In Part One of this Pascalian reflection, we considered Pascal’s first step in the path of the spiritual quest. At nearly every point of his Pensées, Pascal goads his readers to pay close attention to the movements of the soul in response to the wonders of the created world. There, he insists, you will find flickers of light, glimmers of reality breaking through the darkness. Those sparks, however, are the beginning, and not the end.
Dogmatism, Open-mindedness, and Other Intellectual Virtues and Vices This was the title of a course I had proposed for the life-long learning program at Wilfrid Laurier University last year. The healthy enrollment in the class and the lively discussions in the six-week lecture series that followed suggested a deep awareness of the need for intellectual virtues like open-mindedness, intellectual fairness, integrity of mind, intellectual courage, tolerance, and intellectual generosity. There would also seem to be
Considered generally, doubt is beneficial to human beings. While we all begin life in a state of ignorance—relying upon the care and concern of others to survive—too many of us eventually enter a state of arrogance. Neither position is desirable, but these are the two ends of the spectrum of knowledge spectrum toward which we gravitate. Christians who see pride as the root of all sin are inclined to value doubt when it counteracts pride.
Can God feel? For years, I didn’t think so. I grew up in a very conservative Christian environment that imparted many benefits to me, but it also scarred me in some deep ways, particularly in leaving me with a flawed perception of God. To its credit, this movement developed in rejection of the emotionally-charged mainstream churches that prioritize a “feeling” of closeness with God over the relationship itself, which ought to be steeped in the
All Augustine sermon citations are taken from Sermon 80, Edmund Hill Translation1 Prayer has always been central to Christian communities. In America today, most are familiar with the text of the Lord’s Prayer, which Christ teaches his disciples in Matthew 6 (cf. Luke 11). The fact that such an ancient text continues to find relevance in the lives of each new generation says something significant about its worth. Yet popularity includes inherent drawbacks. Although millions can recite the
Theology is important. Good theology is even more important. Everyone is called to “do” theology.1 These are guiding principles here at Conciliar Post, where we seek to thoughtfully, faithfully, and charitably discuss issues of theological importance on a regular basis. Of course, to merely say (or write) that theology holds a place of value is not the same as actually living out one’s faith while seeking understanding.2 Too many times in my own life it
I must confess that I did not begin studying the Scriptures personally on a daily basis until almost two years ago. I grew up having family Bible reading in the mornings and often in the evenings. But, about two years ago, I came to a point when I realized that it was something I really should do faithfully on my own. I readily admit that when I first made the decision to become faithful in
A few months ago, I wrote about why making the biggest, gayest wedding cake for the glory of God might not be the best way to love one’s gay neighbors. At the time, I understood that the gay marriage issue was in the home stretch. The writing was on the wall. Gay marriage was going to happen. I was all set to articulate the ways I believed we ought to respond to the change in
Freedom, I’m told, is the absence of tyranny. I realized one day that everybody’s got an idea of the kind of freedom they ought to have, mostly inaccurate. History and human nature proves that humans have a strange habit of running straight to tyranny at the least provocation. It’s because we’re mixed up about freedom. Without comprehending tyranny in its worst form, no one will cling to real freedom. Real freedom isn’t doing whatever we
In one sense, Conciliar Post exists because people disagree, and they disagree about really important stuff. If everyone were on the same page theologically and confessed all of the same things, this website would either be nonexistent or serving a very different purpose. You don’t have to look any further than the round table portions of Conciliar Post to see that there are actually very significant and fundamental differences among the beliefs of our community.
Clint Eastwood’s biographical study of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle – a sniper credited with over 160 confirmed kills, the most in U.S. military history – will likely be remembered as the “Saving Private Ryan” of the Iraq War. This will undoubtedly seem high praise for a film which just opened in wide release: “American Sniper,” however, not only offers an exceptional character study, but brilliantly captures the conflicted cultural ethos surrounding a war to which