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Why You Should Do Something Today Other than Read this Blog

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Filed under Culture

If you’ve ever taken a walk in a suburban neighborhood on a pleasant fall or summer evening, an amazing sight is almost certain to greet your eyes. As you stroll along the streets of Suburbia, USA you’ll become aware of the astounding reality that you are almost entirely alone on the street as you walk. Further, as the sun sets, the glow of another light source starts to become more noticeable. You will see waves and flashes of multicolored light streaming forth from the living room... Read More

The Existential Classic Behind Woody Allen’s “Irrational Man”

Irrational Man, the 45th film from the prolific Woody Allen, starts Joaquin Phoenix as Abe Lucas, a philosophy professor in a small town undergoing an “existential crisis.” You suffer from despair,” Emma Stone (who plays one of his students) tells him – and it appears she’s right. The professor has a drinking problem, suffers from “dizziness and anxiety,” and is tormented by a quest to commit a “meaningful act.” Early reviews suggest that Irrational Man will go the way... Read More

Why Science Hasn’t Disproved Free Will: A Review of Alfred Mele’s “Free”

In his Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein complained that “in psychology there are experimental methods and conceptual confusion.” What he meant is that academic psychologists too often interpret empirical evidence in light of unexamined and dubious metaphysical assumptions. What is presented as good science is really just bad philosophy. The recent spate of neuroscientific and psychological literature claiming to show that free will is an illusion provides a case in... Read More

“The Avengers” and Friedrich Nietzsche

C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and their colleagues in the Inklings wanted to write fiction that would effectively “evangelize the imagination,” accustoming the minds, especially of young people, to the hearing of the Christian Gospel. Accordingly, Tolkien’s Gandalf is a figure of Jesus the prophet and Lewis’s Aslan a representation of Christ as both sacrificial victim and victorious king. Happily, the film versions of both The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia have proven... Read More

Dark Ages and Secularist Rages: A Response to Professor A.C. Grayling

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Filed under Culture, History

A few years ago, Professor A.C. Grayling, professor of philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, wrote a column titled "The persistence of the faithful" in The Guardian. Grayling's column was ostensibly concerned with the apparent decision of the British government passing the "Equality Act," which would make it law that adoption agencies, including those run by the Catholic Church, would have to allow homosexual couples to use their adoption services. But Grayling's... Read More

How Modern Art Led Me to God

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Filed under Art

There was a recent controversy in Tacoma, Washington because the Tacoma Art Museum considered showing the work of an artist named David Wojnarowicz. Specifically, they wanted to show a video montage he put together that was pulled by the Smithsonian because it was too offensive. The Tacoma museum’s curator responded to critics by saying, “For someone to come and have to confront this image, it’s not going to be easy but art’s not easy.” Curious about what this non-easy art might... Read More

The Glory of Being Shut Up

  “Christ prophesied the whole of Gothic architecture in that hour when nervous and respectable people (such people as now object to barrel organs) objected to the shouting of the gutter-snipes of Jerusalem. He said, 'If these were silent, the very stones would cry out.' Under the impulse of His spirit arose like a clamorous chorus the facades of the mediaeval cathedrals, thronged with shouting faces and open mouths. The prophecy has fulfilled itself: the very stones cry out.”... Read More

The Theory of Everything: A God-Haunted Film

The great British physicist Stephen Hawking has emerged in recent years as a poster boy for atheism, and his heroic struggles against the ravages of Lou Gehrig’s disease have made him something of a secular saint. The new biopic “The Theory of Everything” does indeed engage in a fair amount of Hawking-hagiography, but it is also, curiously, a God-haunted movie. In one of the opening scenes, the young Hawking meets Jane, his future wife, in a bar and tells her that he is a cosmologist.... Read More

The Human Strain

In his dark 1977 novel Lancelot, novelist Walker Percy brings us into the walls of a mental institution to hear a man named Lancelot tell his life story, a tale of empty commercialism, salacious self-destruction, and one murderous act of vengeance. Now confined by the four walls of an asylum, he confides in his old friend, a priest and psychiatrist, about the “quest” that led him there and the truth of the world outside: “In times like these when everyone is wonderful, what is needed... Read More

Pascal in “The Rum Diary”

The Rum Diary is a rollicking farce based on Hunter S. Thompson's novel of the same name written in the early 1960s. It focuses on a young American journalist named Paul Kemp who ventures into sweaty, inebriated San Juan, Puerto Rico to write for an ill-fated newspaper, and stumbles into the middle of a major land acquisition deal.Thompson said that his "long lost" novel (which wasn't published until 1998) had "a romantic notion," and that it was simply "a good story." I haven't... Read More

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