29 Mar 2016

Thus Spoke Pontius

What do we know, and how do we know it? These are fundamental philosophical questions, and whether we realize it or not, how we answer these questions informs the very way we think about the world. In science, we rely on empirical thought; we know what can be tested. In history, we rely on corroboration of independent sources. Not every method of knowing can be applied in every circumstance. We cannot put five Julius Ceasars

Chris Casberg 16
24 Mar 2016

The Body Politic and the Body of Christ

A former US presidential candidate recently said that a current US presidential candidate had “coddl[ed] . . . repugnant bigotry,” and that doing so “is not in the character of America.”1 If you would, please consider with me what in the world this could mean. In and Out of Character When we say that doing something is not in a person’s character, we mean that that person is not the kind of person who would

Micah Tillman 8
19 Jan 2016

On Choosing Our Stories

For whatever reason, God made human beings inside of time. We are creatures of linearity, of cause and effect. We experience events in single direction. There is no going backwards, not even in memory; for when we remember things, we are creating a new story in our minds, one that becomes hazier and more indefinite the further removed we are from the events in question. Even if we were to somehow invent a machine to

Chris Casberg 2
09 Dec 2015

“Star Wars” and the Immanence of Myth

As a longtime fan of the “Star Wars” saga (yes, I even have a soft spot for the dysfunctional prequels), I eagerly anticipate the release of the long-awaited seventh installment. And like countless other nerds, I’ve watched the few snippets of promotional material more times than I care to admit. (After all, one can never watch enough lightsaber duels). Perhaps the most striking moment of the most recent trailer for me, however, was the short

John Ehrett 2
02 Sep 2015

Homoousios and the Dignity of Children

In the days of the Nicean Council, during the Arian Christological controversy that rocked the early church, the absence of a single Greek letter made a great deal of difference. Per the formulation that later became the Nicene Creed, God the Father was understood to be of the same (homoousios) essence as God the Son, not merely similar (homoiousios). This doctrine continues to govern Christological thought today, and forms an essential component of a proper

John Ehrett 2
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

Johanna Byrkett 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