Ethics and Empathy

The quote comes from the post “How Golden is the Golden Rule?” on Steve Douglas’ blog Undeception. As was pointed out in discussion here previously, a rigidly literalistic adherence to the Golden Rule might lead one to inflict one’s own preferences and desires on others. But clearly the point of the Golden Rule is about [Read More...]

The Prophets of Our Time

We had an interesting discussion of prophecy in my Sunday school class recently, as we continued working our way through 1 Corinthians. I’ve often heard people suggest that preachers are the closest equivalent today to ancient Israel’s prophets. I’ve often viewed that as a problematic stance, since it seems designed to add to the authority of [Read More...]

Orthodox Alexithymia

Richard Beck wrote recently about a condition which he calls “orthodox alexithymia.” Here is a sample: Orthodox alexithymia is produced when the intellectual facets of Christian theology, in the pursuit of correct and right belief, become decoupled from emotion, empathy, and fellow-feeling. Orthodox alexithymics are like patients with ventromedial prefrontal cortex brain damage. Their reasoning [Read More...]

Morality and Religion

The image was apparently created by an atheist. But contrary to what some claim, there is no particular reason why its viewpoint ought to be considered inherently atheistic. If we look at the Biblical literature, rarely if ever does anyone in it claim that it requires special divine revelation for human beings to tell right [Read More...]

Silver, Gold, and Platinum

Sabio Lantz posted this image: In the post, he argues that the Golden Rule is deeply flawed. The post mirrors a discussion we had here a while back, in response to a Sunday Morning Breakfast Cereal cartoon. Many commenters then suggested that the Golden Rule, unless understood in an unnecessarily literal fashion, is really about [Read More...]

Doctor Who: Hide

The latest episode of Doctor Who, “Hide,” illustrates the classic tension in the show between offering scientific explanations for the seemingly supernatural, and positing the reality of the paranormal. Spoilers ahead. The episode presents itself as a ghost story. It has a haunted house, an apparition, and the Doctor and Clara turning up and presenting [Read More...]

Torchwood: Countrycide

I was tempted to write off this episode of Torchwood as simply a serving of horror for its own sake. Even for someone who has followed the X-Files and Fringe, and watched The Road, this episode still seemed graphically gory. But a little thought made me realize that there is poignant depth to this particular [Read More...]

Fringe: Parallel Lives

I didn’t get around to posting on the first episode of the new season of Fringe, but there is a real sense in which the second episode, “One Night in October,” picks up some of the interesting elements of the first and carries them further in an emotionally powerful manner that some of us will [Read More...]