“Fearful it is to fall in the hands of the Living God” Hebrews 10:31 “The matter is quite simple. The bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say,… Read more

I don’t like talking about politics here directly, but just a quick riff on Ross Douthat’s post on how Republican presidential candidates should answer the “Is Obama a Christian?” question. First, Douthat and I had the same reaction: for conservatives to endorse a secularist vision of religion in the public square (“His religion is no one’s business!”) to duck a very easy question is incredibly short-sighted. Religion does have consequences, and it’s perfectly legitimate to talk about it. And the brouhahas over Obama’s… Read more

Beauty is beauty and deserves to be honored as such. I knew Lady Gaga was a classically-trained musician, but I didn’t know she was also such a talented singer. Like Photoshop, Autotune destroys beauty instead of enhancing it. Here’s her “Sound of Music” homage at the Oscars: And here she is, at the classic live music French show Taratata: A hat tip to two of my favorite tweeps, Ellen Anderson and Alexandre Delaigue. Read more

So, here’s a contention: the endeavor of the scientist presupposes intelligibility, that is to say, some sort of possible conformity between our minds and reality; but intelligibility is impossible if reality is not itself the product of a mind; therefore, science can only ultimately flourish within a theist (perhaps even only Christian) culture, where science is understood as a legitimate way of understanding the mind of God and approaching God (or even, in a Christian worldview, responding to God’s action of… Read more

Google “Jesus in space.” Go ahead, I dare you. (No copyright because this is one of those eternal internet memes whose author is untraceable.) Some of you who have been following me on Twitter for a while know that I’ve had misgivings about C.S. Lewis. The Narnia stories never attracted me and his non-fiction work seemed like middlebrow popularization of basic theology–not that there’s anything wrong with that, quite to the contrary (I sometimes think we need that more than we need academic… Read more

One striking fact about the New Atheism that hasn’t gone remarked upon enough is how English it is. Out of the Four Horsemen, after all, two are English, and both Oxford men, two, a fact which is rather notable for a movement mainly driven by U.S. book sales. The best candidate for Fifth Horseman is the British “philosopher” A.C. Grayling (yes, I stand by those quotes), who is also, like Hitchens and Dawkins, an Oxford man. For example, it was Francis Spufford who noted… Read more

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So, here’s a provocative thesis: what we typically call “the Sexual Revolution” isn’t a revolution at all, but instead a reaction, in the political sense, meaning an attempt to turn back the clock back to paganism. Christianity effected a revolution in the Ancient world, particularly in the domain of sexuality. I think the best way to get at this is to remember the Catholic Oscar Wilde’s quote: “Everything is about sex, except sex. Sex is about power.” In the Ancient… Read more

I wrote in an earlier post that Modern and post-Modern philosophy is haunted by the impossibility of truth; this even means the impossibility of metaphysics. No better example of this is Iris Murdoch, the great writer and philosopher. As Alan Jacobs writes, introducing an excellent overview of her thought: Murdoch is a Platonist, to a degree and with a purity almost unknown in modern thought: it is the Good that she seeks, the Idea or Form of the Good. I love me… Read more

The great writer once gave a stated reason for not embracing the Catholic Church (his good friend J.R.R. Tolkien thought the great man still had a bit of Ulster anti-Catholicism in him) in a quote that has become famous, at least in some circles: “The real reason why I cannot be in communion with you [Catholics] is not my disagreement with this or that Roman doctrine, but that to accept your Church means, not to accept a given body of… Read more

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