Peter Lawler and the Personal Logos: Top Quotes

Peter Lawler, Dana Professor, Government and International Studies

Peter Lawler is a past member of President George W. Bush’s Council on Bioethics, and is the current Dana Professor of Government at Berry College in Georgia, where he teaches government and international studies. He came to Benedictine College recently to deliver a lecture titled “Defending the Personal Logos for Today,” his first ever on the topic. Here are our top quotes from his talk:

Note: Logos is Greek for “word,” and “reason” or “logic.” In Catholic theology, it means the Word of God, Jesus. In its purest sense it refers to the essence of reason.

1.  “The personal logos today is in the Catholic Church. Nowhere else.”

2.  “Everyone thinks being personal is the bottom line. Take feminism – feminists believe, ‘If I have a logos, it comes from me.’”

3.  “Today everyone says that human rights are the bottom line. It used to be that we said we had natural rights given to us by God. Now it’s human rights. Why do we have human rights? Because we say we do.”

4.  “Today’s eugenics work because it’s improving your biology. And it’s always personal. They’re treating everyone as a person, not a part.”

5.  “There’s a paranoia about extinction that we’ve never seen before, because we’ve separated the person from the whole.”

6.  “Get over being personal. Get over your ego and come to terms with the logos.”

7.  “For Aristotle, God was logos. God had no personhood. For the Greeks and Locke, God was personal. CatholicLeadersLogoFor Christians, God is both logos and personal.”

8.  “People ask, ‘What has Christianity done for us?’ Christianity got rid of slavery completely as a concept. It dissed the idea of social status. It made the young people of society children. Before that, they weren’t seen as members of society. Christianity raised up women to be equal to men. It got rid of divorce, because it was harmful for women, especially in Rome at the time.”

9.  “The Christian response is, Where do you find Logos? The person. Not a computer, not just a mind or a body, but a third thing that cannot be restricted to either – the person.”

10.  “Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said that there are three things we know about people, one of which is that we seem to wander. The reason we wander is that we wonder.”

11.  “The Constitution is completely silent on slavery, religion, class, and sex/gender. These are Lockeian [referring to John Locke].”

12.  “We have completely Locke-anized marriage. We redefined marriage long before same-sex marriage by allowing divorce, taking away the necessity for fidelity, and the fact that marriage is about children. It’s all about freedom now.”

The Gregorian Institute is Benedictine College’s initiative to promote Catholic identity in public life by equipping leaders (the Gregorian speech digest), training leaders (the Gregorian Fellows), defending the faith (the Memorare Army for Religious Freedom), and celebrating Catholic identity (the Catholic Hall of Fame).

Eileen Wittig