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Posts tagged "John Gray"


Thank God for Philip Pullman: A Religious Reader’s Guide to His Dark Materials

Spoilers below. Halfway through His Dark Materials, I heard rumors. By the books’ end, people were saying, the characters would kill God (and He would not be resurrected). I was a kid. Like all kids, I wanted to be good. I wasn’t interested in killing God. The extent to which I had been harmed by […]

Another Week Ends: John Gray on Tom Holland, Leslie Jamison on Susan Sontag, Tavi on Tavi, Malcolm Gladwell on Friends, Sad Phoneless Pictures, and the Love of Ferns

1. Lots to chew on this weekend, including this genuinely positive (and daring!) review of a book we mentioned last week—Tom Holland’s Dominion—by one Mockingbird’s favorite atheists, John Gray, in the New Statesman. As DZ mentioned in his earlier post, Holland’s new book discusses how, despite the decline of Christendom in the West, Christianity is […]

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 Pagan Priests of Mockingbird

Here’s one of the lists from this most recent issue of our magazine, The Deja Vu Issue, which should have arrived at your house by now. If not, well, you can remedy that now… One well-worn slogan that we’ve consistently enjoyed putting to the test is that “all truth is God’s truth.” Come to find […]

Another Week Ends: More Underachieving Males, Baffling Temptations, Upper East Side Claustrophobia, John Gray, Star Wars, and Vocation

1. After Dave’s post on male problems this week, The Economist published a long-form essay about the plight of blue-collar men in the West. The pay for men with only a high-school diploma fell by 21% (real terms) between 1979 and 2013, as one of the clear male advantages is brawn, which is less relevant than ever when it […]

Chants of Paradise: Progress, Christianity, and The Soul of the Marionette

In the can’t-make-this-up department, someone commented on The Guardian’s review of John Gray’s The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Inquiry into Human Freedom: While science is the only game in town in deepening our understanding reality, obviously, philosophers and experts in history are also pretty handy to have around. Here is a distorted picture […]

The Smartest Evisceration of Richard Dawkins You’ll Read (Today)

What happens when your favorite atheist takes on your least favorite? I found out on Sunday, when The New Republic published John Gray’s scathing review of the first volume (!) of Richard Dawkins’ autobiography, An Appetite For Wonder. The pummeling Gray gives is so complete that the Samaritan in me is (almost) ready to stick […]

Another Week Ends: Blinded with Science, Stumped by Meaning After God, Paralyzed by the Law of Ice and Fire, Outmaneuvered by a Cheeseburger and Oversimplified by Gallup

1. Aquinas followed Aristotle in claiming the end (telos, purpose) of biology is medicine. Science has long been a technical discipline designed primarily to promote human flourishing / well-being. Of course, it was always contemplative to a degree, satisfying curiosity or even, as Aquinas also notes, teaching us about God. The study of creation reflects upon the Creator. One […]

Myths of Progress and Hopeful Defeatism

For those interested in human folly and hard truths, look no further than John Gray, a political philosopher whose work On Progress and Other Modern Myths (The Silence of the Animals) debunks many of our species’ self-flattering stories about where we came from and where we’re going. An agnostic himself, Gray realizes the decline of Christianity won’t […]

Another Week Ends: Amy Chua’s Three Traits for Success, Nietzsche’s Subversion of Atheism, Why Fun Is Fun, The Eighth-Grade Ubermensch, Dostoevsky’s Internet Anxiety and Lena Dunham’s Eden

1. What happens when you combine an unshakeable superiority complex with deep insecurity? Probably a nervous breakdown in mid-life, or Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan. But Amy Chua (of “Tiger Mother” fame) asks us to guess again. The real answer is… success. For those unfamiliar with her work on hyper-controlling parenting (using that adjective as value-neutrally as possible), it’s […]

John Gray and the Politics of Grace

“To think that human beings are freedom-loving, you have to be ready to view nearly all of history as a mistake.” So says pessimistic philosopher John Gray, in his wonderful recent book The Silence of Animals: On Progress and Other Modern Myths. If it’s already beginning to sound a bit glum, well, he can’t really […]

Another Week Ends: Successful Blueprints, Redemptive Politicians, Don Draper’s Truth, Marital Advice, Humanist Blasphemy, Mavis Staples, Bono, and Dropping Keys

1. This is embarrassing to admit. As much as I love The Replacements, it is The Wilson Quarterly that has truly been rocking my world this past week. Two articles in particular, both from their Spring issue, are worth mentioning here. First, there’s Sarah Courteau’s “Feel Free to Help Yourself”, in which the author surveys […]