A Reading List on Western Philosophy and Christian Philosophy and Apologetics

A Reading List on Western Philosophy and Christian Philosophy and Apologetics

 by Celucien L. Joseph, PhD

Below, I recommend some of the most influential works in the history of Western philosophy, American philosophy, as well as Christian philosophy and apologetics. The list below is not meant to be exhaustive. For example, it does not deal with classical philosophy (with the exception of three to four titles on the list ); rather, the emphasis is on modern thought or history of ideas. I do not, for example, include works by African and Caribbean philosophers. I hope you will find the selected works helpful and meaningful to your own personal philosophical and spiritual growth and intellectual progress.

*** I wrote this post as a response to various inquiries I received from individuals and students who are passionate about the life of the mind and also from those would like to be well-versed in both Western Philosophy and Christian philosophy.

  1. Western Philosophy
  • A New History of Western Philosophy by Anthony Kenny
  • The History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell
  • Why I Am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell
  • The Great Philosophers: An Introduction to Western Philosophy by Bryan Magee
  • A Brief History of Thought by Luc Ferry
  • The Enfranchisement of Women by Harriet Taylor Mill
  • Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault
  • The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences by Michel Foucault
  • The Archaeology of Knowledge: And the Discourse on Language by Michel Foucault
  • Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
  • Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
  • Two Treatises of Government by John Locke
  • An Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke
  • Some Thoughts Concerning Education by John Locke
  • Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
  • Critique of Judgment by Immanuel Kant
  • The Metaphysics of Morals by Immanuel Kant
  • Phenomenology of Spirit by W. F. Hegel
  • Beyond Good And Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
  • The Birth of Tragedy by Friedrich Nietzsche
  • The Gay Science by Friedrich Nietzsche
  • On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo by Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Existentialism Is a Humanism by Jean-Paul Sartre
  • A Treatise of Human Nature by David Hume
  • An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals by David Hume
  • The History Of England by David Hume
  • Civilization and its Discontents by Sigmund Freud
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt
  • The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt
  • Intention by G.E.M Anscombe
  • Modern Moral Philosophy by G.E.M Anscombe
  • Truth and Method by Hans-Georg Gadamer
  • Introduction to Philosophical Hermeneutics by Jean Grondin
  • The Hermeneutic Tradition: From Ast to Ricoeur
  • Structuralism: An Introduction by Robert Scholes
  • The Concept of Dread by Søren Kierkegaard
  • The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
  • Capital: Volume 1: A Critique of Political Economy by Karl Marx
  • On Liberty and the Subjection of Women by John Stuart Mill
  • Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill
  • A Discourse on Inequality by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Philosophical Investigations by Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • On Certainty by Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
  • The Ethics of Ambiguity by Simone de Beauvoir
  • Virtues and Vices by Philippa Foot
  • The Passion of the Western Mind by Richard Tarnas
  • Ethics in the Real World by Peter Singer
  • Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for our Treatment of Animals by Peter Singer
  • Practical Ethics by Peter Singer
  • Famine, Affluence, & Morality by Peter Singer
  • Atheism: The Case Against God by George H. Smith
  • The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
  • God is not Great Christopher Hitchens
  • The Portable Atheist by Christopher Hitchens
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft

2. American Philosophy

  •  Nature and Other Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Essays: First and Second Series by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • The Will to Believe and Other Popular Essays by William James
  • The Varieties of Religious Beliefs by William James
  • Human Nature and Conduct by John Dewey
  • Experience and Nature by John Dewey
  •  The Public and its Problems by John Dewey
  • The Quest for Certainty by John Dewey
  •  The Soul of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois
  • Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature by Richard Rorty
  • Consequences of Pragmatism by Richard Rorty
  • Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity by Richard Rorty.
  • The American Evasion of Philosophy: A Genealogy of Pragmatism by Cornel West
  • Existentia Africana: Understanding Africana Existential Thought by Lewis R. Gordon
  • Women, Culture & Politics by Angela Y. Davis
  • Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics by bell hooks
  • Ain’t I a Woman?: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks
  • Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education by Martha Craven Nussbaum
  • Love’s knowledge: essays on philosophy and literature by Martha Craven Nussbaum
  • Sex & social justice by Martha Craven Nussbaum
  • On Race and Philosophy by Lucius Outlaw
  • Philosophy Born of Struggle: An Anthology of Afro-American Philosophy From 1917 by Harris Leonard
  • In My Father’s House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture by Kwame Anthony Appiah
  • Existence in Black: An Anthology of Black Existential Philosophy by Lewis Gordon
  • African-American Philosophers: 17 Conversations by George Yancy
  • In a Different Voice by Carol Gilligan
  • Visible Identities: Race, Gender and the Self by Linda Martín Alcoff
  • The Age of Atheists: How We Have Sought to Live Since the Death of God by Peter Watson
  • The Evolution of God by Robert Wright
  • The Moral Landscape: How Evolution Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris
  • The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris
  • Breaking the Spell by Daniel C. Dennett

 

3. Christian Philosophy and Apologetics

  • City of God by Augustine of Hippo
  • Confessions by Augustine of Hippo
  • On Religion or The Christian Faith by Friedrich Schleiermacher
  • Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
  • The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis
  • The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
  • Warranted Christian Belief by Alvin Plantinga
  • God, Freedom, and Evil by Alvin Plantinga
  • The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton
  • Foolishness to the Greeks by Lesslie Newbigin
  • Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity by J.P. Moreland
  • A History of Western Philosophy and Theology by John Frame
  • Our Reasonable Faith by Herman Bavinck
  • Philosophy and the Christian Faith by Thomas V. Morris
  • Philosophical Foundations For A Christian Worldview by J. P. Moreland and William Lane Craig
  • Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective by Norman L. Geisler
  • Practice in Christianity by Søren Kierkegaard
  • The Christian God by Richard Swinburne
  • Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics by William Lane Craig
  • Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig
  • The Reason for God by Tim Keller
  • Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith by Douglas Groothius
  • How (Not) To Be Secular by James K. A. Smith
  • Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul by J.P. Moreland
  • Against the Flow: The Inspiration of Daniel in an Age of Relativism by John C. Lennox
  • Fool’s Talk: Recovery The Art of Christian Persuasion by Os Guiness
  • Renaissance by Os Guinness
  • Can Man Live Without God by Ravi Zacharias
  • The Kingdom of God Is Within You by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog by James W. Sire
  • The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy: The 3 Essential Books in 1 Volume/the God Who Is There/Escape from Reason/He Is There and He Is Not Silent by Francis A. Schaeffer
  • The Postmodern World: Discerning the Times and the Spirit of Our Age by Millard J. Erickson
  • Truth or Consequences: The Promise and Perils of Postmodernism
  • God in the Wasteland: The Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams by David F. Wells
  • When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties by Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe
  • Thant’s Just Your Interpretation: Responding to Skeptics Who Challenge Your Faith by Paul Copan
  • Foolishness to the Greeks and the Gospel and Western Culture by Lesslie Newbigin
  • Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity by Nancy Pearcey
  • The Passionate Intellect: Christian Faith and the Discipleship of the Mind by Alister McGrath
  • Christ and Culture Revisited by D. A. Carson
  • The Intolerance of Tolerance by D.A. Carson
  • The Gagging of God by D.A. Carson
  • How Shall We Live? Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey

 

Advertisement

New Baptisms!

The church (“L’église Chrétienne de vie et d’espérance de Bois “/ “Christian church of life and hope of Bois d’eau”) we helped to establish in Bois d’eau, Port Margot (Haiti) married three couples who were living in cohabitation. We paid for the wedding and took charge of the reception. We also baptized five new members in our one year anniversary. We would like to share with you photos from both events and the great work God is doing in this city.

Please continue praying for Pastor Odelyn Olivier, the senior pastor of the church, and the people at the church, for spiritual strength and growth, as well as resources. Please also pray for the preschool we are starting in September 2019.

Click on the link below to view the photos of the Baptism ceremony :

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Hopefortodayoutreachhaiti/posts/?ref=page_internal

 

 

 

Updates: Hope Academy de Bois d’eau (Port-Margot, Haiti )

Updates: Hope Academy de Bois d’eau (Port-Margot, Haiti 🇭🇹)

The three boxes that contain the school supplies for the students and the classroom items are ready to be shipped today to Haiti 🇭🇹.

Click on the link below to access photos via our Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FHopefortodayoutreachhaiti%2Fposts%2F2437159873186912&width=500

Click on the link below to access other photos via our Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FHopefortodayoutreachhaiti%2Fvideos%2F2423209414380863%2F&show_text=0&width=560

“Some Updates about the Haiti’s Preschool and Kindergarten Project”

We just purchased the school supplies for the amazing 25 children of “Hope Academy de Bois d’eau,” Port-Margot, Haiti. Allow me to show you in just a minute…

Hope For Today Outreach would like to thank everyone for your generous gifts toward the preschool/Kindergarten project in Haiti 🇭🇹.

We still need to raise more funds to buy food for the students ( to feed them 5 days a week when they come to school) to pay the teachers and staff. Personally, I can’t wait to meet every child who is going to attend “Hope Academy de Bois d’eau,” beginning in September 2019.

#SupporteducationinHaiti
#TeachourchildrenforanewHaiti
#Education&transformation

Mission and Vision Statements Modified

We modified the mission and vision of Hope for Today Outreach (HTO)

Hope for Today Outreach (HTO) is a Christian faith-based and non-profit organization that takes a holistic approach to sustainable development and human flourishing so we can empower the poor, the marginalized, and the economically-disadvantaged individuals and families. To achieve this goal, HTO invests in various (social) development projects and works in the areas of poverty, education, health, water and sanitation, agriculture and food, trade training, leadership, church renovation, spiritual formation, etc. We primarily serve families in the impoverished area of Port-Margot, Haiti to contribute to the Region’s development and growth, and human flourishing.

We maintain that showing compassion to and helping the poor, the needy, the homeless, and the imprisoned is an integral part of the Biblical story of God’s restoration of humanity and the goods news Jesus preached.

 

“Hope for Today Outreach’s Six Major Projects for Rural Haiti 🇭🇹: Toward Sustaining Development and Human Flourishing”

1. Establish fully funded (and free) schools (Preschool to High School) with arts programs, pre-vocational programs, medical clinics/facilities, and clean and sanitary water projects in Haiti’s poorest rural areas–10 schools per department;

***Haiti is divided in 10 Departments or Provinces, including Artibonite,
Centre, Ouest, Nord, Grand’Anse, Sud
Nippes, Nord-Est, Nord-Ouest, and Sud-Est.

2. Create literacy programs for illiterate Haitian adults in the most empoverished areas in the country: 10 literacy centres per department;

3. Establish vocational/professional schools with programs such as carpentry, plumbing, electricity, refrigeration, masonry, barber, culinary arts, etc., in 10 most needing rural areas in the country;

4. Create religious programs and theological schools to provide decolonial spiritual formation and training and to promote postcolonial hermeneutics and indigenous ecclesiastical practices: we’ll need 10 major centres: one per department;

5. Create Community libraries and community-activity centers: we’ll need 10 of those per department in rural regions in the country;

6. Create Teacher Education Programs & Leadership Schools in rural Haiti: we’ll need 10 centres per department

How to fund these programs and projects:

A. Through the development of Haiti’s agriculture and natural resources;

B. By soliciting assistance from Haitian professionals in the Diaspora to invest in these projects;

C. By establishing scholarship funds and grants;

D. By soliciting Haiti’s wealthy class and rich private sector to invest in these projects;

E. By promoting (and selling) Hope for Today Outreach’s intellectual resources such as books, cds, teaching materials such as seminars and workshops on leadership, health, and education, etc.

F. By encouraging generous and humanitarian individuals and families to add Hope for Today Outreach to their living wills, trusts, and estates.

***We are making the first step in realizing a small portion of our goals. In September 2019, Hope Academy de Bois d’eau, located in the rural area of Bois d’eau, Port Margot, will start running with 25 students. In the next five years, our goal is to start a medical clinic and provide sanitary and clean water to the population there.

Our motto is “to remember the poor.”

 

–Dr. Celucien L. Joseph, President

Update: First Day of Class at Hope Academy de Bois d’eau (Port Margot, Haiti)

Update: First Day of Class at Hope Academy de Bois d’eau (Port Margot, Haiti)

Hello, Friends: Today (Monday, September 16, 2019) was the first day of class for these amazing and talended Haitian boys and girls at Hope Academy de Bois d’eau. It’s both a joy and delight to see this collective dream of ours is being realized. I truly believe that education is one of the important vehicles to transform a country (Haiti) and help prepare the Haitian youth to become engaged and responsible citizens who will contribute to the common good and human flourishing in the Haitian society. In the context of Haiti, an engaged pedagogy is the most promising tool of decolonization and reconstitution of the (Haitian) mind toward a sustaining community and an effective and strong nation. Investing in education is to foster hope in life and impute optimism in human interactions and relationships; correspondingly, to invest in people and their future is to lead to the good life and the good community we all envision and covet.That is what we hope to accomplish at Hope Academy de Bois d’eau.

The photos below of these haitian boys and girls attending their very first day of class brought tears to my eyes. I just can’t believe what’s happening today. The staff of Hope Academy de Bois d’eau and Hope for Today Outreach (HTO) and the parents of these little ones would like to thank you for all the support you have provided to make this dream a reality.

We continue to count on your collective support and the cooperating efforts of various communities so that the students and (their) families at Hope Academy de Bois d’eau could fulfill their their dreams and goals in Haiti 🇭🇹 as well as the mission of HTO: (1) holistic and sustainable development, (2) improved and better human conditions (i.e. economic, political, cultural), and (3) strong civil and political societies in Haiti.

 

Click on the link below to view photos via our Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FHopefortodayoutreachhaiti%2Fposts%2F2466972616872304&width=500

 

Peace and Blessings,

Celucien Louis Joseph, PhD

President and Founder
Hope for Today Outreach

“Extreme Poverty in Rural Haiti”

“Extreme Poverty in Rural Haiti”

I’ve been taking frequent trips to Haiti since 1995; usually, I visit Haiti two to three times a year. It hit me very hard this year when I recently went to Haiti early in January. The good team from Hope for Today Outreach and I visited about 130 homes distributing hygienic items to Haitian peasant families in a remote area (i.e. mountain) in Grande Rivière. The human condition is inhumane and quite depressing in that rural area. The level of suffering has grown over the years and touched every aspect of (peasant) life. The level of poverty that I witnessed in that area is disheartening and problematic.

I met a lady who is the mother of five children. Her husband was not home at that time. The family lives in extreme poverty. She and I share the same last name. About five years ago, she lost her home to a tragic rainfall. Her house was totally destroyed by the rain.

As a result, she and her husband relocated to the new area where I met her. She is renting her current home for $ 1500 Haitian dollars annually, which is equivalent to $ 80 U.S. dollars, annually. She is is unable to pay her rent and several months behind.The current home she is renting is made of mud, wood, and palm trees. It’s a tiny 2 bedrooms. The wall in one bedroom is severely damaged and collapsed. She has no beds inside the house; all the five children sleep on the hard floor in the tiny living room. There’s no toilet or kitchen. Some of her children were wearing very torn clothes, and the little girls had no underwear on. Folks, this is extreme poverty!

 

“Redefining Poverty and what It Means to be Human”

1. Being poor does not mean you are not intelligent and can’t contribute to human flourishing.
2. Being poor does not mean you can’t have big dreams and lofty goals, and that you have nothing constructive to contribute to society.
3. Being poor does not mean you can’t become somebody great in life and does not have a (political) voice.
4. Being poor does not mean you can’t beat the odds of life and overcome all the unfortunate circumstances in your life.
5. Being poor does not mean you are linguistically deficient and psychologically unfit for society and upward mobility.
6. Being poor does not mean you are not a person and does not have dignity.
7. Being poor does not mean you should allow people to mistreat and disrespect you just because you are poor.
8. Being poor does not mean you’re a hopeless individual and that your life has no meaning.
9. Being poor does not mean you are not beautifully and unwanted.
10. Being poor does not mean God is done with you.

Grace and peace!

Dr. Celucien L. Joseph

 

 

Haiti Impact Trip (January 16-21, 2020): Port Margot and Grande Rivière du Nord

Haiti Impact Trip (January 16-21, 2020): Port Margot and Grande Rivière du Nord–with the Hope For Today Outreach Team

Brief Report:

–Thursday, January 16: Left Miami Airport for Haiti

— Friday, January 17: The Team drove from Cap-Haitian to Port Margot.

— Saturday, January 18: Port-Margot: Dr. Joseph offered a seminar on the theology and philosophy of christian education. It was attended by pastors, Sunday school teachers, and lay people. About 160 individuals were in attendance. We distributed a free copy of the Creole translation of Dr. Joseph’s new book, ” The New Life Catechism” and the accompanying audio book to the pastors and Christian educators.

— Sunday, January 19: Port-Margot: At the Eglize Chrétienne de foi et d’esperance at Bois d’eau, Dr. Joseph and Pastor Olivier, the senior pastor, baptized four young people ( three young men and one young woman) on Sunday morning. Dr. Joseph delivered the morning sermon on “Planting the good seed for the growth of the church and the glory of God.” The church celebrated its first Harvest Feast (fèt mwason). The event was well attended by the people in the community, and special guests included the Mayor of the City of Port Margot and Board Members of the Association of Motorcycle Riders.

On Sunday afternoon, the church organized the final match for the soccer tournament for the young people in the community. What an amazing game and skilled players! It was well attended by the people in the community. It was a great time of fellowship, community-building, and friendship.

— Monday, January 20: the Hope for Today Outreach Team went to a remote aea in Grande Rivière for servant evangelism. They distributed hygienic items to about 130 families/houses.

–Tuesday, January 21: End of the Trip

*** Below, we share pictures with you from the trip.

Grace and Peace!

HTO Team

 

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FHopefortodayoutreachhaiti%2Fposts%2F2597647693804795&width=500

 

Dr. Joseph’s New Book:”God our Maker and Caregiver: Creation, Fall, and Precepts: Book I”

“God our Maker and Caregiver: Creation, Fall, and Precepts: Book I” (January 2, 2020) by Celucien L. Joseph

–A new book (First book on a projected three volumes) for small group bible study and Sunday School setting, personal enrichment and devotion: available for purchase on amazon;
–145 pages + multiple conceptual charts;
–Focus on theological pedagogy, spiritual formation, biblical discipleship, and Christian education;
— divided into 21 lessons & 4 equal parts, recommended readings;
–practical group/study questions at the end of each lessons;
–each lesson includes a scriptural reading passage, a memory verse, key words and concepts, conceptual charts, & exegetical commentary and reflections;
–topics include the person and moral qualities of God, God, the natural world, and the created order, God, the poor, and the vulnerable, human beings and the ordinances of God, marriage, honoring parents, godly parenting, the conundrum of sin, Jesus and the law, Jesus and peacemaking and reconciliation.

God our Maker

Book Description
God our Maker and Caregiver: Creation, Fall, and His Precepts is the first book of a three-anticipated volume. This present work focuses on the person and qualities of the triune God, as well as on the creative activities and precepts of Yahweh. The book is designed to be used in small groups and Sunday school settings. Nonetheless, it can also be used as a tool for personal bible study and spiritual enrichment. It is divided into four parts and twenty-one lessons. Part 1 (Lessons 1-5) is comprised of five lessons that focus on the identity, nature, and virtues of the triune God. Part 2 (Lessons 6-11) consists of six lessons on the works and contributions of God in the cosmos, including his creative projects and interventions to give and sustain life as a gift to his human and non-human creations. Part 3 (Lesson 12-21) includes ten lessons on the law and precepts of God for the people of God. Finally, in Part 4, a list of recommended readings, pertaining to the topics addressed in each division of the book, is provided to enhance the reader’s intellectual curiosity and enrich his or her biblical knowledge and theological understanding. There are four main reasons I wrote this book: God our Maker and Caregiver:1)I am very worried about the scandal of biblical illiteracy in Christian churches, among Christians, and in this culture. 2)I am very concerned about the future of personal evangelism (i.e. Christian public witness, civic engagement) and hence the prospect of the Christian faith in this culture because of inadequate theological pedagogy, ineffective biblical discipleship, and unhealthy Christian instruction in Christian churches and among Christians. 3)Equally, I am troubled about the prevalence of unorthodoxy in Christian churches and circles because of the crisis of biblical illiteracy and the abandonment of sound biblical theology. 4)Because of the pervasiveness of biblical illiteracy and prosperity Gospel in Christian churches and circles in America, a large number of Christians who have professed Christ as Lord and Savior (a) have shifted their values and commitment to King Jesus; (b) do not know how to live adequately and satisfactorily in relation to the holiness and presence of God; (c) are unable to discern the precariousness of the time and what God desires and demands from them and from the world; and (d) they have lost the passion to live courageously a contagious Christian life and the ability to think Christianly and theologically in a manner that glorifies God and honors Christ. The book has a threefold objective: (1) to bridge the gap between biblical illiteracy, biblical discipleship, and theological pedagogy; 2) to contribute to both personal and collective spiritual growth and successful biblical discipleship in small groups and Sunday school classes; and 3) to enrich interpersonal relationships and dynamics in churches and among Christians and non-Christians.
To purchase the book, click on the link below:

“Love and Life in the Time of Coronavirus: Cultivating an Ethic of Care Toward the Aged and the Elderly (Part 1)”

“Love and Life in the Time of Coronavirus:
Cultivating an Ethic of Care Toward the Aged and the Elderly (Part 1)”

If there is one word that describes the current national attitude toward the coronavirus is fear. Fear has become the collective sentiment toward a peculiar pandemic that comes to humiliate the nations and the peoples of the world—even the most powerful ones, the richest ones, the strongest ones, the most resourceful ones, etc. Correspondingly, this pandemic paralyzes, overwhelms, and undermines our dignity and humanity; it comes to rob us of our joy, entertainment, and life.

The coronavirus knows no boundary, culture, class, race, gender, and sexuality. It is a big event that makes us small and powerless. It is like a thief that knocks on our door unexpectedly to steal, destroy, and even kill. The fear of the coronavirus is the fear of existence. It is also the fear of being exposed and contaminated; fear of getting sick; fear of large gathering and crowd; fear of the middle age group, and those over the age of 50 or more; fear of the elderly; and it is the fear of death itself. In a nutshell, the coronavirus is the greatest violator of the human right to existence and life, and the supreme destroyer of local and global peace.

On one hand, not only this pandemic has forced us to create social distancing from our family, siblings, friends, loved ones, etc. On the other hand, this all-encompassing virus is also fostering progressively a new national psychology, one that could be rightly called “psychological restraint.” The latter is strengthening this peculiar characteristic (and personal behavior) of the American and Western societies, one that we even consider as our most prized virtue: Western individualism—the focus on the self by neglecting the need and value of the community and the welfare of others. In the time of the coronavirus, we are also solidifying our belief and ideology—both on the personal and group level—in the survival of the fittest: the strongest one will survive; the strongest one will make the cut; and the strongest one will live. (this is a false belief and an unscientific way of thinking). The strongest one is somewhat defined as those who are physically suitable and healthy, especially those under the age of 50.

In particular, our collective impulse toward the aged and the elderly in society has become cold, and unfortunately, some of us have become deliberately disinterested in the preservation of their life and well-being in society. Some of us regard our own aged parents, uncles, aunties, and friends as a menace to our life and human flourishing in society. We even see our aged siblings as a threat to our own survival and enjoyment of life. Some of us dare to believe that if this group of individuals (the “old folks” as some have called them) could just die, we will be at peace with this pandemic. Some even say that all will go well in society, and that love and life in the time of coronavirus will be strengthened and constructive toward the common good—if this speck of life could just vanish from us.

Further, please allow me to share some basic ideas that could assist us in cultivating an attitude of care and compassion toward the aged and the elderly in the time of coronavirus.

1. The continued existence of the aged and the elderly in our society is not an infringement upon our personal and collective rights to democracy, happiness, life, and existence.
2. We need to celebrate the life of those who dare to live above the age of forty in this life of uncertainty and in these dangerous times. Their existence is a gift to society, and their physical presence among us makes us stronger and more fulfilling as a nation and people.
3. We should honor our aged parents and friends; this attitude is pleasing to God our Maker and it is also associated with divine blessing and favor.
4. To die at a good old age is honorable and connected with the persistent gift of life; yet we should not rush death upon the aged and the elderly.
5. By creating better healthcare infrastructures and medical systems in this nation, we shall strive together to give strength to the medically weary and to increase the power of the physically weak.
6. In the time of coronavirus, we must not forsake the aged and abandon the physically weak among us.
7. In the time of coronavirus, individuals in their middle and old age can still contribute to the common good and human flourishing.
8. Life in the time of coronavirus is not promised to any of us; we should see it as a gift.
9. Living a life full of physical stamina and aesthetic beauty is not a mark of the good and honorable life.
10. We celebrate life when we honor the weak and the marginalized in society; we humanize the aged and the elderly when we validate their contributions to human flourishing and correspondingly when we recognize their life as ours is of value, dignity, merit, and honor. That is the individual and collective attitude we should cultivate in the time of coronavirus: our national wound and the global plague.

*** In closing, I would like to direct your attention to a few passages from the Hebrew Bible whose goal is to change our attitude toward the aged and the elderly in society. I would like to suggest fourteen key verses from Scripture.

“Life in the Time of Coronavirus:
What the Bible Teaches about Wisdom, Dignity, Care, and the Life of the Aged and the Elderly (Part 2)”

1. Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
2. Genesis 25:8, “Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people.”
3. Leviticus 19:32, “‘Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.”
4. Proverbs 17:6, “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.”
5. Deuteronomy 32:7, “Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you.”
6. Deuteronomy 34:7, “Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.”
7. Exodus 20:12, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
8. Proverbs 23:22, “Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.”
9. Isaiah 40:29, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
10. Psalm 71:9, “Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.”
11. Psalm 71:18, “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.”
12. Isaiah 46:4, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
13. Job 12:12, “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?”
14. Psalm 92:12-15, “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

 

—Dr. Celucien L. Joseph