“Just war” or Just war?

It’s fittingly ironic that I spent part of yesterday afternoon reading and ruminating on President Obama’s 2009 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in preparation for a documentary I’m developing called [Necessary] Evil, only to end the day reading about the drone strike in Yemen that killed 15 people who were on their way to a [Read More...]

Did Dostoevsky get it wrong (and Obama get it right)?

One of the most famous phrases to come out of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov is, “If there’s no God and no life beyond the grave, doesn’t that mean that men will be allowed to do whatever they want?” (phrasing from Andrew R. MacAndrew’s English translation). In other words, if human beings don’t have some [Read More...]

The Kinks got it right

Over the past decade, the US government has redefined the entire world–including the homeland–as a battlefield, thereby allowing them to dispense with due process and engage in all sorts of extrajudicial behavior, including eavesdropping on and assassinating its own citizens. It’s no longer necessary for the government to prove someone has engaged in a terrorist [Read More...]

Love the sinner–period

We’ve had an interesting discussion on the Hellbound? Facebook page and elsewhere lately about the saying, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” (I’m more familiar with the reverse phrasing: “Hate the sin, love the sinner.”) The discussion was spurred by this comment from Wendy Thomas, one of our readers: Love the sinner, hate the sin [Read More...]

The only exclusive truth claim you can make

As someone who spends a lot of time doing research, I’ve become a huge fan of Amazon’s recommendation system (“Customers who bought this item also bought…”). It’s a great way to simulate the experience of browsing through a bookstore or a library and stumbling across an item you didn’t know you needed until you saw [Read More...]

What if…

A top notch Libyan special forces unit sneaked into the United States and abducted a known terrorist–who also happened to be a US citizen–and then spirited him (or her) off to some undisclosed location to face trial under Libyan law? How do you think Americans would react? [Read more...]

Freedom, security and Ben Franklin

Last night while cruising through the foggy mountains on the way home from a couple of… “gladitorial” Hellbound? screenings at Abilene Christian University, I caught the tail end of the first Fragile Freedoms lecture series on CBC Radio’s most excellent Ideas program. The speaker was British philosopher A. C. Grayling, who provided a brief survey [Read More...]

Don’t be a chickensh*t(ter)!

Way, way back when I was in college, I spent some time studying family systems therapy, which was developed by psychiatrist Murray Bowen beginning in the mid-1950s. In a nutshell, family systems therapy, or the Bowen Theory as it came to be called, is a theory of human behavior that views the family rather than [Read More...]

This is not a pipe. (Or a painting of a pipe!)

Last weekend I had a wonderful time speaking and showing Hellbound? at Lendrum Mennonite Brethren Church in Edmonton, Alberta. While preparing a talk entitled Why What’s Clear to You Isn’t So Clear to Me, I came across the painting below by Belgian artist RenĂ© Magritte. Called The Treachery of Images, I feel the painting is [Read More...]

How to get on the right side of history

A few years ago I made a serious attempt at becoming a day trader. Call it burnout, a midlife crisis or simply a desire to indulge a passion I’ve had since childhood, but I resolved to finally give it a go. So I did what I normally do when seeking to learn something new: I [Read More...]


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