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Sympathy for the Borg

The idea of the mystical body of Christ has always been one of great interest to me, as there was always something about it at odds with the mentality in which I was raised: "Be yourself", etc. was (and remains) the mantra of the day, and the whole idea of being but a single part of something larger did not always sit well. I remember being a ten-year-old watching as the Borg stripped Captain Picard of his identity and "assimilated" him into their collective (his pronoun "I" replaced with... Read More

Are We Living in the Matrix?

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Filed under Culture

On Monday, the New Yorker suggested that “the bizarre finale to Sunday night’s Oscar ceremony brought to mind the theory—far from a joke—that humanity is living in a computer simulation gone haywire.” Lest you think that such a self-evidently absurd theory is a mere cry for attention from a dying publication, the idea that we’re all in the Matrix was actually seriously debated at the American Museum of Natural History’s 2016 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate. The list of those... Read More

Stephen Colbert vs. Ricky Gervais: The Late Show Atheism Debate

On February 1, comedian Ricky Gervais appeared on CBS’s The Late Show where he and host Stephen Colbert discussed God and atheism: .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Regardless of how you feel about his theological views, Colbert is probably the most famous U.S. celebrity... Read More

I was an Atheist Until I Read “The Lord of the Rings”

I grew up in a loving, comfortable atheist household of professional scientists. My dad was a lapsed Catholic, and my mom was a lapsed Lutheran. From the time that I could think rationally on the subject, I did not believe in God. God was an imaginary being for which there was no proof. At best, God was a fantasy for half-witted people to compensate their ignorance and make themselves feel better about their own mortality. At worst, God was a perverse delusion responsible for most of the... Read More

The Philosophical Landscape of “Westworld”

At the halfway point of HBO’s unsettling new series Westworld – a J.J. Abrams reboot of the 1973 film written and directed by Michael Crichton – some big plot questions remain. Is William a younger Man in Black? Is Bernard really a host? And what’s this maze all about? The premise of the show is (relatively) straightforward: In the distant future, scientists and businessmen collaborate to create a vast amusement park in the style of the Old West, populating it with artificially... Read More

The “3:10 to Yuma” Proof of God

“Yeah, that's why I don't mess around with doing anything good, Dan. You do one good deed for somebody...I imagine it's habit-forming. Something decent. See that grateful look in their eyes, imagine it makes you feel like Christ Hisself.” – Ben Wade “Virtue is not an act, but a disposition (a habit).” –Aristotle   Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft famously describes the “Bach argument for the existence of God,” wherein God’s existence is clearly posited by a) the... Read More

“Risen” and the Reality of the Resurrection

When I saw the coming attractions for the new film Risen—which deals with a Roman tribune searching for the body of Jesus after reports of the resurrection—I thought that it would leave the audience in suspense, intrigued but unsure whether these reports were justified or not. I was surprised and delighted to discover that the movie is, in fact, robustly Christian and substantially faithful to the Biblical account of what transpired after the death of Jesus. My favorite scene shows... Read More

The Alien Nation of “Fargo”

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Filed under Culture

Right before becoming hypnotized by a UFO in the middle of the road – a fatal error which puts him halfway through “self-actualizing” hairdresser Peggy Blumquist’s windshield – Rye Gerhardt, the youngest son of a North Dakota crime family, corners a judge in a waffle hut in a fledgling attempt at extortion. Before Gerhardt resorts to shooting everyone in sight, the judge sighs and explains why he’s wasting his time: “One day, the Devil came to God and said, ‘Let's make... Read More

René Girard and Unveiling the Mono-Myth

René Girard, one of the most influential Catholic philosophers in the world, died last week at the age of 91. Born in Avignon and a member of the illustrious Academie Francaise, Girard nevertheless made his academic reputation in the United States, as a professor at Indiana University, Johns Hopkins University, and Stanford University. There are some thinkers that offer intriguing ideas and proposals, and there is a tiny handful of thinkers that manage to shake your world. Girard was... Read More

“The Martian” and Why Each Life Matters

Ridley Scott’s The Martian is a splendidly told tale of survival and pluck, reminiscent of the novel Robinson Crusoe and the films Life of Pi and Castaway. In this case, the hero is Mark Watney, an astronaut on a mission to Mars who is left behind by his crewmates when he is presumed dead after being lost during a devastating storm. Through sheer determination and an extraordinary application of his scientific know-how, Watney manages to survive. For example, realizing that his food... Read More

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