Alright, y’all – here’s some more Reasonable Catholic Recommends.
Movie I just re-watched – This weekend Amanda and I watched The Darkest Hour, a 2017 film starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill. Goldman is phenomenal in this movie, as is Kristin Scott Thomas who plays his wife, Clemmie. A year ago I watched this film for the first time, and it so intrigued me that I have since watched and read much more on the great hero of World War II—a man who knew both failure and victory intimately. Want to learn more about the life of Churchill? Start with Paul Johnson’s Churchill.
‘Great Book’ I’ve finally gotten around to reading – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. The year 2018 marked the 200th anniversary of this classic horror novel, which is a thought-provoking tale that stirs one to contemplate human nature, technology, morality, and the the potential consequences that can arise when we become obsessive manipulators of nature.
Prayer I’ve been trying to say more – The Jesus Prayer. we live in a culture becoming increasingly obsessed with meditation as a method of relaxing oneself and getting “centred.” As Christians, we have a rich tradition of meditation; and this particular prayer which is very popular in the Eastern Church is not well enough known in the West. About the Jesus Prayer, Dr. Albert Rossi of St. Vladamir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary says:
Sitting, saying the Jesus Prayer, or in wordless contemplation, is not Yoga or any far Eastern practice. The difference is the Christian encounter with the living God, Jesus. The postures, techniques and outer form may be similar, but the content is unique in Christian prayer. The content of Christian prayer is Jesus. Sometimes the difference is likened to a priceless painting. We might admire the exquisite frame of the painting, and rightly so. But the frame is not the masterpiece. The similarities of Eastern Yoga and Sufi practice in prayer are the frame, but Christ is the masterpiece, the insides, of the prayer of the Christian. And, that is all the difference in the world.
Books I’ve been reading together – JL Mackie’s The Miracle of Theism and Richard Swinburne’s The Existence of God. One of the best defences of atheism ever written, the other one of the most formidable defences of monotheism ever written. Mackie largely tangles with the “neo-theism” of Swinburne and others (see lecture recommended below) rather than the classical theism of the Aristotelean-Thomistic tradition. I wonder how Mackie would have done in a book length refutation of A-T natural theology? I expect not very well.
New from Word on Fire – check out Bishop Barron’s brand new talk on “Arguing Religion” given last week at Amazon. His new book of the same title is # 1 right now on Amazon.com in both the “Catholicism” and “Atheism” categories.
Also be sure to check out my recent video interview with director of the Word on Fire Institute, Jared Zimmer.
Really good lecture on classical theism and the nature of God – I just finished this lecture given by Dr. Ed Feser at Oxford. It is basically a summary of his arguments for God (two of the five, at least) given in his book Five Proofs for the Existence of God, as well as of his part of the book on the attributes of God. He gives a really helpful breakdown (in the lecture) of the difference between classical theism versus the sort of “neo-theism” or (also sometimes called “theistic personalism”) held by philosophers like Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig. Listen to this lecture. Then get Feser’s book.
That’s it for now.
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