“I say to people in Québec: your kids are going to change you more than all these immigrants. I’m a grandfather now and I see what has happened over these two generations and it’s huge. We dropped the central religious identity of Québec in this time, nobody forced us from outside.”
A curious modern ritual of the festive season is to lament the excess and commercialisation of Christmas while simultaneously partaking in it. Perhaps it is not only at family gatherings that Christmas has a tendency to bring to a head simmering tensions. It also seems to be a time when the dissonance between our simultaneous loving and loathing of capitalism becomes almost unbearable.
In many ways medieval Islamic philosophy and the works of Friedrich Neitzsche couldn’t be more different. But as we see in this podcast, both provide interesting, rich challenges to modern western egalitarian ideals. Guests are Carlos Fraenkel (McGill University) and Mathias Risse (Harvard Kennedy School of Government). Produced in association with the Berggruen Institute’s Philosophy and Culture Centre.
BBC RADIO FOUR – SUNDAY. I was on this week’s programme discussing whether human rights have a specifically Christian basis with Nick Spencer.
“Julian Baggini has written a masterpiece, and what a timely masterpiece it is. The toxic gloating of ‘gut feelings’, hateful politics and heart-over-head attacks on good sense urgently need an antidote. Baggini has risen to the occasion. In this compelling book, he is fair-minded, incisive and bold; he never ducks the hard questions, but faces […]
What we all need is not best described as faith. It is simply more than can be proven by logic and science. We need to believe in things that are not entirely justified by reason, but that does not require us to embrace creeds that reason tells against.
The main weakness of the book is that its impressive erudition is not sufficiently ordered, filtered and edited to make it serve the central argument. In his enthusiasm to gather and share his evidence, Grayling has neglected to turn it into a convincing case.
This book really walks the literary high wire, and Roberts not only keeps his balance, he makes the spectacle compelling. I can’t think of another such ostentatiously clever novel that is so dramatically successful, as rigorous psychologically as it is logically. Like Kant’s thing in itself, Roberts’s eponymous novel does not fit into any standard categories.
I don’t think there can or should be a going back to the days when spiritual shepherds spoke and human flocks followed. But something needs to do the work today that those five commandments did for centuries. That something needs to transcend our own narrow self-interests and those of our kith and kin. The only credible candidate for that is our common humanity.
NEWSHOUR – BBC WORLD SERVICE, 20 JUNE. I took part in a reasonably long discussion about forgiveness on this programme. Listen again or download podcast here.