Such was our topic today as we finished book four of Consolation. Boethius asserts ultimately that, because evil is a movement away from goodness/being/God and towards nothing, the result of all evil will be nothing, and thus there is no problem of evil. My students were dubious, but they’re still working out how to articulate why. They demonstrate a common desire not to be Manichean, but they’re not sure to what extent Satan is a “something” different from Lucifer and to what extent Lucifer simply became “no-thing” upon rebellion. (Christian demonology is the easiest site for demonstrating the privative theory of evil; Tolkien’s orcs work as well.)
In Dr. Medine’s class today I got to play the local expert on Alasdair Macintyre, and that was fun. We got pretty deep into questions of hybrid identity and in particular whether one could be a Baptist-Buddhist as one scholar (I’ve forgotten her name) claims to be. Pretty wild stuff.
And, in case anyone hadn’t read, Pat Robertson did something odd. I know. Stop the presses. After opposing gay rights and abortion with such fury that he blamed things as various as the September 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina on politicians who support them, he threw his lot in with Rudi Giuliani. Perhaps he thinks that the former mayor is the candidate most likely to put out a hit on Hugo Chavez. Who knows? I will be interested, come general election season, to see how the Christian Coalition, Jim Dobson, and others deal with the strangeness of the GOP’s latest field of contenders. I suppose they backed Bob Dole, mostly.