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Author Topic: Liberty, Regent or Ave Maria  (Read 8623 times)

dsetterl

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Re: Liberty, Regent or Ave Maria
« Reply #80 on: June 02, 2008, 04:32:09 PM »
Maybe you fail to see the OP's point of view at all. It sounds like to me he doesn't care at all about rankings or how his career prospects will turn out. Maybe this life is not important to him and he wants to use his abilities for God, and wants to attend as school that can help him achieve his goal of being a Christian attorney. His worldview seems to be drastically different from everyone that has posted or would post on this board. It does puzzle me too, though. I think he should do what he wants and you should go visit the schools. That being said I will give my two cents. Maybe think about Samford and Mercer as well. Definately should get some money to these schools.

dsetterl

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Re: Liberty, Regent or Ave Maria
« Reply #81 on: June 02, 2008, 04:34:13 PM »
Wow this thread is crazy. It is like watching the strippers on Rock of Love fight for Brett, but this time it is a bunch of uppity, know-it-alls fighting for self-affirmation. You should ask me everything. I once wrote a paper on it and made an A.


It does make for some good reading when nothing is on TV. And since Rock of Love is between seasons right now, there is nothing good on TV. ;)

Oh yeah I totally agree. This board is very interesting.

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Re: Liberty, Regent or Ave Maria
« Reply #82 on: June 02, 2008, 04:47:46 PM »
Maybe you fail to see the OP's point of view at all. It sounds like to me he doesn't care at all about rankings or how his career prospects will turn out. Maybe this life is not important to him and he wants to use his abilities for God, and wants to attend as school that can help him achieve his goal of being a Christian attorney. His worldview seems to be drastically different from everyone that has posted or would post on this board. It does puzzle me too, though. I think he should do what he wants and you should go visit the schools. That being said I will give my two cents. Maybe think about Samford and Mercer as well. Definately should get some money to these schools.

Didn't even think about Samford and Mercer. Those both would be really good schools for him to look at. Scholarship money seems like it would be a possibility too.
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dsetterl

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Re: Liberty, Regent or Ave Maria
« Reply #83 on: June 02, 2008, 04:55:06 PM »
At both of those schools his LSAT and gpa would be in the 75th percentile. Money would be a certainty with his military background etc. These are also two very good schools with excellent reputations in Birmingham and Atlanta. They also teach the "Ethics" courses he would wish to take.

Stuart

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Re: Liberty, Regent or Ave Maria
« Reply #84 on: June 02, 2008, 04:55:16 PM »
I stated that "[AM's] ideological position and curriculum render all of that null and void (as far as I'm concerned, and as far as anyone who values a nominally 'balanced' education free from a questionable agenda should be concerned)."

That was your fairest statement; mea culpa for not mentioning it. It was your later peevish jabs at religion that merited the response they got.

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I think that stands. AM, Liberty, Regent, et al all have a specific aim in their curriculum:  to combine fundamental theology with the practice of law. The practice of law is constitutionally separated from religion.

Here some careful analytical thought might be useful, though -- such as you engaged in as a philosophy major. Several points, for example: first, not everybody believes that religion should be separated from law -- either they think the Constitution has been misinterpreted, or that it should be changed. Thus, while certainly we must hope that lawyers at every law school are being taught the state of constitutional law, there is certainly nothing innately illogical or wrong in learning law from a particular philosophical perspective which does not happen to agree with the law where it is in this country today. Certainly at the law school I attend, which is rarely accused of being fundamentalist, a great deal of time is spent in discussing what the law should be, and how that relates to what it is. A different point of view on this is, a priori, unobjectionable.

Second, law school is, or should be, a place where inquiring, intelligent people explore the law's relation to a host of different disciplines. If Christians and others (whatever their opinion on modern Constitutional law) wish to study law from a perspective of how it relates to their beliefs or faith, I don't see a problem with that. The Constitution has nothing to say about lawyers thinking about the nature and place of law as it relates to God, only about various things the government can and can't do.

Third, there is no separation between law and religion, only between church and state. That edict itself, which intimately concerns religion, is law. So it's quite natural for people with a strong interest in religion and its relationship to law (which can't be avoided) to want to study those areas of the law that relate to religion, possibly from a particular perspective.

Just to be clear, incidentally, I know little of the three law schools under consideration, but from what I do know, don't consider them all that great. I am defending the concept of a religious-based law school, since that is what you were attacking; not any particular one in real life.

In sum, the Constitution has nothing to do with this.

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Others in this thread have noted the more-than-highly-questionable nature of divine natural law, which I take (and correct me if I'm wrong) these schools hold true.

I know little about divine natural law. I know AM teaches it. I don't know if the others do.

I'd love to learn more about all this though, if time ever allows.... what's a good critique, anybody?

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If you're familiar with the divine command theory (which you seem to be), I'm sure you realise the many problems it poses.


I'm afraid I'm not at all, and I'm sorry if I gave that impression. If I mentioned Mavrodes familiarly, it's because I was too lazy to type more. (I've never heard of him.)

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A sceptical tone toward religion, including the worth of religious doctrines in a modern legal system, which underlies everything I've stated in this thread, is backed up by centuries of philosophical and political though. To bring all that out would be completely unnecessary, and would eventually turn into one big case of begging the question.

A "skeptical tone" has nothing to do with what you've been posting, unfortunately. I'm sure a skeptical tone is found in plenty of conservative Christian classrooms (as well as many securalist leftist ones, and everything in between.) What you're engaging in is dismissiveness and condescension.

But yes, I'm sure a good deal of question-begging would accompany any elaboration that went down.

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Just a note:  bigotry implies intolerance.

Ah. Well, perhaps we just have slightly different understandings of the word, in that case, or of the word intolerance. I apologize, in any case, if I misused it. What I meant to say, or at least mean to say now, is that you give every sign of irrational prejudice against religion, based not on argument but on bad humor. It may well be otherwise, of course, and you seem to have some kind of reason, but you can hardly expect people to draw the right conclusion when you enter a thread about religion/religious schools, and simply make intermittent caustic remarks without support.

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I tolerate the right of anyone to practice whatever religion they want. I will not infringe upon their ability to practice their beliefs, but I will not blindly respect nor encourage their choice. This is not bigotry; it is strong scepticism and treating critically a belief system completely deserving of scepticism.

It can be. But if you project yourself uninvited into a discussion they were having, and mock them without introducing any arguments, then it is closer to bigotry, or skepticism has fallen a long way from its noble roots.

Stuart

dsetterl

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Re: Liberty, Regent or Ave Maria
« Reply #85 on: June 02, 2008, 05:00:38 PM »
Stuart is right on the money.

vmakarov

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Re: Liberty, Regent or Ave Maria
« Reply #86 on: June 02, 2008, 05:15:59 PM »
Thanks dsetterl, I was not familiar with either Samford or Mercer. I'll look at both.

PSUDSL08

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Re: Liberty, Regent or Ave Maria
« Reply #87 on: June 02, 2008, 05:28:19 PM »
As a recent grad (and someone who should be studying for the bar right now) I'll throw in my $.02. In law school, you're there to learn a way of thinking that will best prepare you for the practice of law. If the OP wanted to practice in Papal Law, Christian law or the like, than attending any of the schools wouldn't be a significant disadvantage for his career goals.

However, the OP said he is interested in becoming a state or federal prosecutor. From my understanding, the US Attorney's Office does not hire entry level students unless they qualify for the "Honors Program," where you basically need to be in the top 20-25% of your class and have spent a year in some capacity as a judicial clerk. The salaries for these positions are generally higher than that for state level prosecutors and PD's so these jobs are in much higher demand. Basically the US Attorney's office has a ton of qualified candidates to choose from...so even if the OP qualifies for the program, he's fighting an uphill battle for these jobs based solely upon the school he's considering attending.

Furthermore, if I'm the OP, I'm going to be very wary about being lured in by a scholarship at a lower ranked school. The OP probably has a decent chance for a full-ride at any of the aforementioned schools, however many of the schools require that the person have a 3.0-3.2 to maintain their scholarship. The curves at many T4 schools range from about a 2.0 to a 2.7. While the correlation seems to suggest that people with higher LSAT scores in comparison to the other members of their entering class will have better grades overall, that's not necessarily the case. Students attending lower ranked schools are highly competitive (I'd know, I went from a T4 to a T2 and have a better GPA/rank at the T2 than I did at my old T4) since they either (1) want to transfer out and (2) know that the only decent job opportunities come to those ranked in the top third of the class, and I'm not talking Biglaw here. One really poor start to a law school career is enough to lose your full ride entirely.

I can appreciate the OP's desire to be in the type of educational and social environment that comports with his religious beliefs. However the OP can engage in a self-directed study of how the law relates to his religious beliefs and write independent study papers on  topics of his choice. Furthermore, due to the reduced pressure to study around the clock that comes from attending a better school (greater job security, open book exams), the OP will have ample time on the side to read books and scholarly articles on the topics of his choice.  I also wouldn't be quick to automatically assume that the majority of students at any of these schools share the same fundamental religious beliefs as the OP. I am not religious at all, and applied to Ave Maria because of my ridiculously low LSAT score. I'm guessing I'm not the only one.

snickersnicker

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Re: Liberty, Regent or Ave Maria
« Reply #88 on: June 02, 2008, 06:10:56 PM »
Here some careful analytical thought might be useful, though -- such as you engaged in as a philosophy major. Several points, for example: first, not everybody believes that religion should be separated from law -- either they think the Constitution has been misinterpreted, or that it should be changed. Thus, while certainly we must hope that lawyers at every law school are being taught the state of constitutional law, there is certainly nothing innately illogical or wrong in learning law from a particular philosophical perspective which does not happen to agree with the law where it is in this country today. Certainly at the law school I attend, which is rarely accused of being fundamentalist, a great deal of time is spent in discussing what the law should be, and how that relates to what it is. A different point of view on this is, a priori, unobjectionable.

This is all fair. I encourage discussion about the place of religion in law, and have been involved in many of them. A school which espouses a divine command theory must logically assume (and would therefore quite likely teach) that divine commands supercede positive law. According to my friend who went there (who is a very conservative Catholic), this is taught as unquestioned and unquestionable fact. Again, the dubious (and dangerous) nature of divine natural law casts severely into doubt the legitimacy of a constitution or other body of law being based in such a doctrine. Of course, it eventually comes down, again, to begging the question. This - whether or not laws should be founded upon religious principles - amounts to a sort of wager, and ties in heavily with concepts of divine determinism, free will, and the problem of personal responsibility. In the section on Pascal's Wager in Atheism:  A Philosophical Justification, Michael Martin does a pretty good job of deconstructing the traditional Christian argument, but doesn't give much in the way of better alternatives. JP Sartre talked about this pretty heavily in the entirery of his ethics, specifically in Existentialism as a Humanism. To put it simply, he (and many others) argued that the acceptance of determinist Judeo-Christian ethics (Spinoza, Leibniz, et al) amounts to a refutation of any concept of personal responsibility, and thus the unnecessity of laws. It seems like a pretty far leap from talking about religious doctrines influencing codified laws, but it all lines up pretty easily. Either of those works would be great reads if you'd like to learn more about it. I wrote a paper summarising the general premises of the argument, and would be willing to share if that interests you more.

Quote
Second, law school is, or should be, a place where inquiring, intelligent people explore the law's relation to a host of different disciplines. If Christians and others (whatever their opinion on modern Constitutional law) wish to study law from a perspective of how it relates to their beliefs or faith, I don't see a problem with that. The Constitution has nothing to say about lawyers thinking about the nature and place of law as it relates to God, only about various things the government can and can't do.

I don't have any disagreement about this. I know that fifty years ago, I would be in the position of having my opinions squashed. The problem with teaching law from an unquestioned Christian perspective is the fact that it is taught as fact. To elucidate a little more, something on the nature of religious belief in the face of questioning is necessary. A Symposium om Theology and Falsification is a short, easy read on this, and offers the opinions of Antony Flew (a prominent atheist; his section can be read here:  http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/pecorip/scccweb/etexts/phil_of_religion_text/CHAPTER_8_LANGUAGE/Theology-and-Falsification.htm), R.M. Hare (I believe a deist, and one of the best meta-ethical thinkers of the last century:  http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/pecorip/scccweb/etexts/phil_of_religion_text/CHAPTER_8_LANGUAGE/RMHare-Reply-to-Flew.htm; Flew's reply here:  http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/pecorip/scccweb/etexts/phil_of_religion_text/CHAPTER_8_LANGUAGE/Flew-Response-to-Hare.htm), and Basil Mitchell (a longtime Oxford Professor of Christian Religion; I don't have a link to his section, but it is quite level-headed and certainly worth reading). In the end, the three essays taken together have pretty grim prospects for the academic legitimacy of Christian belief in the face of rational questioning. This is a seminal work in religious epistemology.

Quote
Third, there is no separation between law and religion, only between church and state. That edict itself, which intimately concerns religion, is law. So it's quite natural for people with a strong interest in religion and its relationship to law (which can't be avoided) to want to study those areas of the law that relate to religion, possibly from a particular perspective.

Again, I see nothing wrong with this statement.

Quote
I know little about divine natural law. I know AM teaches it. I don't know if the others do. I'd love to learn more about all this though, if time ever allows.... what's a good critique, anybody?

For proponents, try George (not John) Mavrodes' A Modified Divine Command Theory of Ethical Wrongness. St. Augustine also supported this theory, and (arguably) favoured its acceptance as a code of law in The City of God. The most obvious criticism of the theory, and the oldest I know of, is in Aristotle's "Euthyphro" from The Trial and Death of Socrates. Available here:  http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Euthyphro. Others abound...there are hundreds, possibly thousands of dialogues, logical proofs, and general arguments against it. Bertrand Russell has a bunch that are noteworthy.

Quote
Ah. Well, perhaps we just have slightly different understandings of the word, in that case, or of the word intolerance. I apologize, in any case, if I misused it. What I meant to say, or at least mean to say now, is that you give every sign of irrational prejudice against religion, based not on argument but on bad humor. It may well be otherwise, of course, and you seem to have some kind of reason, but you can hardly expect people to draw the right conclusion when you enter a thread about religion/religious schools, and simply make intermittent caustic remarks without support.

This is often the case, and I apologise for my overly incisive manner, though feel that there have been things posted in this thread much worse and much less reasonable than anything I've said. Going into a discussion regarding such a contentious subject as religion is quite difficult, though I realise how I go about it is not often the best way. Starting off directly with some of the stuff I've posted above would hardly seem appropriate, and even less so than my original post in this thread, however. To have someone ask for support for my opinions, as you have, is a positive thing instead of the usual kneejerk reactions elicited.

Quote
But if you project yourself uninvited into a discussion they were having, and mock them without introducing any arguments, then it is closer to bigotry, or skepticism has fallen a long way from its noble roots.

The discussion was coaxed out by DontQuestionMe; I intended only to express the opinions I've gained regarding Ave Maria from friends who have attended (or thought about attending) there, and from attending UG a mere stone's throw away.
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Stuart

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Re: Liberty, Regent or Ave Maria
« Reply #89 on: June 02, 2008, 06:43:05 PM »
Thanks for the response, snicker (also dsetterl).

I can see where going into all this detail right away might not be suggested. But perhaps the tone of your later posts could be employed in your earlier ones, even without the detail.

Thank you for all the recommendations, which I appreciate and which I'll save. I am actually in the middle of (more accurately, on leave from) reading Warranted Christian Belief by Plantinga. It sounds related to Symposium, so perhaps I'll check that out afterward. I am somewhat familiar with Flew.

The one thing is, I must say I'm unhappy with the whole concept of "academic respectability," though I can see it might be useful at some point. I prefer not to see discussions gaveled while there are still people who wish to talk. Clearly, when it comes to Christianity, there still are (even within the academy).

I'd like to see your paper. Is it online? If so, could you perhaps PM me? Otherwise I can provide an email.

Stuart

Here some careful analytical thought might be useful, though -- such as you engaged in as a philosophy major. Several points, for example: first, not everybody believes that religion should be separated from law -- either they think the Constitution has been misinterpreted, or that it should be changed. Thus, while certainly we must hope that lawyers at every law school are being taught the state of constitutional law, there is certainly nothing innately illogical or wrong in learning law from a particular philosophical perspective which does not happen to agree with the law where it is in this country today. Certainly at the law school I attend, which is rarely accused of being fundamentalist, a great deal of time is spent in discussing what the law should be, and how that relates to what it is. A different point of view on this is, a priori, unobjectionable.

This is all fair. I encourage discussion about the place of religion in law, and have been involved in many of them. A school which espouses a divine command theory must logically assume (and would therefore quite likely teach) that divine commands supercede positive law. According to my friend who went there (who is a very conservative Catholic), this is taught as unquestioned and unquestionable fact. Again, the dubious (and dangerous) nature of divine natural law casts severely into doubt the legitimacy of a constitution or other body of law being based in such a doctrine. Of course, it eventually comes down, again, to begging the question. This - whether or not laws should be founded upon religious principles - amounts to a sort of wager, and ties in heavily with concepts of divine determinism, free will, and the problem of personal responsibility. In the section on Pascal's Wager in Atheism:  A Philosophical Justification, Michael Martin does a pretty good job of deconstructing the traditional Christian argument, but doesn't give much in the way of better alternatives. JP Sartre talked about this pretty heavily in the entirery of his ethics, specifically in Existentialism as a Humanism. To put it simply, he (and many others) argued that the acceptance of determinist Judeo-Christian ethics (Spinoza, Leibniz, et al) amounts to a refutation of any concept of personal responsibility, and thus the unnecessity of laws. It seems like a pretty far leap from talking about religious doctrines influencing codified laws, but it all lines up pretty easily. Either of those works would be great reads if you'd like to learn more about it. I wrote a paper summarising the general premises of the argument, and would be willing to share if that interests you more.

Quote
Second, law school is, or should be, a place where inquiring, intelligent people explore the law's relation to a host of different disciplines. If Christians and others (whatever their opinion on modern Constitutional law) wish to study law from a perspective of how it relates to their beliefs or faith, I don't see a problem with that. The Constitution has nothing to say about lawyers thinking about the nature and place of law as it relates to God, only about various things the government can and can't do.

I don't have any disagreement about this. I know that fifty years ago, I would be in the position of having my opinions squashed. The problem with teaching law from an unquestioned Christian perspective is the fact that it is taught as fact. To elucidate a little more, something on the nature of religious belief in the face of questioning is necessary. A Symposium om Theology and Falsification is a short, easy read on this, and offers the opinions of Antony Flew (a prominent atheist; his section can be read here:  http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/pecorip/scccweb/etexts/phil_of_religion_text/CHAPTER_8_LANGUAGE/Theology-and-Falsification.htm), R.M. Hare (I believe a deist, and one of the best meta-ethical thinkers of the last century:  http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/pecorip/scccweb/etexts/phil_of_religion_text/CHAPTER_8_LANGUAGE/RMHare-Reply-to-Flew.htm; Flew's reply here:  http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/pecorip/scccweb/etexts/phil_of_religion_text/CHAPTER_8_LANGUAGE/Flew-Response-to-Hare.htm), and Basil Mitchell (a longtime Oxford Professor of Christian Religion; I don't have a link to his section, but it is quite level-headed and certainly worth reading). In the end, the three essays taken together have pretty grim prospects for the academic legitimacy of Christian belief in the face of rational questioning. This is a seminal work in religious epistemology.

Quote
Third, there is no separation between law and religion, only between church and state. That edict itself, which intimately concerns religion, is law. So it's quite natural for people with a strong interest in religion and its relationship to law (which can't be avoided) to want to study those areas of the law that relate to religion, possibly from a particular perspective.

Again, I see nothing wrong with this statement.

Quote
I know little about divine natural law. I know AM teaches it. I don't know if the others do. I'd love to learn more about all this though, if time ever allows.... what's a good critique, anybody?

For proponents, try George (not John) Mavrodes' A Modified Divine Command Theory of Ethical Wrongness. St. Augustine also supported this theory, and (arguably) favoured its acceptance as a code of law in The City of God. The most obvious criticism of the theory, and the oldest I know of, is in Aristotle's "Euthyphro" from The Trial and Death of Socrates. Available here:  http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Euthyphro. Others abound...there are hundreds, possibly thousands of dialogues, logical proofs, and general arguments against it. Bertrand Russell has a bunch that are noteworthy.

Quote
Ah. Well, perhaps we just have slightly different understandings of the word, in that case, or of the word intolerance. I apologize, in any case, if I misused it. What I meant to say, or at least mean to say now, is that you give every sign of irrational prejudice against religion, based not on argument but on bad humor. It may well be otherwise, of course, and you seem to have some kind of reason, but you can hardly expect people to draw the right conclusion when you enter a thread about religion/religious schools, and simply make intermittent caustic remarks without support.

This is often the case, and I apologise for my overly incisive manner, though feel that there have been things posted in this thread much worse and much less reasonable than anything I've said. Going into a discussion regarding such a contentious subject as religion is quite difficult, though I realise how I go about it is not often the best way. Starting off directly with some of the stuff I've posted above would hardly seem appropriate, and even less so than my original post in this thread, however. To have someone ask for support for my opinions, as you have, is a positive thing instead of the usual kneejerk reactions elicited.

Quote
But if you project yourself uninvited into a discussion they were having, and mock them without introducing any arguments, then it is closer to bigotry, or skepticism has fallen a long way from its noble roots.

The discussion was coaxed out by DontQuestionMe; I intended only to express the opinions I've gained regarding Ave Maria from friends who have attended (or thought about attending) there, and from attending UG a mere stone's throw away.