Evidence-Based Standard of Care

I remember how I felt two hours after my daughter Penny was born, when I first found out that she had Down syndrome. I sifted through my brain for some scrap of information about this “thing” that had just happened to our family. All I could come up with was early death and mental . . . . Continue Reading »

Good Friday 2008

“Through Mary he received his humanity, and in receiving his humanity received humanity itself. Which is to say, through Mary he received us. In response to the angel’s strange announcement, Mary said yes. But only God knew that it would end up here at Golgotha, that it had to end up here. For . . . . Continue Reading »

Atheism and Atonement

In his delightful comic romp Slouching Towards Kalamazoo , novelist Peter de Vries describes an amusing debate on the existence of God between an atheist dentist and a Methodist minister. The minister had previously published a pious essay for the local secular paper¯an op-ed piece that was . . . . Continue Reading »

How Religion Became a Wedge Issue

People often say that religion has become more important in politics. In a way unimaginable in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, these days politicians, pundits, and pollsters give explicit attention to religion. In his famous speech nearly fifty years ago, John F. Kennedy tried to reassure his . . . . Continue Reading »

Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity

The understanding has sunk in slowly that the 1950s, far from being a bland decade of picket-fence complacence, were a time of intense social and artistic ferment: In literature alone, you have Invisible Man , Waiting for Godot , “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” and Goodbye, Columbus . (You . . . . Continue Reading »

A Mother’s Work

Presumably, Neil Gilbert did not marry a lawyer and father four children to research his new book. If the 24-hour news cycle has taught us anything, it’s that one need not possess firsthand knowledge of a subject to orate upon it at great length. But any substantial commentary on . . . . Continue Reading »

The Strange Ways of Black Folk

“To understand all is to forgive all.” It’s a beguiling French adage, although of doubtful truth. Senator Barack Obama, we were told, has invited America to engage in a “national dialogue about race.” This morning’s paper describes the dialogue as “last . . . . Continue Reading »

The Pious Infidel

Though the most Deistic of the Founding Fathers, even Jefferson was not a full-fledged Deist if we accept that philosophy as having had two fundamental tenets: a rejection of biblical revelation and a conviction that God, having created the laws of the universe, had receded from day-to-day control . . . . Continue Reading »

Revisiting the February Issue

With the April issue of First Things about to appear on the newsstands, we have unlocked the February issue ¯making the text available online even to non-subscribers. Of course, the sheer existence of non-subscribers is something of a mystery, one of those things that make us scratch our heads . . . . Continue Reading »