Theodicy

Suicide And The Tyranny Of Altruism

Suicide And The Tyranny Of Altruism

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This “Skeptic’s” column tackles a subject that is both delicate and volatile:  suicide. People who have known me for a fairly long time are well acquainted with a time in my life – during the time in Boston at Harvard and later at Seattle University  during the equally ill-advised quest for the MDiv -- when I was undergoing episodes of very  severe, quite arguably pre-suicidal, clinical depression. So – for the benefit of those people, for “my mariners, souls that have toiled and wrought and thought with me” – I want to emphasize that the following column does not describe me as I am now. Quite the contrary. I am not in crisis. I am not depressed. I am not afflicted with suicidal ideation – a term I came to know all too intimately during the “winter of [my] discontent”. So those of you
Child Abuse In The Church — Taking The Gloves Off

Child Abuse In The Church — Taking The Gloves Off

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This is going to sound really strange coming from me, i.e., coming from someone who has been a life-long fairly radical devotee of the First Amendment, in particular, of both the Amendment’s religion clauses:  the “establishment” clause and the “free exercise” clause. But the recent publication of the grand jury’s findings regarding six Pennsylvania dioceses in the matter of priest pedophilia has caused me to radically reassess my attitude toward the latter clause, especially given  that two of the six dioceses in question attempted to have judges quash the grand jury proceedings. In particular, I now believe that, for the most part and because of an arguably well-intentioned but exaggerated deference toward the “free exercise” clause, the Nation has pretty much allowed the Church to r
Treason, Treachery, And The Trauma Of Trust

Treason, Treachery, And The Trauma Of Trust

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In a recent “Skeptic’s Collection” column, I used the “Vergangenheit” episode of the critically acclaimed Netflix series The Crown as a springboard to a broader discussion of the relationship, within the Christian tradition, of forgiveness and trust. Implicit in my discussion was a critique of the conception of this relationship among, not all, but broad segments of the progressive-Christian community, which seems to often believe that the two are, if not strictly synonymous, then at least closely related. I argued to the contrary:  that trust is always, at best, conditional, even on those occasions when forgiveness is absolutely required. My question is this:  if we transpose that transaction between the Queen and the former King (now Duke) from a human to a theological key, is the Qu