The Theology Pugcast 2021

Tolkien’s “On Fairy Stories:” Escape

October 25, 2021

In this episode the Pugsters return to Tolkien’s essay “On Fairy Stories,” focusing particularly on the legitimacy of escape as a function of fantasy literature. Tolkien pointed out that “escape” is a positive term in all contexts except literary criticism, which points to a problem with the critics’ use of the word. The guys also get into discussions of the metaphysics of fantasy building off of Tolkien’s comments in the essay.

The Slavery Show

October 18, 2021

Evidence indicates that slavery was a universal institution. It was practiced on every inhabited continent. It isn’t a particularly western institution at all. What has been peculiar to the West is the effort to abolish it. That effort has been largely successful when it comes to legislation—nevertheless slavery is still with us. Why is that? What are the conditions in which slavery spontaneously emerges, and how can a culture address those? And what is it about Christianity that got the effort to abolish slavery underway? Tune in to learn what the Pugcast guys think.

Technology, Wisdom, and Virtue

October 11, 2021

Tom returns to the big topic of technology and addresses the rapid changes to our conceptions and interactions with its impingement upon reality. Glenn and Chris jump into the topic with Tom by supplying various insights into how the riches of Christian wisdom and virtue provide a path through the thickets of changes which allows us to use and relate wisely to the increasing impingement of technology in all aspects of our lives.


October 4, 2021

This week, the guys discuss pilgrimage. Glenn summarizes the early history of pilgrimage, noting both the practice and the arguments against it even in the early church. From there, the guys discuss more of the history of pilgrimage and talk about whether there are “thin places” made somehow holy by long centuries of prayer, or alternatively, made evil by great evil done in them in the past.

The Soul of Man Under Socialism

September 27, 2021

Today Chris introduces the guys to Christopher Lasch and a chapter in his book, The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy. The chapter is, The Soul of Man Under Secularism. In the chapter Lasch riffs on Oscar Wilde’s, The Soul of Man Under Socialism. Wilde believed that Socialism would free people from the responsibilities of property and manual labor so that they could pursue the development of “personality”. If that sounds self-indulgent and unrealistic, that’s because it is. But that is remarkably similar to the way so many young people and tech gurus think in our time. The pugsters use Lasch and Wilde as a basis for reflection on the loony character of our time. Tune in and join the conversation!

Magic, Enchantment, and Worldview

September 20, 2021

In today’s show Tom introduces themes from Paul Tyson’s book - 7 Brief Lessons in Magic. In the book, Paul defines classical ways of seeing reality beyond the reductive naturalism of our modern way of thinking. Unpacking these classical ways, Paul engages magic and enchantment, and the ways in which they related to meaning, value, and other realities which modern reductionism cannot make intelligible within the narrow confines of its worldview. Glenn and Chris join in with various aspects of the classical vision and the distinct Christian worldview.

The Philosophy of the Vampire

September 13, 2021

With Halloween merch already showing up in stores, it’s a good time to do a Pug take on vampires, so this week, the Pugsters riff off an article by John Schuler looking at the implicit philosophical ideas in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. They start off with a discussion of the difference between modernity and the “old centuries” before moving on to scientism, the nature of evil, natural and artificial symbols (in Schuler’s terms), meaning, natural law and the supernatural, and a bunch of other rabbit trails suggested by the article. Article Referenced: https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2013/09/philosophy-vampire-john-s-schuler.html Learn more about Davenant Hall’s online courses: https://davenantinstitute.org/davenant-hall?fbclid=IwAR3E8RUBFWQmsPMn1XTKdnX5JEvuH1klPJIoZQZA7Gk0IRB-o9x9KUY7nTs

Welcome to the Metaverse!

September 6, 2021

Today Chris introduces the "Metaverse"--what's that? you may ask. According to Wikipedia it is: "...the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the Internet." Or as Robin Phillips in a recent blog post at Salvo put it, "Imagine that the relationship between the real world and the internet becomes so porous that it is impossible to tell which is which." Regardless of whether or not the masters of the universe in Silicon Valley can pull it off, the very idea that something that further blurs the distinction between Reality and virtual reality would be a good thing says a lot about the people who make the technology that we rely on everyday. It also says something about our society as well, and the philosophical undercurrents that are moving beneath it. As you can imagine the guys have a lot to say about it--and their big concern is idolatry. Article referenced: https://salvomag.com/post/from-augmented-reality-to-metaverse?fbclid=IwAR1n9I6QEr3m5Wzaudn46BI5uVCiDhmKS8IZ5pp-zQ_XB9XRGQaw3m2kI4w Learn more about Davenant Hall’s online courses: https://davenantinstitute.org/davenant-hall?fbclid=IwAR3E8RUBFWQmsPMn1XTKdnX5JEvuH1klPJIoZQZA7Gk0IRB-o9x9KUY7nTs

Sophistry Past and Present

August 30, 2021

Tom introduces a classic debate between Truth, reality, and language and the removal of language from truth and reality (sophistry). He engages the ancient debate and sees similarities between it and today's deconstructive tendencies and political use of language to manipulate people. Chris and Glenn bring into the conversation many insights which help illuminate the sinister aspects of sophistry and their ever present danger in undermining the relation of truth and language. Learn more about Davenant Hall’s online courses: https://davenantinstitute.org/davenant-hall?fbclid=IwAR2c1Dp-z6ruf9tcFcE5Gn8AR9QuCPn86GvB7THWD7yOfsKaQ5YEzsYQSx8

The Rise and Fall of Heroes

August 23, 2021

This week, the guys look at the idea of heroes. Back in Homer’s day, “hero” was almost synonymous with the heavily armed and armored warriors that were the subjects of the Iliad, and not just the big names like Odysseus, Achilles, or Ajax. They exemplified the warrior virtues: prowess, toughness, courage, loyalty, and honor, understood as recognition and deference by others. The Middle Ages saw a major change in this largely under the influence of Christianity: humility, generosity, protection of the weak, and the like became part of chivalry, the warrior code. Today, in films ranging from The Lord of the Rings to Game of Thrones and The Green Knight, these virtues are ignored, inverted, or deliberately downplayed or distorted as unrealistic and untrustworthy. The guys reflect on what this means about our culture and the loss of nobility of character even as an ideal in our cultural imagination. Learn more about Davenant Hall’s online courses: https://davenantinstitute.org/davenant-hall?fbclid=IwAR2c1Dp-z6ruf9tcFcE5Gn8AR9QuCPn86GvB7THWD7yOfsKaQ5YEzsYQSx8

Darwinian Conservatism?

August 16, 2021

In today's show Chris presents an article that was published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), entitled, Darwinian Conservatism Versus Metaphysical Conservatism. The article is something of a departure for ISI, but it addresses a significant debate within conservative circles--can Darwin's evolutionary theories be used to support conservative social ethics, and conservative politics. The author, Larry Arnhart, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Northern Illinois University says yes--the Pugsters--as you probably can imagine--say, No! Chris, Tom, and Glenn are strong advocates of Metaphysical Conservatism, and they endeavor to defend it during the course of the show. Find the article here: https://isi.org/intercollegiate-review/darwinian-conservatism-versus-metaphysical-conservatism/?utm_source=Intercollegiate%20Studies%20Institute%20Subscribers&utm_campaign=af99c54e01-Intercollegiate-Review-8-5-2021&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3ab42370fb-af99c54e01-93106761&goal=0_3ab42370fb-af99c54e01-93106761&fbclid=IwAR2pm1GhBc64zVkJndR_Pf0Jft0nl6Jho9Tg0ydcRReEXlfuGCOOD0P2ymY

Meaning in History: Part Three

August 9, 2021

How emancipatory views of history draw upon yet distort Christian views of teleology in history. The guys discuss Hegel, Marx, Wokeness, liberation theology and more.

The Rise of Biblical Criticism

August 2, 2021

The guys are back in the seventeenth century again, looking at the beginnings of challenges to biblical authority. Progressive thinkers of the day starting with the Jewish philosopher Spinoza attacked Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch as a way of undermining orthodox Christianity: since Jesus referred to Moses as the human author of the Law, if Moses didn’t write it, then either Jesus lied or he didn’t know. Either answer would challenge the idea that he was God incarnate. After discussing Spinoza, the guys turned to a debate on Mosaic authorship between French Catholic scholar Richard Simon and Remonstrant scholar Jean LeClerc. This debate, largely forgotten today, triggered a sharp movement away from historic Christian theology into liberal Christianity by thinkers such as John Locke.

Is Politics Everything?

July 26, 2021

You may have heard feminists say, “The personal is political”—but are they right? Is the relationship between a mother and her child really a political relationship—or is it something else? In today’s show the guys discuss what else relationships like this could be. The term that they use is “pre-political”. Along the way the guys discuss the Kuyperian doctrine of “sphere sovereignty” as well as the Roman Catholic social doctrine of “subsidiarity” among other things. Enjoy!

Meaning in History: Part Two

July 19, 2021

In this episode Tom returns to the topic of Meaning in History (a three show aim) by looking at ways Modernity rejected classical Christian understanding of history and meaning and developed alternatives which borrowed from Christianity while introducing radical alternative notions which still impact us today, often unwittingly. This show has the guys discussing Vico and Herder, along with many other important themes.