One of my favourite authors is Peter Kreeft. Perhaps his most famous book is Between Heaven and Hell, in which he noted an amazing coincidence—if, indeed, it was a coincidence: on the same day—Nov. 22, 1963—three very famous men, advocates of three vastly different philosophies, died. They were John F. Kennedy, a Humanist; Aldous Huxley, an Eastern Mystic; and Clive Staples Lewis, a Christian. Professor Kreeft cleverly constructed a trialogue from things the three men had actually said or written. The subject of the imaginary discussion is “Where are we? What’s this all about? And was I perhaps mistaken about some very important realities?”
But equally impressive is Professor Kreeft’s series of books featuring a character he calls The Unaborted Socrates, starting with a book of that same title in which the ancient Athenian philosopher finds himself standing in 20th century Athens, on the sidewalk in front of an abortion mill.
“What goes on in there?” he asks; and someone tells him.
“Oh. Murder,” he says.
“Oh, no!” says his informant. Socrates then unleashes his famous method of reasoning by putting questions to his interlocutor:
“Well, let’s consider the classic definition of ‘murder’—the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. Is what is being done in there accidental?”
“Then it’s deliberate. Is what’s being killed alive? It must be, or they wouldn’t have to kill it to get rid of it.”
“Is it human?”
“Well, some say yes; some say no.”
“Is it a carrot or a rabbit?
“Are its parents human?”
“Then it’s human, too. So it’s a living human being. Has it committed any crime?”
“Then it’s innocent. So we’ve established that they’re deliberately killing an innocent human being. By definition, that’s murder. So this is a place where murders are committed, day after day. And if you approve, you’re complicit in the crime.”
That’s what I’ve always loved about Socrates: he dealt in facts. Facts can be very stubborn things—but they point us to the truth.
That’s the way I see it.