Spinoza, secularism and the challenge of evangelization

During this Christmas holiday, I’ve been reading Anthony Gottlieb’s breezy and enjoyable history of modern philosophy, entitled The Dream of Enlightenment. Throughout his treatment of such figures as Descartes, Hobbes, Locke and Voltaire, Gottlieb reveals his own rather strong bias in favor of the rationalism and anti-supernaturalism advocated by these avatars of modern thought. Toward the end of his chapter on Spinoza, Gottlieb avers that what he calls “the religion of Spinozism” is more or less identical to the secularist worldview espoused by so many in the West today, including himself.

In praise of Rudolph, the Grinch and Santa-Moose

Deploring the commercialization, secularization and general thinning-out of the spiritual meaning of Christmas is part of the stock in trade of commentators on things religious, of whom your humble servant is one. Nor should we fail to mention those annual church-state battles in the season of good will over whether Nativity scenes should or shouldn’t be allowed on public property.

Go in haste, be amazed, treasure

By now most of you are probably aware of the depressing statistics regarding the “nones,” that is to say, those in this country who claim no religious affiliation. The most recent survey showed that now fully one-fourth of Americans belong to no religion at all — that’s approximately 80,000,000 people. And among those in the 18-29 age group, the percentage of nones goes up to 40.

Human decency is a start

A man I know was walking his dog when a neighbor woman approached him and inquired about his wife. Not having seen her out and about in quite some time, the lady wondered: Was she well?

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