You Are Not an Agent of Karma

I found the above title in my idea notebook yesterday, and thought, well, yes, this is true. Unfortunately I didn't capture any of the reflections that went along with the title, so I've no real idea what I was planning on saying about it. It's too good a title to waste, though, so there it is.If I recall correctly, it had to do with making the bad behavior of others an excuse for bad behavior of one's own. I have an image of an expensive car parked across two parking spaces, and an … [Read more...]

Review: The Incrementalists


Despite being a long-time Steven Brust fan, I had somehow missed his collaboration with Skyler White, The Incrementalists. I've now rectified that, and I'm glad I did. I found it entertaining; and on the intellectual level I found it fascinating both for what it is and for what it isn't.The "Incrementalists" of the title are a group of around two-hundred extremely long-lived men and women who are dedicated to the art of "meddling": manipulating others by means of "switches": emotional and … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: The Many Names of God


We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Up until now, Thomas has mostly been working from Aristotle’s playbook.  He has shown us that:There is a First Cause That it is metaphysically simple That it is infinite That it is the Creator of all other beings and the source of all of their perfectionsAt this point, then, we have a divine creator, but Thomas has not yet shown that this divine cre … [Read more...]

New Book: Slubgrip Instructs

Slubgrip-single with shadow

My fellow Patheos blogger Fr. Dwight Longenecker has a new book out, a sequel to his 2009 book, The Gargoyle Code. It's called Slubgrip Instructs: Fifty Days with the Devil; it's a reflection on popular culture and the faith in the mode of C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters.Fr. Dwight has a knack for writing in character, as witness the many alter egos that have populated his blog over the years; and like Uncle Screwtape many of them are intended ironically: by having them say one thing on … [Read more...]

On Praying for the Enemies of Life

On this anniversary of Roe v. Wade it's time to say a few words about abortion.The Carthaginians sacrificed infants to Baal, it's well known—perhaps twelve or so a year.In 1915, the Ottomans began the Armenian Genocide; over a million Armenians were killed.During World War II, the Nazis murdered approximately six million Jews.Since Roe v. Wade, we Americans have killed around 60 million unborn infants. It's an enormous number, enormous in terms of size and also in terms of the … [Read more...]

Kindle and the Calibre App

library of books

As a Constant Reader I've acquired a large collection of e-books; and though most are from Amazon I've also acquired a great many from other sources. Baen Books, for example, has the most amazing habit of putting their back list out on the 'web for free download with no DRM. And like most people (so far as I can tell) I manage my non-Amazon e-books using an app called Calibre, which is a sort of an iTunes for e-books. Or, rather, it's like iTunes was in the old days, when all it did was … [Read more...]

Review: Kindle Voyage

Once, these many moons ago, I bought myself one of the first Amazon Kindles. Truly, it was a strange and wondrous beast, with a peculiar shape, page turn buttons you couldn't help pushing if you held it wrong, an odd thumbwheel cursor for selecting a line, extremely slow page turns, and four shades of gray. I'd been interesting in the notion of e-books for quite some time, and the Kindle was the first that seemed to have the bookselling ecosystem down pat.So I tried it, and it wasn't … [Read more...]

The False Religion of Tomanāk


I'm always fascinated by the presentation of religion in fantasy and science fiction novels. Most such are fairly absurd, like the common combination of polytheism with Catholic trappings, absent any forces that make those trappings make sense. The author needed a bit of religion and cobbled something together from spare parts. David Weber's "Church of Humanity Unchained" from the Honor Harrington series is another example of not taking very great care: in early books we are assured that the … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: There’s Nothing Accidental about God


We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Thomas is always careful to dot all of his I's and cross all of his T's, and that's what we have going on in Chapter 23 of Compendium Theologiae: Absence of Accidents in God.In the previous two chapters, Thomas has shown that God contains all perfections found in creatures without losing His metaphysical simplicity. Covering all of his bases, Thomas now shows … [Read more...]