Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche, 1906, Edvard Munch

Friedrich Nietzsche and the Decline of Christian Culture

Date: October 20, 2023

It was a great couple of days at Pacifica Christian High School. The faculty and administration of Pacifica’s Center for Philosophy and Theology met to craft vision, toured classes to see students in action, witnessed curricular and pedagogical connections, and prepared for a day-long honors seminar and evening event for the community. The events were a collaborative effort with our partners at Pilgrim Lutheran Church led by Pastor John Nunes.

The Shaftesbury Seminar: Is Beauty Subjective?

Partnering with Pilgrim Lutheran Church and the Center for Religion, Culture, and Democracy, Pacifica students spent the day in an Honors Socratic seminar, The Shaftesbury Seminar, led by Trey Dimsdale and Pastor John Nunes. They discussed ideas around beauty and truth. Using texts from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn the students asked if art is objective and subjective. If we have a broken nature, do we see things as they really are? Did art and beauty proceed humanity? The afternoon was closed as Pastor John Nunes recited poetry in our quest for the beautiful.  It was a remarkable day of students and staff in thoughtful conversation.

“It is the hardest thing in the world to be a good thinker without being a good self-examiner.”
Pacifica Students engaging in the discussion.

Friedrich Nietzsche and the Decline of Christian Culture

What is the impact of a less religious society?

Following the Shaftesbury Seminar, we welcomed over 100 parents, students, faculty, community members, and friends to consider important questions about faith and culture. Mr. Trey Dimsdale delivered a keynote lecture on the effects of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche on Christian Culture. The talk delved into the works of Alexander De Tocqueville and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.  After the keynote, a panel including Pastor John Nunes, Pacifica board member Jeff Ennis, and Pacifica Associate Head of School for Academics Dr. composed a panel led by Father Alexander Earl, Director of Pacifica’s Center for Philosophy and Theology. The group engaged in discussion over societal problems and possible solutions. The evening ended as Stephan Roberson, Assistant Director of the Center, summed up the evening and led us to dessert and coffee.

One of the highlights of the evening was the multi-generational nature of the audience. There were touchpoints across the community, from Pacifica students, alumni, and parents to those in the classics crowd. Additionally, there were a number of institutions represented: Pilgrim Luthern Church, Pacifica Christian High School Santa Monica, Pacifica Chrisitan High School Orange County, Risen Church, The Center for Religion Culture and Democracy, In Christo Veritas Educatio Foundation, and the NOVA Forum at USC.


Watch the Discussion

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