An Infinite Passion

Atargatis, the “Syrian Goddess,” was a demanding mistress. For one thing, her priests (the galli) could win their way into her affections only by emasculating themselves. According to the De Dea Syria, attributed to Lucian of Samosata, any young man disposed to dedicate himself to her service in Hierapolis had to make this first and most extravagant oblation on one of her high holy days, in a fit of divine ecstasy … Continue Reading »

Affirming Authority

“We need authority to be ourselves.” So writes Victor Lee Austin in Up With Authority: Why We Need Authority to Flourish as Human Beings. Yes, that’s quite right, but there’s a further truth as well. We need authority so that we can become more than ourselves. Aside from the occasional anarchist, most acknowledge the need for some form of authority to block the worst excesses of sin… . Continue Reading »

When Atheists Are Angry at God

I’ve shaken my fist in anger at stalled cars, storm clouds, and incompetent meteorologists. I’ve even, on one terrible day that included a dead alternator, a blaring blaring tornado-warning siren, and a horrifically wrong weather forecast, cursed all three at once. I’ve fumed at furniture, cussed at crossing guards, and held a grudge against Gun Barrel City, Texas. I’ve been mad at just about anything you can imagine. Continue Reading »

The Reagan Centenary

February 6 is the centenary of the birth of Ronald Wilson Reagan, one of the most intriguing public figures of our time. Clark Clifford, the ultimate Washington “insiders,” dismissed him as an “amiable dunce.” Yet Reagan’s posthumously published diaries and speech notes show a man of considerable insight and intelligence, who was shrewd enough to understand that the contempt of the elites was a political asset in securing the loyalty of the electorate and in getting what he wanted out of Congress and the federal bureaucracy… . Continue Reading »

The Year of Living Anxiously

Phyllis Scheck, age 79; Dorthy Morris, age 76; Dorwin Stoddard, age 76; Judge John Roll, age 63; Gabriel Zimmerman, age 30; Christina Green, age 9. As you read this, those six human beings“mostly anonymous to the world but beloved of their families and friends“are being grieved, waked, remembered, mourned, celebrated and interred. They were murdered at a shopping center, on January 8 by an incoherent, mentally ill young man who was somehow able to get hands on a gun. … Continue Reading »

The Atheist Gives Us Nothing

Umberto Eco is one of those agnostic or atheist writers Christians tend to like, not just for the quality of his thinking on this or that question, but because every now and then he seems to let the cat out of the bag. “Your own guy admits it!” is one of the most satisfying arguments around. Christian apologists offer it a lot… . Continue Reading »

Deciding Not to Decide What Marriage Is

Arguments over same-sex marriage and other challenges to conjugal tradition have brought into stark relief our degraded ability to describe the realities of family and the marriage culture. Legal reformations of marriage such as no-fault divorce, for instance, have crippled discourse by redirecting the recognized purpose of marriage away from the family as a unit, and toward the accommodation of the desires of individual adults… . Continue Reading »

Marriage and the Liberal Empire

The debate about same-sex marriage brings the modern liberal project to a point of clarity. If marriage can be reshaped to accommodate same-sex couples, then there is nothing that the modern liberal state cannot redefine to serve its own purposes. A few weeks ago, Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, and Ryan T. Anderson published an important article in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy defending the traditional view of marriage … Continue Reading »

Do Tummy Aches Disprove God?

My tummy hurts. Ergo, there is no god. This argument may be absurd, but it’s not intended as a reductio ad absurdum. Although in simplistic form, this enthymeme encapsulates one of the primary atheological arguments”the argument from evil. The structure of the argument becomes more obvious once we include the unstated premises … Continue Reading »