7 Quick Takes (2/1/13)

--- 1 --- It has been a busy week for me, so lets all kick back and enjoy some slow motion video of burning gasoline being thrown through the air.--- 2 --- Meanwhile, around the internet, some of my college chums had some great essays this month.  Helen Rittelmeyer has a great piece on the Leopold half of Leopold and Loeb: We know that Leopold was seduced by Nietzsche and then saved from death by Clarence Darrow’s closing statement, and it’s possible that he found faith, in his own way, … [Read more...]

What should we be hurt by?

hand-with-candlelight

Poking around the internet, I ran across two interesting articles that seemed to be linked only by offhand comments about the legitimacy or 'realness' of certain kinds of suffering.  First, from a Mother Jones piece on PTSD: Whatever is happening to Caleb, it's as old as war itself. The ancient historian Herodotus told of Greeks being honorably dismissed for being "out of heart" and "unwilling to encounter danger." Civil War doctors, who couldn't think of any other thing that might be un … [Read more...]

Watch me discuss the Ideological Turing Test at Chicago Ideas Week!

Chicago Ideas headshot

In October, I was one of the religion panelists at the Chicago Ideas Week conference. My co-panelists included Eboo Patel (interfaith activist), Lauren Drain (fled the Westboro Baptist Church), Theodore Ross (his family hid their Judaism) and Julia Sweeney (atheist and comic).Since we were a diverse group of people, my talk was on having better arguments about religious disagreements, instead of just agreeing to disagree.  My talk was based on some of the principles of curious, charitable … [Read more...]

Darren the Humanist Explains it All to You

dancing humanist

This is a guest post, prompted my plea to hear more about how Humanists ground their philophies and people's interest in Darren's thought in the comments.  Thanks Darren for talking about what you defend!There was discussion on Leah’s blog of last week that the tenets of Humanism (or Secular Humanism, as I prefer) appear to lack a certain satisfying specificity. Having read through a few of the official manifestos, I am sympathetic to this view. It is all well and good to espouse Eq … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (1/25/12)

--- 1 --- Via io9, I found this beautiful, unconventionally animated story of a man who set off to kill Death.(Which naturally also reminded me of Mr. Teatime in Hogfather, which I heartily recommend). --- 2 --- Meanwhile in unconventional theatre news, First Things is reporting that a British theatre company is staging a sold-out production of John Rawls's A Theory of Justice: The Musical.  Here's the synopsis: In order to draw inspiration for his magnum opus, John Rawls travels back … [Read more...]

Yes, I am in favor of civil gay marriage!

Gay-Marriage just married

It looks like folks thought I was being coy in Sunday's post about the knock-on effects of gay marriage.  In fact, I was trying to avoid having the "gay marriage: yay or nay" debate hijack the point I was making: that the advent of gay marriage has made people pause and ask exactly what marriage is instead of embracing or rejecting it in a knee-jerk way.  The argument I was making didn't have the moral stature of gay marriage as a premise, and I wanted it to discuss something orthogonal to the us … [Read more...]

Questing for God in Land of Faerie

grimm fairy tales

Fare Forward, a new Christian magazine has just released its third issue.  Some articles are available to subscribers only, but my review of Philip Pullman's Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm is up today as one of the preview articles.  Check out my essay on learning moral law on the wrong side of the wardrobe, and check out the other topics in the issue to see if you'd like to subscribe.  Here's a teaser quote from my review: [W]hy does God feel so far from the magical world? Fairy tales are … [Read more...]


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