Sinners in the Hands of a Beautiful God

In this new book—intended to bring Edwards “into the twenty-first century”—Marsden has returned to the Edwards he first discovered in his twenties. The New England thinker’s “invigorating emphasis on the dynamic beauty of God at the heart of reality” grabbed him then and has not let him go. As Marsden says, “You don’t get tired of beauty.”  
The silent disappearance of the presidential bioethics council breaks fifty years of tradition. Sadly, this break came at a perilous time for bioethics.
While a book like John Rist’s is diminished by its flaws, it’s not entirely unfair about our current moment.
The dark side of overvaluing beauty is to seek to manipulate it into our own image, to manage it for ourselves. Hopkins says to leave it alone.
There is no romance without the real presence of God, no sacramental imagination without the sacraments, and the wonders of fantasy cannot be asserted of primary reality itself.
By embracing the fact that we do not belong to ourselves, we are not “our own person,” we may discover that responsibility for our dignity in both life and death belongs to God and to others, as it does to our own choices. The acknowledgment of human vulnerability and dependence may well be the antidote to the fear and anxiety at the root of the modern denial of death. 
Francis of Assisi teaches us that those who want to embrace the joys of this life must also embrace suffering. Our forgetfulness of this truth could explain the current crisis of our civilization.
Various trends in American religion and right-wing politics further indicate that as the political influence of Christian nationalism is waxing, that of religious conservatism is waning. This need not be a fixed situation, but it does mean religious conservatives will have ample need of God’s grace as they consider how to avoid moral and spiritual compromise while navigating a particularly treacherous political landscape.
Spurred perhaps by a mixture of reactionary cultural sentiment and dissatisfaction with contemporary church authorities—and with the encouragement of outspoken postliberal voices—a predominantly younger and traditionally minded class of Catholics has begun to rediscover and reconsider the merits of these ideas. But the Catholic Church’s enduring support of human rights will not, and cannot, change.
These desires—freedom, virtue, and safety—were the underlying impulses of the libertarian, traditionalist, and national security elements of the “fusionist” conservative movement during the Cold War era. And, it seems to me that when you look at it this way, you will recognize that these yearnings persist on the Right to this day.
This book illuminates the path the modern conservative movement has taken heretofore and therefore will be an important aid to conservatism’s ongoing quest for self-definition.
The first word of Emily Wilson’s new translation of the Iliad signals that this is not quite the Homer we’re used to. You may well ask whether anyone today can be used to an epic, conventionally attributed to a blind bard named Homer, that was composed some 2,750 years ago in a stylized form of Greek that no one spoke natively. But surprisingly, there have been more than a dozen translations into English in the past thirty-five years alone.
Our schools are failing not because of what happens in the classroom, but because of what happens—or more to the point, what doesn’t happen—at the dinner table. If we wish to be a serious people, then we must bolster our institutions with the power to humanize and domesticate the bedlam within us all.
Hörcher adeptly elucidates how Scruton’s belief in the intertwining of aesthetics, morality, and politics stands as a bulwark against the often fragmented worldview of today’s modern thinkers.
Perhaps the greatest lesson Plenty Coups has to offer us is this: prudence and courage in the face of an unknown future make sense if they are grounded on God’s greater love for us and the promise of his abiding care. Hope impels us to hand on our religious and cultural inheritance even as many reject it. It encourages us to build new institutions as old ones fall apart.
The scope of the crisis of masculinity is unchartered territory for America and the broader West. Yet many of the most exaggerated masculine traits have an ancient ancestry and can be traced back to one of the greatest works of the Western canon.
A parallel challenge exists in preparing active participants for life as citizens and as members of church communities. Similar strategies can help both.
By co-creating with God, we imitate his goodness, participate in his governance, and bring more of creation into the divine unity.
The liberal tradition is an ongoing conversation in which participants speak in a wide range of accents, reflecting the various “nouns” to which speakers are committed: liberal individualists and liberal communitarians, liberal nationalists and liberal internationalists, liberal believers and liberal skeptics, liberal socialists and—yes—liberal free marketeers.
A book review is not an opening-night party for a book’s author, and it is not a quarrel carried on with brass knuckles. It is an exercise in considered, contextualized judgment for the benefit of readers.
Many students may not appreciate the importance of applying themselves rather than using AI, but we must encourage those who do. We should fortify promising students with the assurance that excellence in education is worth pursuing but requires taking a hard road.
At the moment, large language models are nothing like us, however easy it is for us to anthropomorphize their outputs. But as AIs develop, it will become increasingly necessary to ask: How much do we want them to become like us? Answering that question will certainly require human wisdom.
In his impressive 2020 book, Carl Trueman rightly exhorts readers to solidify their commitments to God and moral truth in a world of “expressive individualism.” But by reading human nature through the Marxist-Hegelian lens of Alasdair MacIntyre and Charles Taylor, he undermines the true individualism at the heart of the ethics that he wants to defend.
Nicholas Spencer’s new book is an important resource for anyone who wishes to understand the scientific and religious entanglements that have shaped, and continue to frame, our views of God, humanity, and the cosmos.