absolutely changing a culture. Not just in the players,
but everybody surrounding the football program. We want students to come to the games and stay at the games. I
hear a lot of words about tailgate that don’t sound real encouraging as a coach. I want everybody to have a great
time at home football games. It should be a great memory from your college experience. We have to get everybody
in the stadium and get headed in the right direction.

It is well-known that the Mannings are committed Presbyterians. Have you ever had any talks about faith with Pey-
ton or Eli?
Yeah we talk a lot—Peyton and Eli and all of us. We talk about our faith, we talk about what we believe. They’re
pretty private about their spiritual lives, but they’re very spiritual people. They talked about growing up and read-
ing the Bible and praying as a family and all of the things that they did. You’d be surprised—we’ve had numerous
talks about that.

What are your hopes and dreams for Duke football both on and off the field?
Well, I think just pure respectability, which means a lot of things. It means that the kind of young men we have in
the program are doing the right things in the community. They’re graduating, they’re going on and being successful
in their careers—hopefully as professional athletes, but also doctors, bankers, lawyers, whatever they choose to do.
They’re respected for who they are.
         On the field, we want to be respected to the point of being contenders. It’s not just about trying to win—it’s
about the pursuit of excellence. When Duke football can claim a pursuit of excellence—whether that’s over the next
six, ten or fifteen years—that’s when we’ll be respected. I like the word excellence because it’s a strong word. You
can’t ever obtain it—you stay in hot pursuit of it. If you think you’ve obtained an excellent spiritual life, then you’re
going to start going backwards. Your spiritual life is an ongoing process. Ever hear the term “backslider?” You don’t
want to be a backslider in anything you do. What I’m looking for is to see a football program that people respect for
being one that pursues excellence. I see that in many other sports here—I see that prominently in basketball—and
that’s the kind of respectability we are trying to reach.

Christ: The Mind and the Body
                     Duke students explore
                     their field of study as it
                        relates to their faith
What Has Athens to Do with Jerusalem?
                    The Christian Church and Political Philosophy
Bill English, Doctoral Candidate, Duke Political Science

The second century Christian apologist Tertullian of Carthage famously asked, “What has Athens to do with Jeru-
salem?” At issue was whether and how scripture should be accountable to questions posed by Greek philosophy.
The relationship between supernatural revelation and natural reason has occasioned various and deep disputes
among Christians throughout the Church’s history. These are often implicated in, although not identical to, a more
pressing question, namely, “What is the relationship between theology and politics?” We are conspicuously aware
that neither is a subject for polite dinner conversation, and when combined they can prove volatile. This is, in part,
a sign of their importance, and few doubt that these are indeed important topics. However, fewer realize just how
deeply intertwined theology and politics are, even for us advance modern citizens who live within Western democ-
racies that have long separated church and state.
        Consider a central theoretical problem in western political thought. Aristotle recognized that humans come
together into society for the sake of life—to secure the material necessities of food, shelter, clothing, and reproduc-
tion—but he thought people stay together for the sake of the good life. To be happy, he argued, one needs to have
good teachers in order to become excellent in various practical and theoretical pursuits. Above all, one needs good
friends with whom to share and refine one’s achievements over time. Thus “Political Science” was in his mind the
most important “science,” because it was concerned with coordinating and interrelating human activities so that
individuals and communities could flourish as a whole. But such social harmony is difficult to create and sustain.
         Aristotle thought that the way for people to interrelate—the requirements of what we owe to one another in
terms of property and honor—was rooted in the rational order of nature. This view of natural justice had two sig-
nificant implications. First, it suggested there could be an arrangement in which everyone does what they are best
suited for. Like bees in a hive, no one’s personal good need be in conflict with the society’s common good. Secondly,
it suggested that the requirements of justice could be rationally known and translated into law. Although some
laws would be based only on convention, all would be accountable to natural law, which provides foundational prin-
ciples of justice like don’t steal, cheat, murder and so on.
        This picture raises some questions, however, about the necessity of law and the conditions for rational
knowledge. If the law is good and natural why don’t people follow it automatically? Why does law need to be pos-
ited as law in the first place? Two sorts of answers developed in the ancient world. On one account, endorsed by
Plato, the problem has to do with knowledge. People don’t know what is genuinely good for them. Law serves as a
teacher about the best way to live and helps efficiently coordinate otherwise difficult information problems. Indeed
the more intelligent we are, the less law seems like a constraint – it’s just perceived as good sense. But what if peo-
ple don’t think a law is good? Does this mean the law is bad, or that people simply aren’t intelligent enough to un-
derstand it?
        To be asked to obey a law is to be entitled to reasons as to why it is good. Suppose, however, that there is no
common good as Aristotle understood it, but only what’s good for me and what’s good for you. Reason will then be
on a fairly short leash. If we also think that “my good” is always self evident to me and consists of material advan-
tage, the leash will be shorter still. There is also the dark thought that someone could act independent of any rea-
son whatsoever, and arbitrarily choose to go against even the best ideas. The diminution of the capacity of reason
to bring us to common judgments that motivate our behavior poses an obvious problem for politics. The 17th-
century philosopher Thomas Hobbes was emblematic of a shift in modern political thought when he wrote that
“authority, not truth, makes law.” Justice, in his view, could not be based on any truth about a common good, since
people will never agree because of their divergent private interests. Rather, if political order were to take shape it
would mean appealing to the most immediate self-interest of individuals, namely their interest in avoiding violent
death. Thus the only ultimate “reason” to obey law is because you’ll be beaten or killed if you don’t. In the absence
of compelling reasons about our common ends, law becomes intrinsically coercive, although it might make individu-
als better off in the long run. However, it is unambiguously better in this scheme to be the sovereign, the person
who is free precisely because he is not beholden to any law.

        Much political thought in the modern period has tried to square the proverbial circle: How can someone be
both free and subject to law? One solution, developed in different ways by both Rousseau and Kant, was to locate
the validity of law in consent. If I give myself a law or explicitly consent to a law then it isn’t a coercive imposition.
But this returns us to the initial question—why have law at all? Why don’t people simply act that way automati-
cally? When applied to a political body, the notion of consent becomes even more complex. Although we may hope to
draw on “the wisdom of crowds” to augment individual ignorance, how is consent to be measured, and how often,
and by whom? Moreover, aren’t there some things that simply are wrong, which should trump even the majority’s
will? Most political thinkers today champion “democracy and human rights,” but there is an endless debate over
which of the two has priority. Whether they can be compatible depends on a more fundamental sociological reality,
namely how democratic peoples conduct themselves and which rights they assert. Despite its sophisticated institu-
tional arrangements, much of our politics still depends on the character, desires and decency of citizens. Perhaps
then it is not the quality of the threats behind our laws that are of fundamental importance, but the qualities of
character that make persons into good neighbors.
        Most political scientists today think politics is about power and the conflict of self-interest. This is mislead-
ing. What is more important is what people take their self-interest to be and the ways in which they think about
power in the first place. Understanding and changing that, however, is difficult, whereas mapping out economic
incentives is easy. That is not to deny that analysis of incentives—the modus operandi of Political Science—is use-
ful, but its power is generally confined to narrow circumstances in which law is already operative. We are bad at
predicting wars and developing third world countries. Even within stable legal contexts, however, political science
is poorly equipped to understand the “cultural” foundations of politics, so we talk about fictions like “social capital.”
At the end of the day, much social science has inherited a strictly “instrumental” view of human reason, which
makes the discipline blind to fundamental questions about the first order goods and ultimate ends through which
people direct their lives.
        This means that something important is missing from political science’s understanding of society, for few
societies are held together simply by the mutual satisfaction of private interests. Rather, most are built upon a
widespread set of beliefs that link social practices with things that people think are of ultimate significance.
This is something that Saint Augustine of Hippo understood well. In his book The City of God, he famously criti-
cized the political foundations of the Roman Empire, arguing that the rulers of its kingdoms resembled bands of
robbers (Augustine thus anticipated the insights of rational choice analysis by some 1600 years). Although political
institutions are important for the way we relate to other people, he argued there was a more fundamental issue
rooted in the nature of our loves.
        Knowledge for Augustine (following his neo-platonic education) was intimately related to love. We come to
know the world through the things we love in it; and, in his view, becoming virtuous entailed developing and refin-
ing the right kind of loves. A community, he argued, was defined by sharing “common objects of love” not by simple
biological, geographical, or economic borders. By virtue of their constitutive place in a community’s desires, such
objects of love provide a common measure akin to what Aristotle hoped a rationally ordered universe could provide.
                                                             Obviously, much depends on the answers people give
                                                             to the question “what do you love?” As one loves, so one
                                                             acts. This inspires further questions about what things
                                                             are worth loving and what makes them lovable.
                                                               Augustine was certain that the highest and most re-
                                                               warding loves require formation and refinement—
                                                               which although laborious could be a labor of love. As a
                                                               consequence, he held that law and love could be mutu-
                                                               ally supportive. Moreover, Augustine thought that his-
                                                               tory itself was a medium through which God communi-
                                                               cated his love, above all by making creatures with a
                                                               unique capacity for love and inviting them into a
                                                               drama through which their desires would be elevated
                                                               and consummated in his own divine life. This vision of
                                                               a community united by the love of God, in which loves
Between the unappealing characters of
                                                 of created things were ordered in harmonious peace, is what
fanatic fideists and soulless consumers          Augustine called the “City of God” and believed was prophesied in
one hopes that a theological vision of           the book of Revelation. His vision was profoundly social and drew on
goodness might bridge the gap between            range of scriptural accounts and Christian practices. Indeed, if one
                                                 finds the Christian narrative compelling, it has some obvious impli-
what political scientists call “self
                                                 cations regarding what is worthwhile, noble and obligatory. So, he
interest” and what Tocqueville called            argued, Christian communities have an intrinsically political com-
“self interest rightly understood.” Does         portment towards the world (and that’s before one even considers
the Christian witness have the beauty            that their members get together every Sunday to worship a king).
and power to inspire a more humane               The larger implications are, at first sight, modest. All this shows is
civilization?                                    that Christian convictions have provided one sort of compelling
                                                 source for first order allegiances among some peoples. Other reli-
 gious traditions and philosophical schools have done as much. However, an important question for any of these tra-
 ditions concerns what intellectual resources they can contribute to our current political predicaments. Although it
 is not the job of Christians to solve the world’s problems, there is a rich legacy of incorporating Christian thought
 into the relationship between freedom and law, love and knowledge, dignity and service, and so on. These are in-
 valuable resources for both plain persons and political philosophers as we try to think through the fundamental
 commitments that structure the priorities and aspirations of our politics—commitments about which political sci-
 ence can say substantively little.
          Is it the case that Christian thought has a distinctive contribution to make to vital questions about the na-
 ture of the good, of rationality and of love? The answer is yes, but for reasons that both secularists and believers
 may not like. Theological reflection has much to contribute to our political understanding in part because behind
 many of our inherited disagreements lie old theological disputes. More than a few scholars have pointed out that
 modern political theory is built upon secularized and hollowed out theological concepts. Sovereignty is something
 we now attribute to states, but no state is truly sovereign in any precise definition of that term. This language was
 first developed as way to talk about God’s omnipotence and only later transferred to political analysis as states
 tried to articulate their own powers, which never could be absolute. Likewise law makes sense as law in a theologi-
 cal context in which its ultimate goodness is guaranteed by the omniscience of God. However, if God has no credi-
 bility as a law giver, either because he is dead or because, like Milton’s Satan, we think the legislator is tyrannical,
 then we need to rethink nature and promise of law. Also, beliefs central to our understanding of human rights, like
 “all people are created equal,” are arguably theological claims—not simply because of the word “created,” but be-
 cause our ever expanding scientific knowledge provides us no credible avenues through which to defend human
         In brief, then, our political life is haunted by the ghosts of dead Christian concepts. Moreover, many of
 these concepts died because of the inability of Christians to come to agreements about them. Often these disagree-
 ments became reflected in political fallouts within the Church itself. Some, like Nietzsche, have thought there was
 never any hope of a defensible Christian synthesis in the first place. But Nietzsche was one of many late modern
 thinkers who also lamented that modern life was destined to become increasingly nihilistic in the wake of God’s
 death. Some have tried to rehabilitate notions of human dignity, meaning and nobility in a universe bereft of divin-
 ity and purpose. Others hoped for a greater articulation and awakening of faith.
         Obviously religion can be politically important because of the motivation it provides for peoples’ actions at a
 fundamental level. This is religion’s promise as well as its danger for society. Between the unappealing characters
 of fanatic fideists and soulless consumers one hopes that a theological vision of goodness might bridge the gap be-
 tween what political scientists call “self interest” and what Tocqueville called “self interest
 rightly understood.” Does the Christian witness have the beauty and power to inspire a more
 humane civilization? That remains to be seen, and the proof will be in the pudding, as it were.
 Can politics rid itself of theological horizons? This also remains to be seen, although it would
 be a politics unlike any we have ever known.

    Bill English is a fourth year graduate student in Political Science with previous degrees
    in Math and Economics (Duke) and Ethics (Oxford). His doctoral dissertation is tenta-
    tively entitled "Social Thought and Social Change: Methodological Dilemmas at the Inter-
    section of Science and Ethics."
          Faithful Economics:
                    The Relationship of the Church and the Market
     Andy Crewson, Trinity ‘09

      Christianity is a religion founded on hope. Economics is often called    It is the Church’s role to make
      “the dismal science.” Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and
                                                                            sure people do not come to believe
      money” (Luke 16:13). Economics majors go on to work on Wall Street,
      at consulting firms and in other high-paying jobs after graduation.          that their happiness will be
      This begs the question: Are Christianity and economics compatible,     maximized with self-indulgence,
      and if so, how?                                                       by advocating values of charity in
              In the most basic sense, economics is not at odds with the         the face of a materialistic society
      Christian faith. Economics is simply the study of how to optimally al-      and the importance of family to
      locate a scarcity of resources. Whenever resources are scarce—
                                                                                       those whose only thought is
      meaning they are insufficient to satisfy human wants and desires—
      the economic problem is inevitable. In introductory microeconomics                 another hour at the office.
      classes the problem is often posed as follows: Your wealth is $100, ice
      cream cones cost $2, and pizza costs $4. What combination of pizza
      and ice cream will you buy to make you the happiest? This kind of problem is helpful, because as humans we
      face decisions like this all the time. People’s decisions are dependent upon their preferences, which are repre-
      sented mathematically by what economists call utility functions.
               Most people incorrectly think that economics is purely about the self, because textbooks unfortunately
      always create examples that involve goods for personal consumption. The result of this is that many people
      walk away from courses such as Econ 55 and believe that one should focus purely on self-consumption. Yet this
      need not be the case. These models could easily involve choices between consumption of ice cream and church
      donations. Economic models can easily be used to explain charity, which of course is an important Christian
      virtue. They do preclude, however, the notion of altruism. The entirety of economics is based on the concept of
      utility maximization. If one helps others it is because doing so increases one’s self-happiness as well. This is not
      a point of disagreement with Christianity; in fact, psychologists are split on the issue of whether true altruism
      is possible.
              There are a few points of economic theory that explicitly disagree with Christian theology, one being
                                                                           the notion that more is always better.
                                                                           Economists assume that more and more
                                                                           wealth always increases one’s well-being.
                                                                           However, this line of thinking is com-
                                                                           pletely materialistic and does not con-
                                                                           sider at all one’s spiritual health. Christi-
                                                                           anity professes the likely possibility that
                                                                           at some point additional material wealth
                                                                           can actually damage one’s relationship
                                                                           with God. Likewise, economics assumes
                                                                           that leisure is always better than labor.
                                                                           Genesis indicates, however, that man
                                                                           was created to “till the ground,” meaning
                                                                           that working is fundamental to who we
                                                                           are as humans. While Christians enjoy
                                                                           vacation as much as anyone else, we
                                                                           maintain that labor is a necessary and
                                                                           good thing in terms of the development of
                                                                           a person.

         The Church has much to offer to the study of economics. One
tension economists always face is the trade-off between efficiency and
equity. Should we try to create the largest GDP possible without re-
gard to its per capita distribution, or should we value some level of
equality at the expense of the total GDP? This efficiency-equity trade-
off is a constant headache for economists. The balance one chooses de-
pends upon which social utility function is adopted by society (what
their preferences are). Whether or not it is important to care about
relative poverty and racial inequities is something that must be built
into one’s preferences. The role of the Church is thus to continue to
preach the importance of values such as the well-being of all people
and the importance of charity. On both a societal and individual level,
preferences (utility functions) are a changing thing. It is the Church’s
role to make sure people do not come to believe that their happiness
will be maximized with self-indulgence, by advocating values of char-
ity in the face of a materialistic society and the importance of family to
those whose only thought is another hour at the office. It has become a
recent trend for corporations to become more focused on being “socially
responsible” and investing back into their communities. Ben and
Jerry’s is the classic example. For many years it donated 7.5% of its
pre-tax profits to non-profit organizations. A short look at their web-
site clearly indicates that their corporation cares about much more
than purely making money. It is up to the Church to help form the preferences of society, upon which people
and corporations will choose how to optimally allocate their lives and resources.
         What can economics do for the Church? As already noted, the Church (having a scarcity of resources)
faces the economic problem, which must decide how to optimally spend its time and money. On a practical
level, the Church is desperate for people who understand the basic principles of accounting and finance. Too
many churches are plagued with problems because their pastors and leaders do not have sound financial
knowledge. On a deeper level, the economic system of capitalism must be hailed for advancing many of the
goals of Christianity. By offering incentives for efficiency, imagination and hard work, the free market system
has proved itself by creating the highest standard of living the world has ever seen. Businesses provide jobs for
people through which they can support their families and earn a living. We also must not forget that it is busi-
nesspeople who often times provide the funds for churches, missionaries and charities whose work does not di-
rectly generate revenue. Moreover, when Christian principles are combined with sound economics, fantastic
organizations are created. For example, FINCA International, a microfinance organization, provides financial
services to the world’s poorest entrepreneurs so they can “create jobs, build assets and improve their standard
of living.” Right here in Durham, Self-Help Credit Union provides financial services, such as loans and home
mortgages, to “people of color, women, rural residents and low-wealth families and communities” so they have
access to economic opportunity. This type of economics is clearly Kingdom-driven.
         At the end of the day, economics is merely one way to explain the world around us. While Christianity
and economics may not be in full agreement on all matters, they are not mutually exclusive, each having much
to offer the other. Economics is the practical tool that Christians must utilize to turn theology into action. As
the old adage goes, “Give a man a fish and he is hungry tomorrow. Teach a man to fish and he
never starves again.” Helping people to go into business by teaching them skills that the market
values is the greatest hope in our quest to eliminate poverty. So, to the next inquisitive soul who
looks at my transcript: Yes, I am majoring in Economics and Religion. I am proud to be a Chris-
tian economist.
 Andy Crewson is a Trinity junior double-majoring in Economics and Religion. He
 attends Duke Chapel regularly, where he was the student preacher earlier this
 spring. Andy enjoys playing basketball and golf in his spare time.

         Healing in Mexico:
     Andrew Lee, Trinity ‘09             A Perspective on Medicine

      “You will be my eyes…and I don’t mean that in the romantic sense.” The surgeon was explaining to me how to
      maneuver the laparoscopic camera within a patient’s abdomen. The long, rod-like camera I held in my hand
      would provide the live video to help guide the surgeon’s instruments in the laparoscopic cholecystectomies—
      minimally invasive gall bladder removals. Without ever having observed the procedure, I was immediately put
      to work at the camera. It was June 2007, and I was on a medical service trip in Chiapas, Mexico’s southern-
      most state. I spent two days scrubbed in as an assistant in eight surgeries at the main hospital in San Cristo-
      bal, where the American doctors with our team performed dozens of free surgeries every day. I spent my other
      three days as a Spanish translator at clinics we visited in remote villages. At these clinics, several American
      doctors would consult with patients, diagnosing their conditions and
      prescribing free medications or recommending surgeries; most of the          “I found it incredibly difficult to
      diagnoses were as simple as back or leg pain due to a lifetime of agricul- deny people the treatment we had
      tural work. As a translator, I helped the doctors communicate with pa-
                                                                                           come to provide for them.
      tients and registered patients when they initially entered the clinic, tak-
      ing down their names and complaints. The experiences I had during             Continuing to work despite the
      that week came with great physical and emotional challenges, and they        emotional frustration of turning
      also showed me just how great the physical and spiritual needs sur-         people away was a much greater
      rounding me are.
                                                                                    struggle than spending hours
                                                                                    holding surgical instruments
                                                                                   steady while battling physical

                                             My greatest emotional challenges came in the remote mountain
                                             clinics. At the end of each day, we had to turn patients away be-
                                             cause we simply had too many people wanting consultations and
                                             medicines. As the only helper at that spot who spoke Spanish,
                                             communicating this to the patients became my burden. “No
                                             puedo prometer nada!” I can’t promise anything, I yelled as I
                                             took down the names of dozens of Mexican villagers in the clinic
                                             hoping to be seen. One woman simply wanted medicine for her
                                             young child’s stomach pain, while another older man wanted a
                                             Bible and medicine. In the mountain village of Villa Las Rosas,
                                             one woman brought her mother up and asked if we could see
                                             her; I had to gently turn her away. She showed me a terrible
                                             rash on her arms, and her mother even grabbed my arms—much
to my dismay—in a plea for help. Later, when I passed the same woman in line, she asked for my name, so that
she could “orar” for me. I gave her my name—Andrés—and went inside to grab my dictionary. She wanted to
pray for me.
         I was humbled by her graciousness despite how little we were able to help her. I found it incredibly dif-
ficult to deny people the treatment we had come to provide for them. Continuing to work despite the emotional
frustration of turning people away was a much greater struggle than spending hours holding surgical instru-
ments steady while battling physical exhaustion. I was moved to see just how many people showed up at each
clinic hoping to see the American doctors. As we were driving through one town, we asked our driver where all
the people were. “Todos están en el hospital” was our driver’s response—They’re all in the hospital. We all
laughed, but in a few minutes we realized that he wasn’t joking. I was overwhelmed by how limited we were in
our abilities to help all those who wanted to be seen, despite the hundreds of patients we saw over a matter of
days. Instead of a sense of accomplishment, I came away with a heightened sense of the needs around me and
my desire to meet those needs.
        Though the physical needs were certainly enormous in Chiapas, I was also struck by the spiritual
needs. Many patients asked for Bibles in addition to medicine, and one
woman asked for eyeglasses so that she could read the Word of God.
The basis for meeting both physical and spiritual needs is evident in
the Gospels. Physical healing is a fundamental part of Jesus’ ministry,
as indicated by the numerous times He heals those around him as well
as His command to His disciples to “heal the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” (Matthew 10:8)
Beyond physical healing, however, Jesus also emphasizes the impor-
tance of personal, spiritual healing. When He declares, “It is the not
the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick,” (Mark 2:17) He is not
referring to the physically sick, but rather those with the greatest
spiritual needs—the tax collectors and the sinners. In situations
where I have been medically unable to help due to my lack of expertise
                and training, I’ve seen no shortage of spiritual and
                emotional needs, which require no medical degree to
                attempt to remedy. My time in Chiapas strengthened
                my conviction that to become a physician is to minis-
                ter to others in the same way that Jesus ministered—
                through healing.

                   Andrew Lee is a pre-med Trinity junior majoring in Biology and minoring in Chem-
                   istry and Economics. He is involved with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and he
                   enjoys photography and playing the piano and melodica.

            A Geek for God:
                            Christianity and the Engineer
                                                                                Enping Hong, Trinity ‘09

     This is my favorite t-shirt of all time:

                                                        For those who have not taken physics (or have sworn it off for
                                                        life), the mass of equations and squiggles represent Maxwell’s
                                                        equations governing electromagnetism, which also character-
                                                        ize the behavior of visible light. Hence, the well-geekified joke
                                                        is that in saying “Let there be light,” God in fact was speak-
                                                        ing complicated equations involving multivariable calculus
                                                        into being.
                                                        I got this shirt from the campus store at MIT, where it was
                                                        hung amidst truckloads of esoteric paraphernalia, including
                                                        coffee mugs emblazoned with the structure of caffeine, a shirt
                                                        that said “Harvard—‘cause not everybody gets into MIT” and
                                                        another shirt that was shouting, “What part of [insert mind-
                                                        bogglingly complicated equation here] don’t you under-
                                                        stand?!” Incidentally, I also learned that my particular shirt
                                                        had been around for a while—a professor remarked that he’d
                                                        seen it worn in MIT back in 1975. No my friends, the geek is
                                                        not a recent social phenomenon.
                                                        Now there probably wasn’t anything explicitly religious (or
                                                        even Christian) about this shirt. More likely, the original joke
                                                        was a jibe that even God has to obey the laws of physics.
                                                        Strangely enough, my appreciation of this shirt is tied very
                                                        closely with my strivings to become a scientist for Christ, and
                                                        I have a sneaky feeling that (perhaps unbeknownst to the
                                                        designers) this shirt, too, is a testament to God’s glory.
              The first thing to note is that the geeks are right. (Surprised?) When God said “Let there be light,” He
      did in fact speak those equations into existence. What’s more, it was a package deal—the elementary particles
      that obey them, the speed of light that constrains them, the calculus that makes evaluation of them possible
      (and wreaks havoc on the sanity of college students worldwide)—all were spoken into existence and are even
      now maintained by His wisdom and sovereign power. Science studies the order of the world around us, and God
      both created this order and gave us the faculties to comprehend it. How, then, did God comprehend creation?
      “God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness” (Genesis 1:4).
              Secondly, the entire object of science is to discover, investigate and elucidate (i.e. experiment, get re-
      sults and publish). Scientific progress is possible because not all is known to us. This makes our scientists in-
      trepid explorers, discovering and laying claim to realms like biology and physics, by uncovering the relation-
      ships within each of these fields and defining
      them in the equations that we know and
              The irony here is not difficult to see.
      These laws and equations did not pop into
      existence when they were “discovered”; on
      the contrary, the only reason they could be
      discovered was because they had been there
      the whole time. As scientists, we are but ex-
      ploring creation and can no more lay claim to
      it than the patron of an art museum can lay
      claim to a priceless Dali. We can only ex-
      claim with David, “When I look at Your heav-

                                                                                           ens, the work of Your fin-
                                                                                           gers, the moon and the
                                                                                           stars which you have set in
                                                                                           place, what is man that
                                                                                           You are mindful of him,
                                                                                           and the son of man that
                                                                                           you care for him?” (Psalm
                                                                                         Finally—and I actually find
                                                                                         this rather amusing—these
                                                                                         equations are our represen-
                                                                                         tation of what goes on in
                                                                                         nature, and as Christians,
                                                                                         we believe nature to be the
                                                                                         product of God’s creative
                                                                                         power. Frankly, the equa-
                                                                                         tions themselves are fairly
                                                                                         clumsy. Although mathe-
                                                                                         matically accurate, elegant
                                                                                         and aesthetically pleasing,
                                                                                         even a college student
                                                                                         barely has the faculties to
                                                                                         knock those numbers
                                                                                         around and determine the
                                                                                         behavior of electromagnetic
                                                                                         energy. Despite the enor-
                                                                                         mous progress that has
                                                                                         been made in electromag-
                                                                                         netic physics, our vaunted
                                                                                         capabilities are ultimately
                                                                                         limited to manipulation.
                                                                                         We are no more able to al-
ter, create, mimic or destroy the fundamental properties of light than an ant is able to drive a car after reading the
owner’s manual.
         Yet light itself is all around us: it gives us sight, warmth, perception, and the ability to read geeky jokes. A
college degree is not a prerequisite for the enjoyment of light: “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good,
and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). Light is governed by the equations that de-
fine it, and yet is so much more—it is testament to God’s power, sovereignty, justice and goodness. Science is but a
scratch on the surface of something much greater.
It is for these reasons that this geek stands humbly before God, pursuing the science that I appreciate and love. I
know that I am but exploring creation, probing the realities that God has willed and actively maintained since the
world began—knowing that I can ultimately do no more than learn, and, to a certain extent, manipulate. My job is
to testify to God’s attributes—His glory, power, wisdom and goodness—in the richness
of creation around me, with the hope that others may ultimately come to know Him:
“For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and di-
vine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so
that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). It is with this hope that I continue in my
profession, knowing that in this area, too, I am able to bring Him praise.

    Enping is a junior and a biomedical engineering major. He is a small group
    leader in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and loves reading and discussing
    ideas in theology and apologetics. He enjoys musical worship, playing trombone
    with the Duke Symphony Orchestra, and is currently researching a way to make
    fake blood vessels so the body can’t tell the difference. Please feel free to email
    him at

            God is in My Craft:
                      The Presence of God in the Written Word
     Lindsay White, Trinity ‘09

      A month or so into a Religion and Literature class I took last semester, our professor asked us if the course, an
      English course, had had any impact on our faith or had made us reflect further upon our own religious prac-
      tices. He knew that many of us were practicing Christians, of various denominations, because, inevitably, in
      reading literature about religious and spiritual experience, our own experience and varying impressions had
      trickled into conversation.
             The class discussions had obviously been impacted by our faith, and he wanted to know if our faith had
      been impacted at all by class discussion. He wanted to know where the overlap was.
              I raised my hand and told him that, as far as I was concerned, this class, and the things we had dis-
      cussed, had did not touch my faith or religious practices. I didn’t allow the overlap, and considered the class to
      be completely separate from my religious experience. It had to be that way: religion was intensely personal for
      me, and discussion or criticism of it drew an intensely personal reaction. There was no getting around it.
               I got a few nods from other students sitting around the table. I wasn’t alone. It may be the easy way
      out, to choose not to meld your secular education with your faith, but faith, for me, is just too personal. Even a
      relatively benign discourse on organized religion or a questioning of a belief in God gets me angry and defen-
      sive. Flustered. There’s a physical reaction, flushing and jaw-clenching. Not, perhaps, dissimilar to one’s reac-
      tion to hearing unsavory things spoken about one’s mother.
              My reaction is not thought out. It isn’t particularly rational. It’s a gut reaction. But faith is a gut thing.
              And because even the oldest universities seem to have leaned a certain way, towards secular thought
      and away from reverence towards long-standing faith and religious tradition, there’s a lot said in the classroom
      that can illicit this reaction.
              Somehow it’s all right for a girl to throw up her hands and say, “I’m sorry, but the Church just sucks,”
      after reading a certain piece of religious literature.
              However, it would probably be unacceptable for me to say, “Back off,” or “Mind your own business, you
      ignorant nihilist,” in response.
              This kind of exchange wouldn’t be particularly edifying for anyone, and would probably, inevitably,
      prove detrimental to general opinion of religious devotees. In the end, class discussion really works, becomes
      something alive, when people are flexible, can alter and shape their opinions as discourse goes on. But I con-
      sider my beliefs to be an unyielding constant and, thus, just plain incompatible in this setting. I simply don’t
      know how to have an intelligent, open-minded conversation about something I consider to be an absolute. It’s
      my own decision to leave my faith at the door when entering a classroom, and I cannot imagine it is universally
      shared. I don’t know if it’s the right choice.
               But because life is messy and our minds tend to blend and blur that which we experience, learn and
      feel on a day to day basis, my resolution cannot always hold firm. It is not, and cannot, be so easy in the core of
      my major, creative writing. It is the reason I chose the English major, perhaps the only thing I do at Duke that
      feels like a deeply personal task, something that comes from me. I would say that it comes easily, but it does
      not. I can spend an entire afternoon staring at my computer only to come up with only two or three pages of
      crappy writing.
               I took Reynolds Price’s Milton class in the spring of my sophomore year, one of the few courses where I
      really found it impossible to put my beliefs aside and just learn. John Milton’s Paradise Lost insistently pressed
      at my faith. Not just every once in a while, in a class discussion, but every time I opened that book. Encounter-
      ing God as an actual literary character, with unquestionably human characteristics, kept my mind writhing.
              Yet one thing that is clear in my mind, that I can firmly grasp, is Milton’s invocation of the Holy Spirit

in the opening lines of Paradise Lost. There
are other invocations throughout the book,
Milton’s disclaimers as he treads increas-
ingly dangerous territory with his pen, but
the first one struck me and held me. Because
it recognized the pull of God in writing, that
it would be impossible without that pull.
Both the drive and the ability come from a
higher place and to really write, to need to
write in that way, cannot be learned, but
only given.
       Sing Heav’nly Muse, that on the se-
       cret top of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst
       That Shepherd, who first taught the
       chosen Seed…
        (Paradise Lost, Book 1, ll.6-8)
        It was not like the pagan invocations
of The Odyssey or The Aeneid, distant and
mythical. It was something I could under-
stand. Whether it is Milton penning his
Paradise Lost or me stumbling through a
short story that I know but cannot seem to
translate to the page, we are attempting an
art greater than ourselves. That kind of art,
that want to create, is not human alone.
        Remembering that invocation of the
Holy Spirit, I thought about getting a tattoo,
a dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit. It started
out as a half-serious musing, but I couldn’t
give it up. I wanted to get a dove drawn on
me, permanently, to acknowledge and pay
homage to the calling that I felt. A reminder
of what I was supposed to do, and who was calling me to do it. Perhaps a strangely secular symbol for my calling, but it
fit and I felt like it was the most natural thing in the world. A kind of everlasting reminder of something bigger than
yourself. I wouldn’t be surprised if there some guy out there with binary code on his bicep. Or Pi tattooed somewhere
even more risqué.
       This urge, however, was not that easily understood. I bounced the idea off a friend and she was only confused.
“I mean, it’s like, God…and Milton…and then…a tattoo. That’s weird.”
        But it wasn’t. It’s all tied together, I think, when there is something, a skill, a passion, an interest, that truly
drives you, when you can’t imagine doing anything else. I could not get the idea out of my head, so I got the dove tat-
too. A promise to myself to follow through. It’s there on my back, a small, inked-in image of calling. A reminder to my-
self that God is in my craft, that I cannot ignore his presence in the written word. It’s there forever.
        And no, I will not show it to you.

        Lindsay is a Trinity junior, planning to graduate December 2008. She is an English major
        and is currently in the middle of her honors thesis in Creative Writing. She enjoys spending
        her free time writing and volunteering at the Animal Protection Society of Durham.

   Freud vs. Faith:
           The Interaction of Psychology and Religion
                                                                         Maura Styczynski, Trinity ‘08

        Studying psychology makes sense for Christians. The discipline of psychology explores many of the
same values we hold as true. In some ways, it even makes having faith in God easier for the doubtful by provid-
ing scientific backing to God’s laws. Both psychology and religion focus on what it means to be human, why we
feel guilt, how we determine right from wrong and how we can cope with the difficulties life brings our way.
Christianity furnishes reasons for us to love ourselves as we are, and psychology does the same by urging self-
awareness and self-acceptance. Additionally, when it comes to the treatment of other people, both Christianity
and psychology emphasize each person’s intrinsic value and the duty we have to show love to others. This inter-
mingling of values in Christianity and psychology extends to the point where several Christian practices have
used psychological concepts as the basis for the particular practice.
         Have you ever taken part in Teens Encounter Christ (TEC), a Catholic retreat for young adults? This
retreat, like other retreats and sessions that are approved by the church, seeks to help guide the development
of a stronger faith by fully examining the heart of Christ and God’s sacrificial love. The TEC retreat is based on
the concept known as “Encounter.” Encounter is a form of sensitivity training with the goal of leading groups of
participants in pure, non-judgmental interaction wherein all “masks” are stripped away and group members
get to genuinely know each other. The Encounter concept seeks to inspire mutual love, support and individual
value amongst the group members with whom you have gone through the experience.
         Interestingly, this concept, later proven useful in the church retreat environment, was created primar-
ily as a means for psychotherapists to increase their ability to empathize with their patients and be more sensi-
tive to their needs. This method was popularized by Carl Jung, one of the founders of the humanistic psychol-
ogy movement in the later part of the 20th century, and was later adapted by the Christian church.
        Encounter is not the only concept where Christianity has drawn from psychology. Have you ever wondered
where “fire and brimstone” sermons, so infamous in the past, have gone? Why are we no longer subjected to painful
reminders of our total sinfulness? Why does today’s Christianity seek to make us feel good about ourselves rather
than make us feel shameful of our sinful nature? It was the case that before humanistic psychology came into exis-
tence the church did incorporate the “fire and brimstone” approach. However, when psychologists began focusing
on the importance of loving oneself and increasing one’s self-esteem, the church also changed its style. In lieu of
preaching on the subject of original sin and the bloodied cross, the
Christian church began focusing on God from an alternate perspective: Both psychology and religion focus on
the perspective in which God gives meaning to our lives, guides our deci-  what it means to be human, why we
sions, is always present and loves us regardless of the mistakes we           feel guilt, how we determine right
make. With academia and much of the general public following the hu-
manistic psychology ideals of self-esteem and self-worth, Christian
                                                                               from wrong and how we can cope
church leaders felt they had to change the church’s focus to reach its        with the difficulties life brings our
current and prospective members.                                            way. Christianity furnishes reasons
         Many feel the modern Christian church has blended God’s teach- for us to love ourselves as we are, and
ings of humility with the self-enhancing humanistic psychology ideals in       psychology does the same by urging
a manner that maintains God’s overall plan for us. However, though the          self-awareness and self-acceptance.
Christian church did adopt some psychological methods for the better-
ment of the church and the congregation, there still exist strong arguments against the use of and belief in the sci-
ence of psychology within the context of religion. The Bible clearly reveals opposing views to general humanistic
psychology premises. As depicted in the book of Luke (18:9-14), in the story of the Pharisee and the publican, self-
esteem and a heightened sense of self-worth are not goals to which we should strive as Christians. As confirmation
of this teaching, Jesus again urged us to live our lives for God rather than for ourselves in Matthew 6.
         Additional points of contention also exist wherein the study of psychology cannot be reconciled with Christi-
anity. Several of these points stem from the fact that many of the most famous psychologists were not Christians,
heavily influenced by the philosopher Nietzsche (known for theorizing, “God is dead”). Sigmund Freud, Alfred
Adler and other such influential psychologists supported Nietzsche to a significant degree and their psychology re-
flected their atheism. Understanding that these ideas helped shape psychology as it is, we can begin to understand
why Christianity and psychology may never be reconciled with each other, regardless of the occasional sharing of
         In fact, the central focus of the disciplines of psychology and Christianity reveals this irreconcilability fur-
ther. On one hand, Christianity maintains that how we live our lives should be according to the greatest command-
ment (from Mark 12:30): to love the Lord God with all our heart, and with all our mind, and with all our strength,
and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Christianity teaches that we are imperfect and sinful, but that our faith and
God’s grace and sacrifice are our saviors. On the other hand, psychology tells us to live our lives so that loving our-
selves is most important. The love for others, or God, comes secondary and only if used for our own personal bene-
fit. Psychology also emphasizes that it is possible to love ourselves to the point that we can overlook or negate our
imperfections. In psychology, there is no sin, only people trying to reach their full potential.
         While studying psychology as Christians, it is important to keep these inherent differ-
ences in the goals of the two disciplines at the forefront of our minds. Although it is exciting to
see how psychology and Christianity augment each other, it is vital to be able to draw a line
between the two when religion starts to become too influenced by humanistic psychological
principles. As long as this distinction continues to be made, however, the study of Christianity
can be greatly enhanced by a study of psychology and vice versa.

    Maura Styczynski, a Trinity senior, is a SWF psychology major who enjoys long walks
    through Soc/Psych and reading good books (or Religio journals) by the fire. She is a
    part of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Sapphire a cappella (Duke's all-female
    Christian a cappella group) and has aspirations to one day be a Disney princess at the
    Disney World theme park in Florida.

         Where I See Chri
             Personal accounts from members of the Duke commu
“As a Duke medical student, I am privileged to be immersed daily in a dynamic world of scientific
discovery and evidence-based medicine. One might suppose that such an environment leaves little
room for theological inquiry, much less for the breaking-through of Christ’s kingdom into our world
of hard science. The problem is—at least for those medical professionals seeking to block out all
things spiritual—that our patients don’t live in a world artificially devoid of religious faith. In fact,
and perhaps rightfully so, many of these patients have a hard time understanding how we go on
with our business assuming that science is the savior of the world.
    Where do I see Christ on a daily basis? I see Him in the patient suffering of the terminally ill,
living their last few days of life with the grace that only Christ’s passion can inspire. I see Him in
the work of the hospital chaplains, providing their healing ministry when our ‘scientific’ modes of
healing run out of options. Finally, I see Him in the agony of young parents watching their child
succumb to cancer, crying, “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?”
    Purportedly shrines to the gods of science, I see hospitals as something much grander than that.
I see them rather as laboratories of Christ’s suffering as well as brimming vessels of God’s grace.”
                                                                          Walker Robinson
                                                                          3rd Year Medical Student

                                                “A believer in miracles, I’ve spent several weeks pondering the question of where I
                                                see Christ at Duke and searching for a deeply intellectual, theologically based re-
                                                sponse. No miracle this time.
                                                   However, I am extremely blessed that every morning I cross the main quad as I
                                                walk from the parking lot to my office. It’s so incredibly easy to see Christ in this
                                                setting, surrounded by the Gothic architecture, beautiful old oak trees, the majestic
                                                chapel and the hustle and bustle of the best and brightest promise for our future.
                                                   The challenge is that as richly obvious as Christ is in my every day world, I real-
                                                ize that I have to stop and worship—look and listen—or I miss him.”
                                                                                          Ira Mueller
                                                                                          Assistant to the University Secretary

     "And He brought him (Abraham) outside [his tent into the starlight] and said, 'Look now
     toward the heavens and count the stars-- if you are able to number them. Then He said to
                    him, So shall your descendants be' " (Genesis 15:5 AMP)

    “Being raised in the smog filled city of Houston never afforded me the opportunity to see
    more than a couple stars at a time. In fact, I never knew anything else so I always as-
    sumed that was how it was supposed to be. However, when I came to Duke, I was awed
    that such brilliance in the night sky could exist. More importantly, I'm continually
    amazed that God used this very same image to speak to the desires of Abraham's heart. I
    wonder what it was about the stars that resonated so deeply within Abraham? Perhaps it
    was that the fact that despite the vast sea of darkness of the night, light still shone.
    God's promise was the light that guided Abraham in the confusion, the fear, the worry of
    leaving his home to settle in a new land. Likewise, when I look up at the s tars, I am re-
    minded of the light of Christ that guides me. I am reminded of the promises that God has
    spoken to my heart.”
                                                            Nancy Iheanacho
                                                            Trinity ‘09
ist at Duke...
unity of their experience with Christ on Campus

                                               “During my time at Duke, I have experienced Christ most of all when interacting with
                                               my neighbors a few minutes away from campus.
                                                  A few weeks ago, I visited the Durham Jail to pray with inmates that needed encour-
                                               agement. One man sat in front of me and recounted his story of being arrested for living
                                               in the US as an undocumented immigrant. Brought to the jail, he was then stripped of
                                               everything he owned and unable to contact his family that was still abroad. Deeply re-
                                               pentant, he sat before me desperate for prayer. As I raised hands to the window to meet
                                               his hands on the other side, I bowed my head and began to ask God to be with him. He
                                               wept and I prayed for another chance for him to see his family.
                                                  Christ was in the midst of the two of us that morning. His power to forgive became
                                               alive through our prayers and has humbled me ever since to remember the poor and for-
                                               gotten in this world.”

                                                                                                                  Ekta Dharia
                                                                                                                  Trinity ‘08

    “As Christians we are called to help people in need, and I am constantly amazed at
    how caring Duke students are. Through the Community Service Center, numerous
    Spring Break mission trips and Duke Engage, we have countless opportunities to help
    those less fortunate. Yet students are not satisfied and seem to be constantly starting
    new groups to address injustices in the world. In addition to my inbox full of requests
    to attend a variety of vigils and fundraisers, I encounter a few organizations every day
    on the Plaza asking people to support a worthy cause. During the pre-orientation pro-
    gram Project Build, freshmen are exposed to Duke’s love for community service. At the
    far end of the Duke undergraduate career, Teach for America is the largest employer of
    Duke alumni, demonstrating that our commitment to service continues after gradua-
    tion. We even put aside our hatred of Carolina to raise money for children with life-
    threatening illnesses during the Duke-Carolina Student Basketball Marathon. In
    Duke students’ incessant quest to make the world a better place, I see God’s hand at

                                                                 Ted Belches
                                                                 Trinity ‘09

                       One Man’s Journey:
A Perspective on the World Condition
                                                                                        Shawheen James, Trinity ‘10

     Especially in a diverse environment such as Duke, learning about various religious traditions
     and engaging in interfaith dialogue has become increasingly important. By seeking to know
     more about different belief systems, Christians can better understand the values and perspec-
     tives of people of other faiths and also further develop their own beliefs. For this issue, sopho-
     more Shawheen James explains the basic tenants of the Bahá’í faith and his experience as a
     Bahá’í at Duke.

 I have been asked to write for Christian readers about my experience as a Bahá’í coming to Duke—a daunting
 task, yes; an honor, most definitely. The Bahá’í Faith has been and still is a large part of my life and shapes the
 very decisions I make everyday. It wasn’t always that way, however, and it is my goal here to illustrate that jour-
 ney by speaking to something that everyone can relate to: death and the life hereafter. While ultimately subject to
 the reader’s freewill, the driving principle behind this piece is not a sense or desire to proselytize, for everyone’s
 spiritual journey is markedly unique in its own right, rather a need to relay a message to the Christian community,
 the Duke community and the broader community. In doing so, I hope to communicate a sense of what it is like to be
 a Bahá’í at Duke, dispel some misconceptions about the message of the Bahá’í Faith and give everyone a deeper
 understanding as to its meaning.
 The afterlife is one of the mysteries of this world and a topic that people dating as far back as human creation have
 all attempted to comprehend. It is an accepted part of human society and a given variable in the cycle of life, yet
 when it becomes a part of your own life it transcends that notion; it becomes a guiding force leading you to perspec-

tives and conditions unknown to man. It opens your eyes to worlds beyond this one, and becomes a beacon of hope
for a crumbling society. Thus, my story begins on a quiet evening in September of my freshman year when I re-
ceived the horrible news that my sister had ascended to the next world.
You never really know how much you miss someone until you actually lose them, but in September of 2006 my
younger sister and only sibling passed away at just 15—a shock to my family and all our friends and a messenger
of sorrow for many. For me, it triggered a rampant series of emotions that left me stunned for many days. From
anger to sorrow, worry to fear, I continued to ask questions: Why had God taken from me the one person that kept
me grounded through the years? Why had he taken from me one of my main sources of encouragement and pride?
Why had God taken from me the one person that kept my life balanced? Why had he taken her from me before I
was able to truly say I love you and to show my truest affections for her? I didn’t know what to do. It was at this
point that I began questioning my faith, something that hadn’t happened in 19 years. I thought I was a Bahá’í but
what truly did that mean? To most it means living a righteous life and following the tenets of the Bahá’í Faith, but
the discoveries I made in my search were similar yet profound.
Before I delve into the complexities of my findings, a brief history of the Bahá’í Faith is imperative to give a back-
drop to the spiritual treasures which I found. The Bahá’í Faith is an independent world religion whose purpose is
to unite humanity into one universal cause and one common faith. It was established in 1844 with the declaration
of The Báb, whose name in Arabic means “The Gate.” Like John the Baptist, his principal purpose was to set the
way and “open the gates” for the coming soon after of a great being, known as Bahá’u’lláh (“The Glory of God”). Ba-
há’ís regard Bahá’u’lláh as the Promised One of all ages and follow his teachings. These teachings are provided in
the rich vastness of writings spanning some 30 years of ministry, which ended with his passing in 1892. The tradi-
tions and teachings of almost every people, including those of the different world religions, tell of a time when the
bonds of love and unity will permeate through the streets and when humanity will live in peace and prosperity.
Bahá’ís believe that that time is now and that Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings equip humanity with the tools necessary to
establish the Kingdom of God on Earth. Bahá’u’lláh once said:
That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest in-                 Basic Principles of the
strument for the healing of all the world is the union of all its peoples in one uni-            Bahá’í Faith
versal Cause, one common Faith.
That said, Bahá’u’lláh has revealed, among many other things, a wealth of               •   There is only ONE God
knowledge on suffering and the afterlife, and it is these teachings I turn to now
and, in fact, turned to during that period of immense turmoil. Bahá’u’lláh              •  The essential unity and
teaches us that there are worlds of God beyond this material one and that our           agreement of all the great
purpose here is to prepare ourselves to enter those realms beyond. He states,           world religions
“Know thou of a truth that the soul, after its separation from the body, will con-      •  Independent investiga-
tinue to progress until it attaineth the presence of God.” This proclaims that          tion of truth
there is an existence after this life, but what of our time on this earth? Why
should one prepare oneself to enter the Kingdom? The Bahá’í writings assert:            •   The unity of mankind
In the beginning of his human life man was embryonic in the world of the ma-            •  Religion should be the
trix. There he received capacity and endowment for the reality of human exis-           cause of love and affection
tence…In this world he needed eyes; he received them potentially in the other. He
                                                                                        •   The essential harmony
needed ears; he obtained them there in readiness and preparation for his new
                                                                                        of science and religion
existence. The powers requisite in this world were conferred upon him in the
world of the matrix.                                                                    •  The abolition of ALL
The passage goes on to say that in this material world one must acquire the             forms of prejudice
spiritual qualities necessary to exist in the life beyond: “that which he needs in      • Equality of men and
the world of the Kingdom must be obtained here.”                                        women
It is then through suffering that we are allowed to progress and given the op-          •  Universal compulsory
portunity to prepare our souls. The writings say, “Man’s physical existence on          education
this earth is a period during which the moral exercise of his free will is tried
and tested in order to prepare his soul for the other worlds of God, and we must        •   The need for a univer-
welcome affliction and tribulations and opportunities for improvement in our            sal language

The central theme of
Baha’u’llah's message          eternal selves.” It was this concept which changed my life forever, making my greatest
is that humanity is a          sorrow into my strength and my pain into the utmost joy. I realized at this moment
 single race and that          that God hadn’t taken my sister because he wanted to cause me pain, but rather to
the day has come for           pull me back onto the straight path, for this event came at a particular point in my life
its unification into a         when my purpose on this earth was truly clouded by the pleasures of this world. God
    global society:            was thus testing my soul and has led me to a place of absolute love of my Lord.
                               So you see, my sister has surely saved my life and will continue to serve as a raft in
“THE EARTH IS BUT ONE          times of desperation when I find myself sinking and drowning in the vanities of this
COUNTRY AND MANKIND            earthly plane! But what of the rest of the world? In this post 9-11 society, we see noth-
     ITS CITIZENS.”            ing but calamities on every side and at all levels. Just the other day, a woman was
                               found murdered on the side of the road on I-540 in Raleigh, and an upsurge of violence
 in other parts of the globe threatens the very fabric of this social order (not to mention the other social ills rampant
 in society today). Yet, with an inward eye I see the world in a new light, one of hope and optimism. The Bahá’í writ-
 ings continuously express a need for humanity to accept its spiritual capacity and wholly detach itself from all that
 is material and temporal and put one’s trust completely in God’s hands, but with a world driven by man’s ego and a
 desire to acquire material wealth, it is hard to imagine such a state. Thus humanity is tested time and time again
 until the message is realized:
          The mind and the spirit of man advance when he is tried by suffering. The more the ground is plowed the
          better the seed will grow, the better the harvest will be. Just as the plow furrows the earth deeply, purifying it
          of weeds and thistles, so suffering and tribulation free man from the petty affairs of this worldly life until he
          arrives at a state of complete detachment….to attain eternal happiness one must suffer.
  In yet another passage, the writings speak specifically to the current condition of society and the tribulations that
  plague the world at present:
          In the spiritual development of man a stage of purgation is indispensable, for it is while passing
          through it that the over-rated material needs are made to appear in their proper light…The present
          calamities are parts of this process of purgation, through them alone will man learn his lesson. They
          are to teach the nations, that they have to view things internationally, they are to make the individual
          attribute more importance to his moral, than his material welfare.
  These thoughts are in no way condoning the events occurring worldwide, rather they shed new light on the situa-
  tion and to suggest that humanity is not digressing but advancing, a perspective of hope not permeating society at
  present. So while heartbreaking, these calamities that plague society are a necessary and inevitable stage in hu-
  manity’s growth, such that we will all be inclined to sever ourselves from this earthly plane and recognize our true
  purpose here on earth: “to attain that share of the flood of grace which God poureth forth for him.”
  The message of Bahá’u’lláh, thus, is here to help. For me it represents hope
  that helped me get through the hardest times of my life, and, even on a lar-
  ger scale, its teachings present a message of healing for the ailments of the
  world, a true testament to what all the great world traditions ought to sym-
  bolize. However, to rely solely on my words and my experience would be a
  mistake, for I am only a human like everyone else, searching for my place
  in God’s glorious abode. So while I hope my words dispel some misconcep-
  tions about the Faith and offer you a deeper insight as to what the Bahá’í
  Faith represents, it is ultimately up to each individual person to investi-
  gate the Bahá’í Faith, contemplate and challenge the message of Ba-
  há’u’lláh and make those necessary connections between the Bahá’í Faith
  and the different world faith traditions, including Christianity for himself.

                                          Shawheen is a sophomore majoring in International Comparative Studies
                                          and serves as the vice president of the Interfaith Dialogs Project. He is also
                                          currently the Chair of the Duke Baha’i Club and an active member of the
                                          Baha’i Faith. In his spare time, he enjoys talking with friends and family
                                          as well as reading the Baha’i Holy Text.
  Suggestions for further reading
   Faithful Economics: The Moral Worlds of a Neutral Science
   by James W. Henderson and John L. Pisciotta

   Awakened to a Calling
   by Ann Svennungsen and Melissa Wiginton

   Quantum Physics and Theology: An Unexpected Kinship
   by John Polkinghorne

   Torture and Eucharist: Theology, Politics, and the Body of Christ
   by William T. Cavanaugh

   Recommended Magazines and Journals:
   Faith and Economics; Journal of Markets and Morality; Journal of
   Psychology and Christianity

                    Quotes to Consider
                           "Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion
                           can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes.”
                                                                                 John Paul II
                           "Business is a noble Christian vocation, a work of social justice,
                           and the single greatest institutional hope of the poor of the
                           world, if the poor are to move up out of poverty.”
                                                                             Michael Novak
                                                                   Economist and Theologian

                           “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
                                                                               Colossians 1:17

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