A curated selection of articles of interest from the past week related to Christianity and culture.
News et cetera
Three reasons why you should read more poetry. Written by yours truly. [Transpositions]
On consciousness deniers: What is the silliest claim ever made? The competition is fierce, but I think the answer is easy. Some people have denied the existence of consciousness: conscious experience, the subjective character of experience, the “what-it-is-like” of experience. Next to this denial—I’ll call it “the Denial”—every known religious belief is only a little less sensible than the belief that grass is green. [New York Review of Books]
The disappearance of desire: “The trans movement is asking Americans to accept and indeed to make their lives and their perceptions of reality conform to a set of extraordinary ideas based on very little debate. These claims are often put forth in the language of psychiatry and psychology, and they implicate the lives of real people, many of whom suffer genuine, sometimes unbearable anguish. Which good American can say no to the cries of a suffering minority, especially when they are amplified by scientific authority? The science isn’t there yet, in point of fact. The case for accepting and advancing the cause of transgenderism is, at root, a radical philosophical argument—one that goes to the heart of what it means to be human. Accepting the trans movement’s argument requires us to lend credence to an extreme form of mind-matter dualism, and involves severing the links between bodily sex, gender identity, and erotic desire.” [Commentary Mag]
Why Earth’s history appears so miraculous: The strange, cosmic reason our evolutionary path will look ever luckier the longer we survive. [Atlantic]
More on Jordan Peterson: The intellectual we deserve: Jordan Peterson’s popularity is the sign of a deeply impoverished political and intellectual landscape. [Current Affairs]
How to talk about abortion. “When moral philosophers and others take up an issue that is at the center of public debate, we tend to frame it as a matter of individual ethics. Is it morally permissible to eat meat? To offer money for sex? To have an abortion? Yet, such questions often fail to focus on the issues that are important and relevant for public policy and, as a result, can derail productive public debate.” [NYT]
“I am not a fan of Natural Family Planning. My husband and I have been using NFP—or more precisely, practicing a method of fertility awareness—since the day we were married eleven years ago. We have used NFP not because of the well-crafted lectures that convinced us of its ethical importance. We have not used this medically endorsed approach because its health benefits have proven true. Neither have we chosen to chart our countercultural course because of the legendary “honeymoon phase” that many NFP proponents have lauded in their testimonies. We have practiced NFP because we honor the teachings of the Catholic Church.” [First Things]
The Instagram pastor: Mr. Veach believes he can save souls by being the hip and happy-go-lucky preacher, the one you want to share a bowl of açaí with at Backyard Bowls on Beverly Boulevard, who declines to publicly discuss politics in the Trump era because it’s hard to minister if no one wants to come to church. Jesus is supposed to be fun, right? “I want to be loud and dumb,” Mr. Veach said with a wide, toothy grin. “That’s my goal. If we aren’t making people laugh, what are we doing? What is the point?” [NYT]
Philip Levine’s poem “They Feed They Lion.”
About this poem he said: “I would say that the best poem I ever wrote came easily, came rather quickly: “They Feed They Lion.” It’s about a reaction to the riots and the sort of urban rebellion of the ’60s in Detroit. And it tries to reach into the depths of what causes things like this.”
The official trailer for upcoming documentary about Mr. Roger’s: Won’t You be My Neighbor? Read more about it here: Soulful, Inspiring Mister Rogers Movie Trailer Just Might Make You Cry.