Stanley Hauerwas, one of America’s preeminent theologians and ethicists, thinks the combination of a “liberal narrative” and modern medicine has led to an inability to deal with death and sickness in a healthy, communal way.
For a set of related reasons Hauerwas claims that the liberal narrative is the story by which the American nation-state […]
I haven’t had much direct experience with death. Only now, in my mid-thirties, have I gained a sense of anything remotely like permanent loss. Nearly two years ago a friend my age passed away from lung cancer. At the time we were both part of a reading group which had just finished a book entitled […]
Perhaps you’ve watched the interview in which Stephen Colbert talks about his faith? A couple of things said in the interview got me thinking about my own faith and the fine balance between hope and despair. This is partly due to the fact that at the moment I’m trying to make sense of the […]
Nick Spencer begins Atheists: The Origin of the Species with a fairy tale. The story he recounts is an abbreviated version of the tale championed in nineteenth-century Europe whereby progress in scientific understanding banishes ignorance and with it the pseudo-knowledge peddled by priests. In other words: progress followed science, and science displaced religion. The trouble […]
American evangelicalism is anti-intellectual. Such a view has enjoyed fairly wide currency since Mark Noll’s The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. In Apostles of Reason, Molly Worthen attempts to correct this view, but not by rejecting it outright. She shows how American evangelicals have been engaged in a range of intellectual projects – institutions, magazines, […]
What is responsible for the rise of atheism in history? According to Nick Spencer the answer lies in politics, not science. And it’s politics, he thinks, that explains why only 2% of American report being atheists, and why those atheists continue to be regarded more negatively than religious believers.
Spencer’s general argument rests on […]
How do we recognize the hand of providence? All historians have to confront this question in some form. Considered in literary terms providence is a trope, one emplotment of structured explanation amongst many. In the attempt to understand and explain the past historians offer scholarly stories in which evidence is intentionally collected, critically evaluated, and […]
Has triumphalism been defeated? That’s a purposefully ambiguous and potentially self-contradictory question. It may be safe to say that it has been seriously challenged, but you don’t have to listen to the news very long before you hear narratives of political, cultural, or religious triumph aired from New Delhi to New York.
In his magnum […]
Since Sources of the Self Charles Taylor has contended that ours is a fractured world. The world in question is that of the North Atlantic, including Europe and North America. The world in question is also a worldview in that Taylor has examined what he takes to be the trajectory of the moral and mental […]
William James wrote things that can still ring true. Consider a quote from the The Varieties of Religious Experience: “This inferiority of the rationalistic level in founding belief is just as manifest when rationalism argues for religion as when it argues against it.” I say “ring true” because James attempts to describe the varieties of […]
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