Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gracious responses in difficult circumstances

The September 6/13 edition of World magazine includes a great interview of Professor J. Budziszewski [Boojee-SHEF-skee] of the University of Texas. I mentioned one of his books, True Tolerance: Liberalism and the Necessity of Judgment several years ago. I probably should have mentioned his How to Stay Christian in College and Ask Me Anything: Provocative Answers for College Students. --Problem is, I haven't read either of them. I have few doubts they are good. But I haven't actually read them.

So now comes Ask Me Anything 2: More Provocative Answers for College Students. I found his answers--shared in the World magazine article--insightful, gracious, and compelling.

A couple of examples:
Budziszewski: [A professor in a public policy class said,] "All of you students are too intelligent to be pro-life, right?" The implied threat was plain: "If any of you are pro-life, I'll grade you down." Guess whether anyone spoke up....

World: What's the right way for Christians to talk back to such professors?

Budziszewski: A rule one is "Speak up." Even the most bigoted professors often change their tune when challenged. Other rules are "The logical," "Be respectful," "Keep it reef," "Limit yourself to a single point," and, "Remember that you don't have to 'win.'" It's not difficult to ask, "Sir, I understand the insult, but what is the argument?" Nor does it require genius to say this to a professor blathering about "intolerance": "If we had to tolerate everything, wouldn't we even have to tolerate intolerance? Don't we have to use standards to describe what is tolerable and what isn't? What are yours?" [Emphasis added. --JAH]

Sounds like a worthy mentor to me!

Besides reading his books, you can also find Budziszewski serving as the wise and gracious Professor Theophilus at TrueU.org.
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