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You Have the Right Duty to Remain Silent

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in Culture War, Homepage, Humanity, Humor, Political Correctness, Questioning Authority, Racism, Worldviews | 7 comments

There once was a time in this country when “political correctness” was something that only people on the Right complained about: “Why do the Redskins have to change their team’s name?”; “Wait, ‘colored’ is all of a sudden off limits?”; “So now we can’t say ‘midget’ anymore?” No, you can’t. And you’d better not opt for “People McNuggets” either. . . . (That, by the way, is a case in point: I seriously debated whether or not to include that line above because it is potentially offensive to little people (I think that’s what we’re supposed to call them now). But the thing is, it’s also funny. Come on, admit it. It got a snicker out of you at least, perhaps even a chortle.) But the PC issue is no longer ruffling the feathers of conservatives only, but people on...

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I Am an Agnostic

Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 in Agnosticism, Catholic Church, God, Homepage, Humanity, Postmodernism, Suffering, Worldviews | 24 comments

(And so are you.) Here’s what I mean: Agnosticism refers to what we can claim to “know” (gnosis  being the Greek word for “knowledge”). An agnostic, then, is simply someone who doesn’t know something about a particular subject. The Latin equivalent of agnosticism is “ignorance” — if someone asks you whether you agree with the Iran deal that Obama recently struck, you could say, “Well to be honest, I’m pretty agnostic and ignorant on the matter, unfortunately.” In other words, there is relevant information that you don’t know.  When it comes to supernatural things it gets tricky. While a person may claim to know that water boils at 100 degrees Celsius and also claim to know that angels exist, those are two very different types of claims (even though they both invoke the category of knowledge). The first claim...

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Scientists and Superstitious Simpletons

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in Culture War, God, Homepage, Postmodernism, Science, Worldviews | 18 comments

I am sick and tired of hearing about the supposed “objectivity” of science and scientific inquiry. The claim goes like this: Belief systems, whether religious or secular, deal in supernatural issues like the afterlife, morality, and the state of the soul. Science, on the other hand, deals in brute facts, and therefore needs to be taken seriously. It’s an incredibly modern kind of claim, if you think about it. And I am just postmodern enough to be suspicious of it. It was Jean-Francois Lyotard who summed up postmodernism as “incredulity toward metanarrative.” By metanarrative, Lyotard meant any overarching story that grounds all of existence, a foundational worldview or set of principles that contextualizes everything else. To that, Lyotard said, the postmodern attitude is one of heel-digging and discomfort. In other words, there is no “view from nowhere.” The desire...

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Fake Plastic Selves

Posted by on Jun 16, 2015 in Culture, G.K. Chesterton, God, Homepage, Humanity, Masks, Power, Protest, Questioning Authority, Rebellion, Thomas Merton, Worldviews | 19 comments

One of the most unfortunate phrases in the English language is “He’s only human.” The assumption lurking behind it is that humanity is akin to weakness, like a crutch, and is therefore something to be ashamed of. I touch on this in the book I am currently writing: A proper Christology reminds us that receiving heavenly grace does not force upon us an entirely new operating system or delete everything on our human hard drive, but affirms all the good stuff that we have downloaded previously (even providing the occasional update when necessary).   I am reminded of G.K. Chesterton’s response to those who would seek to dismiss the Church’s liturgical feasts and festivals due to their being of pagan cultic origin: “They might as well say that our legs are of pagan origin. Nobody ever disputed that humanity was...

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Of Mysticism Sacred and Secular

Posted by on Apr 15, 2015 in Catholic Church, Culture, God, Homepage, Humanity, Love, Miracles, Mysticism, Worldviews | 18 comments

I was recently watching HBO’s new documentary on Scientology, Going Clear, and was astounded at how so many wealthy, powerful, and seemingly intelligent people have bought in to L. Ron Hubbard’s bizarre and sci-fi inspired vision of the world. 75 million years ago some god called Xenu transported a bunch of humans to earth in a spaceship and dumped them into volcanos? Really? And Maverick from Top Gun  buys into this shit? But it quickly occurred to me that any system of beliefs — including the Catholic one to which I hold (albeit poorly) — is equally bizzare-sounding at first blush. God became a man and died and rose again from the dead? Really? And Riggs from Lethal Weapon  buys into this shit? The fact is that the only reason any belief system sounds reasonable to a person or a society...

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Lucifer in 2016!

Posted by on Mar 9, 2015 in America, Culture War, God, Guns, Homepage, Money, Politics, Pop Culture, Power, Questioning Authority, Rapture, Work, Worldviews, Xenophobia | 0 comments

During a recent episode of Drunk Ex-Pastors  I made the point that I would welcome a presidential candidate who made no claims to being religious, since then I might actually have someone I’d consider voting for.  Think about it: If a candidate is an outspoken Christian he will almost certainly: (1) desire to defund as many state programs for the poor as possible; (2) turn away as many destitute people from our borders as he can, children included; (3) need the slimmest of reasons necessary before engaging in military action, action which will probably have some ulterior motive beyond the stated one; (4) fight against raising the minimum wage; (5) seek to deregulate corporations’ freedom to do whatever they want since they’re “people”; (6) deny climate change since it snowed this winter; (7) fight against reasonable gun legislation; and (8)...

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Worldviews Weighed and Wanting

Posted by on Mar 6, 2015 in America, Catholic Church, Culture War, Homepage, Politics, Worldviews | 2 comments

It seems to me that there are certain moments in life when a person needs to ask, “If my worldview is turning me into this  kind of person, maybe I need to step back and rethink things?” Whether we’re talking about issues political, cultural, or religious, the fact remains that many people need to take their metaphorical temperature much more often than they do. I do a radio show on Thursdays, and yesterday my co-host and I were discussing the recent statement put out by four Catholic publications — publications that are diametrically opposed to one another politically — that called for the abolishment of the death penalty. Unsurprisingly, the reaction on the part of the readers of the more conservative papers was one of alarm and dismay: “How can we get rid of the death penalty? It’s so awesome!” (One...

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Embracing Your Inner Pagan

Posted by on Nov 20, 2014 in God, Homepage, Humanity, Worldviews, Xenophobia | 0 comments

In the most recent episode of Drunk Ex-Pastors  the topic of narratives came up. My contention was that if there is an idea or line of thought that is almost universally recognized, then odds are that the idea is actually true.  For example, if the knee-jerk attitude of most people is that we ought to love our neighbor, then there is a high likelihood that “Love Thy Neighbor” really is a core tenet of human morality and religious ethics. But what if a particular idea is central not only to one specific religion, but most of them? Does the fact that most religions teach their members to love their neighbors make it more likely or less likely that “Love Thy Neighbor” is true? If, say, most pagan mythologies teach some version of a creation narrative, or of a deluge ordeal,...

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On Pee-Pees and Hoo-Haws

Posted by on Oct 7, 2014 in Culture War, Disease, Education, Homepage, Questioning Authority, Sex, Sex Education, Worldviews | 5 comments

In episode #10 of Drunk Ex-Pastors, Christian and I discuss the thorny issue of sex education. Now to be honest, I have not actually listened back to it myself, so I don’t remember exactly what I said on the matter. I’ll take a stab at re-presenting some of my thoughts, and you can feel free to push back and challenge them. My main concern is that I am uncomfortable with something of such monumental significance being taught to my children by a P.E. teacher (true story in my case). This kind of education should be happening primarily in the home, with outside sources reinforcing what mom or dad is already communicating. Secondly, what if (that’s hypothetical language, by the way) a family’s values don’t match up with a school’s? For example, what if a parent doesn’t think that sex should...

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The News’s Skewed Views

Posted by on Oct 3, 2014 in Culture War, Homepage, Police, Politics, Uncategorized, Worldviews | 1 comment

One of the questions that comes up in podcast #9 at 28:45 (available for listening below) is whether or not the news media unfairly represents police officers. If you watch the news frequently, the majority of what you’ll hear about the police (minus the occasional feel good story) is negative: cop beats homeless man, cop shoots black man, cop pepper sprays peaceful protestors, etc. A plethora of these kinds of stories being reported will usually elicit cries of bias and misrepresentation. Really, this is a question that can be applied to any group the news reports on: politicians, bankers, Christians, doctors, etc. When the news reports that a politician is taking bribes, that bankers are manipulating the system, that a pastor had an affair, or that a doctor botched a surgery, are those groups justified in crying foul and...

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