Skeptic

The Real Miracle Of Bartimaeus

The Real Miracle Of Bartimaeus

activism, autonomy, awareness, Challenge, Change, Character of God, citizenship, civics, Compassion, critical judgment, Enlightenment, Ethics, faith, faithfulness, God, Gospel of Mark, Gratitude, Hope, Human Condition, Judaism, Judean Peasant, Kierkegaard, kindness, Kingdom of God, Letting go, Outside your comfort zone, peace and justice, Religion, separation of Church and State, Skeptic, Theology, Uncategorized
Even if you reject the “metaphysics” of Christianity – the Incarnation, the miracles, the bodily Resurrection, etc. -- you still have to deal with Christianity as an ethical system, and by that measure there are Gospel texts that, perhaps because of their very simplicity, challenge the current conservative ethic of “I’ve got mine, Jack, so screw you”.  One such text is the story of Jesus’ encounter with the blind beggar, Bartimaeus, on the road leaving Jericho. But matters are not that straightforward. For it is easy enough, in fact, borderline-trivial, to understand the story as a critique of contemporary conservative Republican attitudes toward any form of material assistance to the indigent. What is usually overlooked is that the story contains a very recessed and implicit critique
17 September — Constitution Day

17 September — Constitution Day

abolition, autonomy, Civil War, community, conflict, conservatism, Consitution, critical judgment, culture, Education, emancipation, Enlightenment, Ideology, inclusive, mind, mindfulness, Minorities, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Religious War, republic, Science, Skeptic, slavery, Spirituality, Theology, Tolerance
*************************************************************************** I normally do not "recycle" posts, but every year on or about 17 September, I re-publish this "Skeptic's Collection" column commemorating the completion and signing of the US Constitution by the 55 members of the Constitutional Convention, gathered in Philadelphia from 25 May through 17 September of 1787.  So I am making an exception to my "no-recycle" rule and republishing a chapter of my recent e-course on the history and  foundations of the US Constitution. The Constitution is an imperfect document, and the original, pre-Civil-War version especially so. In fact, that antebellum Constitution was pretty explicitly pro-slavery because of provisions like the "3/5 clause", the prohibition against interfering w
Channeling Alan Dershowitz

Channeling Alan Dershowitz

activism, autonomy, awareness, bigotry, Challenge, Change, Christianity, Church, citizenship, civics, community, conflict, conservatism, constitution, courage, Criminal Procedure, critical judgment, culture, Discernment, Education, Enlightenment, Equality, Executive Branch, Fascism, Fear, First Amendment, Freedom, Hillary Clinton, history, Ideology, injustice, Judaism, justice, law, Outside your comfort zone, political rhetoric, Politics, Presidency, progressive politics, Rationality, republic, Secularity, Skeptic, Supreme Court, Tolerance, Trump, Uncategorized, Welcoming the other
I must admit it feels really strange to be channeling Alan Dershowitz, not only because Prof. Dershowitz is still very much alive, but also because, at least on some issues, I share his oft-reviled ability to act as an honest broker by disinterestedly considering constitutional issues from the standpoint of both parties to a dispute.  But that is the position I find myself in while reading stories about and pondering the back and forth between Democrats / progressives and Republicans / conservatives regarding the matter of the confirmation of Supreme Court nominees Merrick Garland and Brett Kavanaugh. People on both sides of these controversies seem much more conversant with and concerned about the principles of tennis than those of the US Constitution.  Moreover, there is about equal