Category Archives: Religion

A Mathematician’s Religion

One could say that the famous British mathematician A. N. Whitehead (1861-1947) was a true skeptic and no mere scoffing agnostic like so many of his peers. According to David J. Theroux, Whitehead argued in his book, Science and the … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Religion

A Page of Boswell

In one page of Boswell’s Life of Johnson (687 in the Oxford edition) perused at random I find two very interesting observations by Johnson during the course of a conversation with his biographer for March 16, 1776. The first deals … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Religion, Samuel Johnson

The Uncertainty of Good and Evil

“All fear is in itself painful, and when it conduces not to safety is painful without use.”—Samuel Johnson My latest meditation is based on Johnson’s Rambler essay “The folly of anticipating misfortunes” (No. 29). Few things in life are so … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Philosophy, Religion, Samuel Johnson

Epictetus for Lent

Reading the pagan Stoics during this traditional Christian penitential season might seem unusual except that Stoic writings, especially those of the Greek Epictetus, have long been admired by even the most austere orders of monks. Later Christian philosophers, like Justus … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Religion, Stoicism

A Book for All Seasons

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis is, after the Bible, perhaps the best-known work of Christian spirituality, and one that I continually return to, not only in the penitential season of Lent but all year long. It is … Continue reading

Posted in Religion

Kierkegaard on Ethical Multitasking

Studies show that the practice of “multitasking” is not only overrated but may actually be bad for us. It makes sense, then, that if it’s harmful in our practical pursuits, there are similar pitfalls in the moral life. Kierkegaard’s famed … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Religion

The Love of Retirement

“The love of retirement has, in all ages, adhered closely to those minds, which have been most enlarged by knowledge, or elevated by genius.”—Johnson, Rambler, No. 7 (10 April 1750) For most people, to be too much in the world … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Philosophy, Religion, Samuel Johnson

Socialist Greed, Christian Poverty

In Dostoyevsky’s novel about Russian radicalism (The Devils) the retired author Verkhovensky observes: “Why is it, I have noticed… that all these desperate socialists and communists are, at the same time, also such incredible misers, such acquisitive fellows, such believers in … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Literature, Politics, Religion

Dr. Jekyll’s Temptation

During this Halloween season I took up Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The book is full of the “atmospherics” that I enjoy in older British fiction. Take for example this scene between the taciturn lawyer Mr. Utterson (friend … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Literature, Religion

The Fighting Philosopher: Dietrich von Hildebrand

I have just finished reading Alice von Hildebrand’s memoir of her husband Dietrich (The Soul of a Lion, Ignatius Press) and must put it down as one of the best intellectual biographies I have come across in recent years. Von … Continue reading

Posted in History, Philosophy, Politics, Religion