The Commodification of God

Commodification has led most people to view God as a device to be used rather than an all-powerful Creator to be revered. This also explains our abundant and careless words about him. Is it any surprise that a divine butler would fail to provoke reverent silence? What need is there to rein in one’s tongue if God is merely a cosmic therapist? The god of Consumer Christianity does not inspire awe and wonder because he is nothing more than a commodity to be used for our personal satisfaction...

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Last Days of Magic cover art

The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins

This is the kind of book where you want to lose yourself in the story and are compelled to read it whenever you have free time. But instead I had to force myself to finish it after I had invested time in starting. If you like big, messy, sprawling stories about a secret history with lots of violence and sex then this may be for you. Just didn't work for me.

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Review: The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

I am somewhat torn as to my reaction. I really enjoyed it for about 75% but then it felt like it was dragging a bit. But no sooner had I begun to feel that, it cranked up the tension and I stayed up late to finish it. I guess I am more on the positive (some nearly gushing) reviews spectrum than I am on the negative. But, perhaps because I am not all that knowledgeable about science fiction or speculative fiction, I can't quite see the profound and literary masterpiece some have found.

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Rowan Williams: the case for blasphemy

If you are forbidden to voice the hard questions, this might suggest that faith survives only by never being challenged. The person who actually expresses their fury or disgust or disillusion can, at least sometimes, be demonstrating faith of a sort, confidence that, if God is real, it is possible, even necessary, to say what you feel about Him – and that, unless you can say this, the God you started with is not worth believing in. This underpins many of the Jewish Psalms or the poems of...

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The three big stories of modernity

So far there have been three widely influential stories about the rise of modernity: the Emancipatory, the Protestant, and the Neo-Thomist. The Emancipatory account argues that modernity is fundamentally about the use of rediscovered classical learning, especially the Skeptics and Epicureans in their literary and philosophical modes, to liberate European Man from bondage to a power-hungry church and religious superstition. The Protestant account argues that modernity marks the moment when...

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The Soul of the Marionette

If the only alternative to Gnosticism is Stoicism—if the intellect of man is forced to choose the wild outward spirit or the stern inward soul—then we have made no philosophical advance since the days of the Roman Empire and the closing of the ancient mind. It is now as it was then: Valentinus stands at one door, smiling, while Seneca, stands at the other door, frowning, and the dim cave of human falsity offers no other exits. For the world, you have to understand, remains a vile and...

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The System Has a Soul by Hunter Baker

Even if you don't agree with his perspective I think you will find Hunter a fair and clear guide to many of these issues and debates. Rather than amp up the outrage, he tries to bring a calm, prudent style and tone. Even amongst the controversy and strongly held opinions he seeks out common ground and a consistent sense of civility.

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