Religion

Religion is one of those things that, depending on who you are, can mean almost anything. It’s simultaneously so personal and so broad that it feels almost impossible to talk about.

And yet that’s what we do here. We talk here about the stories of religion – the stories that we tell ourselves and each other about where we’re from, and what life means. We talk about the stories that shape the lives of believers all around the globe.

Check out some of the quick-start topics below, or scroll down for the most recent – updates every second Wednesday.

On Now: 20th-C Catholics

Catholic thinkers from across the 20th century.

The Big Four

Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin

By author

All the texts we’ve discussed, listed by author

Most recent:

Niebuhr: On Christ and Culture

Long-time readers will know that I don’t often sit down and summarize the gist of the books I’m reading. The way I see it, there are probably plenty of other resources out there that are much better placed to do that work. If you want an introduction to the thought of Thomas Aquinas or a […]

Ellul: Christianity and Anarchy

We discussed recently Jacques Ellul’s Anarchy and Christianity, a 1988 book where Ellul identifies a range of problems with our modern democracy – up to and including how it’s subverted or arguably completely undermined by the wealthy. The diagnosis seems sound, although his solutions maybe haven’t aged very well – he suggests that we should […]

Ellul: Can Anarchism Work?

Jacques Ellul was a French theologian and Christian anarchist living in the 20th century. His life spreads fairly neatly across the century – he was born in 1912, and died 1994. He wrote a lot about the relationship between humans and technology, and I’ve been wanting to read his book Propaganda for a little while […]

The Atheist’s Handbook: On the Next World

Back at the end of 2019 I wrote a couple articles about Maggie Mae Fish, a Youtuber who created some video essays on those terrible Kirk Cameron films. While Maggie critiqued how the films promote a weird prosperity gospel, I suggested that maybe her critique tipped over into broader attacks on materialism altogether – which […]

Edmund Calamy and the Great Ejection

As long as we’re at something of a loose end, I’m picking over a few books that I’d intended to read previously – mostly leftovers from the first phase. One example is Sermons of the Great Ejection, a collection of the final sermons delivered by Puritan ministers before they were tossed out of the Church […]

Burke: On Taste

I’ve been thinking lately about the hows and whys of literary criticism. Last week we talked about video game criticism, and this trend of talking about how games ought to be – this week I’ve found myself back reading a classic of aesthetic theory. Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and the Beautiful […]

Replace Me: On Precarious Jobs

Time for a change of pace. I’ve been reading (or trying to read) Berdyaev’s Slavery and Freedom for a month and a half, and I’m not making any meaningful progress. So I’m done with that, and possibly also done with the Orthodox writers as well. Maybe we’ll move on to the Protestants, I don’t know […]

Berdyaev: Hell Doesn’t Exist

Over the past month we’ve been looking at The Beginning and the End, by the exiled Russian Orthodox theologian Nicolas Berdyaev. It’s about eschatology, or the end times; in it, we find Berdyaev’s perspective on what time is and what eternity is, and what it might be like when we move from one to the […]

Berdyaev: Are We Making Progress?

Here’s a question. As a species, as human beings, are we making progress? There are three basic answers to this question – yes we are, no we aren’t, or progress isn’t real. The first two are pretty straightforward – they either agree that we’re moving forward, or they disagree, and think we’re moving backwards. And […]

Berdyaev: Art and Transformation

In literature and the arts more broadly, the idea of creative genius has kinda come in and out of fashion. We talked previously about the idea of inspiration (Eastshade: On Inspiration), and I offered a few different phases that might characterize our approach to these ideas. There’s inspiration as something from the divine, as something […]

Berdyaev: On Choice and the New

Nicolas Berdyaev is a 20th century Russian Orthodox theologian. Like Vladimir Lossky, he was exiled from Russia on the philosophers’ ships in 1922, and ended up living in France, where he stayed through the German occupation during the Second World War. He has a pretty substantial bibliography, with titles like Spirit and Reality, Slavery and […]

Lossky: On Social Darwinism

So we’re reading the wartime diary of Vladimir Lossky, a 20th century Russian theologian exiled in 1922 and living in France during the Second World War. We talked about this book previously, but as a reminder, Seven Days on the Roads of France covers the week that Lossky spent fleeing the German invasion of Paris […]

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