Friday, 23 March 2007

Richard Swinburne on the Concept of Religion

To investigate the point of pursuing a religious way, we need some understanding of what is a ‘religion’. This concept may be understood in ways varying from a very narrow understanding to a very broad understanding. One may understand a religion as a pursuit which involves worship of a God and an attempt to conform to his will. But such an understanding would rule out some forms of Buddhism, in which worship of a God has little importance. Or one can understand a religion as any pursuit which dominates the life of many men and cements them together in a common dedication to an aim. On this understanding not merely Christianity and Buddhism, but Marxism and Fascism become religions. I shall adopt an understanding of religion which includes Buddhism as a religion but excludes Marxism. I believe that such an understanding conforms best to ordinary usage. It sounds odd to call Marxism a ‘religion’; religion is supposed to have some concern with extra-mundane entities and goals. It will be useful to me to conform to normal usage because the points of pursuing a Christian way and a Buddhist way have certain similarities, whereas the point of pursuing a Marxist way is rather different.

(Richard Swinburne, Faith and Reason [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981], 128)


Here is the start list for tomorrow’s 98th running of Milan-San Remo (182.6 miles). Here is a map of the course. Notice that much of the race is run along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea (actually, the Ligurian Sea). I expect a bunch sprint at the finish, with one of three men taking the victory: Belgian Tom Boonen, Italian Alessandro Petacchi, and Spaniard Oscar Freire. If you made me be more specific, I’d pick Freire, who has an uncanny ability to pick his way through a crowd.


Here is Peggy Noonan’s latest column. Here is Peg Kaplan’s latest post.

Best of the Web Today



When and why did used cars become pre-owned vehicles? “Pre-owned” is short for “previously owned,” but how does that differ from “used”? There must be something negative or unsavory about the word “used”; otherwise, there would be no advantage to changing terms. Is it that “used” connotes being used up, whereas “pre-owned” just means that someone owned it, without necessarily using it? Is it because the expression “used-car salesman” has come to denote an unscrupulous person? Help!

Addendum: It occurs to me that “used,” as in “used car,” has come to mean “abused.” An abused car is one that has been driven improperly or inadequately maintained. Here would be a good slogan for a used-car dealer: “Our cars are used, but not abused.”

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Clinton Camp Challenges Obama on Iraq” (news article, March 22):

Let’s not be distracted by the Clinton campaign’s attacks on Senator Barack Obama and be clear about the history.

Until very recently, Hillary Rodham Clinton was one of the chief hawks in the Senate. She supported President Bush’s Iraq war policies for years after her authorization vote in 2002, long after it became obvious that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and no connections to Al Qaeda and after it was perfectly clear that pursuing Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and around the world, instead of getting bogged down in Iraq, was really the only strategic course of action for fighting terrorism successfully.

We must recognize Senator Clinton’s poor judgment, not just in her initial vote, but for helping make possible the whole disastrous, dangerous mess we are in today, for which she still seems to take no responsibility.

Eric Chivian
Boston, March 22, 2007

Note from KBJ: What are the chances that this moonbat—and others like him—will vote for Hillary if she is the Democrat nominee? Can you say “third-party candidate”?

A Year Ago