Why Not Refer to ISIS by an Epithet?

name is

Patheos doesn't have any site-wide style guide for bloggers, but, over at The Friendly Atheist, Terry Firma announced a style change that will apply to that blog, specifically.  The contributing bloggers over there are going to stop referring to ISIS as ISIS, ISIL, the Islamic State, or anything else except Daesh.Here's the passage Firma quoted from the Boston Globe to explain the decision, interspersed with his own comments:The term “Daesh” is strategically a better choice because it is … [Read more...]

Life Lessons that Can’t be Taught at College’s Scale


In Ethika Politika, Margaret Blume explains why she's preferred her studies at Notre Dame to her undergrad years at Yale, my own alma mater.  Yale has distribution requirements (Writing, Science, Humanities, Quantitative Reasoning, etc), but no single course is required -- your math credit can come from econ or astronomy or set theory.  Blume found that the Chinese menu course of study left her and some of her classmates feeling ungrounded: Yale’s system, which does not include theology and is b … [Read more...]

Cultivating Openness to Truth During Fights [Radio Readings]


You can listen to “Fights in Good Faith,” my weekly radio program, streaming today at 5pm ET and tomorrow (Sun) at 1pm.  And the episode is now available to stream (and download!)This week's program is adapted from a talk I gave at St. Dominic's in San Francisco on "Cultivating Openness to Truth."  Thanks so much to the parish for hosting me and to the parishioners and guests for asking such good questions -- those questions are what informed the last segment of the show today.Every w … [Read more...]

A Fired-Up, Fusty Witness to Christian Faith [Saints Bookclub]

(Saint Cecilia in St Mary The Virgin in Little Wymondley cc Wikimedia Commons)

In 2015, I'm reading and blogging through Ronald Knox's collection of sermons on Christian exemplars, Captive Flames: On Selected Saints and Christian Heroes.  Every Monday, I'll be writing about the next portrait in the book, so you're welcome to peruse them all and/or read along.The first sermon in the book is on Saint Cecilia, who Knox sees as a model for ordinary Christians, who may feel they have no particularly saintly challenges to face.  He contrasts St. Cecilia with St. Cath … [Read more...]

“You Shouldn’t Say That…” as a gift, not an attack

(cc  ClintJCL)

I'm at The American Conservative today, talking about the legitimacy of campaigns for civility and condemnations (not de jure censorship) of extreme and/or offensive speech:The Case for Civility Campaigns After Charlie Hebdo Arguing that campaigns for civility, against catcalling, against graphic sexual content in the public sphere, against “microaggressions,” differ only in degree, not in kind, from the Charlie Hebdo murders requires casting every cultural war as an exercise in annihilati … [Read more...]

Into the Weeds (and the Woods) [Radio Readings]


My new, weekly radio program, Fights in Good Faith, premiers today.  You'll be able to stream it live here on Real Life Radio at 5pm Eastern, and you can catch it again on Sunday at 1pm.  After it airs, the audio will be available on my show's page.  And, in the meantime, here's the 30 second promo for the show:Every Saturday, before the show airs, I'll be posting on the blogs to share links to all the major books, songs, concepts that I mention on the show.  So, while you're listening, i … [Read more...]

Ethical Edge Cases So Sharp You’ll Cut Yourself


I've run into three considerations of hypotheticals (two of them in the last week) that all seem to fall into a pattern.  First up. there's this dialogue, related to me by a friend who teaches a second grade catechism class. (They were discussing how the disciples of Christ spread the gospel). Teacher: If you had to spread a message today, how would you do it? Second Grader: I'd capture a mountain lion and tame him and ride him so fast. Teacher: Hmmm... That might not work if the mountain … [Read more...]