On Being a Lapsed Catholic

In 1967, Anthony Burgess, author of “A Clockwork Orange,” described the pain of being an apostate: “It is with no indifferent eye that I view the flood of worshippers pouring into the Catholic church...I want to be one of them, but wanting is not enough.” Continue Reading »

Shūsaku Endō's Silence and Faithfulness

Readers of First Thoughts will know by now that Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Silence by Shūsaku Endō was released in select theaters on December 23. The novel warrants the attention it is getting. Set in the 1640s at the end of Japan's “Christian Century” (1549-1639), Silence is a haunting journey through one priest’s struggles to remain faithful in the most challenging of circumstances. Continue Reading »

Apostate

Atheism and religious indifference are growing in the United States. In Faith No More, recently reissued in paperback, Pitzer College sociologist Phil Zuckerman cites Pew surveys showing that “20% of Americans now claim ‘none’ as their religion.” Harris polls register an uptick of atheism, from 4 percent in 2003 to 10 percent in 2008, with another 9 percent identifying themselves as agnostics.