The Forgotten Post-Liberals
Essays Politics Religion

The Forgotten Post-Liberals

John Ehrett

Theonomists and Integralists on the Problem of Conscience

Among American conservative intellectuals, few political projects have drawn more attention than the recent Catholic revival of “integralism.” Drawing on the political theory of medieval Christendom, this latter-day project boldly asserts that, ultimately, all political power ought to be rendered subject to the spiritual authority of the Catholic Church.[1] For integralists, such a model is no relic of history, rather it flows consistently from both sacred tradition and Roman magisterium. So much so, in fact, that even the Second Vatican Council, though widely perceived as Rome’s reconciliation with modernity, did not—could not—abrogate the Church’s perennial political teaching, instead the Council merely rephrased it.[2]

This integralism has emerged at a time of political reorientation. In the mid-2010s, the surge of populist movements around the globe testified powerfully to the perceived failures of neoliberal ideology. Since world history might not, it seems, necessarily culminate in a global consumer society, new—or old—directions for political philosophy have once again become available.

At the same time, traditional Christians in the West have been forced to confront an ever-more-aggressive cultural progressivism. Barely seven years after the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage a constitutional right, the American public now debates surgical interventions for children claiming gender dysphoria. In Europe, moreover, Christians today risk prosecution for “hate speech” by quoting biblical teachings on sexual morality.[3] And so on it goes. It seems that “liberalism”—broadly understood as the Enlightenment project of employing universal standards of secular reason to promote individual autonomy and choice—has borne bitter fruit for people of traditional faith.

History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme: American Christians have been here before. Amidst the unrest of the 1960s, when Western civilization’s mores were increasingly called into question, another controversial paradigm began to develop . . . this time within the Reformed tradition in America. In the words of one of its chief intellectual architects, this new project was committed at its core to “the abiding validity of the [Mosaic] law in exhaustive detail.”[4] That would include, of course, all the various Levitical penalties culminating in death by stoning.

  • To most people’s ears, this argument is just as jarring as the claim that the US federal government must be subordinated to the Roman pontiff, being just another arch-reactionary revolt against the march of history. But the theonomists—named after their emphasis on the nomos, or law, of God—were quite in earnest: they generated a vast body of intellectual work that plotted out intricate applications of the Mosaic law to modern circumstances. Nor were they politically quietist: they lined up to support Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns and helped shore up the theoretical underpinnings of the “Religious Right,” an association that led over the years to endless indignant think-pieces in the legacy media.[5] For better or worse, today’s religious conservatives inhabit a world bearing the stamp of the theonomists’ influence.

Today, however, the theonomists lie mostly forgotten, barely warranting a footnote in many treatments of American religion. Their institutional home bases, though still existing, are mere shadows of what they once were. Theonomists are not invited to weigh in on contemporary debates, and most conservative subcultures have never even heard of them.

Nonetheless, might the unknown patriarchs of Vallecito, California and Tyler, Texas have some relevance after all these years to today’s heated debates? After all, both of these theo-political projects—theonomy and integralism—emerged against eerily similar historical backdrops, as well as in response to apparent breakdowns of the dominant liberal order. For the relationship between them cannot be collapsed into either a common concept of “theocracy” or a simplistic Catholic-Reformed antagonism: on the substance, the two movements are diametrically opposed in some ways, but uncannily alike in others.

Most significant here is the virtual disappearance of theonomy from American Christian intellectual life. The movement left its mark on history in some ways, but little new theonomic work is being done today. Thus, while the historical process certainly cannot establish the truth or falsity of a given position, as a live vision capable of orienting real-world political action, theonomy’s future looks grim. So then what can observers today learn from this cloudy chapter of American religious history? The case study of theonomy perhaps suggests something “more whimper than bang” about integralism’s future trajectory, and any limits inherent within available anti-liberal responses to liberalism’s apparent decay.

Theonomy’s undisputed father is the late Rousas John Rushdoony, a Presbyterian immigrant from Armenia who subsequently settled in California.[6] During one long train ride, Rushdoony stumbled across a book by Cornelius Van Til, the father of “presuppositional apologetics.”[7] This intellectual encounter changed the course of Rushdoony’s life.

Core to Van Til’s apologetics concerns the radical difference between a “Reformed” method of accessing knowledge of reality versus all other rival epistemologies.[8] For Van Til, man’s intellectual faculties were so devastated by the Fall in the Garden of Eden that they have constantly suppressed the truth of his always-already-at-hand covenantal relationship with God ever since.[9] Accordingly, no appeals to neutral reason, such as natural theology’s cosmological or teleological arguments, can ever hope to disclose God to the nonbeliever. Instead, the nonbeliever is required to be awakened to the fact that he always exists in relationship to the God attested to by Christian Scriptures.

Only the Christian God, Van Til argues, can explain the rational integrity of the world as human beings experience it. Thus, non-Christian philosophies must inevitably shipwreck on assumptions of “universal natural laws” that they can neither ground nor prove.[10] By contrast, as the sole means of reliable access to the truth about reality, Scripture has universal jurisdiction over all imaginable dimensions of life. As Van Til put it, “God’s revelation is always authoritarian.”[11]

Rushdoony and his followers swiftly intuited that Van Til’s theology inevitably carries with it political implications. Only one absolutely faithful guide to truth exists, and unredeemed human beings will always flee from it. If so, all efforts to construct legal or governmental systems apart from that faithful guide are essentially political malpractice, efforts to enshrine standards other than those revealed by God. In the words of Greg Bahnsen, Rushdoony’s most talented acolyte and Van Til’s student:

Where do civil magistrates find the political dictates of God? Surely not in varying subjective opinions, personal urges, the human wisdom of some elite group, the majority vote, or even a natural revelation that is suppressed and distorted in unrighteousness. It stands to reason that God’s objective and unchanging standards for civil government are found in the infallible, inscripturated Word of God, in those passages where it speaks about political ethics. And only someone ignorant of the literary content of the Scriptures could fail to recognize that the Bible says a great deal about public policy, especially in the law of Moses—much of it direct and detailed, which is precisely why it offends many people today. If the moral stipulations of the Mosaic revelation are axiomatically good and universal in character and are upheld by Christ in their moral validity even in the least commandment, unless God reveals otherwise, then all civil magistrates today must be guided and regulated by those laws.[12]

How are these “moral stipulations” of Mosaic law applicable to modern conditions? That question led Rushdoony to produce the Institutes of Biblical Law, three dense tomes that expound the principles of divine justice found in the Decalogue and other Sinaitic mandates, but which carry their logic forward to new circumstances. For example, when the Tenth Commandment states, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (Ex. 20:7), it is tied to the social function of taking vows, in which “[m]an aligns himself under God and in conformity to His righteousness to abide by his word even as God abides by His word.”[13] Therefore, because an individual who abuses his vows has “denied the entire structure of Israelite society and law,” which is “the very principle of order,” he has merited death.[14] For Rushdoony, there’s no reason this logic is any less valid in 2023 AD than when first given in 1,500 BC.

Despite this view’s severity, Rushdoony was no totalitarian. Instead, as a staunch postmillennialist—that is, one committed to the doctrine that Christ’s kingdom will come only after a thousand years of peace—he was thereby committed to an optimistic view of history. So, Rushdoony conceived “the millennial Kingdom as a world empire built from interconnected, self-governing family units, all bound together by their mutual adherence to biblical law and recognition of the ultimate sovereignty of Jesus Christ.”[15] Theonomy’s advance, in other words, entails the secular state inevitably withering away in its present form. Theonomist (and Rushdoony’s son-in-law) Gary North even compared the modern state, with its tendency towards corrupting centralization, to the Tower of Babel—something which God, rather than man, had halted.[16]

Still, there are many alternatives to centralization. In sharp contrast to Rushdoony’s stress on the family as the core political unit, North and other proponents of what they called “Tyler Theology” placed the accent on the local church.[17] This departure from Rushdoony’s original model, coupled with a battle over which faction could claim to represent the “authentic” branch of Theonomy, led to a rupture between the two men that lasted until Rushdoony’s death.[18] Its consequences were stark: a movement which claimed the modern babel would dwindle away itself now almost as scarce as the last two Shakers. Another, albeit post-millennial, Great Disappointment. Papists take note!

Some enormous differences remain between yesterday’s theonomy and today’s integralism. Obviously, one project is Reformed and the other is Catholic. Van Til and his successors have always been keen to starkly define their apologetic method over against a “Catholic” approach and its relatively sanguine view of human reason. And Catholic arguments against the Protestant principle of sola scriptura are familiar enough. Moreover, the Reformed tradition, being more particularist in character, has often been friendlier to nationalist projects, whereas the Catholic tradition, with the Bishop of Rome as head of the universal church, has been likewise toward imperial endeavors.

Thus, consistent with their affinity for medieval political thought, most Catholic integralists do not share Rushdoony and North’s compunctions about large-scale territorial governments. Indeed, today’s leading integralists are comfortable with a large federal administrative state that can “provide the goods of peace, justice, and abundance—including their updated cognates, health, safety, security, and a right relationship to the natural environment—under the conditions of a large and complex modern polity and economy.”[19] Where Bahnsen denounced those who would “promote ethically commendable goals”—be it to encourage “sobriety” with “alcoholic beverages,” restrict “smoking,” or intervene to “curtail the geopolitical spread of Communism” through “calling upon the state to exercise its power of compulsion where no biblical warrant for it can be cogently adduced”[20]—integralists tend to favor a “broad scope for public authorities to secure the goods identified by the ragion di stato.”[21]

Yet, some obvious connections bridge what confession and polity separate. Both movements reject there can be any “neutral” ground, political or cultural, over which Christ does not claim authority. Both responses—having initially emerged against a backdrop of escalating political unrest and attacks on traditional morality—attempt to forestall this perceived decline by asserting intellectually rigorous accounts of political order from within the Christian tradition. And fascinatingly, both self-consciously reclaim a tradition of law as such over and against those who claim the “old ways” have been abrogated. Against the claim that the New Testament dissolves the moral proscriptions of the Old, Theonomy stresses the enduring character of God’s commands. Against those who argue that Vatican II marks a sea change in the Catholic Church’s relationship to modernity, integralists stress the “perennial teaching” of ecclesial superiority over temporal sovereigns.

Perhaps deeper still is a more primordial unity underlying these two paradigms: their profoundly dark view of ordinary people’s noetic capabilities. It is one thing to claim—as Hans-George Gadamer, Alasdair MacIntyre, and others have—that one always interprets the world from within one’s own tradition. But it is quite another to contend that only one tradition is capable of cohesively articulating such an interpretation. And where such radicalism is pressed to its utmost, natural law and natural theology tend to drop out of the picture, with fragmentation and dissolution only a few steps behind.

Van Til and theonomists held skepticism of natural theology as positively axiomatic. By “follow[ing] Aristotle in speaking first of being in general and in introducing the distinction between divine being and created being afterwards,” as Van Til posited, the Catholic tradition had allegedly fatally wounded both systematic theology and apologetics.[22] Hence, he vigorously rejected the traditional Christian metaphysics of the analogy of being, arguing that on such a view “[t]he doctrine of creation becomes a cross between the Christian doctrine of creation out of nothing and the pagan doctrine of the chain of being.”[23]

Building on that foundation, Van Til argued that because Catholic appeals to natural law sought “to by-pass the will of God in order to appeal to his nature,” it effectually “amounts to an appeal to the fitness of things in general,” for “such a notion” is “in accord with the idea of being and knowledge in general.”[24] Such an idea, for Van Til, was the error of “one who does not make the creator-creature distinction basic in his thought.”[25]

Indeed, Van Til’s concept of God is so other—so “dualistic” in his words—that it is difficult to know how to characterize the ontological status of this God.[26] In what sense can God even be said to exist if the question of “being in general” cannot be posed at all? If there is no possibility of genuinely analogical language between God and creation, theological speech risks becoming altogether equivocal.

This concern appears to have hardly troubled the theonomists more interested in carrying Van Til’s arguments in a sociopolitical direction. On the basis of this critique, Bahnsen later leveled broadsides against policymaking through “autonomous philosophical speculation or human social traditions, both of which are afflicted by our fallen condition and can therefore offer no reliable ethical guidance.”[27] There is an undeniable force to that argument: since human beings are sinful and fallen, prone to deceive themselves about what God’s commandments require, appeals to natural law tend to be opaque. So why not build on the firm ground of the Mosaic covenant?

A similar dynamic has played out in the recent revival of Catholic integralism—which, given the frequency with which “natural law” is invoked in such conversations, is almost paradoxical. Despite the long history of Catholic reflections on the subject, “natural law” occupies a curiously diminished space in many integralist polemics.

For those like Adrian Vermeule, natural law seems to be mostly a metonym for what legal theorist Lon Fuller described as the “internal morality of law,” expressing such principles as laws shouldn’t be retroactive and laws should give fair notice.[28] This is a decidedly “immanent” conception of natural law, oriented principally toward the internal logic of power and having little to do with substantive anthropological or classificatory principles—such as Aristotle’s definition of a human being as a rational animal,[29] or the Catholic Church’s own definition of marriage.[30]

Some integralist or integralist-sympathetic writers take an even harder line. This is particularly so when expounding on a notorious “test case” for integralists, the Mortara Case. It involved a Jewish child named Eduardo Mortara, who had been secretly (if naively) baptized by his fearful Catholic nurse, and later seized and rehomed by papal soldiers. As Romanus Cessario writes,

No one who considers the Mortara affair can fail to be moved by its natural dimensions. . . But the honor we give to mother and father will be imperfect if we do not render a higher honor to God above. Christ’s authority perfects all natural institutions—the family as well as the state. This is why he said that he came bearing a sword that would sunder father and son.[31]

To be sure, no integralist would oppose appeals to natural law per se. But such appeals introduce an epistemic wildcard: the emphasis that eternal truths are intellectually accessible outside the Church highlights the existence of a standard against which the claims and actions of Church authorities might be measured. It thereby gives rise to the risk of what gets mislabelled “private judgment” that, for integralists, is so closely bound up with an enervating liberalism.

Of course, one might construe the integralist—or even the theonomist—project simply as the articulation of a theological grounding for political claims. That is theoretically unproblematic—though, in a Rawlsian age that would rule all religious appeals out of hand, it is contentious enough in its own right. Rather, the precise question at issue here is whether the veracity of a single tradition abolishes the possibility of mediation across traditions. Or, put differently, it is the question of whether appeals to brute divine authority, in the end, must not only outweigh, but effectively render mute, the possibility of independent judgment informed by conscience, both one’s own and of one’s community and tradition.

Perhaps so. D.C. Schindler—who departs from Vermeule and other integralists in many ways, but generally shares a similar orientation—presses this argument to its logical terminus. He challenges the American Founding’s appeal to “Nature’s God,” arguing that such language de Deo Uno is unintelligible if untethered from “the actual tradition” of the Catholic Church as embedded within Western civilization.[32] Any theological effort that would “appeal, for example, to the God that anyone can perceive with his own eyes and mind by just looking at the natural world,” Schindler argues, “is to step outside of the actual Western tradition and to posit a different tradition as one’s starting point.”[33] Indeed, Schindler even intimates that natural theology outside the Western Christian tradition is impossible, remarking that “[i]t is interesting to note that the Chinese traditions . . . have not produced a similar ‘natural theology of God.’”[34] Though Matteo Ricci, S.J., the pioneer of Confucian-Catholic dialogue, might have a few questions![35]

At the core of both theonomy and “maximalist” Catholic integralism, then, is a fundamental uneasiness with the insights traditionally grouped under the categories of “natural theology” and “natural law.” Appeals to a reality that can be spoken of in the grammars of many different traditions—appeals to an Absolute beyond any particular institution’s claim to preeminence—are destabilizing elements. Hence, they are out of place in systems that claim universal application and promise stability amidst widespread disorder. Though the point is rather Nietzschean, if not Straussian, Schindler is admirably clear about its precision: “[t]he only God that is finally permitted within this horizon [of appeals to Nature’s God] is one that can conform to private judgment.”[36] No doubt the theonomists and Nieztcheans would agree, if not other kindred (albeit secular) spirits.

But is this notion of radical incommensurability—or the ineffectiveness of natural reasoning—really defensible philosophically or theologically? Against those like Schindler who suggest that human beings do not share a common ontological orientation across cultures, scholars such as Edward Slingerland point to “a large body of cross-cultural empirical evidence” which “has demonstrated that human beings categorize the world,” regarding “both perception and language, at a level of granularity that is broadly shared.”[37] Similarly shared between Confucian China and the Christian West are “certain assumptions about the basic ontology of the world.”[38]

This is not just the case with metaphysical realists. Further, as MacIntyre shows, moral discourse, even in “secular” spheres, reflects a “fundamental initial grasp of the primary precepts of the natural law, to which cultural degeneration can partially or temporarily blind us but which can never be obliterated.”[39] Consider a person initially drawn to theonomy or integralism: each, as an alternative to the dissipated condition of modernity, is motivated by some sense of the need for that alternative. Both depend on a basically working moral sense. Someone is capable of detecting disorder in the world, and that, in turn, implies that one possesses some fore-conception of order or natural law.

For the historic Christian tradition, this common epistemic horizon undergirds mens’ inchoate awareness of I AM, the One God—as St. Paul quoted to the Athenians both the philosopher Epimenides and poet Aratus—“in whom we live and move and have our being,” for “we are” all “his offspring.” (Acts 17:28) That God, Christians contend, has created and sustained a world in which “God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20) .

It is, in other words, conscience. This account is “how” St. John Henry Newman “read[s] the doctrine of Protestants as well as of Catholics.” Contrary to most modern notions, the Cardinal pens, conscience “is a messenger from Him, who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules us by His representatives.” For this “aboriginal Vicar of Christ” is “a prophet in its informations, a monarch in its peremptoriness, a priest in its blessings and anathemas, and, even though the eternal priesthood throughout the Church could cease to be, in it the sacerdotal principle would remain and would have a sway.”[40] Conscience, as God’s natural grace, does not stop working . . . ever.

The implication, in turn, is that a political order that speaks de Deo Uno is not, as Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist once put it, “strictly neutral between religion and irreligion.”[41] For how could such neutrality ever be possible? As C.S. Lewis argues, “beyond all worlds, unconditioned and unimaginable, transcending discursive thought, there yawns for ever the ultimate Fact, the fountain of all other facthood, the burning and undimensioned depth of the Divine Life.”[42] There is no fleeing from this Presence. (Ps. 137:7) And hence, within the space of contingent reality that God brings forth ex nihilo, this One God is common even to those who do not conceive of Him as Triune. Or so the Christian tradition has historically argued.

Is that “liberalism”? If “liberalism” means a claim to access truth apart from some conditioning tradition or other, then surely not. There is, after all, no escaping such conditioning. But if “liberalism” means the possibility of peaceful mediation across rival traditions, the question takes on a different cast.

If the theonomist movement had been more willing to acknowledge this “common” revelation—this possibility of mediation—perhaps some of its fissiparous tendencies might have been curbed. Where a genuine working capacity for natural reason, and thus for natural theology, is possible, disagreements about the interpretation of doctrinal claims need not become evidence one was never really “in the tradition” to begin with, and theological language can be deployed in a more properly analogical sense.

Without such a unifying ontological center, counter-modern movements are likely to keep fragmenting over irresolvable hermeneutical disagreements. The theonomists splintered within Rushdoony’s lifetime and among the integralists similar rifts have already begun to emerge. Appeals to authority alone cannot proceed indefinitely. After all, in the face of a baffling diktat, one cannot help but ask the perennial question: “says who?” And sometimes the answer fails to satisfy.

Most Americans, conservative or liberal, have never heard of theonomy or integralism, and likely never will. Today, the theonomists are mostly gone and the integralists very well may be also twenty years from now. But ordinary people, observing an increasingly unstable culture, keep wondering whether this is the best their nation can do. On all sides, the apparent contradictions of modern society are showing. There will be plenty more Rushdoonys and Bahnsens and Vermeules.

But post-liberal projects that traffic in epistemic skepticism, like the late modern excess they oppose, operate on borrowed time. Inevitably, they tip in the direction of deference to authority at a level of blind trust no human authority can merit forever. Systemwide fragmentation is always one bad decision away. And yet, at the same time, appeals to the possibility of a mediating ontological “center” are always the stuff of risk, ideas that introduce the possibility of error and of that much-maligned individual judgment.

Perhaps the real question, in the end, is simply whether one acknowledges that risk. It is a wager no man can think or act without making. Any true “post-liberalism" worthy of the name must bear this knowledge forward into, we pray, a better age.

  1. Pater Edmund Waldstein, “Integralism in Three Sentences,” The Josias, 17 October 2016, online. ↩︎

  2. See Thomas Crean and Alan Fimister, Integralism: A Manual of Political Philosophy (Heusenstamm, Germany: Editiones Scholasticae, 2020), 117, 301. ↩︎

  3. Ken Chitwood, “Finnish Bishop and Politician Face Trial for LGBT Statements,” Christianity Today (Jan. 3, 2022), online. ↩︎

  4. Greg L. Bahnsen, Theonomy in Christian Ethics, 3rd ed. (Nacogdoches, TX: Covenant Media Foundation, 2002), 41. ↩︎

  5. Michael J. McVicar, Christian Reconstruction: R.J. Rushdoony and American Religious Conservatism (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2015), 214–16, 227. ↩︎

  6. McVicar, Christian Reconstruction, inid, 21–22. ↩︎

  7. McVicar, Christian Reconstruction, ibid, 34. ↩︎

  8. Cornelius Van Til, Christian Apologetics (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2003), 65. ↩︎

  9. Van Til, Christian Apologetics, ibid, 15, 42. ↩︎

  10. Van Til, Christian Apologetics, ibid, 11. ↩︎

  11. Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2008), 130. ↩︎

  12. Greg L. Bahnsen, “The Theonomic Reformed Approach to Law and Gospel,” in Five Views on Law and Gospel, ed. Wayne G. Strickland (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 124–25. ↩︎

  13. Rousas John Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law, Vol. 1 (Vallecito, CA: Chalcedon Foundation, 1973), 108. ↩︎

  14. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law, ibid, 112. ↩︎

  15. McVicar, Christian Reconstruction, ibid, 138. ↩︎

  16. McVicar, Christian Reconstruction, ibid, 185. ↩︎

  17. McVicar, Christian Reconstruction, ibid, 184. ↩︎

  18. McVicar, Christian Reconstruction, ibid, 193–94. ↩︎

  19. Adrian Vermeule, Common Good Constitutionalism (Medford, MA: Polity Press, 2022), 134. ↩︎

  20. Bahnsen, “The Theonomic Reformed Approach to Law and Gospel,” ibid, 127. ↩︎

  21. Vermeule, Common Good Constitutionalism, ibid, 134. ↩︎

  22. Van Til, Christian Apologetics, ibid, 9. ↩︎

  23. Van Til, Christian Apologetics, ibid, 13. ↩︎

  24. Van Til, Christian Apologetics, ibid, 13. ↩︎

  25. Van Til, Christian Apologetics, ibid, 13. ↩︎

  26. Van Til, Christian Apologetics, ibid, 9. ↩︎

  27. Bahnsen, “The Theonomic Reformed Approach to Law and Gospel,” ibid, 139. ↩︎

  28. See Lon L. Fuller, The Morality of Law 39, 42 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1964). ↩︎

  29. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 1098a3–5. ↩︎

  30. “...a lifelong partnership of the whole of life, of mutual and exclusive fidelity, established by mutual consent between one man and one woman, and ordered towards the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring.”
    Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd edition (Washington, DC: Libreria Editrice Vaticana– USCCB, 2000), no. 1601. ↩︎

  31. Romanus Cessario, O.P. “Non Possumus,” First Things (Feb. 2018), online. ↩︎

  32. D.C. Schindler, The Politics of the Real: The Church Between Liberalism and Integralism (Steubenville, OH: New Polity Press, 2021), 59. ↩︎

  33. Schindler, The Politics of the Real, ibid, 59. ↩︎

  34. Schindler, The Politics of the Real, ibid, 59. ↩︎

  35. See, for example, Yu Liu, “Adapting Catholicism to Confucianism: Matteo Ricci’s Tianzhu Shiyi,” The European Legacy, 19.1 (2014): 47–48, 50. ↩︎

  36. Schindler, The Politics of the Real, ibid, 63. ↩︎

  37. Edward Slingerland, Mind and Body in Early China: Beyond Orientalism and the Myth of Holism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 309. ↩︎

  38. Slingerland, Mind and Body in Early China, ibid, 310. ↩︎

  39. Alasdair MacIntyre, Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry: Encyclopaedia, Genealogy, and Tradition (South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1990), 194. ↩︎

  40. St. John Henry Newman, Letter to the Duke of Norfolk (1875), Ch. 5, online. ↩︎

  41. Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 113 (1985) (Rehnquist, J., dissenting). ↩︎

  42. C.S. Lewis, Miracles: A Preliminary Study (New York: HarperOne, 2015), 155. ↩︎

John Ehrett, a graduate of Yale Law School and Patrick Henry College, is an attorney and writer in Washington, DC. His work can be found, among other places, on his blog, "Between 2 Kingdoms." He invites you to follow him on Twitter.

Featured image: Decalogo, Primero mandamiento painting (c. 1898–1914) by José Villegas Cordero via Wikimedia Commons.