Peter Kreeft at King's College

I was able to hear Peter Kreeft speak at The King's College at the Empire State Building. He's a theologian, philosopher, novelist, a professor here and at Boston College, but I attended because he's also a playwright. You'll see below that he clarified that.

These are my notes from his interview with Marvin Olasky, Provost of The King's College, as a part of their Distinguished Visitor's series.

Kreeft said the Bible is more novel than theology. The thelogy is plugged into the narrative, not the the other way around.

He talked about sex: it was the first command. "When God said be fruitful and multiply, He didn't mean grow apples and work your multiplication tables." The loss of the sense of the sacred has lead to abortion, sexual immorality and loss of gender roles (unisex feminism as opposed to justice feminism).

He's written *I Surf, Therfore I Am*. When the 73-year old was asked if he's looking forward to surfing this summer he said, "Does the Pope look forward to writing encyclicals?" Part of the book is dedicated to the theology of the rip tide.

He thinks when we get to heaven and see our lives through God's eyes, we'll see lots of angels.

He was asked if Socrates were in the Senate what might he say? He said the philosopher would discombobulate everyone, and they'd feed him hemlock. Then he improvised a very clever dialogue between Socrotes and President Obama.

In Hitler's concentration camps the most educated officers were the most cruel. The universities will decide the future of society, but with education comes the ability to deceive ourselves more cleverly. He thinks we make democracy a god. We're more polytheistic than Hinduism because we have as many gods as people, which is more than the named gods of Hinduism.

He quotes GK Chesterton in the 20s who said there would be a great attack on our sexuality. The relationships between men and women have changed. Women don't expect to be respected but to be used. Men must become knights of honor and take a stand, showing they can love women for themelves and not just what they can get out of them. They'll start a quiet revolution.

He was asked for dating advice. He said our minds are like ponds. The bottom is filled with silt and trash. As you get closer to the surface there's more purity and light. He said while dating think with the top part of your brain.

We expect our artists to be immoral and even insane. But in ancient Athens the greatest artists were given free rent for life. They saw life as art and the moral hero as the most beautiful work of art.

A culture follows its love. Love has gravity. A society follows heroes because they emulate virtues they love. Look at our heroes to see where we're headed. Create solid heroes with real virtues to change the course of history.

He was asked about his book *Making Sense out of Suffering*. He quoted JRR Tolkein, who, when writing about suffering said the Gospel is the world's greatest fairy story but it's true. Freud said Christianity is so good it can't be true. It has to be man made because the glove fits the hand so well. Kreeft said, what if the hand was built to fit the glove.

I asked him if he has in mind to write any more plays. He said he'd never written any! I told him I'd seen a production of Between Heaven and Hell. He said Tom Key, who's represented by my agent, produced it as a play, and he said many of his dialogue books could work that way, perhaps the best of which would be *Socrotes and Jesus*. In that story Socrates wakes up at Harvard and discovers Christ despite the fact that He's not well represented there. One of my seminary profs gave his life to the Lord at Harvard, so it is possible.

A Vampire is the anti-Christ: he takes your blood instead of giving you his. Kreeft isn't surprised that Anne Rice became a Christian. Rice posted on Facbook on 07/28/10: "My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn't understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me. But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become."

When asked why he gets up at 4:30 once a week to come down from Boston to teach here for most of the last ten years he said, "Though I hate the Yankees I love New York, and I love you guys." When pressed he quoted Flannery O'Conner who said Sir Thomas Aquinas loved God so much that she couldn't help but love him. He said King's College students are little Thomas Aquinases.

The podcast of this interview is available by clicking here.


Symmimex said...

Thanks for posting your notes on the Kreeft interview, Rich. I read his works enthusiatically and with great appreciation of his creatively considered philosophy/theology. The theatrical version of BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL which Tom Key produced from Kreeft's excellent book is something I would be interested in producing myself - thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Rich Swingle said...

Craig, I'm glad you liked it. Let me know if you ever produce BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL! I'd love to see it!