Art & Culture

turkey-closed

Thanksgiving is rapidly competing with Christmas as a candidate holiday for the next cultural war. We know, of course, that December 25 is the holiday that dare not speak its name, having been transmogrified into “winter holiday” lest delicate ears be offended by “C-h-r-i-s-t-m-a-s.” Thanksgiving, so far, has managed to retain its name of religious [...]

Thanksgiving is rapidly competing with Christmas as a candidate holiday for the next cultural war. We know, of course, that December 25 is the holiday that dare not speak its name, having been transmogrified into “winter holiday” lest delicate ears be offended by “C-h-r-i-s-t-m-a-s.” Thanksgiving, so far, has managed to retain its name of religious [...]

Earlier this month, the BBC interviewed E.O. Wilson (a highly reputable emeritus Professor of Entomology at Harvard University) asking him about his differing views on natural selection with Richard Dawkins. He responded that: There is no dispute between me and Richard Dawkins and there never has been, because he’s a journalist, and journalists are people [...]

When we go to the cinema or rent a DVD, our motives are usually fairly simplistic: we seek to be entertained, and most likely we choose a movie because we are specifically in the mood for passive entertainment which requires little or no mental effort on our part. If you are like me, though, you [...]

Late nineteenth-century English Catholic politics may be characterized by the fluctuating party sympathies of John Henry Newman. Despite his identification with nineteenth-century liberalism, Newman supported the Tories in 1865: I have no great love of the Conservatives, as being Erastians of a type which I do not think you can admire—but I speak of them [...]

Bill Cosby is 77. He may well live another 5 years, but is unlikely to live more than 10 years. Still, there are no accounts suggesting diminished capacity for the bright, thoughtful Bill Cosby who has been a famous comedian and more recently a brave social commentator on failed fatherhood in black America. In his [...]

A culture is a way of living, a system of habit and attitude, an orientation toward life and the world, that is shared and basically taken for granted within a community. It arises naturally when people live together, since we are social beings who need common habits and understandings to live together happily and productively. [...]

Why are people who quit social media so amusing? After years of embroiled use, a bad break up, a nasty spat, a vague feeling of listlessness, another Luddite throws up his hands and renounces social media with—of all things—a tweet or a Facebook status: “Friends, I’m deactivating my account in a week. I can’t take [...]

Interstellar has blasted onto movie screens across the globe, and is going into orbit at the box office—$300, 000, 000, and counting. In addition, its critical acclaim seems to suggest that the movie event of the year has just landed. But, is it any good? Well, before we splash down, let’s look at the background. [...]

Recently, Alfred Hitchcock came back from the dead, and, in so doing, frightened a man "back into life." Let me explain. The headline ran as follows: "Hitchcock suspense clip helps detect awareness in patient in vegetative state!" A man had been in a coma for 16 years. The prognosis was not good, hope for his [...]

On Not Taking It Anymore

“Do not conform yourselves to this age.”   ∼ St. Paul, Letter to the Romans (12:2) Living in a world where much has been laid waste by forces hostile to faith and hope, the challenge becomes that of finding evidence for the things that one loves. Or simply going mad in the face of all [...]

Forgive me, Lord, if I use your words for an admonitory parable. You said to the Pharisees, “What man among you, having a hundred sheep, and learning that one of them has wandered into the wilderness, will not leave the ninety nine and go after the lost sheep? And when he has found it, will [...]

Problems are oftentimes more obvious than solutions. In a recent article, I wrote on the obstacle that Internet pornography introduces to masculine education by injuring the sense of wonder and the sacred. I recalled how the effects of this “drug” were ones that my old boarding-school headmaster was reticent to allow into the culture of [...]

The headmaster of the all-boys boarding school I attended when I was a teenager was always wary of admitting students to the academy that had been exposed to pornography. Among his reasons for this was that boys who had carnal knowledge—even on the level that pornography affords—very often found it an impediment in the process [...]

In spite of themselves, atheists can help to remind us of an important truth about God, that is, that he radically transcends the universe. It is God’s very transcendence that makes atheism possible, or at least more likely. If God were an item in the universe open to empirical investigation, presumably, there would be far [...]

Although the recent book by Fr. Maciej Zieba is titled Papal Economics: The Catholic Church on Democratic Capitalism, from Rerum Novarum to Caritas in Veritate, it is really not so much about papal economics as it is about papal political philosophy. Further, it is not about the Catholic Church’s teaching on democratic capitalism broadly speaking [...]

These days I spend a good deal of my time in the university talking with students who are both philosophical skeptics and advocates for “social justice.” As a teacher, I feel compelled to try to explain how the first commitment undermines the second. Though my contribution is not always welcome, I foolishly persist in making [...]

Somewhere along the line of modern history, the idea has taken root, spread, and become commonly held among seculars that religious people hold to a Faith that is separate from, and at odds with, natural reason. Modern science, following the lead of modern philosophy and modern secularized religion, has fallen for the heretical notion that [...]

There are lots of atheists out there, but when Stephen Hawking denies the existence of God, headlines ensue and people take notice. They shouldn’t. The theological beliefs of leading scientists vary over time. Aristotle was a polytheist, Newton a monotheist and now, it seems, Stephen Hawking advocates for atheism. But this means nothing. To assume [...]

It began with an email. A friend had been to London’s West End to see a play called Wolf Hall, a new production by the Royal Shakespeare Company; he asked if I had heard of it? Heard of it? I was tired hearing of it. Let me explain: Wolf Hall is a novel set in [...]

We live in an age of bad leadership. To judge by appearances, politicians today are mostly driven by partisanship and personal advantage. Business leaders are rapacious and indifferent to the welfare of their employees and customers, and to the value of their products. Artists, intellectuals, scholars, and journalists are more concerned with career and ideology [...]

Death and sex for kids—Halloween is scarier than ever. Given the trends, there is little wonder why many Catholics hold Halloween as more trick than treat nowadays. One of the wildest perversions of the Christian calendar is that the holy day before All Saints Day, All Hallows' Eve, is now an unholy day of fear [...]

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