crisis of faith / unbelief

Biden vs. Bork, 1988: Democrats Smear a SCOTUS Nominee

Editor’s note: this article originally appeared in the May 1988 print edition of Crisis. It has been edited for brevity. Many people have asked me what it was like to live through the nomination and hearings of my husband, Robert Bork. I usually answer that it was like being besieged in a battle where the reinforcements [...]

Practicing Christians Who Don’t Believe

Most of us have probably wondered why people who clearly do not believe in Catholicism choose to remain within the Church, actively working to undermine its doctrines, structures, and practices. I have thought of more and more such reasons as time has gone on, some of whose validity has recently been confirmed by my reading [...]

More Reasons to Avoid Public Education

My family experienced public school for the first time this past semester, and it was ... well … memorable, up to and including last weekend’s graduation ceremonies. After 20 years of private Catholic schooling from K through college for our first three children, our youngest daughter, Gracie, ventured across the cultural aisle to finish her [...]

What Will Draw the “Nones” Back to Church?

The number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation—dubbed “the Nones”—has been growing steadily for two decades. The Nones are now a slightly larger percentage of the American population than Catholics. But they are not all atheists: half say they believe in God. The problem for many of them is organized religion: over 70 percent [...]

The New Primitives

When a man ceases to believe in God, observed Chesterton, he becomes capable of believing in anything. It looks like we may now have reached the “anything” stage of human history. As faith in Christianity recedes in the West, a strange thing is happening. Having shaken off belief in God, people are not becoming more [...]

Saving Fallen-Away Catholics with Luke Skywalker’s Help

How ought we to approach our family members and friends who have fallen away from the faith in the hopes of bringing them back? New survey data reports that, for the first time in our history, there are as many Americans with no religious affiliation as there are Catholics and Evangelicals. More significantly, of these [...]

He Is Risen! Evidence Beyond Reasonable Doubt

Some time ago, literary critic Stanley Fish observed that religion was “transgressing the boundary between private and public and demanding to be heard.” And that’s a dangerous thing because, as Mr. Fish sees it, religion is based on claims that are excluded from tests of “deliberative reason.” Take the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “The assertion [...]

Declining Sacramental Life of the Church an Alarming Trend

Where are you headed? This is not just a question the cabbie asks when you get into his car in a big city somewhere in America. It is also a question we ask ourselves as Catholics. With Lent in progress, we know the answer: We are headed to Easter and we get there by following the [...]

The Roots of American Alienation

After the 2016 elections, many tried to explain what happened. Some theories are not convincing since they seem to hide a darker reality of which we dare not speak. Others appear a bit too simplified to explain what we experience in daily life. To start the process of understanding our crisis, we need a clear [...]

We Have a Better Story

There was a time when it was nigh impossible not to believe in God—not because of man’s irrational superstitions, as atheist popularizers tell it, but because of nature’s rational design. To early thinkers, the intelligibility of nature pointed to an ineluctable fact: a prime, non-contingent source of reality (i.e., the uncaused Cause, the One, Apeiron, [...]

Becoming Saints In A Time of Scandal and Crisis

If The Pilgrim’s Progress was written today, Bunyan could accurately depict our time, by having the allegory’s protagonist, Christian, be besieged by a cacophony of voices. These voices would emanate from within him and from without, from the DNA he had received from Adam and Eve, and from external voices from different sources that would echo and [...]

The Desecration of God’s Temple

The lamentable condition—indeed, crisis—of our day in which heterodoxy and heteropraxy are not only tolerated but celebrated in the pew and pulpit, as well as the public square, was foretold by Jesus in arguably the most startling announcement of his ministry. On the previous day, he had been received by the townspeople as the conquering [...]

Hell Relishes a Useful Religion

Dear Swillpit, The next best thing to a religion that is ignored or marginalized is one that is found useful, i.e., a means to some practical end. Thus, the minute a creature is drawn into religion, help him to see its utility in something important to him. This something can be as personal as self-improvement [...]

The Making of an Apostate

Dear Swillpit, It's interesting how humans can go through life without giving much serious thought to their faith. Oh yes, they may believe in a supreme Being and an afterlife. They may be members of a church, even leaders or clergy. And they may have mouthed their allegiance to our Adversary. But beyond the sanctuary [...]

Waiting for Miracles

When I was a kid, I found a book that featured dozens of Eucharistic miracles. I was enraptured by the dramatic situations that led up to the glorious moment when a host dripped blood or turned into human flesh before an astonished congregation. For years after discovering this book, I didn’t bow my head during [...]

The Honest Apostasy of Melinda Selmys and Damon Linker

It took a while, but writers Melinda Selmys and Damon Linker have finally owned up to the thing gnawing at their consciences for years; they no longer believe the claims of the Catholic Church and have left. Selmys is a blogger at Patheos who calls herself “queer.” Linker is a columnist at The Week noted [...]

Strengthening Faith in a Time of Crisis

A crisis that strikes so centrally at the integrity of the Church necessitates a response from each one us. There must be general reform in the Church, but I’d like to explore how each one of us can respond to the Church’s crisis with a commitment to stronger faith and personal reform. In focusing on [...]

Sexual Scandals Reveal A Problem of Belief

Sooner or later, in some way or another, there will be an investigation as a result of the revelations concerning Cardinal McCarrick. The idea seems to be to discover what, within the structure of the Church, went wrong to allow for the abuse scandal to happen. I’m not certain that’s the problem. The problem, to [...]

Is the Koran a Literary Masterpiece?

In my last piece for Crisis, I emphasized the importance of casting doubts on Islamic beliefs just as we cast doubts on Soviet Communist ideology during the Cold War. With that in mind, let’s talk about the Koran. It’s the fountain from which the ideology flows. It is quoted incessantly by terrorist leaders and imams [...]

Losing Their Religion

From time to time, readers of my articles will ask: “What do you want to do—go to war with 1.7 billion Muslims?” The question implies that any criticism of Islam will force the members of this “peaceful religion” to respond with massive violence. More or less the same argument was used during the Cold War. [...]

Renewing the Intellectual Optics of Catholicism

The liberal arts curriculum as we know it today formally grew out of the theological education of the early Middle Ages; however, this heritage seems to have been largely forgotten. Over the years, I’ve found that professors at English and Composition conferences often tilt their heads at me when I mention theology. Sometimes they deflect the [...]

MENU