The great danger that bedevils any powerful heuristic or interpretive discipline is the tendency to mistake method for ontology

Quote of the Day for Friday, September 30th, 2011: David Bentley Hart, from an On The Square article today over at First Things, on the inherently epistemologically-limiting nature of intellectual methodology, and the dangers of ignoring that fact: The great danger that bedevils any powerful heuristic or interpretive discipline is the tendency to mistake method for ontology, and so to mistake a partial perspective on particular truths for a comprehensive vision of truth as such. In the modern world, this is an especially pronounced danger in the sciences...

On a Nationalized American Religious Disposition

I don’t take many calls that come in from 800- or similar area codes, but I took one this morning, because I am expecting a call-back from HP regarding a warranty replacement hard drive for Ezra, my Windows 7 desktop computer (which I had prematurely identified last week as suffering from software problems, but which were being caused by a failing hard drive). The call was from an organization looking to add my name to a petition supposedly being submitted somewhere or another as a token of protest against the legal successes of a militant atheist group ...

‘I want to abort because if this baby is born it will be a Gemini, but I want a Libra.’

Quote of the Day for Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011: Jonathan Last, in a review published at the Wall Street Journal Online of Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, a recent book by feminist Mara Hvistendahl: Ms. Hvistendahl is particularly worried that the "right wing" or the "Christian right"—as she labels those whose politics differ from her own—will use sex-selective abortion as part of a wider war on abortion itself. She believes that something must be done about the purposeful a...

An All-Too Common Word

Yale Divinity School last week hosted “Loving God and Neighbor in Word and Deed: Implications for Christians and Muslims,” a conference on global inter-faith dialog, which was a follow-up to a written dialog commonly referred to as “A Common Word,” started back in late 2006 by several dozen Muslim leaders responding in an open letter to Pope Benedict XVI regarding Benedict’s famous University of Regensburg address, in which he infamously used some quotes from an obscure Byzantine text of Emperor Manuel II Paleologus to help ...

Benedict’s Challenge to American Anti-Authoritarianism

Pope Benedict XVI’s Yankee Stadium homily last Sunday was quite a celebration of American Catholicism, but the pontiff never strayed far from his theme of the unchanging need for faithful Christians, as a community rooted in the apostolic heritage, to be a sign of the gospel’s hope for mankind in the face of sin and death, through bearing witness to the unity of the truth found in the Word of God, revealed in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. This rootedness is not something Benedict sees simply in the hierarchical form of the Church (even if ...