All posts tagged: Christianity

Further Reflections on Capital Punishment (and on Edward Feser)

According to Edward Feser, I seem “to think that the moral demands of the Gospel apply in exactly the same way to both the private sphere and the public sphere.” And this, he goes on to say, “is not only not the Catholic position, it is not even the Eastern Orthodox position. It is merely David Bentley Hart’s personal theological position, and he simply asserts it without argument.” Ah. Except that I don’t, and never have (though neither would I necessarily reject the proposition, since it seems a claim more dangerous to deny than to affirm; I would need to know precisely what “in exactly the same way” means in Feser’s mind.) I can see the cause of the confusion, however. The issue is capital punishment, and Feser’s angry expostulation comes near the end of his rancorous reply to two extremely bad reviews—one by me, one by Paul Griffiths—of the “Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment” that he and Joseph Bessette recently published under the title By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed. Now, in fact, nowhere in …

Exposed: Why I Am a Christian

Editors’ Note: This post was originally delivered as a presentation at the 2016 Why Christian conference. I’ve always wanted to be accepted and liked. I suffer from the disease of caring too much about what other people think. It’s crippling. In fact, I was scared s***less to come here today. Sometimes, I think I prefer the safety of my writer’s life—my cloistered office—to being out in public, exposed. When I’m writing my pages it’s easier to tune out the world, or engage with it selectively, to maintain the illusion of control. To craft the message. But sometimes, that message is false. This is one of my author photos. A friend came over and took it before my book came out. It’s a picture of me in my office with my daughter, Ruthie. White plank walls. Minimalist aesthetic. Good natural light. Serene. Except that it’s not my office. This is a picture of my actual office. I cleared out my living room for the first shot. I moved a piece of art in from the kitchen. And …

Silence: A First Review

The Jesuits left Japan in 1587. Shūsaku Endō published Silence in 1966. Martin Scorsese read it in 1989 and now releases, 27 years later, the movie he has wanted to make ever since. Why drag a story from distant history to examine today? Scorsese’s Silence raises so many issues it’s hard to choose one. It made me consider: What is the nature of humility? What happens when we and our environment conflict? How does Scorsese change Endō’s story? How do stories change us? So a little of each. Silence traces Fr. Sebastiao Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield), a young Jesuit who goes to Japan searching for his mentor, Fr. Christovau Ferreira (Liam Neeson). Ferreira has allegedly apostatized, permanently betrayed his once viral faith and has since been living as a Japanese man with a Japanese wife. Rodrigues and fellow priest Francisco Garrpe, convinced this is a lie, want to find the man who inspired them. Japan reveals the prideful underbelly of Rodrigues’ zeal. Their translator Kichijiro (Yôsuke Kubozuka) introduces them to clandestine Christians, literally starving for the sacraments. …