A reality TV show someone should watch (not me)
So far I’ve spent about half of my life in the US, half in Turkey. The populations of both countries are insane. That is, the vast majority in both countries are too fond of religious and nationalist forms of enthusiasm for my taste. Sometimes, though, I really don’t know how to respond to a particular … A reality TV show someone should watch (not me)
Summary of every book on the state of Islam written by a Muslim
Here, as a public service, is a summary of every single book on the state of Islam ever written by a devout Muslim in modern times: The Muslim world is in crisis. But none of this indicates any fault with my version of Islam, which in its core precepts is divine and perfect. Muslims, however, … Summary of every book on the state of Islam written by a Muslim
I was in Europe earlier this month, adding to the list of Gothic cathedrals I’ve visited. I like the stained glass windows the best. Here is a small sample: a window from Chartres, a detail from Bourges, and a single pane from Bern: You’ll notice I especially like the hell or judgment themed ones. Most … Stained glass
Freedom is to act as one’s real and true nature demands and so only the true exercise of that choice which is of what is good can properly be called ‘free choice’. A choice for the better is therefore an act of freedom . . . Whereas a choice for the worse is not a … Freedom
(Not) Defending the Quran
I read way too much apologetic literature, of both the Christian and the Muslim kind. It’s always hard to be confident I’m getting a representative sample; after all, I also ignore a lot that seems boring to me when I flip though a few pages. Still, I’ll risk a broad-brush comparison. The Christian stuff I … (Not) Defending the Quran
Why moral absolutism requires the transcendent
In my last piece, I mentioned that moral absolutists cannot be satisfied with any secular account of morality, and in particular, no naturalistic account of morality. I should clarify why this is so. The issue is not moral relativism, moral pluralism, or error theory, or any similar godless account of morality that explicitly denies objective … Why moral absolutism requires the transcendent
Reading defenses of religion, I often encounter the complaint that the modern, secular world is caught up in moral relativism. What we need, however, are moral absolutes. We have to have a secure direction by which to orient our lives. Monotheistic religion is attractive to such moral absolutists, because conservative monotheism proclaims absolutes. It may … Moral absolutists
The French way, or the Anglo-American way?
Some French politicians are indicating their displeasure with ultra-Islamic women’s coverings again. Nicolas Sarkozy just said that “The burka is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience. It will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic.” From an Anglo-American liberal point of view, this can easily come across … The French way, or the Anglo-American way?
The Hell You Say!
Fellow unbelievers: I don’t think we rip on hell often enough or stronly enough. The disgusting dogma of eternal punishment is still accepted doctrine for most “mainstream” denominations, and certainly for all the fundamentalist ones. Below is what I say back to two recent defenders of hell, Peter Kreeft, S.J. and Ronald Tacelli, S.J. It … The Hell You Say!
Found in Slavoj Zizek’s Violence, page 139: A couple of years ago a particular debate raged in Europe: should Christianity be mentioned as the key component of European Heritage in the preamble to the draft of the European constitution? A compromise was reached in which Christianity was listed along with Judaism, Islam, and the legacy … European legacy