In Catholic theology, moral judgment must be grounded in Scripture, sensitive to the complexity of issues, and guided by sound reasoning. If such judgment were to be summed up in a single word, it would be discernment.… Read More
- /Archive by category ' Culture '
Archive For: Culture
Part 1 of this essay discussed the analysis of Islam presented by Nonie Darwish in Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law. Darwish defines Islam as “less a religion and more a totalitarian system of government by terror,” and she claims that “To be a Muslim is to have a relationship not with Allah but with the Sharia-run State.”
For almost two millennia, Christianity has survived innumerable challenges from without, including heresies, schisms and philosophical “isms,” as well as more than a few challenges from within. But the most dangerous challenge of all may be one that was overcome seven centuries ago but is now regenerated—the challenge posed by Islam. Its agents no longer wield battle axes and scimitars, as their militant predecessors did. They travel instead in the peaceful garb of immigrants and refugees.… Read More
The occasion was a recent picnic and my discussion with a pharmacist began well. I mentioned that I have often consulted pharmacists about prescription medicines’ side effects and interactions and that experience had led me to study such matters myself. Along the way, I said, I’ve learned that some doctors pay little attention to patients’ reactions to medications.
For some reason she seemed upset by that statement and dismissed it, saying “The great majority of side effects are minor, and the serious ones tend to occur only in a small percentage of cases.” What an odd response from a pharmacist, I thought; it sounds more like something from a pharmaceutical pamphlet implying that suffering is less real or problematic if it occurs infrequently.… Read More
On June 14 a man opened fire with a rifle at a group of Republican lawmakers as they practiced for a baseball game with their Democratic counterparts, severely injuring Congressman Steve Scalise and also injuring four others. The shooter, who died after being shot by police, was 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Ill., a Bernie Sanders supporter who had previously been charged with several crimes, including DUI, resisting a police officer, and battery against his daughter and another woman.… Read More
Recently, while flying to Rome, I was browsing through the Swiss Airline magazine and noticed how much European cigarette ads differ from ours. The ones I saw, whether for individual packs or cartons, prominently warned of the dangers of smoking. By prominently I mean three or four times larger and more pointedly phrased.
For example, whereas a U.S. Camel pack carries a barely noticeable message at the bottom of the page—“smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and may complicate pregnancy”—the Swiss Camel pack uses a heavy black frame covering over a third of the page and more blunt language. … Read More
A month before the 2016 election, I wrote an essay called “My Political Disgust,” in which I criticized most politicians (Democrats and Republicans) as well as their spokespeople and the media.
One reader criticized the essay this way: “I did not read this article. The title already alerted me to how offensive it was.” She then went on to disapprove of what she had not read.… Read More
American culture is infected with Relativism, the belief that everyone creates his or her own truth. In other words, that people don’t only have a right to their opinion—their opinions are necessarily right! At first thought, this notion seems eminently democratic and fair. It makes each individual the arbiter of fact and fiction, truth and error, wisdom and nonsense.
However, as Mortimer Adler noted*, this idea is as false today as it was when it was first proposed in Ancient Greece.… Read More
G. K. Chesterton once remarked that many commentators in his day suffered from “the art of missing the point.” That affliction not only survives today—it is epidemic among social and political commentators. And it is often accompanied by bigotry, which Chesterton defined as “incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition.”
A perfect example of both maladies is an exchange between an MSNBC interviewer and Asra Nomani, a political liberal and a Muslim.… Read More
Over the last century an old idea has gained new currency in American culture—the idea that equality of achievement is the right order of things, ordained by God. This idea has led to a variety of mistaken lines of thought, notably these:
Mistaken thought 1: Since equality of achievement is ordained by God, “all men are created equal” must mean that people should be equal at all times and in all ways—in childhood and adulthood; in intellectual and physical performance; in financial condition and personal accomplishments.… Read More