14 Aug 2015

Silencing Fears

“Empty space tends to create fear. As long as our minds, hearts, and hands are occupied we can avoid confronting the painful questions, to which we never gave much attention and which we do not want to surface. ‘Being busy’ has become a status symbol, and most people keep encouraging each other to keep their body and mind in constant motion. From a distance, it appears that we try to keep each other filled with

3
12 Aug 2015

The Procreation Problem

A Philosophically Conservative Rejoinder to What Is Marriage? What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, authored by Ryan T. Anderson, Robert George, and Sherif Girgis, is widely recommended as the foremost defense of “one man/one woman” marriage based on natural law principles. The book has undoubtedly been influential, even to the point of being cited by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in his United States v. Windsor dissent. Significantly, the book does not rely

John Ehrett 2
26 May 2015

Absolute Truth

“There are no absolutes,” one says. “Are you absolutely sure?” The other might respond. Those who wish to argue that there are no absolutes must hold to at least one absolute principle: that there are no absolutes. However the very nature of that contradiction proves its falsehood.  The statement must be an absolute value that nullifies its own premise. Even if a person is willing to argue that such a statement is the only exemption

Charles Heyworth 0
01 May 2015

Life, Dreams, and Everything

When I was eighteen years old I purchased the film Waking Life, by director Richard Linklater. Its premise, plot, and production epitomize our postmodern moment. Linklater develops a story about dreams within dreams, in which a character travels seamlessly through surreal worlds while witnessing a plethora of philosophical conversations about life and death. The tagline reads, “Are we sleepwalking through our waking state, or wake-walking through our dreams?” Utilizing stunning visual effects,1 a haunting score,

Benjamin Winter 1
03 Apr 2015

The Natural Desire to See God?

The human person—with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, his longings for the infinite and for happiness—questions himself about God’s existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. The soul, the “seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material,” can have its origin only in God (CCC 33). Such says the Catechism of the Catholic

Benjamin Winter 8
18 Mar 2015

How Actors and Selfies Demystify the Incarnation

Irrational Contradiction, or Divine Mystery? The Incarnation is a puzzle, and puzzles are either a lot of fun or a major problem. The puzzle goes like this: Since God created space, time, and humanity, God could exist without space, without time, and without humans. But in the Incarnation, God becomes a temporal, spatial human. How can one thing be both spatial and non-spatial, both temporal and non-temporal, both human and non-human? While Christians often respond,

Micah Tillman 0
02 Mar 2015

A Defense of Nagel, Part IV

The Problem of Consciousness for the Corpuscular Cosmos The biologist Kenneth Miller gives a charitable response to Nagel by interpreting him to say there are fundamental issues, like consciousness, which makes the materialist program in biology face obstacles it will not overcome in the near future. Nagel’s book today, Miller says, parallels Erwin Schrödinger’s book, What is Life? in 1956. According to Miller, Schrodinger said “that our then-current understanding of physics was incapable of explaining

Ryan Shinkel 0
Cosmic Communion
26 Feb 2015

Cosmic Communion: The Role of Creation in Our Journey with Christ (Part 1)

As a new contributor for Conciliar Post, it seemed proper that this opening article deal with a topic that is less distinctive to certain traditions and more centered towards the core of the fundamentally and uniquely Christian approach to God and how we as creatures relate with him. The Scriptures time and again reign us back to that central reality of the ultimate purpose permeating everything we are doing as Christians: the infinite and totally

Joseph Green 8
24 Feb 2015

The Seven Words of Creation

The scene of Creation opens with a senseless darkness. Was it the ultimate betrayal that caused the chaos, The Morning Star falling from Heaven to Earth with a burst? The first Word of Creation tells us it is true: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!” And the light that enlightens the whole world Is the only light shining in the whole world And without even looking God says “It is good.”

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
05 Feb 2015

Self-Surrender

What is it that causes people to act against their own self-interest? Two of the most popular conservative thinkers of the last century both addressed this question at a very personal level, which seemed odd to me until I started thinking about it more. At the national level, this last century was the age of Communism, the Great Depression, and Holocaust clean-up, when people were talking in depth about the need to help those less

Pepper Darlington 9
02 Feb 2015

The Ironic Conservatism of “Transparent”

Most of the reviews I write deal with blockbuster movies, since that’s the type of film I know most readers will be seeing. That said, I also try to make a point of engaging with art that falls outside the domains with which I’m conventionally familiar. Since I happen to already be an Amazon Prime subscriber, I thought I’d give “Transparent” a look (particularly given how much I enjoyed Amazon’s “Mozart In The Jungle,” which

John Ehrett 1
Photo of a window in a decaying wall, by _Marion http://pixabay.com/en/users/_Marion-36647/)
30 Jan 2015

Why the Problem of Evil is Incoherent

There’s something economic about theodicies. “After calculating the costs and benefits, God decided that x was worth the price of y.” Plug in “free will” or “a habitable planet” for x. Plug in “murders” or “hurricanes” for y. There’s no money involved, but it still feels kind of crass. This is not to say that theodicies aren’t important. They help us see that theism isn’t irrational, even if the attributes of God and the world

Micah Tillman 12
23 Jan 2015

Seminal Christian Theologians: Pseudo-Dionysius on Hierarchy

Hierarchy is a “sacred order, a state of understanding, and an activity approximating as closely as possible the divine…” –Pseudo-Dionysius, Celestial Hierarchy 3, 164D. At this point theologically, the four greatest influences on my views (beyond Scripture and Magisterium) are Bonaventure, Pseudo-Dionysius and Augustine, and Origen. Throughout the foreseeable future, I will be posting articles about central ideas in the thought of these magnanimous individuals (series title: “Seminal Christian Theologians:). To begin, I treat the

Benjamin Winter 2
22 Jan 2015

A Defense of Nagel, Part III

The Corpuscular Cosmos of the Early Modern Philosophers Now the “strictly mathematical and materialist conception of the natural order the early moderns bequeathed to us,” that Edward Feser mentioned in my first paper, refers to the mechanical philosophers. Take the case of Rene Descartes: in his mechanics, he argues that if a person knew enough, he should be able to reduce chemistry and biology to mechanics. The process of how a seed develops into an

Ryan Shinkel 1
26 Dec 2014

A Defense of Nagel, Part II

Author Ryan Shinkel offers the second part of his defense of Nagel, considering the philosophical role of the evolutionary biologist and Nagel’s understanding of the subjective life.

Ryan Shinkel 0
19 Nov 2014

In Defense of Nagel (Part One)

The Problem of Consciousness in a Corpuscular Cosmos: A Defense of Nagel and a Critique of the Mechanistic Metaphysics of Intelligent Design and Metaphysical Naturalism In this four part series, I survey some of the reactions to Thomas Nagel’s recent book, Mind and Cosmos (2012), and use them to elucidate why most of them misunderstand his thesis; from there, I use Nagel’s writing as a springboard to give an overall critique of physicalist accounts of

Ryan Shinkel 1
19 Sep 2014

The Ethics of Evil

Because religious institutions have placed such emphasis on avoiding evil, those who never do anything good consider themselves to be moral people. Contemporary understanding of ethics demonstrated by mottos of “Do No Evil,” “Just Say No,” or “DARE to Resist…” highlight certain actions that should definitely be avoided. However, the very act of defining something as off-limits often stirs a desire within human beings to cross that line. What is worth protecting with these rules?

Charles Heyworth 0
22 Aug 2014

Start Walking

An Ancient Remedy for Modern Ills. Some years ago, while visiting my grandparents in the central Pennsylvania mountains, my sisters and I went out for a long walk. It was a brown winter afternoon in a depressed area. We walked along the empty, curving road, remarking on the things we passed: a repair shop with misspelled words on the sign; some goats in a frozen barnyard. Then came the moment that has made me remember

Guest Author 1
13 Aug 2014

The Sublime and the Sacred, Part II

This is the second post in a series examining what the New Evangelization within Roman Catholicism can learn from the aesthetics of Burke, Kant, and Malick. To read the previous post, click here. This sublime, one should note, is not a kind of masochism. Rather, it is something which catalyzes an awful delight from the passions. On how sensations of pain and pleasure integrate, Burke writes, “The person who grieves, suffers his passion to grow

Ryan Shinkel 0
08 Aug 2014

The Sublime and the Sacred, Part I

What the New Evangelization Can Learn from the Aesthetics of Burke, Kant, and Mallick “Humility is the luxurious art of reducing ourselves to a point, not to a small thing or a large one, but to a thing with no size at all, so that to it all the cosmic things are what they really are–of immeasurable stature…to the spirit which has stripped off for a moment its own idle temporal standards the grass is

Ryan Shinkel 1