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Philosophy


Grace for ME: Kierkegaard, Sin, and the Self

A week ago my father asked me, presumably because I was the only suitable philosophical authority within a few miles, what “Existentialism” is. Being the word-merchant that I am, I deftly replied, “uh…well, it was kind of started by Kierkegaard — though it’s not explicitly Christian — and it deals with big questions, like, um, […]

The Promise of Scripture “to Come”: Qumran, Derrida, and Unfulfilled Desire, Part 2

Here’s the second part of Caitlin Hubler’s essay. For part one, start here. For too long, conceptions of scriptural authority have become identical with notions of scripture’s immutability and containment. However, as surprising as it might be to modern sensibilities, the scriptural text of late Second Temple Judaism was both open and sacred. Jews living in […]

The Promise of Scripture “to Come”: Qumran, Derrida, and Unfulfilled Desire, Part 1

Thankful for this one from Caitlin Hubler. “The” Old Testament does not exist. That is, there is no one version of the text. Although most of us encounter it in the form of a single, neatly bound book alongside the New, behind this veneer of simplicity lies a complex process of transmission, selection, and reconstruction. […]

Adam Smith and the Nature of Heaven

This one comes to us from David Clay. Adam Smith, widely acknowledged as the father of modern economics, was first and foremost a moral philosopher by trade. Nearly two decades before Wealth of Nations (1776) revolutionized the world’s understanding of economics, Smith had established his philosophical reputation throughout Europe with The Theory of Moral Sentiments […]

Optimus Prime and the Religion of Toys, Part 3: Mass Producing the Monomyth: Joseph Campbell’s Unintended Legacy and Ours

This concludes our friend Jeremiah Lawson‘s three-part series on Transformers. If you missed the other two installments, begin at the beginning! For the symbols of mythology are not manufactured; they cannot be ordered, invented, or permanently suppressed. They are spontaneous productions of the psyche, and each bears within it, undamaged, the germ power of its source. […]

Language, Witness, and Control: Some Thoughts on Rhetoric and Grace

Reading Hannah Arendt’s marvelous book on The Human Condition, I came across a particularly thought-provoking paragraph on the ancient ideal of speech. Arendt draws a sharp contrast between the Greek household—which was ruled by necessity, the need to provide food and shelter and to raise children—and the political life. The two were distinct because once […]

Optimus Prime and the Religion of Toys, Part 2: The Birth of (Cybertronian) Tragedy: The Cyclic Deaths and Rebirths of King Optimus Prime

Thankful for this one, the second part of a series by Jeremiah Lawson. Don’t forget the first part! In The Golden Bough, James Frazer proposed that ancient kings died and were reborn in cycles in fertility religions. Nothing can die and be reborn quite like a robot. Surprisingly, one of the most prominent examples of […]

Failure in the Gospel (Almost) According to Critical Theory

Theologians of the cross emerge from unexpected sources. Which is fitting, since the Gospel is for nobody but those who fall short of expectations (AKA all of us). These purveyors and exemplars of low anthropology are psychologists, athletes, journalists, philosophers, and, beyond their job titles, just average people with their own screw-ups. What is less average […]

The Philosopher from the 1800s Who Talked About Social Media

Long before Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, there lived a man in 19th-century Denmark who foreshadowed them all. His name was Søren Kierkegaard. We recognize him as a philosopher and a pugilistic theologian. Plus, the guy could tell a story like nobody’s business. And in one of his stories, he all but prophesies the future soul […]

The Ethics of Authenticity

I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure. – Eric Liddell Stop me if you’ve heard this story before…. A young underdog struggling to find their voice in a backwards town where they don’t seem to fit in. They want to […]

John Stuart Mill’s Crisis of Faith

This excerpt comes from John Gray’s latest book Seven Types of Atheism; the chapter is “Secular Humanism, a Sacred Relic,” where Gray deliberates over ‘the religion of humanity.’ In this passage, he tells of nineteenth-century philosopher John Stuart Mill’s faith in personal satisfaction and human progress — and the voice of doubt that arose amidst it: …John […]

The Decisive Question About Faith

This comes from a new book out by Kierkegaard scholar, Gordon Marino, The Existentialist’s Survival Guide: How to Live Authentically in an Inauthentic Age. Marino divides his chapters up among the crucial talking points of the famous existentialists — Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Camus, Sartre — and this particular passage comes in the chapter on faith. While […]