Philosophy & Religion

Papal fallibility

Papal fallibility

February 23, 2016 at 3:15 pm 1 comment

A pontiff is infallible only when speaking ex cathedra on matters of doctrine. It’s kind of Pope Francis to remind us that otherwise a pope may be very fallible indeed. The latest reminder was given last Sunday, when His Holiness called for wholesale abolition of the death penalty. With allRead More

Pope Francis, contraception, and Zika: why epidemiology can never trump tradition

Pope Francis, contraception, and Zika: why epidemiology can never trump tradition

February 21, 2016 at 11:10 am 0 comments

The Zika virus is fuelling an international effort to limit Brazil’s fertility. Writing from a Roman Catholic perspective, Dr Gerard M Nadal here analyses Pope Francis’s recent in-flight pronouncements on the matter. Even the dimmest wit in the Society of Jesus can make his thoughts plainly understood. So it mustRead More

Catholic Pope and KGB Patriarch get together

Catholic Pope and KGB Patriarch get together

February 16, 2016 at 2:51 pm 0 comments

‘Look who’s talking’ is a colloquial way of saying that even an unimpeachable idea may be compromised by the speaker’s personality. For example, few would argue against the notion of the sanctity of human life – but even fewer would like to hear this argument put forth by a serialRead More

Easter under Islam, churches under attack

Easter under Islam, churches under attack

April 9, 2015 at 10:24 am 0 comments

As millions of Christians around the world were celebrating Easter Sunday, the Christians of the Muslim world were again under attack.  The April 2 Islamic jihad attack on a Kenyan school—where the Islamic murderers made sure to slaughter only Christian students, sparing fellow Muslims—was only the most spectacular attack. OnRead More

Lent according to Radio 4

Lent according to Radio 4

February 18, 2015 at 1:09 pm 0 comments

I can manage only so much spiritual exaltation at a quarter to eight in the morning, so that’s why I needed a second cup of tea before listening to Lucy Winkett deliver her oxymoronically titled Thought for the Day. It began with that infantile pedagogical device, so beloved of theRead More

The C of E: leftists at prayer

The C of E: leftists at prayer

February 14, 2015 at 2:40 pm 0 comments

Our established Church used to be called the Tory party at prayer. No more. The prayer part of it has been debauched by female priesthood and, to crown it all, episcopate. And as to the Tory bit, the Church is firmly positioning itself on the left of the political spectrum.Read More

Some cultural contradictions of liberalism

Some cultural contradictions of liberalism

December 29, 2014 at 12:59 pm 1 comment

‘Liberalism’ is not a term that admits of straightforward definition. To quote Nietzsche, ‘only something which has no history can be defined’ (On the Genealogy of Morality II.13), and liberalism has a complex and to some degree incoherent history. The liberalism of John Stuart Mill, for instance, is differently contouredRead More

Against Immanuel Kant — and Brendan O’Neill

Against Immanuel Kant — and Brendan O’Neill

December 20, 2014 at 9:15 pm 1 comment

Once upon a time — say, before the 1980s or 1990s — in quite a number of countries, people led normal lives: cases were argued, judicial decisions issued, laws enacted and conflicts solved without resort to reasoning of specifically or allegedly Kantian, or indeed Enlightenment/Kantian, types. Kant’s importance was foundRead More

The slow death of Christian Europe

The slow death of Christian Europe

October 7, 2014 at 9:21 am 0 comments

Renaissance, Reformation, Revolution The philosopher Antony Flew told me an engaging story about Wittgenstein at a meeting of the Moral Science Club in Cambridge in the late 1940s. The speaker began his talk on Descartes: “Cogito ergo sum…” Whereupon Wittgenstein said in a loud stage whisper, “That’s a f****** stupidRead More

Life, liberty and pursuit of bananas

Life, liberty and pursuit of bananas

October 6, 2014 at 3:29 pm 0 comments

It’s endlessly fascinating to observe how modernity rapes the very reason in whose name it was inaugurated,the foundation on which it’s supposedly built. Upon closer examination, however, one realises that the foundation is subsiding and termite-ridden. Detached from its divine source, reason can become very unreasonable indeed. Actually, as ifRead More