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Showing posts from July 22, 2018

On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books, Karen Swallow Prior

Firstly, I want to thank Dr. Prior for the privilege of reading an advance copy of this her new book. If it is even secondarily offered as an invitation to read many of these great books, then it succeeds wildly. I kept reflecting on what sort of phrase I could use to describe this book. Finally, it came to me and it never left: this book is a meditation on the virtues. Calling it a meditation on the virtues sounds kind of heavy, and it obscures a certain friendly and unobtrusive tone that this work possesses. Although we've never met personally, I felt like I was talking to Karen about these books, or that I was a student in one of her classes. The premise of this work seems to be that in reading the great books and in contemplating their characters, we learn a little more about ourselves, and what it means to be human. If this is the principal goal of the work, it succeeds beyond what I suppose the author imagines, based upon the few notes of self-assessment she provides. Given

"Religion Is A Crutch," They Said

You haven't practiced much religion, have you? Why would I use a crutch that weighs a ton? A mobility device is supposed to help. I have some experience here, as you may or may not know. [But it provides meaning, doesn't it?--ed.] Sure, but it's not intelligible from outside itself. Religion--let's just say "Christianity" to save time--doesn't help to live this life at all. What the truth revealed in Jesus Christ will do is transform how you see ordinary things. Two guys walking and talking. Picture this, now. "I can't believe it, but he said that horrible accident was the best thing that's ever happened to him!" "Well, he got religion, so." "Yeah. He's nuts. Still, I've never seen him so happy." Now, I ask you, what changed? The experiences and things in the world didn't. The people didn't change, at least by normal appearances. The man's relationship to the things in his life changed.