On Secular Churches and the Mystical Sacrifice

A headline caught my eye several days ago: “They Tried to Start a Church Without God. For a While, It Worked.” While the concept of a church without God is beyond doubt bizarre, it nevertheless also makes perfect sense. In our age of loneliness, amidst the near-total collapse of practically every traditional form of community and social structure, to abandon Christianity is to hurtle oneself into the void foretold by Nietzsche when…

The Age of Loneliness (Anthropology of Antichristianity, Part 2)

We live in strange times. Modern technology has nearly obliterated the constraints of distance, allowing us to become interconnected with one another to an extent unimaginable even a few short decades ago, and yet nevertheless at the same time we find ourselves living in an age of absolutely unprecedented loneliness. According to a recent article in Psychology Today: In the last 50 years, rates of loneliness have doubled in the United States. In a survey of over 20,000…

Prophets, Priests, and Kings (Anthropology of Antichristianity, Part 1)

Introduction Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) has — quite correctly — stated that “the most important theological issue today is ‘what is man,’ how do we understand the human person. That is particularly important both in our own Orthodox theology and in our discussions with other Christians.” I would add that the question of anthropology is also the fundamental lens through which modernity as a whole must be viewed and understood. Indeed, this question is at…

Seeing is Not Believing

At first glance, the Gospel passage appointed for this Sunday appears to be about two separate events during the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ: the healing of two blind men, and the casting out of a demon from a dumb man. Yet the Church in Her wisdom has joined these two events together in order to draw out a deeper meaning hidden beneath the surface of today’s Gospel reading. The…

On Doubt

I was not always a Christian. For many years of my life — may God forgive me — I viewed Christianity as something primitive and simplistic, something irrational and even immoral (like so many of the children of modernity, I considered the entire concept of the Last Judgment as theologically and morally indefensible — such was the enormity of my pride). And for many years, like the young St. Augustine, I wandered…

The Inseparability of Church and State

A rare glimmer of truth appeared in The Washington Post several days ago when Kathleen Parker responded to yet another legal battle being waged across the country relating to the separation of Church and State: can government entities grant funds or contracts to religious adoption and foster care agencies who decline to place children into the homes of same-sex couples? Parker criticizes the city of Philadelphia for answering “no” to this question, but…

The Reason Behind School Shootings

The nearly unquestioned assumption about school shootings is that they are usually perpetrated by the mentally ill. This psychiatrist disagrees: The reason the mental health system fails to prevent mass shootings is that mental illness is rarely the cause of such violence. Even if all potential mass shooters did get psychiatric care, there is no reliable cure for angry young men who harbor violent fantasies. And the laws intended to stop the…