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...]

The Blasters: I’m Shakin!

I first became acquainted with The Blasters when I was in college; they travelled in Los Angeles punk circles, so it seemed to me at the time, but what they played was straight roots rock with panache and flair. I've got the greatest hits album, and every once in a while I'll pull it out and give it a listen. Here are a couple of tracks.First, a live performance of "I'm Shakin'", recorded in 1981, the same year they released their first album:And second, another favorite of mine, … [Read more...]

Fr. Ronald Knox on Sheepdogs and the Clergy

A sheep dog enjoying his job.

The shepherd doesn’t run after the sheep when they get straying; he shouts to his dog, and the dog runs after them, barking at them in a very rude way. When you see a sheep dog doing that, it ought to remind you of my sermons; you should think of the clergy yapping at you and saying, “You ought to do this,” and “You mustn’t do that”; they do it because they are acting under the Shepherd’s orders. I don’t say the clergy don’t sometimes enjoy it; but then, I dare say the sheep dog enjoys it.— F … [Read more...]

Duquette’s Law of Theology and Quantum Mechanics

Mr. Aristotle, he knows.

Occasionally I'll hear a speaker discussing the religious or philosophical implications of quantum mechanics. There'll be some quantum randomness, and a stray cat or two, and perhaps more worlds than the canonical Best of All Possible, and then they'll draw some conclusion from all that to support their views on the nature and possibility of free will or on the existence of God.Contrariwise, Duquette's Second Law, aka Duquette's Law of Theology and Quantum Mechanics, states that Every … [Read more...]

Review: J.R.R. Tolkien, A Life Inspired


Having been a Tolkien fan since I was nine years old, I naturally nabbed Wyatt North's biography J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life Inspired a week or so ago when a FaceBook contact noted that it was available for free on Amazon Kindle (it's usually $2.99 for Kindle). I'd never heard of the book before, but the price was right. I started reading it on Christmas day, and was surprised at how quickly we got through Tolkien's childhood. His youth passed almost as quickly. And so did everything else: in … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: God is One, though He Creates Multitudes


We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.In chapter 21, Thomas showed that all perfections—good qualities—in created things reflect some perfection in God.  But the perfections in created things are many; how can one metaphysically simple God contain multitudes? Thomas addresses this in Chapter 22.God is one, simple, having no parts (Thomas hasn’t forgotten the Trinity, here; but it will be some cha … [Read more...]

April Smith: Movie Loves a Screen

Here's another bit of Pandora flotsam: April Smith and the Great Picture Show with "Movie Loves a Screen", a happy, upbeat little song of (apparently) unrequited love. Wikipedia says of them,In a style that has been described as "spaghetti burlesque"[2] and "melodramatic pop", April Smith and her band combine indie pop, folk rock and swing, citing a wide range of influences, from The Beatles, The Doors and Queen to Edgar Allan Poe and Wes Anderson.Give 'em a listen, you might like it. … [Read more...]

Harry Dresden on Elevators

My office is in a building in midtown Chicago. It’s an older building, and not in the best of shape, especially since there was that problem with the elevator last year. I don’t care what anyone says, that wasn’t my fault. When a giant scorpion the size of an Irish wolfhound is tearing its way through the roof of your elevator car, you get real willing to take desperate measures.— Jim Butcher, Grave Peril … [Read more...]