Photo Credit: Catholic Speakers
Who remembers commencement speeches? I’ve remembered a few over the years. Just a few. Still at the time, in all the emotion of a graduation day, whether we remember or not, maybe those words implant deeply in the brains of both the graduate and the audience… whether they recall them or not.
I hope Dr. Peter Kreeft‘s speech has that effect.
He gave the commencement speech in May this year at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. At 85 years old, he was funny and bold and unflinching as he punched holes into much of what our post-Christian culture holds as sacred. From all I gleaned online and the students’ warm and welcoming responses, he is much loved and his thoughtful handling of uncomfortable topics was surprising. His brief speech (just under 20 minutes) was clear and pointed.
He covered what he considered The 10 Lies of Contemporary Culture. I wish I could have found a transcript but could not so took verbatim notes myself. Take the time to watch or, if you aren’t convinced, scan my notes below…and then watch.
Here are his “10 lies” in brief:
- You can be whatever you want to be.
- The most important person in the whole wide world is you.
- The world needs you. You can save the world.
- You need education in creative thinking. [the ability to create “a new reality, a new world. You are the creator of truth.”]
- You also need education in critical thinking. [“not the search for any positive truth but a negative skepticism towards anything that claims to be truth except that truth which you yourself have created.”]
- The superiority of spiritual passivism. [“All peace is good including peace with the world, the flesh, and the devil….We must be tolerant of everything except intolerance…If all peace is good, then all war is bad.”]
- Peace and justice. If you want peace, then seek justice. [“Demand justice and nothing more. If you can’t deny the very existence of your enemies then at least don’t forgive them.”]
- Exaltation of openness, welcoming, and tolerance as the supreme good.
- All you need is love, sweet love. [“If all you need is love then you don’t need truth.”]
- The exaltation of freedom as an end rather than a means.
Well, he is a professor of philosophy after all. So much to think about in these 10 points.
He closed with the following:
“Love cannot stop warring against hate. Light cannot stop warring against darkness…No matter how smoky, stinky, and slimy the darkness is, it cannot endure the light. However successful the darkness may be for however long a time and however it may increase and however many more times we continue to lose every battle in the culture war: yet the light is imperishable. All lies die. Truth alone remains.
Just go forth and preach the truth, the good news, by both word and deed, and then let the chips fall where they may. And please remember Mother Teresa’s words: ‘God did not put you in this world to be successful; He put you in this world to be faithful.’“ – Dr. Peter Kreeft
Photo Credit: The Catholic Rose, Pinterest
Dr. Kreeft is a prolific writer and fascinating speaker. Some of his quotes are linked below. I’m not Catholic nor was he originally. Maybe it’s one of the reasons he is so passionate about the truth and doing what he can to bring his Catholic and Protestant brothers toward unity. As for those who do not follow the teachings of Christ, he still has a word of wisdom…delivered with humor, honesty, and humility.
Photo Credit: AZ Quotes