Category: Philosophy

Miranda Sings and the many faces of narcissism

YouTuber Colleen Ballinger’s malaprop-mad persona, Miranda Sings, has a lot of “suscribers” pretty “essited” by her cat sweaters, garish lips and blaring songs. As Miranda, Ballinger burpily parodies everybody from illiterate online commenters to basic girls to inspirational speakers to do-it-yourselfers to inept webcammers. Next month, Miranda will be sharing her wisdom in a book…  [more]

Ex Machina and what it (might) mean to be human

What makes us human? And how is that related to the way we’re made in God’s image? These are perennial questions that tantalizingly linger along the edges of the new science-fiction thriller Ex Machina, my favorite film of the year thus far. Written and directed by Alex Garland, who brings a cool mercilessness to the proceedings, Ex Machina imagines the birth of artificial intelligence in the form of a…  [more]

Should we be “redesigning” death?

“With just a little attention … he might be able to refract some of the horror and hopelessness of death into more transcendent feelings of awe and wonder and beauty.” These words, taken from the California Sunday Magazine article “Death, Redesigned,” speak to a new understand of mortality in our culture. It doesn’t take much experience with death to understand how daunting the…  [more]

The Christian undergirding of David Brooks’ moral bucket list

I am seriously considering taking David Brooks’ recent New York Times essay, “The Moral Bucket List,” adding a dozen Bible references, tacking on an “Amen” and preaching it this Sunday. The piece begins with these words: “About once a month I run across a person who radiates an inner light. …They seem deeply good. They listen well. They make you feel funny and valued.…  [more]

Brittany Maynard and 9/11 jumpers: an analogy that doesn’t work

Much has been written about Brittany Maynard’s Nov. 1 decision to end her own life rather than face an ongoing battle with terminal cancer. Yesterday, Benjamin Corey penned a striking piece at Patheos that compared Maynard with those who chose to jump out of the World Trade Center towers during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The piece is powerful and the analogy is provocative, yet I think Corey is wrong. Thomas…  [more]

Christian philosophy in 2014

A recent gathering of the Society of Christian Philosophers was both a look back and a look forward. Alvin Plantinga was on hand to revisit his 1984 essay, “Advice to Christian Philosophers,” while other presenters debated how that advice should be understood today. What is Christian philosophy, and what are its challenges in 2014? Thirty years ago, Plantinga stoked the imagination of Christian…  [more]

Alvin Plantinga on atheism

The New York Times’ philosophy blog recently posed the following question to Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga: Is atheism irrational? The emeritus professor at Notre Dame, who has written for Think Christian on the historical Adam, offered a number of thoughts in his cogent, congenial style. One of Plantinga’s repeated claims in the interview is that while agnosticism may be a rational position to…  [more]

The danger in Sherlock’s ‘unconquerable soul’

Season 3 of BBC’s Sherlock has finally begun in the United States. Mentioned on many 2013 top 10 lists (including mine), Sherlock offers a contemporary spin on the titular detective. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as his faithful sidekick, Watson, the show features great acting, perfect chemistry, innovative cinematography and writing that’s generally top-notch. But as I…  [more]

The real reason we’re hard-wired for giving

In her recent Wall Street Journal article, “Hard-Wired for Giving,” Elizabeth Svoboda begins by noting that recent discussion concerning humanity’s origins and anthropology has commonly turned on the question of whether or not it is essentially human to live selfishly. In religious and theological circles, the shape of the argument typically goes like this: if Darwin is altogether right and, at…  [more]

‘I am not a millennial! I am a human being!’

Remember David Lynch’s 1980 film, The Elephant Man? The movie is based on the life of Joseph Merrick, a severely deformed man born in 1862 in Victorian England. After discovering Merrick in a “freak show,” a doctor takes him to a London hospital where Merrick is again treated as an object of curiosity, only now in the name of science rather than entertainment. The iconic scene occurs when Merrick,…  [more]

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