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Science/Tech

Tom Wolfe and a cognitive neuroscientist discuss status, free will, and the human condition

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(2) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    brain | free will | neuroscience

Faith

Benedict’s Discomforting Message

"Benedict directly challenged an assumption so many Americans make about religion: that it is a matter of private devotion with few public implications. Not true, said the pope. 'Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted,' he told the country’s Catholic bishops Wednesday. 'Only when their faith permeates every aspect of their lives do Christians become truly open to the transforming power of the Gospel.' That is a demanding and unsettling standard for the right and the left alike... This is the thinking of a communitarian counseling against radical individualism... Perhaps it is the task of the leader of the Roman Catholic Church to bring discomfort to a people so thoroughly shaped by modernity, as we Americans are. If so, Benedict is succeeding." READ MORE >


Faith

The Puzzling Pope: Six Surprising Things About Benedict XVI

"The head of the CDF has to draw lines, level punishments and basically talk tough, a role that Ratzinger seemed to relish, but one that won him epithets like God's Rottweiller and the old standby, the Panzerkardinal. But now that Cardinal Ratzinger is Pope Benedict, he knows better than anyone that he is also the chief pastor of the church. There can be no 'Panzerpope.' His job is to be the good cop, a symbol of unity who tries to encourage people to live their faith more deeply. As he told a dinner companion about his new role: 'It was easy to know the doctrine. It’s much harder to help a billion people live it.'" READ MORE >

(1) COMMENT  |  TOPICS:    benedict xvi | pope

Issues

Hiroshima: Has the ground zero of the nuclear age become too ‘normal’?

...Hiroshima is still here to remind us of what happened when we first unleashed our "device" and how it can never happen again—supposedly. That's what everyone says after visiting Hiroshima, the statesmen and citizens who sign the guest book at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. We will never forget. But maybe we will. The very fact that Hiroshima is thriving with its KFC and Starbucks, with the carefully manicured lawns of its 'Peace Memorial Park'—the only evidence that hell was unleashed here—may have the opposite, anodyne effect. This is not John Hersey's Hiroshima, the Hiroshima of the horrific immediate aftermath, but is to a certain extent a Hiroshima that says a nuclear detonation is a transient thing, something that's eminently recoverable from with a little time and some good landscaping." READ MORE >

(1) COMMENT  |  TOPICS:    death | hiroshima | world war ii

World

Coptic priest Zakaria Botros fights fire with fire

“The very public conversion of high-profile Italian journalist Magdi Allam — who was baptized by Pope Benedict in Rome on Saturday — is only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, Islamic cleric Ahmad al-Qatani stated on al-Jazeera TV a while back that some six million Muslims convert to Christianity annually, many of them persuaded by Botros’s public ministry… Many Western critics fail to appreciate that, to disempower radical Islam, something theocentric and spiritually satisfying — not secularism, democracy, capitalism, materialism, feminism, etc. — must be offered in its place. The truths of one religion can only be challenged and supplanted by the truths of another. And so Father Zakaria Botros has been fighting fire with fire.” READ MORE >

(1) COMMENT  |  TOPICS:    conversion | islam | zakaria botros

Issues

Latin Patriarch’s Easter Homily: Security Cannot Be Achieved by Inflicting Insecurity on Others

“For the people and for all our political leaders, the situation has become deadlocked, or still worse, a routine of death that the latter think they must only govern without ever giving it life. The recent events of these past few weeks, Gaza, the murder at the yeshiva in Jerusalem, the young people killed in Bethlehem, and many others, are no more than sterile repetitions of the events of all the past years. And we will not stop repeating that security cannot be achieved by inflicting insecurity on others. New means must be found…” READ MORE >


Faith

Pope Benedict XVI’s Address at the End of the Way of the Cross

"Dear friends: After having lived together the passion of Jesus, let us this night allow his sacrifice on the cross to question us. Let us permit him to challenge our human certainties. Let us open our hearts. Jesus is the truth that makes us free to love. Let us not be afraid: upon dying, the Lord destroyed sin and saved sinners, that is, all of us. The Apostle Peter writes: 'He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness' (1 Peter 2:24). This is the truth of Good Friday: On the cross, the Redeemer has made us adoptive sons of God who he created in his image and likeness. Let us remain, then, in adoration before the cross." READ MORE >

(0) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    love | passion | via crucis

Faith

Good Friday is the Feast Day for Those Who Suffer

"'Jesus died in utter agony but also with total acceptance of the will of his Father: 'Father, into your hands I commend my spirit,' he said. Such trust and belief is hard to understand, but it lies at the heart of what faith is about.' ... Suffering and doubt is part of what it is to be human, but Jesus rising from the dead shows us that [it] is not the end of the story." ... But today it is enough to be humble and to share that sense of pain and desolation, wherever we know it to be and which many of us experience from time to time and pray that the darkness and despair will turn to hope and to light." READ MORE >

(0) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    good friday | suffering

Faith

Through His Eyes: Stations of the Cross

For centuries... many stations were crowded with Roman soldiers and jeering or appalled onlookers, perhaps set against someone’s impression of first-century Jerusalem. Eric Gill’s 1918 stations, carved in shallow relief for Westminster Cathedral in London, pointed in a new direction. The figures were few and without background; the compositions were simple and formal, not theatrical. Rather than dictating an emotional response, the stone panels left space for the devotee’s own thoughts... Don Meserve, a fervent admirer of Gill, works within this contemporary current...'What strikes one from the outset is the absence of the figure of Christ — the perplexing absence of the protagonist himself.'” READ MORE >

(0) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    lent | passion | stations | via crucis

Faith

Bearing the Silence of God: The image of Christ in the persecuted church

“…The greatest glory Jesus brought to God was not when he walked on the water or prayed for long hours, but when he cried in agony in the garden of Gethsemane and still continued to follow God's will, even though it meant isolation, darkness, and the silence of God. Thus, we know that when everything around us fails, when we are destroyed and abandoned, our tears, blood, and dead corpses are the greatest worship songs we have ever sung. The dead body is not the end of the story. The one who sacrificed his life is also the one who has been glorified: 'because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence' (2 Cor. 4:14).” READ MORE >


Culture

The last rendezvous with Arthur C. Clarke

The last rendezvous with Arthur C. Clarke “…Clarke, who is credited in real life with being the first to come up with the idea of an ‘artificial satellite’ that could ‘broadcast to half the globe,’ was nothing if not prescient. Two years before I was born, he had already grasped the inevitable, unstoppable business model of on-demand-sex-flicks in the privacy of your own living room [and] I mean, come on -- in 1960, Clarke had already sketched out ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.’ Were there no limits to his imagination!?” READ MORE >


Movies

Apocalypse Now?

Apocalypse Now? "On a recent Saturday night, I went to the movies. Walking past the theater showing 'I Am Legend' (plague kills most of humanity), I opted to watch 'Cloverfield' (inexplicably angry alien destroys Manhattan) instead. After sitting through back-to-back previews for 'Hellboy II: The Golden Army' (ancient truce between Hell and Earth is revoked, resulting in mass destruction) and 'Doomsday' (lethal virus ravages England, a disease-ridden cinematic cousin to '28 Days Later' and 'Children of Men'), I found myself disturbed. The End of Days suddenly seemed imminent. Should I cancel my post-movie dinner reservation? What's with all this apocalyptic entertainment, I wondered, and what does it say about those of us who are filling the theater seats?" READ MORE >

(1) COMMENT  |  TOPICS:    apocalpse | god | nihilism

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