Faith and Reason, Saint John Henry Newman argues, are not opposed mental actions, but a similar intellectual act operating on different grounds. Faith reasons not from direct empirical evidence placed before us, nor from principles that the intellect has grasped on its own, but from grounds of trust or probability based on inclinations and dispositions of the heart.
The self-sacrificing love of friends has a religious origin, even if it has secular expressions. Precisely by putting us in touch with the sacred, with a perception of reality that transcends our day-to-day existence, such values give human life its meaning and make our “secular” civilization possible. Attempts to censor expressions of these values show how difficult it can be to disentangle their religious and secular uses.
Debates over judicial review and constitutional interpretation only stand to benefit from deeper reflection on the type of political community the Constitution established. The Political Constitution invites us to take the word republic, and its vision of self-government, seriously.
Growing up in the culture of sociology taught me—and others of my generation—to engage in a set of behaviors to ensure that we would “always be wanted.” Although the term “wantedness” was a quality originally assigned to births, the concept began to touch all aspects of children’s lives, teaching us to engage in a dangerous—sometimes deadly—dance of perfectionism.
The Hippocratic Oath rightly prohibits doctors from giving deadly drugs, even if autonomous patients ask for them. By assisting in the suicide of a terminally ill patient who wants to determine the manner of his death, the physician inappropriately medicalizes mortality itself. He also jeopardizes the welfare of other vulnerable patients.
War has the complexity of most of the human condition—so complex, indeed, that it often behaves like a force of nature, but with a human face. And that renders the question of determining the justice of a war a little like determining the justice of a tornado.
As a transgender woman, the most loving and compassionate help offered to me came from people who pointed me toward Jesus. Affirming false cross-gender identities is not love; helping someone reclaiming their true identity in Christ is.
Given the risks of assisted reproductive technologies and gene-editing technologies for both individuals and society as a whole, a hands-off, libertarian approach to these issues is ethically irresponsible. Because these technologies imply a radical transformation in our understanding of the meaning of parenthood and our approach to the next generation, we must ask ourselves what sort of world these technologies are creating, and whether it is the sort of world that we want for our children and grandchildren.
Through his life and writings, Czech dissident Václav Benda showed that political activity, in the highest sense, requires one to adhere steadfastly to moral principles and to take care that one’s efforts be effective. Above all one must act with and for one’s community: humbly seeking mutual understanding among community members and, as far as possible, fighting for the common good together.
Data from a new study show that the beneficial effect of surgery for transgender people is so small that a clinic may have to perform as many as 49 gender-affirming surgeries before they could expect to prevent one additional person from seeking subsequent mental health treatment. Yet that’s not what the authors say. That the authors corrupted otherwise-excellent data and analyses with a skewed interpretation signals an abandonment of scientific rigor and reason in favor of complicity with activist groups seeking to normalize infertility-inducing and permanently disfiguring surgeries.
Senator Warren, please don’t compromise what you know to be true for the sake of political expediency. Don’t hurt American families by pushing them farther and farther into the two-income trap. Most of all, please don’t create a system that penalizes moms who choose to stay home with their children.
How should we understand the common good of a political community? Is membership in a political community purely instrumental, like membership in a business venture? Or is it intrinsically good, worth pursuing in itself? The answer to this philosophical question has far-reaching political implications.