Tag: Religion

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“Freedom From Want” – Norman Rockwell, 1943   In his State of the Union address on the 6th of January 1941, in the height of World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his famous Four Freedoms speech. FDR envisioned a future where all of humanity had these four fundamental freedoms: Preview Open

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CNN’s Toobin Not Alone in Using COVID-19 to Slam Religious Freedom, Christianity


Ancient Rome was not exactly a haven of religious freedom, particularly for a new sect called Christianity. Writing at the end of the second century, Christian apologist Tertullian summed up the situation:

They think the Christians the cause of every public disaster, of every affliction with which the people are visited. If the Tiber rises as high as the city walls, if the Nile does not send its waters up over the fields, if the heavens give no rain, if there is an earthquake, if there is famine or pestilence, straightaway the cry is, “Away with the Christians to the lions!”

Why would a loving God permit something like COVID-19 to afflict people He ostensibly loves? It’s the sort of question people have wrestled with for thousands of years. Our own Dave Carter sits down with Father Ben Bradshaw, Pastor of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Memphis, TN, to discuss this question and a great many others in a wide ranging conversation that touches on the metaphysical insights of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Socrates and Aristotle, the physical challenges of ministering in a world of social distancing, and even the world of faith and food (Father Bradshaw is also a classically trained chef).

Ricochet Member Seawriter also joins Dave in a discussion of a his latest book, “Vanished Houston Landmarks.” (He’s also authored 31 other books on a huge variety of interesting historical topics.)

How Smart *Are* Billionaires, Anyway?


Only in the Age of Foolishness (our current age) would you see a headline like the following: “Billionaires could leave Earth behind for space colony as climate collapses.”

This comically preposterous headline, which sounds like something from some stinkaroo sci-fi flick, begs a very serious question; and no, not one about the climate or the technological feasibility of a space colony. Those pale in comparison to the more trenchant question, which is: If an incredibly wealthy person really believes that the climate is in danger of “collapse,” and collapsing so bad that the only way to survive is by leaving the planet, how is it possible that such a person could ever have been smart enough to make a billion dollars in the first place?

Choosing Faith


Years after trying to start a family, I found myself at a crossroad. I had spent half a decade riding an emotional roller coaster with the occasional up, but mostly the gut-wrenching downs that only a woman struggling with infertility can truly understand. We had tried almost every medical procedure possible, countless prayers and tears were expended by us and others on our behalf, blessings and fasts were offered, I spent hours upon hours scouring the internet to research adoption agencies and certify us as foster parents not once, but twice, in two different states. We took the classes, completed the home visits, and jumped through all the hoops but never saw a child because my husband’s job took us elsewhere before that could happen. We now were in a new state and hope was on the horizon as we finished our foster certification – for a third time. I was just hired as a full-time teacher, and we were settled into our new home. But as usual, our plans came to a halt.

My husband got word that his unit would soon deploy for 12 months. Upon becoming licensed foster parents, our hope was to take in a newborn. And as much as I longed for a baby and welcomed the challenge, I didn’t know the first thing about them; that was my husband’s expertise and I was depending on him for guidance.

When I learned of the deployment the questions and “what ifs” came: What if he leaves before we are placed with a baby, do I still take one in? How can I take care of a newborn by myself when I know nothing – and I mean nothing – about them? Can I do this by myself while I’m working full-time? Should I wait until he gets home, even if that is a year away? What if we miss the opportunity to take in a child? Was it so stupid of me to even try this with our military lifestyle, what was I thinking?!

Zuby, rapper, musician, podcaster and author, stops by during his whirlwind tour of the United States. Son of Nigerian immigrants, he talks about his upbringing in Saudi Arabia and the UK, and the perspective on the world it offered him. He and Bridget cover the role of masculinity in today’s society, why the concept of “thought crimes” is so chilling, the rise of secular religions like “wokism” and climate change activism, and the idea of a moral panic void that must always be filled. They discuss the biggest issue of political polarization: that it shuts down the conversation, how if they were both actually grifters they’d be killin’ it right now, and the importance of having perspective and gratitude. Check out Zuby’s website here.

Full transcript available here: WiW64-Zuby-Transcript

Focusing on the Personal


Last year, my church introduced a new at-home study program called “Come, Follow Me.” It included weekly reading assignments for studying the New Testament, including suggestions for how to adapt those assignments for different family situations. Probably a lot of you have followed similar programs on your own or with your families.

When I started the program, I decided to do something a little different. I made a goal to write at least one poem inspired by the reading assignment each week. The goal wasn’t necessarily to try to interpret the scriptures, but to deepen the spiritual and emotional experience I had during my study.

Basia and the Squirrel: Scruton’s Tale of Eros Transubstantiated


“The apostolic church is a church of the heart. When you steal from it you steal the heart. Hence the theft is easy, and amends are long and hard.” A strange way to sum up a story of erotic love. Nonetheless, it was Scruton’s way, as he described, in the second half of his essay, Stealing from Churches, the thwarted love affair that taught him a “narrative of transubstantiation” transmuting body into soul. In truth, the love affair wasn’t thwarted at all, but one that fulfilled its purpose, a purpose his stubborn young beloved, Basia (pronounced “Basha”), saw more clearly than he did.

Scruton had organized a subversive summer school for the Catholic University in Poland, bringing together Polish and English philosophy students to resist communism. Under the codename “Squirrel” (in Polish “Wiewiorka”, for his red hair) and tailed by at least one jug-eared agent, Scruton had stumbled into more James-Bond mystique than most ginger-haired philosophy dons could hope for. It would be almost cliche, then, for an exotic young thing to throw herself at him. Wry-smiling, stunning Basia was no cliche, though. Or rather, if she were, it would be the cliche in a kind of story too little told these days to count as cliche anymore.

Basia, at 26, the oldest, most academically-advanced of the bright young things attending Scruton’s summer lectures and their unofficial leader, was an uppity young woman with a checkered past. She wasted little time with Scruton: after his second day in Kazimierz, she waylaid him in the woods to announce she noticed no ring on his finger. Such a frank admission of desire seems likely to end in embarrassment all round whether the desire is reciprocated or not, and perhaps it would have if it weren’t accompanied by her equally frank admission that consummating desire was not her aim:

Socialism Violates the 10 Commandments


“Socialism violates at least three of the Ten Commandments: It turns government into God, it legalizes thievery and it elevates covetousness. Discussions of income inequality, after all, aren’t about prosperity but about petty spite. Why should you care how much money I make, so long as you are happy?” — Ben Shapiro

I’ve never heard socialism described this way, and it makes sense: anyone who is supposedly religious can’t subscribe to both socialism and religion. Well, of course, they can, but it must be difficult to ignore the cognitive dissonance.

How often have you heard Progressivism described as just another religion? Since Progressivists adhere to socialism (whether they admit it or not), they can’t legitimately engage in a religion, certainly not a theistic one.

AG William Barr: Justice Warrior


William Barr is undermining the actions and goals of the Progressives, and he knows exactly what he’s doing—and I hope he is loving every minute of it. He knew that accepting the job of Attorney General would be even more demanding than his stint as AG under President George H.W. Bush. Even a Justice Department official under Barr wondered why Barr would take the job:

The first reaction I had was, ‘Why in the world would Bill do this?’ said Timothy Flanigan, a top Justice Department official under Mr. Barr. ‘He’s doing this out of a sense of duty and patriotism. He probably sees this as, he really is the one person on the horizon who can step in with immediate credibility to the department and begin to restore the internal and external confidence.’

This observation contradicts the assumptions that opponents to Trump made: that Barr’s unsolicited 20-page memo he sent to President Trump regarding Robert Mueller’s investigation was a way to secure the AG job. Given the attacks that Trump underwent prior to his inviting Barr to be AG, William Barr knew that the Progressives would come after him, no matter what he did.

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I first read Sherlock Holmes stories as a youth; soon after college I read the complete collection. I have returned to them after many years, and, in the second last of the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, I found this quote: “There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion,” said he, leaning with […]

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Coach Tea is a DJ, producer, podcast personality, and sound engineer for Comedy Central’s Roast Battle. He is also a counselor focusing on the rehabilitation and treatment of young men who have committed crimes. He and Bridget have a fascinating conversation about anarchy, “wokeism,” how unpopular a message of personal responsibility is in 2019, why happiness doesn’t exist without accountability, and how careful you need to be about creating the values systems by which you structure your life. They cover how religion has been hijacked, why trying to impose your moral authority on someone never works, living in a culture that rewards being a victim, how sometimes of “acts of service” are actually self-serving, and have an honest conversation about race, the criminal justice system, interactions with police, and freedom of speech.

Full transcript available here: WiW60-CoachTea-Transcript

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Leftists like to celebrate the idea that demographics will destroy the GOP and ensure an ascendant victory to Democrats. I’m here to counter this argument with a few data points that show demographics actually favor Conservatives and Liberals and harm extreme views like Socialists and Libertarians. My first argument is that non-white Democrat voters tend […]

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Dialogue on Faith and Reason


Phil and Sophy–that’s Phil and Sophy–are talking about faith and reason in this ongoing YouTube playlist. They’re leaving out a lot of Aquinas and some other guys. But they’re doing a great job covering topics like empiricism, the Verification Criterion of Meaning, Hume, Kant, William James, Augustine, Alvin Plantinga, C. S. Lewis, and more. Here’s the first bit:

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Richard Dawkins has a new book out, guaranteed to continue the debate going on in the western world, and even the entire world, over the value of religious belief. Some think that religious belief is essential to healthy societies and happy lives. There is also the debate over whether a particular religious claim is, in […]

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Quote of the Day: Tolerance and Religion


“The frustrating thing is that those who are attacking religion claim they are doing it in the name of tolerance, freedom, and openmindedness. Question: Isn’t the real truth that they are intolerant of religion? They refuse to tolerate its importance in our lives.”
– Ronald Reagan

We saw that illustrated by Robert “Beto” O’Rourke this last Thursday when he threatened to strip churches of tax-exempt status if they did not perform same-sex “marriages,” and the Democrats cheered. This bigoted, intolerant position was (of course) framed as a means of fighting bigotry and intolerance.

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Our friends at the Freedom from Religion Foundation, that paragon of easygoing menschitude, have filed a complaint against Judge Tammy Kemp, who presided over the recent trial of Amber Guyger. At the trial’s close, Kemp started a conversation with Guyger, then handed her a copy of the bible. Courtroom cameras captured Kemp reading aloud from […]

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It’s Not True that Empiricism and Religion Are Never the Same Thing


I’ve been mostly just lurking around Ricochet lately, a consequence of traveling. Two weeks ago travel and allergens wore me out enough to allow for (probably) a flu, which was followed by the usual sinus infection, which was followed by the usual prednisone and antibiotics. But I felt pretty good about the flu because I felt I had something to show for being completely exhausted: My article “William James and Allama Iqbal on Empirical Faith” was accepted for publication around the time the headache started, with the nicest words I’ve ever received from a blind reviewer. As of this morning, the article is now up at the Heythrop Journal website.

My recommended one-sentence takeaway is: Don’t trust the popular theory that empiricism and religion are never the same thing. And here’s some of the gist of my analysis of two empirical religious philosophers: