If you know anything about me, then you probably know that I’m not too fond of the idea of dogma, and I’m even less of a fan of bringing up children in any environment which parades it as a virtue. I don’t think I’m particularly alone in my view—in fact I’d wager that most people, upon being compelled to, would gladly denounce dogma and condemn those who are guilty of dispersing it. However, I’m also of the belief that a large number of these people completely misunderstand what it means to be dogmatic, and so are at risk of coming across as entirely hypocritical.
As anybody who specialises in the field will be enthusiastic to tell you, the study of the physical sciences is not exactly an undertaking which is graced with unexacting accessibility. Interesting and attracting as it may seem to the likes of me, a self-identified ‘science enthusiast’, I don’t doubt for a moment that I would be briskly floored by the overwhelming difficulty and arduousness of pursuing an academic career in the subject if I ever attempted to do so.
I was saddened to hear about the violence in D.C. this weekend, with over 100 people arrested and substantial damage to property. If a march is to succeed, it should be nonviolent, as was the case with the civil rights and Vietnam marches in the Sixties (yes, I know there was some violence). If the Left is to keep the moral high ground, we simply can’t go around physically attacking those whose views we don’t like. In fact it’s ironic, because when progressives do this, they’re implicitly denying someone a REAL safe space: a space to be free to express your opinions and remain physically safe. “Safety” refers to freedom from physical attack or illegal harassment, not to freedom from hearing views you don’t like.
As a conscientious objector, I’ve always adhered to the nonviolent philosophies of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, for if you start violence, you lose credibility.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to face the facts: evolution happened. Or rather, it’s still happening—humanity has been aware for hundreds of years now that our species and all others evolved from older, more primitive ancestors. Granted, evolution has not historically benefitted from a wealth of scientific evidence, but with the advent of modern scientific tools such as DNA sequencing, along with an ever increasing catalogue of ancient fossils, we can safely conclude the direction in which all the evidence points. Since the time of Charles Darwin, who himself admitted that his hypothesis lacked sufficient empirical verification, the evidence for evolution has become so overwhelmingly conclusive that the scientific community now almost unanimously regards it as a fact of nature.
Last September, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (more favourably known as Mother Teresa) was canonised by Pope Francis before tens of thousands of adoring fans, despite the controversial and injurious legacy she left behind. One cannot blame her supporters for their ignorance about her dangerous shortcomings—she was after all consistently displayed by the media and the Church as a compassionate samaritan who devoted her life to serving and assisting the poor, attracting a universal admiration which, as Hitchens put it, “few have since had the poor taste to question”.¹ But what of her numerous views and actions which acted as bottlenecks in the processes of peace and secular humanity? Remarkably, but not surprisingly, they all seem to have either been forgotten about, or become encompassed by the blanket of corrupt misrepresentation and hyperbole which surround her character. In addition to this, certain more questionable aspects of Bojaxhiu’s crusade have somehow developed into a source of much contemptible praise from many of those whom she manipulated with her fraudulent demeanour and unwarranted political influence. An example of one such aspect, and one which I find to be especially dangerous and short-sighted, is her stance on the use of contraceptives. I wish not, however, to focus this discussion on the sexual advice of this particular virgin, and would rather steer it towards the institution from which these views originated: Holy Mother Church.
In 2010, Christopher Eric Hitchens was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus, and until his death eighteen months later, he “wrote on politics and culture, astonishing readers with his capacity for superior work even in extremis”, as it is worded in the blurb of Mortality; a soberingly candid summary of this extraordinary man’s intrepid attempts to comprehend and come to terms with the diagnoses of a particularly cruel disease which was vehemently attempting to bring him to his premature demise.
Have you ever noticed that there’s a stunning correlation between a person’s place of birth and their religious affiliation? Have you ever noticed that there’s a stunning correlation between someone’s parent’s religious beliefs and their own? I can’t count the amount of times that upon asking a theist why they subscribe to a particular religion I’ve been met with the response of ‘well, that’s just because I was born into it’. It’s amazing how often times religious people can so effortlessly point out the flaws in the doctrines of others, yet fail entirely to apply precisely the same rudimentary critical thinking to their own faith.