Ngaio Marsh: Night at the Vulcan


Night at the Vulcan, also published as Opening Night, is the sixteenth of Ngaio Marsh’s Roderick Alleyn mysteries, and yet another set in the world of the theater; I had forgotten how many of these there were.  I had almost completely forgotten it, and found it enchanting on re-acquaintance.  The only problem with it is that it isn’t terribly satisfying considered strictly as a mystery; there’s a little too much deus ex machine about the conclusion.The tale concerns the days leading up to the … [Read more...]

What’s the Good of Christianity? And Does it Matter?

Mother Teresa

Last week I opined that the question of what religion is good for is the wrong question; the question is whether a religion is true or not.It doesn't matter a bit whether religion (in the broader sense) is good for anything if it isn't true.  If the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob doesn't exist, if Christ did not rise from the dead, then Christianity is a lie and a sham and unworthy of practice, and ought to be shunned by all good men.  Any good that it does is in spite of itself.One c … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: No Magic Bullets for Belief


Occasionally I'm asked what arguments I have that prove that Christianity is true, as if there were a perfect argument for the Christian God so lucid in its rationality that the most hardened atheist could not help but accept it after a few moments' perusal.  (I exaggerate, but, I think, not by much.)  The trouble is, there is no such argument for any proposition, of any kind, in any field.  The closest we come is basic plane geometry, in the field of mathematics, where all reasonable people can … [Read more...]

Old Blind Dogs: A Man’s a Man For A’ That

I'm in the mood for some Old Blind Dogs this week; so here's Bobbie Burns set to music and sung and played most beautifully. If you've any taste for this kind of folk music, you really ought to give the whole album a listen. … [Read more...]

The Dogmat is Watching You


And O! the things the Dogmat has seen in the last week!7 Hand Gestures That Make You Look Like a Real Intellectual. Alas, most of them don't work with paws.Fluffy Kitty Slippers and The Papal Nuncio. Not on the Nuncio, mind you—on the little girl the Nuncio is speaking to.Can they say that on Catholic radio? The Visitation Project can. Speaking of Rebecca French, Simcha Fisher has the scoop on Rebecca's new radio show.Personal Discipleship & the Great Library. Sherry Weddell n … [Read more...]

What’s Religion Good For?


Recently Patheos had a forum on what Religion is good for, which I did not have time to participate in. But it's an important question, and since I have Views I wanted to write about it anyway."What is Religion good for?" is an important question because it's entirely the wrong question.The word "religion" stems from a Latin word meaning "binding", and in its most narrow sense refers to those practices and actions we are "bound" to undertake in service and worship of the Divine.  In its … [Read more...]

Julian May: The Saga of the Pliocene Exile

The Many-Colored Land

Julian May's Saga of the Pliocene Exile is a collection of four books: The Many Colored Land, The Golden Torc, The Non-Born King, and The Adversary.  It was first published back in the 1980's; I remember reading positive reviews of it in Analog Science Fiction and thinking it sounded rather uninteresting. The reviews, as I remember them, conveyed something like this to me: A hundred years or so in our future, a French physicist named Guderian has invented a time machine that only works one way: i … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: The Will is in the Willing


We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Thomas has shown that God has a divine will, and that His will is the same as His intellect.  His next move is more of the same:Hence it is also clear that the divine will is the very act of willing in God. As has been pointed out, God’s will is identical with the good willed by Him. But this would be impossible if His willing were not the same as His will; fo … [Read more...]

Ray Manzarek: Carmina Burana

Last week I posted that video of misheard lyrics to "O Fortuna", from Carl Orff's playful (and occasionally disturbing) music set to poems and lyrics written by medieval monks who were no better than they should be.The "Gopher Tuna" video uses a fairly standard interpretation of "O Fortuna"; but back in the early '80's Ray Manzarek, keyboard player for The Doors, recorded his own arrangement of the entire Carmina Burana on modern instruments. The vocals are traditional, but the music … [Read more...]