Historical Accuracy

I’ve long noticed a general suspicion shown towards movies purporting to tell a “true story.” Even though it’s no surprise that they take license with real events, after they’re released there are always dozens of webpages treating even the smallest of these instances negatively. What are we so afraid of? On the one hand, surrounded…

We Are Our Own Slaves

I usually repost this every year around Black Friday, but it seems a good companion to yesterday’s essay. It’s not just the media that’s to blame for our situation: When asked if the news of the day surprised him anymore, the poet Joseph Brodsky—who grew up in Soviet Russia and came to America in his…

The God of the Philosophers: Ethics & Free Will

One could spend a thousand lifetimes on religious questions which have no answers. Such questions are worth bringing up but not even attempting to exhaust, and so I want to briefly write about two of them: morality, and intertwined problem of free will and predestination.   Morality In all of these pages I never saw…

Just the Way Things Are

What follows [this will serve as an introduction to Humility is Endless] is an expression of my love both for religion and for the world, and how the experience of each can make us rigid and intolerant and certain, but also selfless and filled with empathy and understanding for others. Both our experience of religion…

All Its Ways

There is a sense of make-believe about much of life, as if it were a play. I buy books I won’t read for year, or keep up the appearance of my house, or do so much for a “future” I am not even guaranteed. But so much more of what we do, or become attached…

The Words Themselves

If you were to find these words, and no others, written on a piece of paper, “Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world,” and didn’t know who said it or when, you could agree or disagree with the words themselves. However, if I were to…

The Convenient Gesture

I once heard an hour of talk radio on the subject of two composers. Between the host and the guest scholars and all of the callers who had very specific and wonderful memories of this music, it was a great hour. And while each scholar favored one composer over the other, and while some callers…

One Thing We All Have in Common

One thing we all have in common is the certainty that we are all different. You like the certainty of being different, yet despise those who themselves are different—but we all do. You like the choices you’ve made, you like all the things that distinguish you, yet hate and feel frightened of what others have…

The Book of Job

The Book of Job is one of the most lucid presentations of the problems I’ve been writing about, and it is a story which is easy to tell: Job is an upright and just man, rich, and with many children; Satan (not the personification of evil from later tradition, but merely one of the many…

If You Say Your Certainty

If you say your certainty is a matter of faith—is no one else allowed faith? If you say your certainty is a matter not of a choice you’ve made, but of what God has shown to you—has God really spoken to no one else, has God really only spoken to you, or to those who’ve…

You Don’t Need This

I once heard an interview with an aging scholar. He was about eighty years old, and still extremely enthusiastic about the subject he’d dedicated his life to. One of the questions asked was why anyone should care about his area of expertise: “What does it have to do with my life?” His answer is amazing:…

They Are Simply Other Religions

There is no reason to think of another religion any different than your own. The phrase might as well be, Do not do to other religions what you would not have them do to yours. None of this is about showing how all religions are the same, or demanding everyone know about other religions. It…