Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Personal Plato

From Web Exclusives

When scientists like Laurence Krauss and Neil deGrasse Tyson call philosophers to answer for their crimes today, the lovers of wisdom aren’t accused of anything as exciting as corrupting the youth.

Prisoners Are Calling. Who’s Answering?

From Web Exclusives

Prisons, at the very minimum are intended as quarantine; keeping cities and towns safer by removing criminals from their midst. But, in the opinion of one prisoner in Brazil, he’s more at liberty behind bars than out on the streets. Marcos Willians Herbas Camacho told one reporter, “It is you who are afraid of dying, not me. As a matter of fact, here in jail you cannot come in and kill me . . . but I can order to kill you out there.” Continue Reading »

Incurious Dawkins

From the March 2014 Print Edition

Richard Dawkins’ An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist invites comparisons with C. S. Lewis’ Surprised by Joy. Both are memoirs by thinkers who seemed a little surprised to end up as apologists, much less as writers whom growing numbers would credit with their conversion or . . . . Continue Reading »

The Joyless House of Cards

From Web Exclusives

The second season of Netflix’s House of Cards introduces a new aide for Vice President Frank Underwood, who seems to have a puppyish enthusiasm for intrigue. Seth Grayson, trying to prove his sneaky bona fides, applies for a job as press secretary by digging up damaging information on the . . . . Continue Reading »

New Year’s Habits

From Web Exclusives

New Year’s Resolutions tend to focus on new skills and habits to acquire. This is the year you’ll finally go to the gym or start taking lessons to brush up on your French or learn computer programming. But as the year begins, it can be salutary to think about what you already spend time practicing and if there are ‘lessons’ you’d like to drop. . . . Continue Reading »

A Nation of Valjeans

From Web Exclusives

The action in the musical version of Les Misérables begins when Jean Valjean is released from prison. After his release, his identity as a convict bars him from work, shelter, and human company, until he meets a saintly bishop, and his character arc kicks into gear. For the condemned in our prisons, there is no guarantee of a kindly bishop or an operatic epiphany… . Continue Reading »

The Sad Secular Monks

From Web Exclusives

In the Atlantic, Hanna Rosin recently defended the hookup culture as essential to female success and equality. Given the pressure of a high-powered career, she claims, “an overly serious suitor fills the same role an accidental pregnancy did in the 19th century: a danger to be avoided at all costs, lest it get in the way of a promising future.” In order to carve out time for work, women need the same option men have long enjoyed: “the ability to delay marriage and have temporary relationships that don’t derail education or career.” … Continue Reading »