It is a matter of convention, that politics and religion are the two subjects to avoid in polite company. Humbug! I’m going to arm you with the appropriate reasons to persuade, awaken, or at the very least, humble, that contrary friend or relative when the conversation turns to the order of things this Christmas. However, if your holidays are so convivial as to keep you in like-minded company, I shall provide you reading that is both contemplative and efficacious.
On the incoherence of scientism, you can begin with Feser’s two articles at Public Discourse, Blinded by Scientism, and Recovering Sight after Scientism, as well as his Scientia ad Absurdum in First Things. For more detailed critiques of scientism, Rosenberg’s The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, the pick of which respond to (i) Rosenberg’s defense of scientism and critique of teleology, (ii) his claim that Darwinism is incompatible with theism; and (iii) the problem that scientism presents to morality via nihilism. (You can, of course, view a summary of the entire series on Rosenberg here, as well as his series of articles on scientism and related subjects here.)
For an account of the differences between philosophical and scientific approaches to the understanding of reality, read Feser’s Natural theology, natural science, and the philosophy of nature.
For a discussion of the problem of liberalism, try Feser’s The Two Faces of Tolerance, Libertarian Neutrality so-called, and his autobiographical account, The road from libertarianism. His autobiographical account, The road from atheism, is also well worth reading.
If the conversation turns to what marriage is, try Wolfe’s Defining Marriage, or if marriage is to be to be a social construct, then Anderson, George, and Girgis’s Marriage: Merely a Social Construct? and Does Marriage, or Anything, Have Essential Properties? If you are pressed with the claim that opposing same-sex marriage is just like opposing interracial marriage, read Beckwith’s Interracial Marriage and Same-Sex Marriage. If they happen to be of a libertarian persuasion who thinks that privatizing marriage is the answer, hit them with Jennifer Roback Morse’s series, Privatizing Marriage Is Impossible, Privatizing Marriage Will Expand the Role of the State, Privatizing Marriage Is Unjust to Children, as well as Nimocks’s One Man, One Woman, and the Common Good: Marriage’s Public Purpose. On the connection between marriage and children, read Bradley, Lee, and George’s Marriage and Procreation: (I)The Intrinsic Connection and (II) Avoiding Bad Arguments. regarding the myth that same-sex ‘marriage’ is banned, read MacLeod’s Marriage, Religious Liberty, and the Ban Myth. Finally, you can raise the reductio ad absurdum of marriage redefinition, polyamory and minimal marriage, in Yenor’s Toward plural marriage.
Ok, let us change pace a little and recognize the time of year. In an age that wants to erase the point of Christmas, we should Put back the Cross into Christmas, so that we never forget what is to come, The meaning of the Passion.
Finally, the indispensable and inimitable Anthony Esolen, and unsurprisingly it is a wonderful essay, God is Not the Author of Confusion.
Have a very Happy Christmas!
Picture: Adoration of the Shepherds (1609) by Caravaggio.