Category: Philosophy

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]

A challenge from Kierkegaard on his 200th birthday

“The highest and most beautiful things in life are not to be heard about, nor read about, nor seen but, if one will, are to be lived.” (Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or) May 5 marks the 200th birthday of Danish writer Søren Aabye Kierkegaard, a philosopher, theologian, poet and cultural critic. It seems especially appropriate to mark this anniversary at Think Christian. Kierkegaard would…  [more]

Faux fur and the death of the real

It’s the latest example of the classic “man bites dog” news story: department stores falsely advertise faux fur coats; lawsuits ensue. Last month three upscale clothing retailers agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they misled consumers by advertising that their products contained faux fur when, in fact, they contained real fur. It might seem strange that a company would find…  [more]

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