More than a century ago, when the social sciences were just beginning to study the relationship between religion and health, elite scholars such as sociologist Émile Durkheim, Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche repudiated religion consonantly, claiming that it had a toxic effect on individuals.
Today's increasingly politically correct and very denotative way of transmitting messages of public interest tends to distort the reception of speeches that have rhetorical and expressive nuances. In this context, how do we evaluate the cryptic nature of Jesus's words?
We experience a feeling of urgency as a consequence of the fear of failure, or the fear of missing out (on people, opportunities, time, good things). Urgency is, therefore, a corollary of fear. Today’s Christianity, hailed by loud voices as near extinction, can easily fall into the trap of undue urgency to quickly regain what has been lost.
Ask any cinematographer what gets them excited, and I guarantee there’s a fair chance they’ll answer with “lenses”. Having spent many years studying film and many more practising it, I can safely say that I now understand why this is—and it’s probably the first response you’d hear from me if you asked me the same question.
Claiming justice is history’s refrain, and it has a significant echo in the Bible. We all dream of a happy ending and a fair judgement as soon as possible. Heaven itself is surprised that God has delayed His holy justice. While some wait for it, others quash even the very thought that it might come.
The scenario in which God is a judge and His creatures are subject to His judgment culminates, in the Bible, with a happy ending for all lovers of righteousness. But what would be the end of a situation in which God is the accused in a trial instituted by His creatures? Whose ending would be happy?
There is a lot of talk today about the fact that things are not what they seem. It is not easy to distinguish between conspiratorially motivated speculation, and the real hidden things of our world—but most of the time the sources make the difference.
"Most of us now living have a chance for personal, physical immortality." This is the sentence French biologist and philosopher Jean Rostand (son of the writer Edmond de Rostand) used to begin the preface of a book on cryonics, The Prospect of Immortality, by the physics professor and science fiction writer Robert C. W. Ettinger.
During the COVID-19 lockdown last year, I lived with some messy people. I’d moved into a house that I shared with a wonderful couple of brothers. They were almost everything you could ask for in a set of housemates. Friendly, funny, respectful of your privacy . . . genuinely great people in almost every respect.
God uses the traits we dislike as well as our weaknesses to create something great, beyond our abilities and imagination. This is the message that pervades the pages of "The Woman with the Book", the biography of the missionary Gladys Aylward.