Doubting the Value of Doubt

conscience

Writing about John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Samuel Taylor Coleridge said, "I could not have believed beforehand that Calvinism could be painted in such exquisitely delightful colors." It’s a fascinating comment about a book whose wisdom we are in danger of forgetting as millennial Christians. To take only one example, consider Bunyan’s discussion of doubt and despair found a little past the book’s halfway mark. In the scene, Christian and Hopeful have been taken captive by the Giant Despair … [Read more...]

Orthodoxy Has Won?

Eucharist

In an interesting read from Time Magazine, Mary Eberstat, author of this new book on secularism, argues that "in the war over Christianity, orthodoxy is winning." She uses a fight over an Episcopalian church in Virginia, in which a breakaway traditional group in the church lost its legal battle with the mainline sect for ownership of the church's physical property, as an example of how orthodoxy is "winning":That traditionalist breakaway congregation in Virginia is larger than the one on th … [Read more...]

The Real Case Against the Suburbs, or, How Ought Christians to Think About the Common Good?

san jose

Over at Mere O, Keith Miller has been kind enough to respond to a piece the FF editors published about Anthony Bradley's praise of ordinary Christianity. In his post, Bradley lamented that "radical" or "missional" Christianity was obscuring the need for basic, everyday Christianity. He linked this misplaced zeal of "radical Christianity" to the anti-suburbs movement. We responded by agreeing in part with Bradley, but noted that "there’s ordinary, and then there’s total capitulation to cont … [Read more...]

Should We Buy Houses?

houseboat

At the end of yesterday's post, the editors called for a renewed attempt to distinguish between ordinary Christianity and capitulation to contemporary American norms. I think this will sometimes take us in counter-intuitive directions. Yesterday's post made reference to "anti-suburban Christianity" and praised those Christians who have raised concerns about the effects of the suburbs on virtue and the life of faith. From this, it would not be a big leap to the pro-rental movement. When you think … [Read more...]

Why Don’t We Talk About Friendship More?

Sergebac7thcentury

This weekend, I was blessed to have the opportunity to hear Wesley Hill, the author of Washed and Waiting, speak at Harvard on spiritual friendship and sexuality. One of the challenges he posed sprung from his reading of St. Aelred of Rievaulx's reflection Spiritual Friendship. He noted, "there aren't a lot of similar treatises [on friendship] that we could point to in today's church. Why is that? Could we be part of rewriting them ourselves? Could we be part of living into them ourselves and rec … [Read more...]

The Decline of Dawkins and the Dawn of Deliberative Doubt

reason rally

In March 2012, a crowd of atheists flocked to the National Mall in Washington, DC for the first “Reason Rally.” Billed as the “Woodstock for atheists and skeptics,” the rally, headlined by Richard Dawkins, seemed to signal a new resurgence of popularity and influence for the New Atheism.But while atheism is still strong, the New Atheism is rapidly becoming the Old Atheism, and Richard Dawkins is in danger of becoming irrelevant. So argues Theo Hobson in an article this week in the UK’s Specta … [Read more...]

Persuading Isn’t Just about Argumentation

Pope-Francis-washing-feet

This week First Things ran an excellent article entitled "Pope Francis and the Clash of Revelations." Its basic argument was that all humans look at the world through the lens of certain basic "revelations" or foundational beliefs. While it may be "technically possible" for us to step outside these beliefs, almost nobody will. The result is that theists and atheists, Thomists and Utilitarians, communitarians and classical liberals all hold certain basic beliefs that make dialogue with the other … [Read more...]


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