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Posted by on Nov 3, 2015 | 0 comments

Peter Bayle, Superskeptic

Peter Bayle, Superskeptic

“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 Judeo-Christian, or even a secret Jew, a Manichean, an existentialist,”...

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Posted by on Sep 1, 2015 | 0 comments

Netflix and Chill?

Netflix and Chill?

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 mind of the tormented souls of men and women who...

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Posted by on May 28, 2015 | 0 comments

Can we go back? Stanley Hauerwas and the place of Christian Ethics

Can we go back? Stanley Hauerwas and the place of Christian Ethics

What exactly is Christian ethics, and how is it to be understood in our lives and the life of our church? This is a question to which I have started to give serious consideration, and a topic on which I intend to weigh in a lot over the coming months. Today’s post is the beginning of this journey and, like all beginnings, is heavy on excitement and questions and light on knowledge and sources.  The notion of Christian ethics is a modern invention.[1] This is the contention held by Stanley Hauerwas in his 1997 essay How “Christian Ethics” Came to Be. In this essay, he substantiates this claim by giving an overview of the history of ethics in the Church, starting with the Church Fathers. Like their ancient pagan compatriots, for whom philosophy was a way of life, ethics, for the Church Fathers, “was not some “aspect” of life, but rather inclusive of all that constituted a person’s life.”[2] In Tertullian and Augustine, two of the chosen examples, Hauerwas...

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Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 | 0 comments

Remembered Death

Remembered Death

The following post was originally written as a reflection for a talk on palliative care. It presents is my memories, five years later, on what it was like to sit with my Grandma during the last week of her life. In this reflection, I didn’t set out to make a coherent statement about death or make an argument for a particular type of care, but to simply reflect on what it was like to sit with someone, someone that I loved, as they died. At the end of August, my Grandma wasn’t doing well and so I, being unemployed at the time, volunteered to go stay with her. She was still at home when I left Edmonton, but by the time I had landed in Victoria, she had been moved to the hospice at the Royal Jubilee hospital. I went to see her right away and she was, that first day, very much the Grandma I remembered: pale and tired, but still cheerful and amusing and, well, herself. My mum arrived...

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Posted by on Mar 26, 2015 | 0 comments

March Madness

March Madness

March is an emotional month in Edmonton, Alberta. After the long and cold winter, I am always looking forward to those signs of spring. This is ever more true for those poor friends of mine who do not like winter! March, though, is not spring. It is a cruel and tortuous month which will rub your back with delightful sunshine with one hand while pouring gravelly slush down the front of your shirt with the other. Those who procrastinate until May to remove their snow tires are well-served.  March is also a hard month for the brain. This, at least, has been my experience, and, as a student, this comes as no surprise. The end of March/beginning of April are when (unless one is on the term system; sorry, UCSB!) the cumulative fatigue of the whole school year comes crashing down upon you. Coming up with content of any quality feels like an insurmountable task for my cotton-ball brain. It was a bit of a shock this year, then,...

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