crisis of faith / unbelief

Vermont Pols Think the New Yorker Is an Authority on Abortion

Operating out of the national spotlight that is focused on late-term abortion legislation around the U.S., Vermont legislators are quietly seeking to enshrine their already exceptionally broad abortion policies into state law. Unrestricted abortion is already permitted for any reason and at any stage of pregnancy in the Green Mountain State, but that hasn’t stopped [...]

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 [...]

Do Muslims Need the Gospel?

Should Catholics evangelize Muslims? Currently there doesn’t seem to be much effort in that direction. For example, a recent Pew survey shows that 23 percent of Muslims in America no longer identify with that faith, and, of those, only 9 percent convert to a different faith. The other 91 percent effectively become secular. By the [...]

Being Our Brother’s Keeper Requires Moral Judgment

Throughout my Christian life the question that has haunted me more than any other is why there is not a greater difference between Christians and non-Christians. The lack of distinctive Christian behavior and practice has prompted observers like Mohandas Gandhi to conclude, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.” It has caused [...]

Unpracticed Faith is Functional Atheism

In “Is Grace Amazing or Appalling,” some readers felt I was advocating the cheap grace of faith without works. Although I should have been more clear, it was not my intent to suggest that human effort has no role in coming to Grace, and afterward. Rather, my point was that our works do not merit [...]

Mainstream Journalism’s Religion Problem

Now that Holy Week is behind us, it is worth reflecting on the "religious" views expressed by “mainstream journalism” over those few days. While not expressing it quite so crudely as the last Democratic president and his wanna-be successor—the press seem stumped by those “baskets of deplorables” who still “cling to guns or religion.” Take [...]

Why Are You Catholic? 

Some people call me a street preacher. I’m not a street preacher. The label does roll off the tongue, but it also carries a fairly negative connotation. I could be more accurately described as a street questioner. I spend about a dozen Saturday mornings each year, standing on a street corner adjacent to the Farmer’s [...]

The Faithlessness of Public Education

In the wake of the dreadful massacre at the high school in Florida, I asked, via social media, what I thought was a question so obvious that everyone was bound to miss it, just as you do not notice the air you breathe. It was simply this. Why is no one surprised that a deranged [...]

On the Failure of Homiletics

“They have all zeal and no truth, and we have all truth and no zeal.” ∼ Bishop Sheen on the Church’s enemies In The Light of Christ, the fine new book by Father Thomas Joseph White, OP, we read that “[b]elonging to the Church does not give people a blank check so that they can live [...]

A Medieval Remedy for Modernity’s Ills

Show me a Catholic not troubled by the circumstances of these days, and I will show you a Catholic asleep. Society’s woes rock his soul, but the historic perils facing Holy Church do so even more. Not only from outside her walls, but more frighteningly, from within. How are we to keep our spirits from [...]

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