Fending off near occasions of sin

Late last week, Xanthate asked: I got to ask, as a Christian, how do you feel comfortable watching media which frequently glamorises violence, non-married sex, and other sins? I’m a recent convert, and I’ve chosen not to watch/read this sort of stuff, so I’m interested to hear your thoughts. I don't watch much TV, just The Thick of It (for the vigorous and inventive invective) and Switched at Birth (for the ASL practise).  So I don't run into much sex on either show.  (Plenty of wrath-as-humor … [Read more...]

“Just one more thing” on LARPing

Via statistician Andrew Gelman's blog, this description of Columbo's method seemed like a nice example about how something like the LARPing exercise can return a negative result. Here’s what Columbo does. He hears the killer’s story and he takes it very seriously (it’s murder, and Columbo never jokes about murder), examines all its implications, and finds where it doesn’t fit the data. Then Columbo carefully examines the discrepancies, tries some model expansion, and eventually concludes that he … [Read more...]

You Shall Know Them By Their Fruits

nerf gun

Bob Seidensticker of Cross Examined (the one who sparked the discussion of the Atheist Prayer Experiment), put up a post earlier this week titled “I Used to be an Atheist, Just Like You” where he talks about three groups of atheists. Let me quote the relevant part: Group 3. These are the well-informed atheists. They understand both sides of the ontological, teleological, cosmological, transcendental, fine-tuning, and moral arguments and more. They are at least well-educated amateurs on evo … [Read more...]

Turns out someone was actually converted by the LARPing strategy

Back in the archives of the Why I am Catholic repository of conversion stories comes this anecdote from convert-from-Paganism Libby Edwards: I also enjoyed comic books. (Bear with me; this will all tie together in a moment.) My favorite character was from The Uncanny X-Men, a blue, fuzzy mutant with a spaded tail and a penchant for swashbuckling with a sword. His name was Nightcrawler, and he was a devout Catholic--possibly the only devout Catholic to ever star in comic books. He was something … [Read more...]

Just Give Me One Good Reason Not to Change My Mind

Eli of Rust Belt Philosophy thinks my LARP Your Way to Truth advice is a snare and a delusion. Let me post some excerpts, but you should pop over and read the short takedown piece in full for fairness: To begin, I cannot begin to imagine why Libresco thinks that curiosity only happens in the context of suspended disbelief. Perhaps she herself has that sort of cognitive limitation - though I doubt it - but it's hardly something that the rest of us have to deal with. I also have a really hard … [Read more...]

Erga Mortuos, Nihil Nisi Caritas

Chris Hallquist is asking whether there's any reason to read the works of the dead charitably.  When it comes to the living, he can see the following advantages:Charity helps avoid flame wars It’s good to be careful not to unjustifiably damage someone’s reputation From a Machiavellian point of view, it’s nice to close off responses of the form, “what I meant was…”But he doesn't think any of them carry over when the author is dead.I've got a couple objections, so let me list t … [Read more...]

LARP Your Way to Truth

"It's an unorthodox epistemology, but it just might work!"

Over in the Atheist channel, Bob Seidensticker of Cross Examined is experimenting with prayer.  He's signed up for an experiment run by Justin Brierley of the Unbelievable radio show (which you may remember from the time Hemant and I tangled on air).  The program is asking for atheists to try praying for at least two to three minutes a day for God to reveal Himself to them (if he exists).  After 40 days, the atheists are going to share their experiences and, if applicable, conversions.Bob's a … [Read more...]


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