Anti-Linguistic Turn

Philosophers claim that European/American thought has gone through a linguistic turn in the last several decades. The truth is the opposite. Rorty says, “The world does not speak. Only we do. The world can, once we have programmed ourselves with a language, cause us to hold beliefs. But it . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon notes, Fourth Sunday of Advent

INTRODUCTION While Herod and Jerusalem fear the news of the birth of Jesus, the Magi worship Him and rejoice (2:10). Here is another inversion of the original exodus story, and a preview of the gospel story: Jews reject their deliverer, but the Gentiles embrace Him. THE TEXT “Now after Jesus . . . . Continue Reading »

Exhortation, Third Sunday of Advent

For most Americans, Christmas means warm feelings, forgiveness, kindness, generosity. It means putting our differences aside and getting along. Celebrating Christmas means celebrating liberalism and toleration. As in so many ways, our celebration of Christmas borrows scraps from the table of . . . . Continue Reading »

Old Stone Gods

In 1834, Heinrich Heine had predicted a revival of Germany that was not dependent on Christianity but on a return to the savage roots of German character: “Christianity, and this is its greatest merit, has occasionally calmed the brutal German lust for battle, but it cannot destroy that . . . . Continue Reading »

German Pentecost

1914 brought unity to a previously divided Germany. One pastor in Hanover wrote, “When the day of mobilisation had fully come, there were Germans all together in unity - villagers and city dwellers, conservatives and freethinkers, Social Democrats and Alsatians, [Hanoverian] Guelphs and . . . . Continue Reading »


James Wood is one of the most public of our public atheists, but he has several bones to pick with other members of the brotherhood in a TNR review of Sam Harris’s latest book (TNR, December 18). He complains, for instance, against Dawkins’s use of Russell’s “celestial . . . . Continue Reading »

Multiple universes

Playwright, novelist, and philosophy Michael Frayn offers this critique of David Deutsch’s claim that quantum mechanics implies multiple, perhaps infinite, worlds: “If only we knew what proportion of David Deutsches was putting forward each of these theories we should be able to judge . . . . Continue Reading »

Israel is Egypt

The Lord says through Isaiah (chapter 19): “So I will incite Egyptians against Egyptians; and they will each fight against his brother and each against his neighbor, city against city and kingdom against kingdom.” Jesus says of Israel, “Brother will betray brother to death, and a . . . . Continue Reading »

Means and ends

Thoreau wrote, “Our inventions . . . are but improved means to an unimproved end. We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate . . . . We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and bring the . . . . Continue Reading »