Faith

  • Is God Good For Cities?

    Milton Friesen, Program Director for Social Cities at Cardus, shares the importance of strong social fabric and the contribution that religious communities make to the health of their cities.

    The day after mass murder claimed six lives at a mosque in Quebec City, Canadians are understandably horrified at the reality of worshippers being gunned down while at prayer, and simultaneously frightened by the prospect of religious violence raising i...

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  • Between Power Or Love

    Writer, Tim McCauley comments on the importance of our heart's response to suffering, and gives Convivium readers a perspective on the debate over "mercy killing."

    "Have you reason to be angry over the plant?" God asks Jonah. (The plant had sheltered Jonah, but then God sent a worm that attacked the plant so that it withered). 

    "I have reason to be angry," Jonah answers, "angry enough to die."

    His respon...

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  • What to do in Post-Truth Politics?

    Given that, I have long advocated the caveat-couched triad – competence, character and convictions – as a test by which to evaluate electoral options. Even those who are competent are more competent at some parts of the job than others. The public character of candidates is often a carefully marketed persona quite different from real character, but I know I have voted for those whose personal lifestyle choices and integrity are very different from that I would agree with. And when it comes to convictions, core beliefs and the manifestation of those in policy, I have disagreed with some aspects of every candidate’s policy proposals.

    There have never been perfect candidates in any election that I’ve ever voted in. The U.S. presidential campaign, now winding down toward November 8, only emphasizes the impossibility of perfectibility – and perhaps adds the rider that some are more imperfe...

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  • Instant of Reflection

    Examine the role of reflection, silence, prayer and place in Joshua Jackson’s photograph of a young man caught at an instant of quiet. 

    Ambiguity inspires curiosity in Joshua Jackson’s photograph of a young man caught at an instant of reflection.  The setting is a London museum but the stone pillars, the wooden crosses, the ethereal light, the dark arch at the end of what looks like a nave ...

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  • Forcing Folks to be Free

    Doug Saunders in the weekend’s Globe and Mail calls for public prejudice for the greater good, but the idea isn’t new with him, and we’ll see a lot more of it in the days ahead. Saunders’ incredulity over Mohammad Nouman Dasu, lobbying to exempt his children from music classes, has the smell of that fire.

    Hardly the sun sets in the West these days without some new attempt at what Jean Jacques Rousseau might have mistily called “forcing folks to be free.”

    Doug Saunders in the weekend’s Globe and Mail calls for ...

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  • ‘Inclusion’ to the Exclusion of Religious Freedom

    It’s worth, though, heeding the emerging voices warning us that freedom’s loss is as much, perhaps even more, a function of shifts in language almost too subtle for timely detection. In an exclusive interview with the Catholic Register, Canada’s former Ambassador for Religious Freedom – and now most welcome new colleague at Cardus – noted that his former bailiwick has been recast by the Liberal government into a muddle called the Office of Freedom, Human Rights and Inclusion.

    We’ve become habituated to associating loss of freedom with decisive, often violent, acts.

    It’s worth, though, heeding the emerging voices warning us that freedom’s loss is as much, perhaps even more, a function of shifts in language almost too subtl...

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  • The New Scientism: Still Fighting the Phantom War

    This book is about the war between science and religion: about how science has won this war so thoroughly that it can explain why religion will not go away, why there are people who choose God over science.If this sounds absurd, that's because it is. Really, a "religious" person could make the same case on the same grounds simply by inverting the key terms.

    [This review was originally published in Convivium Magazine and in Books and Culture.] It's a curious irony that the champions of scientism are some of the most vocal advocates of change and progress yet they so rarely change or progres...

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  • Pig Blood and Glowing Sand

    This article first appeared on providencemag.com, the website of Providence: A Journal of Christianity & American Foreign Policy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    According to recent polls, more than a third of self-identified white evangelical voters currently support a presidential candidate, Donald Trump, who ...

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  • Changing Politics for a Changed Country

    Saying “government should not” is as simplistic as saying “government should” if there is nothing else that follows. Yes, conservatives believe in limited government. But this requires more than arithmetic requiring the size of government. What government should do, it should do well and enough resources need to be dedicated to those tasks.

    Co-authored by Michael Van Pelt (President), and Ray Pennings (Executive Vice-President) of Cardus, a Canadian think ta...

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  • Giving is a Group Project

    There are many angles to consider in the report. In reading between the lines of the report and its summary data, it appears that the lone personal charitable impulse may be as rare an entity as the lone genius or heroic figure is increasingly proving to be. The report is about individual giving but even passing reflection shows that individual does not equal solitary.

    The Charitable Giving by Individuals report by Martin Turcotte of Statistics Canada is a comprehensive and important summary that makes use of the 2013 General Social Survey data to out...

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  • Being Awake for the Moment

    In the final week before Christmas, I was in an Ottawa sandwich shop having coffee with two photographer friends when a man behind us pitched himself into our conversation. After a few moments, his momentum flagged and he went back to looking out the café window. We returned to our photographic chat.

    This blog was adapted from Peter Stockland's regular column in the Catholic Register.

    In the final week before Christmas, I was in an Ottawa sandwich shop having coffe...

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  • Silent Night for Religious Intolerance

    The bad news was the letter concerning the persecution of about 230 million Christians worldwide faced with “daily threats of murder, beating, imprisonment, and torture.” An estimated 400 million more Christians face appalling discrimination in housing and jobs. In poised yet implacable words, these esteemed leaders of their two faiths laid out the case that even in a world awash in the blood of tormented minorities, virtually every credible human rights observer agrees Christians experience religious persecution more than any other faith group on a global scale and in absolute numbers.

    There was good news and bad news around an open letter released in...

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  • Rethinking Christmas Charity

    Christmas ought to be a time for thoughtful giving, not giving that is easy or benefits the giver.

    The generosity of people at Christmastime is amazing. There is something about the season that, well, warms the hearts and leads us toward generosity. It is, after all, the celebration of the gift of the birth of Jesus, which led to the greatest single act ...

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  • Paris: Avoiding the Knee-Jerk Reaction

    Islamic Terrorism? | Much is being made as to whether reporters and politicians dare to use the phrase “Islamic terrorist,” for fear of indiscriminately grouping non-violent and violent Muslims into one category. The violent backlash against Muslims (and, sadly, Sikhs and Hindus) in Ontario has already shown the trouble this can perpetuate.

    Simplistic solutions to national security and the refugee crisis are available to anyone with a social media account. Most of these “solutions” fall woefully short because they fail to take religion seriously. And there are challenges for all of us—whether ...

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  • A Double Standard Where There Are No Standards?

    Leaving aside the question of whether it’s possible to have a fair double standard, it seems to me there is a more compelling question for Catholics—and all Christians. It’s this: should we care about the double standard we face? Why? Gerson’s text typified the phenomenon. It centred on a flap that arose at a Calgary school board meeting when a Catholic trustee challenged the newly invented writ of transgenderism.

    The headline on a recent column by National Post editor Jen Gerson asked whether Catholics face an unfair double standard.

    Leaving aside the...

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  • On Fatherless Days

    Father's Day is easy for me: I have none. They all left. So Father's Day is easy for me. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    In memory of Franz Wright.

    Father's Day is easy for me: I have none. They all left.

    So I don't have to find an awkward card amidst the cloying selection on offer. I don't have to make the clichéd choice between necktie or power tool. ...

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  • Below the Silence

    Yet those who care to remedy such a state of affairs still have time before Saul Bellow’s birth month is out to read his astonishing 1976 Nobel Prize Lecture.

    Only a forgetful silence has marked this June’s centenary of the greatest of all Canadian-born novelists.

    Yet those who care to remedy such a state of affairs still have time before Saul Bellow’s birth month is out to read his astonishing 1976 Nobel ...

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  • All that glitters is not gold

    Believing it to be gold, Captain John Smith sent an entire shipload of pyrite to London in the early 1600s. Known as “fool’s gold,” pyrite is actually an iron sulfide, a mineral of limited value. Like Smith and his shipment, we tend to think that all our ideas are pure gold, when in fact they may often be more like pyrite.

    This blog by Cardus senior fellow John Seel was originally published at the Evangelicals for Social Action Spiritual Life blog.

    Believing ...

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  • Distractions and Counterfeits

    In the April-May Convivium, Toronto writer Gavin C. Miller offers a bemused gusting to downright angry take on how the "false god" of advertising leads our eyes, hearts, minds, and souls astray. Miller was crossing the lobby of his apartment building recently when he stopped to admire a presentation of beautiful orchids. The discovery that the flowers were fakes left him, a biologist, feeling sheepishly hoodwinked. They had an even deeper effect, however, on a Muslim in his building, who declared them "blasphemous."

    Cardus' Comment and Convivum magazines both turn their attention in their new issues to the overpowering distractions of the world around us. A recent posting on the website Ethika Politika offers a solution worthy of serious refl...

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  • Acquiring a Faith Literacy

    The following interaction between myself as Ambassador for Religious Freedom and Mrs. Lois Brown, MP for Newmarket-Aurora during my appearance before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development reflects this idea. -AB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    For part one of this series, please see How to Counter Religion Avoidance Syndrome, published February 23.

    ...

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  • In Memory of Jack

    In his last years, I really only knew him through the blog he and his loved ones kept as he journeyed down the lonely, terrifying road of ALS. Of course, his stories show much more than loneliness and fear. There was also a lot of hope and love and a resilient courage under it all. . . . . . . . . .

    I’m not going to say I was close to him because, really, I wasn’t. After he left the school I only saw him a handful of times at various community events. He would be a bit weaker each time. First it was a slight tremor of the hands, then a general wobbling...

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  • Reflections from the Camino: Part II

    Six years ago, I peered over my mother’s shoulder to read the laptop screen in front of us. The thought occurred to me that this was another one of Mum’s crazy ideas. Yet as I read the screen and listened to the excitement in my mother’s voice, something drew me in. My mother, Susan, was going to hike the Camino Francés.

    Last fall, Cardus’s Julia Nethersole walked Spain’s 775-kilometre Camino Francés. Find the first section at Reflections from the Camino: Part I.

    Six years ag...

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  • Christian Lawyers and Doctors Need Not Apply

    In 2014, lawyers and doctors were targeted by their own professional associations for direct attack because of their religious beliefs. For Christian lawyers, the first salvo was fired at Trinity Western University’s law school. TWU, which exists to “develop godly Christian leaders” in a variety of marketplaces, requires its students and staff to sign a Community Covenant.

    It has become a scary time to be a Christian professional in Canada.

    In 2014, lawyers and doctors were targeted by their own professional associations for direct attack because of their religious beliefs.

    ...

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