Faith & Culture


Marvin Olasky’s ‘Lament’ for Earthly Father Leads to Heavenly One

Why do sons write books about their fathers? Perhaps it’s because they feel a need to figure out the guy who sired their existence. If they’re like Marvin Olasky, the eminent public intellectual who edits World magazine, the act of writing promises to make someone distant and mysterious “come alive.” Read More ›

Fr. Michael Chabarek on Thomas Aquinas and Theistic Evolution

The works of Thomas Aquinas are marshaled by some Catholic scholars in defense of theistic evolution, the idea that Darwinian evolution can be reconciled to Christian faith. In a new paper, Fr. Michael Chabarek makes the case that the great medieval scholar and “doctor of the Church” cannot be put to this purpose without contorting his views. Fr. Chabarek, a Phd. In theology from Poland and a Dominican priest, follows the same style as Aquinas in giving the best arguments for reconciling Christianity with Darwinian evolution, and then in refuting those arguments.

Put Your Head Back on Right this July 4

It is easy to get distracted by all the forebodings in the news today, so I want to offer Discovery Institute friends a “read” that will re-inspire you and also assert some of the personality and philosophy that I hope animates this organization and its fellows. It should encourage a different version of Independence Day enthusiasm as it is quintessentially American.

My Uncle Berlin B. Chapman was raised literally a hundred years ago in the hills of West Virginia, put himself through college and Harvard Graduate School (Phd.), and taught history the rest of his life in Oklahoma–producing some of that region’s first histories. He once told me that in his opinion “the greatest commencement address” ever made was “Acres of Diamonds,” by Baptist preacher and Temple University President Russell Conwell. I asked Uncle Berlin for the gist of it–that the opportunities in life are found in one’s own backyard–and was more or less satisfied with that truism. But I finally got around to reading a version of the address itself today because I wanted to recommend it to a young political friend of mine. Read More ›

A Toast to Fellowship!

Logan Gage calls our attention to the book, Drinking with the Saints, which he reviews at First Things, acknowledging inter alia that he did “more research” for that review that is customary. Dr. Gage, who teaches philosophy at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, mostly quotes the saints, and then the author, Michael P. Foley. But I also like that secular historical figure, Ben Franklin, who famously stated, “Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.”

Continuing Neglect of Today’s Christian Martyrs

UPDATE: The Pope himself made this topic the theme of his Easter message.

The preacher at Pope Francis’ commemoration of Good Friday in the Vatican raised the painful issue of growing persecution of Christians around the world. It is a story that “the institutions” of the world, Fr. Raneiro Cantalamassa said, are not mentioning. Perhaps he was thinking of the United Nations. But he could have been speaking of almost any institutions.

That includes, sadly, the Catholic Church! The mass dispossessions, church bombings, beheadings and other murders, rapes, sale of women and children captives into slavery, etc. go unremarked in parish homilies I have attended in many cities. Isn’t that odd? Maybe there are exceptions, but I have been traveling around a lot lately and have yet to hear the subject broached, let alone made the main topic of a sermon. Oh, on two occasions I did note that the recommended prayers sent out by the Church hinted at the topic, but that’s it.

Yet martyrdom is what happened to the followers of Jesus two millennia ago, isn’t it? It’s a rather important theme in the Christian story. With all its depth and implications, surely this topic should be widely discussed. So should Aid to the Church in Need and other groups trying to get help victims of persecution–often Christians and non-Christians alike. But “silence”, as the Vatican preacher says, is what we get instead.

This is not the first time that the subject of current martyrdoms has been broached lately in the Vatican. Sadly, the message is not getting picked up at lower levels of the
Church, in other denominations or–let alone–the major media. Read More ›

Detective Columbo of Chemistry: “I Don’t Understand Evolution”

A renowned chemist says he doesn’t “understand” evolution. What he means, he subsequently makes clear, is that Darwin’s theory doesn’t make sense to him. His humility, like that of Lt. Columbo in the famous TV detective series, covers a tough, analytical mind.

Dr. Tour

Dr. Tour

Dr. James Tour of Rice University, regarded as one of America’s 50 top scientists, is quoted by Christian News about his innocent-sounding discussions with fellow scientists in private. “‘Let me tell you what goes on in the back rooms of science—with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners,’ Tour stated. ‘I have sat with them, and when I get them alone, not in public—because it’s a scary thing, if you say what I just said—I say, ‘Do you understand all of this, where all of this came from, and how this happens?’

“The answer he inevitably receives, Tour explained, is: ‘no.’

Read More ›