November 17, 2005
The Christian vision of beauty explains why the world is beautiful, but not quite. We are often struck by the beauty of the created order, and this feeling is validated for us in Genesis chapter 1, where the Creator’s own verdict is that the creation is good. The goodness of creation is therefore nonnegotiable, and again the unity of the transcendentals reminds us that if it is good, then it is also necessarily true, and real, and beautiful. Thus our metaphysic and our aesthetic, our understanding of truth and our evaluation of ethics, all come together in creation. The creation as God made it was good and beautiful and true and real.
November 16, 2005
There is something intrinsic to humanity that is drawn to beauty.
There is something of an aesthetic desire in us–an aesthetic appetite.
And yet beauty is in crisis; it is a contested category. In the
reigning confusion of the popular culture, the artificial is often
confused for the real, the pretty for the beautiful, and the untrue for
the true–all of which, as we shall see, are essentially one root
November 15, 2005
Our nation’s political rhetoric is filled with references to unity and national cohesiveness. Nevertheless, this unity is often more superficial than substantial, and talk of national unity wears thin when the culture appears to be ripping apart at the seams.
November 14, 2005
In the aftermath of the fall of the Iron Curtain, prominent writer V. S. Naipaul declared the dawn of a “universal civilization.” According to Naipaul’s vision, the end of the Cold War was a signal that the entire planet was moving toward a single civilizational form that would transcend ethnic differences, ideological cleavages, and the fault lines that have separated cultures in the past.
November 11, 2005
“Hostilities will cease on the whole front at 11 hours today, French time. Until that hour, the operations previously ordered will be pressed with vigor. At 11 hours our line will halt in place, and no man will move one step forward or backward.” Those were the orders released just before 9:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918 in an address to the U. S. Army’s 79th Division. That order announced the end of “The War to End All Wars,” now known as World War I. Yet in one of the most bitter ironies of this bitter conflict, thousands would die between the time the armistice was signed and hostilities ceased.
November 10, 2005
CNN founder Ted Turner once remarked, “If I only had a little humility, I would be perfect.” In a strange and almost perfectly ironic sense, this statement encapsulates the spirit of our age–an attitude that gives lip service to humility while celebrating self-promotion. C. J. Mahaney seeks to set the record straight in his new book, Humility: True Greatness.
November 9, 2005
“Civilization is hideously fragile,” argued C. P. Snow. “There's not much between us and the horrors underneath, just about a coat of varnish.” Snow's statement takes on ominous overtones in light of the raging riots in and around Paris.
November 8, 2005
“Modern medicine is one of those extraordinary works of reason: an elaborate system of specialized knowledge, technical procedures, and rules of behavior,” explains Paul Starr. “By no means are these all purely rational: Our conception of disease and responses to it unquestionably show the imprint of our particular culture, especially its individualist and activist therapeutic mentality. Yet, whatever its biases and probably because of them, modern science has succeeded in liberating humanity from much of the burden of disease.”
November 7, 2005
Former president Jimmy Carter has written yet another book — his twentieth — and he has hit the media circuit in order to promote his latest project. Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis represents the former president’s return to familiar themes, even as it will add new layers of confusion concerning his actual beliefs and values.
America’s Parents Served Notice–You are not the “Exclusive Providers” of Sex Information to Your Children
November 4, 2005
Who decides what children will be taught about sex? The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals served notice on America’s parents this week, ruling that parents of elementary-aged school children have no right to be the “exclusive providers” of sex information to their children. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is generally considered to be America’s most left-wing court. Nevertheless, the decision handed down on November 2 represents one of the most outrageous infringements upon parental rights ever made by an American court.
November 3, 2005
“In the last four decades, a feminist revolution has swept the globe,” observes W. Bradford Wilcox. Indeed, a rising tide of feminist concerns has reached almost every part of the world, with ideological feminism exerting its greatest influence in Western Europe and North America. The feminist revolution Wilcox describes has brought, he acknowledges, “many beneficial changes to our world.” Nevertheless, the same movement has “brought less welcome developments to the global scene,” and one of the most unwelcome of these developments is what Wilcox describes as “the androgynous impulse.”
November 2, 2005
First, an admission–I am an unapologetic Anglophile. I love British history, celebrate our common roots, and would live in England if I could not live in America. Similarly, I am conservative enough to admit that I am sometimes given to romantic thoughts about a constitutional monarchy as a keeper of national tradition. All that conservative romanticism has its limits, however. And that limit is represented by the current Prince of Wales. Britain’s Prince Charles is a walking refutation of a hereditary monarchy. How did the House of Windsor come to this?