Categories of Distorted Automatic Thoughts | The Coddling of the American Mind


In The Coddling of the American Mind, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt show that there is an analogy between the way many students on campus reason about current events and the distorted automatic thoughts identified by cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). They go on to provide a list of those distorted thoughts, which I’m posting here: MIND READING: You assume that you know what people think without having sufficient evidence of their thoughts. “He thinks I’m a loser.” FORTUNE-TELLING: You predict the future negatively: Things will get worse, or there is danger ahead. “I’ll fail that exam,” or “I won’t get … Continue reading Categories of Distorted Automatic Thoughts | The Coddling of the American Mind

The Declaration of Independence


IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that … Continue reading The Declaration of Independence

Was the Forbidden Fruit an Apple?


Over at NPR, Nina Martyris explains how the forbidden fruit of Genesis 3 came to be an apple. Short version: a Latin pun by St. Jerome and an epic poem by John Milton. Long version: In order to explain, we have to go all the way back to the fourth century A.D., when Pope Damasus ordered his leading scholar of scripture, Jerome, to translate the Hebrew Bible into Latin. Jerome’s path-breaking, 15-year project, which resulted in the canonical Vulgate, used the Latin spoken by the common man. As it turned out, the Latin words for evil and apple are the … Continue reading Was the Forbidden Fruit an Apple?

The Blogosphere and the Problem of Authority


My wife Tiffany drew my attention to this article over at ChristianityToday.com. Tish Harrison Warren argues that the blogosphere has created a crisis of authority for Christians, especially for Christian women. Here’s her conclusion: In his essay Sinsick, Stanley Hauerwas famously explores the notion of authority using a medical analogy. If a medical student told his advisor, “I’m not into anatomy this year, I’m into relating” and asked to skip anatomy class to focus on people, the medical school would reply, “Who in the hell do you think you are, kid? … You’re going to take anatomy. If you don’t like … Continue reading The Blogosphere and the Problem of Authority

Restoring Color to the Arch of Titus


Erected in A.D. 81, the Arch of Titus commemorates Titus’ victory in the Jewish Revolt. The “spoils panel” depicts the treasures from the Temple in Jerusalem that Titus brought to Rome, including the Menorah. Although the arch is now white, due to nearly 2,000 years of weathering, in its day, it was painted in vivid color. Recently, scholars tried to reconstruct what the arch looked like. Watch this video to see the fruit of their labors: H/T: Biblical Archaeology Society. Continue reading Restoring Color to the Arch of Titus

Lincoln’s Creed


In 1920, William E. Barton published The Soul of Abraham Lincoln, a now classic study of the development of Lincoln’s faith. “Lincoln’s religious was an evolution,” Barton wrote, “both in its intellectual and spiritual qualities.” Lincoln’s religious identity seems to have moved through three stages: (1) a Calvinist Baptist in childhood; (2) a skeptical, freethinker in young adulthood; and (3) and a not-altogether-orthodox Christian in mature adulthood. “Too much of the effort to prove that Abraham Lincoln was a Christian,” Barton wrote, “has begun and ended in the effort to show that on certain theological opinions he cherished correct opinions.” … Continue reading Lincoln’s Creed

4 Kinds of Fundamentalists


There are four kinds of Fundamentalists: Those who put the “fun” in “fundamentalist,” those who put the “duh” in it, those who put the “mental” in it, and those who put the “lists” in it. I’ll let you decide what Fundamentalists fit into which category. (For my fellow eggheads, here’s a nice overview of what the term Fundamentalist does and does not mean.) Continue reading 4 Kinds of Fundamentalists

George F. Will Offers a “Nones” Perspective on “Religion and the American Republic”


George F. Will pens a typically insightful essay in the most recent issue of National Affairs: “Religion and the American Republic.” The unique “angle” on this essay is Will’s identification with the 20 percent of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated, i.e., the “nones.” From his conclusion: Alexis de Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America just two generations after the American founding — two generations after Madison identified tyranny of the majority as the distinctively worst political outcome that democracy could produce. Tocqueville had a different answer to the question of what kind of despotism democratic nations should fear most. His warning is justly famous and more pertinent … Continue reading George F. Will Offers a “Nones” Perspective on “Religion and the American Republic”