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Monte Knetter

How (Not) To Be Secular (3) – Secularism: A Created Alternative

A common myth is that secularism is what is left when we have stripped all former belief in superstition and falsity. The reality is that secularism is a system that was built up slowly over time. How did men construct secularism? First, our idea of the relationship between the individual and the community changed. We …

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Virtue in Literature (12) – Duty: Aeneid (10th Grade)

Next to the Bible, over the last two thousand years no book has been read more than Virgil’s Aeneid (though Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy is a close second). The Aeneid is a story about the work and sacrifice that are required to do something great (in this case, found Rome). Time and again Aeneas is forced to choose between doing what …

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Virtue in Literature (11) – Little House in the Big Woods (1st Grade)

In the modern era two growing and developing countries looked to fill their frontiers: the United States looked to the vast western plains and Russia to its seemingly limitless eastern territory. In the United States the western frontier became a place of opportunity—the Homestead Act allowed both native-born citizens and immigrants to receive at no …

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Virtue in Literature (9) – The Hiding Place: Mercy (9th Grade)

The twentieth century was the bloodiest century in history. Take that in for a second. We are accustomed to think of the Middle Ages as barbaric and “Dark”, but the economic pressures of a subsistence agrarian economy limited the extent and length of their wars, holy days in the church limited when wars could be …

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Virtue in Literature (8) – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Magnanimity (12th Grade)

One of my favorite anecdotes about Julius Caesar is as follows. Caesar and some of his men were in a rural area and invited to a private dinner. Their hosts, wanting to please them, tried to cook fancy Roman food. As part of the dinner they cooked asparagus in oil, but being provincials they confused …

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Virtue in Literature (7) – Red Scarf Girl: Loyalty (9th Grade)

In Red Scarf Girl Ji-li Jiang recounts her experience of living through Mao’s Cultural Revolution as a young girl. When the story begins, Mao and the Chinese Communist Party have already been in power for nearly two decades. But because their government, like all socialist and communist movements, did not pay attention to economic and …

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Virtue in Literature (6) – Antigone: Justice (10th Grade)

Antigone is a young girl that has suffered much. At the beginning of Sophocles’s famous drama, she, already an orphan, has just watched both her brothers die. But not only have they died, they have killed one another in an attempt to control their city, Thebes. Her brother Eteocles sided with the incumbent leaders and …

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