Items of Interest: To Entertain Such Imaginations — The City Online - Houston Baptist University

Items of Interest: To Entertain Such Imaginations

by Benjamin Domenech on June 4, 2009

There were some who dared in the opinion of the multitude to immortalize themselves; and notwithstanding that the very sense of sight bore witness to their mortality, were ambitious to be called gods, and were honoured as such; to what a length of impiety would not many men have proceeded, if death had not gone on teaching all men the mortality and corruptibility of our nature? Hear, for instance, what the prophet says of a barbarian king, when seized with this frenzy. “I will exalt,” says he, “my throne above the stars of heaven; and I will be like unto the Most High.”

Afterwards, deriding him, and speaking of his death, he says, “Corruption is under you, and the worm is your covering;” but his meaning is, “Do you dare, O man, whom such an end is awaiting, to entertain such imaginations?” Again, of another, I mean the king of the Tyrians, when he conceived the like aims, and was ambitious to be considered as a God, he says, “You are not a God, but a man, and they that pierce you shall say so.” Thus God, in making this body of ours as it is, has from the beginning utterly taken away all occasion of idolatry.

Homilies Concerning the Statues

  • At the newly redesigned First Things online, Elizabeth Scalia responds to the death of George Tiller: “The Pauline paradox “when I am weak, then I am strong” carries a flipside: “When I am strong, then I am weak.” Relativism is dangerous because we can too easily slip into the belief that we so well comprehend God’s will that we can confuse our own will for God’s, and thereby do terrible damage to one another. God’s rain falls on “the just and the unjust,” and it is one of the challenges of the life of faith that we must leave to God the rendering of his Justice.”
  • At GetReligion, Mollie Ziegler Hemingway asks “How Muslim Are We?” in response to President Obama’s statement that the United States also could be considered as “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.” This is a bit of a stretch in the numbers department, but could he mean philosophically? An interesting question.
  • A piece on “Competitive Altruism” — otherwise known as what your grandmother called “being a showoff” — reminds us of the benefit of anonymous giving: “Traditionally, economists have presumed that if people are seeking status, they will simply buy the most luxurious product they can afford. But Griskevicius and his colleagues — Joshua Taylor of the University of New Mexico and Bram Van den Bergh of the Rotterdam School of Management — theorized that when given an eco-friendly alternative, competitive altruism would compel people to forgo luxury for environmental status. To test the theory, they conducted several experiments.”
  • The always entertaining P.J. O’Rourke reflects on the end of our love affair with the car (and GM) in the weekend edition of The Wall Street Journal.
  • Julie Vermeer Elliot is concerned by the belated discernment exhibited by evangelical viewers of Jon and Kate Plus Eight. She writes: “It was not until the recent allegations of sexual impropriety arose that a significant number of Christians began to question whether Jon and Kate were indeed the examples of faithful living that we had imagined. Somehow most of us missed the long trajectory that was, day by day, moving them farther from a life of Christian virtue. Sexual immorality—whether actual or merely suspected—caught our attention, but the materialism, narcissism, and exploitation of children that preceded it was largely overlooked.” Read the rest here.
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