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Peter Bayle, Superskeptic

Posted by on Nov 3, 2015 | 0 comments

“the value of faith is directly proportional with its repugnancy to reason”  “One must necessarily choose between philosophy and the gospel”  “the best answer that can be naturally [i.e., without appeal to Revelation but relying only on philosophy] made to the question, “Why did God permit man to sin,” is to say, “I do not know; I only believe that he has some reasons for it that are really worthy of his infinite wisdom, but which are incomprehensible to me.”[1] It’s not just anyone who can earn the accolade “superskeptic.” But according to scholar and philosopher Richar Popkin, Huguenot philosopher Peter Bayle deserved it. Voltaire would probably agree. Said Voltaire, “the greatest master of the art of reasoning that ever wrote, Bayle, great and wise, all systems overthrows.” Bayle has been described by scholars as “a positivist, an atheist, a deist, a skeptic, a fideist, a Socinian, a liberal Calvinist, a conservative Calvinist, a libertine, a Judaizing Christian, a...

What Hulu Can’t Do

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 | 1 comment

  Let me begin by casting off any pretense of judgment towards a Saturday afternoon spent watching Gilmore Girls while the sun shines gloriously outside. One of my “incentives” for reaching a days reading or writing goal often involves a couch, two cuddly dogs and the most recent episodes of Once Upon a Time, I must admit. But, I also admit that a day of binge watching on Netflix does not compare to the times when I spend an entire day immersed in a novel, bottomless cup of coffee in-hand. There is something the pages of a book offer that the television screen cannot. What I propose here is not revolutionary, in fact, it may seem quite obvious to some: consider this a reminder of our imaginative capabilities to indwell fantastic worlds. In The Act of Reading, Wolfgang Iser discusses a particular kind of imaging that occurs in reading. Its particularity resides in the fact that when we read...

The Miracle of Flight

Posted by on Sep 21, 2015 | 0 comments

  When I was growing up in the Baptist church, I never knew what people saw or heard when they were alone with God. I just knew he never spoke to me so clearly. I watched as the men presented themselves, hands clasped behind their sports coats, heads bowed, stepping toward the altar. “Brother Jones has come here tonight to announce his calling into the mission field,” boomed the pastor. The congregation “Amen-ed.” I shifted in my lightly-padded pew, reached into my purse for a hard candy. At 10 years old, it’s the only thing I kept in that purse. Calling only happened to men. And when it did, they claimed it with such lock-jawed certainty, it was as if God had pulled them to the sidelines of their big football game, dropped to one knee and outlined their next play with the infallible tip of his dry-erase marker. I never felt called in the traditional sense. In college...

Netflix and Chill?

Posted by on Sep 1, 2015 | 0 comments

When I was surfing the internet, as one does these days, I came across an article that I read and promptly forgot where I read it.[1] But the main content of the article, and one line in particular have stood with me. The author was waxing eloquent about his nostalgia for the emo music of the previous decade when it “was cool to care.” He contrasts this with current popular music, which eschews emotion in favour of a studied detachment. The article stuck with me for two reasons. First, although emo music was never something I got into in my younger days, I listen to a fair amount now because my husband loves it. The whining despair and hopeless situations of these poor musicians cannot help but put a smile on his face and an extra spring in his step. The second reason it stuck with me is that the author’s descriptions of current pop music put me in...