The Catholic debate over liberal society

Rod Dreher describes what happened at a conference sponsored by First Things on the future of religion in the public square.  In the course of doing so, he describes a current controversy among conservative Catholics:  The “Murrayites” believe that Catholicism is compatible with American-style political and economic liberalism.  (Not so much liberalism as left-wing ideology, but the ideals of liberty, democracy, and free-enterprise economics.)  Against this view are the “radical Catholics” who believe that this liberalism is incompatible with Christianity.

Read the remarks after the jump and click on the link to Patrick Deneen’s article on the conflict.  Substitute “Christian” for “Catholic.”  Do the points still hold for Christianity in general, or does the debate hinge on specific tenets of Catholicism?  Can there be a “Murrayite” Protestantism vs. a “radical” Protestantism?  Or is Protestantism intrinsically connected to liberalism?  How about “Lutheranism,” or does the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms work for any society?

I’m curious too what the alternative is for the “radicals.”  Some kind of authoritarian regime?  The Pope at the head of an Emperor, as in the Middle Ages?

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Borderism

We have racism (1932), sexism (1936), classism (1971), speciesism (1975), heterosexism (1979), ableism (1981).  (See this discussion of “ism.”)  Now someone is proposing “borderism,” for discriminating against people based on what side of a border they were born in. [Read more...]

Both matter and anti-matter

Paradox of nature:  a sub-atomic particle has been discovered that acts like both matter and anti-matter. [Read more...]

Resenting Christian compassion

Ross Douthat has a rather brilliant essay in which he considers whether the church is facing a new pagan society, as in the first century.  He thinks not, but he notices that some of the hostility against Christianity is very similar to the resentment against the faith expressed by pagan Romans.  He cites a recent rant in Slate complaining that so many of the doctors battling Ebola are Christians and missionaries, and calling for a separation of religion and health care.  Douthat said  this is like Julian the Apostate’s frustration that “all men see that our people lack aid” from pagan sources, even as “the impious Galilaeans support not only their own poor but ours as well.” [Read more...]

“Vegetative” patients who respond to Hitchcock

Neuroscientist Adrian Owen has been studying the brain activity of people who are in a “vegetative state.”  A recent experiment showed a classic episode, “Bang!  You’re Dead!” from Alfred Hitchcock’s TV show, directed by the master of suspense himself, to two unresponsive people with brain injuries, as well as two healthy people.  One of the “vegetables” showed identical brain responses to the healthy viewers.  After the jump, an account of the research, plus the video of the episode. [Read more...]

The biggest factor in a child’s educational success

A British study has found that the biggest factor in a child’s educational success is the level of the father’s education.  That is, if the father is well-educated, his children are likely to do well in school.  And the father’s lack of education also manifests itself in his children not doing well.  The mother’s education is a factor, but not nearly as much as the father’s.

Is this just another example of a study proving what is self-evident and obvious?  So that fathers who value education make their kids study?  Or is there more to this correlation?

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