Grasshoppers/Locusts are a symbol of immortality and good luck, but they also make great snacks (Jacek Malczewski, Resurrection,

Daily Life in the Time of Jesus: Locust Eating 101

Biblical references frequently remain abstractions until they collide with our reality. After opening Henri-Daniel Rops' Daily Life in the Time of Jesus and read ingabout locust eating I searched for (what else?) a youtube video (see below). That's when I realized that locusts are merely grasshoppers in their swarming stage.I've spent some time in Norway where they have unusual foods like reindeer salami (you feel a little like you're eating Bambi's mother) and whale steak. My paternal … [Read More...]

You'd think the body is the locus of sin from some depictions of this scene. (Peter Paul Rubens, Adam and Eve, 1597; Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100)

For Catholicism the Spirit is the Root of Evil not the Body!

March 25th is the Feast of the Annunciation. This commemorates the day when God took on flesh and made a mess of human thinking on a lot of topics. For much of ancient thought the body was the seat of evil. The goal was escaping the body into the realm of pure spirit where you could enjoy your soul in peace from all those horrible distractions caused by the body.Christianity took all that and turned it upside down. Here is Fabrice Hadjadj from an extended interview I'm translating for Ethika … [Read More...]

Yes, that's Bibi Sr.

Netanyahu Understands the Inquisition Better than Zmirak (Who is Closer to Cruz)

The Black Legend of the Inquisition persists because it takes popular opinion a couple of hundred years to catch up with propaganda. The Inquisition propaganda has its roots in the Reformation and Enlightenment polemics against Catholics. It was used as a foil to make those two groups look better in comparison with Catholics. Ideas have a life of their own independent of their origins, therefore the Inquisition persists to this day in various present day polemics.John Zmirak (for background … [Read More...]


Deneen, MacIntyre, Schindler, Dreher? For John Zmirak I’m Ahead of Them All!

John Zmirak is a Catholic intellectual of limited credibility. He has an MFA, surprisingly enough a PhD in English (the sort of thing a libruhl would have, although these days they give diplomas to just about anyone--I'm living proof), and recently became an armchair commando on the fart-right website World Net Daily. If we were talking about anyone else the latter development could be described as a fall from grace, but that's totally inappropriate here.Zmirak has wasted the last couple of … [Read More...]

natural theology

Theological Beliefs Might Be Natural, BUT Are They Rational?

I have this nasty little habit of reading several books simultaneously. The variety of my reading experiences spices things up by helping me make connections between several texts.Right now I'm reading Gadamer's Truth and Method, Levering's The Theology of Augustine, and Mosebach's novel What Was Before. After starting a blog series on atheism with the pieces Those Christians Who Think there is an Atheist Worldview Deserve a Tinfoil Hat and John Gray: Waiting for an Atheist Morality is Like … [Read More...]

Apparently there are no classical paintings with tinfoil hats, so here's the Polish king's court jester. (Source: Jan Matejko, Stańczyk, 1862; Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100)

Those Christians Who Think there is an Atheist Worldview Deserve a Tinfoil Hat

The post "John Gray: Waiting for an Atheist Morality is Like Waiting for Godot" sparked something resembling a debate the last two days. Some of it was very constructive. Some of it was like this:The funniest thing about it, besides the racism (atheists aren't magically immune apparently), is how the anonymous writer is hiding behind a screen name derived from Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray. It's funny because, first of all, Dorian Gray shares a last name with John Gray … [Read More...]

gray marionette

John Gray: Waiting for an Atheist Morality is Like Waiting for Godot

John Gray is one of our most fascinating public intellectuals and one heck of a muckraker. He likes to take on all comers in a Voltarian fashion. This is why he is featured on my Ethika Politika post "Neither Nye Nor Gopnik: 10 Atheists Who Engage Religion Charitably." I put Gray's Heresies: Against Progress and Other Illusions on that list. Now he has a new book coming, The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Inquiry into Human Freedom. It's going to be a barnburner if it's anything like his latest … [Read More...]


5 Pathbreaking Catholic Titles to Watch from the University of Chicago Press

The University of Chicago is no doubt one of the most dynamic academic institutions in the United States. It is known as a magnet for not only American scholars, but also many noteworthy intellectual imports from Germany, Poland, and France.Not exactly without merit the university has also earned a reputation as the home of the ruthless Chicago School of Economics, which puts the "dismal" in the "dismal science."At the same time the university has hosted scholars such as Paul Ricoeur, … [Read More...]

Francis is an odd bird and I like it.

2nd Year Summary: 3 Things I Love (& 1 Not So Much) About the Francis Papacy

  Anniversaries are traditionally reserved for tallying gains and losses. It's hard to believe two years and three days have passed since the conclave that elected Francis, which took place after Benedict XVI abdicated on my thirty-fifth birthday. When I crunch my numbers on Francis he comes out much more ahead than behind.Let's look at his gains first:LOVE1. Style: I immediately took to Papa Bergoglio's off the cuff Rabelaisian style. It undermines all … [Read More...]

Robert Musil's The Man Without Qualities: Washing your hands obsessively doesn't mean you're pure.

Michael Novak’s Devilish Catholic Defense of Invading Iraq

Michael Novak is at it again. He cannot help defending the foolish decisions the Bush administration made in Iraq. Note the heapings of self-righteous purity and breast-beating in the following words from his piece Why We Went to Iraq and Should Have Stayed There: More than once in the last couple of years others have continued criticism and even insisted that I apologize for being in favor of the Iraq War in 2003. There are very strong moral reasons why the United States went into Iraq in … [Read More...]