Triaging Moral Disagreements

Excel and I are having a fight, so the Turing Test results will go up tomorrow, after I beat the program into submission. In the meantime...Calah Alexander and Melinda Selmys had two really great reaction pieces to Pope Francis's interview that I'd like to share.  First up, Melinda Selmys has an essay up at Spiritual Friendship titled "Field Hospital for the Wounded."  She picks up on Pope Francis's language, and expands the metaphor to talk about how to evangelize without exacerbating t … [Read more...]

[Turing 2013] Answer Key

Pencils down and masks off!  Tomorrow, I'll be posting the winners in the Christian round, and the Atheist round winners on Wednesdays, but you can all start scoring yourselves now, because our lovely contestants were...  Christians: Beth - Author of C6 and A[this is the person who didn't send an 'A' response] I was raised Roman Catholic and cut my apologetic teeth in discussions with atheist friends.  I just finished my MA in Theology (my only 2 years of Catholic school). I consider … [Read more...]

Recommendations for the Lives of the Saints

I've just finished reading Sigrid Undset's life of Catherine of Siena, and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that most of my knowledge of the lives of the Saints comes from Wikipedia.  Admittedly, Catherine was no less terrifying at book length than in a short article, but sitting down with Undset's book helped me take her in a bit more in toto, instead of as a timeline of miraculous acts and grotesque suffering.But I haven't read many other hagiographies.  I've read G.K. Chesterton's lives o … [Read more...]

7 Francis Takes (9/20/13)

 As you've probably heard, Pope Francis gave a broad ranging interview to America this week, and if everyone is going to pick out quotations (with or without context) I figured I could offer seven that interested me this week (with brief, non-authoritative commentary).  --- 1 --- Other people have covered the lovely simplicity of Pope Francis's self description [excerpted below] but I was just charmed at the multilingual pope needed to reach for an invented gerund to express … [Read more...]

“Use every man after his desert, and who should ‘scape whipping?”

Looking through social media this morning, I saw more than a few scandalized comments about the news that a priest who had practiced some form of self bondage was being returned to ministerial duties.  Here's the gist: The Roman Catholic bishop of Springfield, Ill., has returned a priest to ministry after an internal investigation into what the priest’s own clinical therapist had diagnosed as “non-sexual self-bondage.”Bishop Thomas Paprocki said in a statement that the Rev. Thomas Donovan wo … [Read more...]

The Strain of Pride

I've read most of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, but I'd never gotten around to his Tiffany Aching series til this month.  These books are pitched as more for children than the main Discworld sequence (which doesn't explain why my local library stored them, in order, in YA Fiction, Adult SF, YA Fiction again, and finally the Children's section).I'd say they're enjoyable, but not as much so as the main books (try Witches Abroad, instead, which I've just gotten onto my gentleman caller's q … [Read more...]

Sam Harris Throws Down His Gauntlet

Ok, probably not this gauntlet Sam Harris, one of the 'Four Horsemen' of New Atheism, has issued a challenge to critics of his moral philosophy. It has been nearly three years since The Moral Landscape was first published in English, and in that time it has been attacked by readers and nonreaders alike. Many seem to have judged from the resulting cacophony that the book’s central thesis was easily refuted. However, I have yet to encounter a substantial criticism that I feel was not adequately a … [Read more...]