As reports trickled out of northern Iraq last week about the living hell that ISIS had brought to earth for hundreds of thousands of Christians and Yazidis, one detail kept coming up in the stories that haunted my social media feeds: They’re beheading children.
If it was true, it was a damning detail worthy of […]
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 […]
I read a lot of things I disagree with, but this post on Richard Dawkins by The Spectator’s Damian Thompson stands out as one of the more brazenly dishonest ones I’ve encountered in a while. Dawkins is currently in hot water with feminists and others for tweeting about rape, and a few people, […]
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 […]
One of the defining myths of movement conservatism is that of inherent liberal totalitarianism, or “Liberal Fascism”—the notion that the true aim of American liberalism is to wipe out all dissenting views and impose a uniform, godless secularism on the whole country. It has been a strong theme of social conservative punditry during the […]
Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age by Robert Bellah. Harvard, 2011, 784pp.
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 […]
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 […]
The first song I learned by heart was Harry Chapin’s “Mr. Tanner,” (embedded below) a crushingly sad tune about a laundromat owner from Dayton, Ohio, who loves to sing. Here’s the first verse:
“Mr. Tanner was a cleaner from a town in the Midwest
And of all the cleaning shops around, he’d made his the best
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 […]
I was just reading the questions suspected of leaking from the 2014 bac, the French post-high school exam that performs many of the same functions as the American SAT, though it’s more difficult and consequential. It includes essay questions like, “Is the artist the master of his work?” and requires explications of Descartes and […]
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