Recent Articles

Justice in the Absence of Eternity

Imagine for a second that society had the means to enact a miniature hell for criminals. Rather than containing wrongdoers in prison, we have the option of perpetually confining them in a small room that simulates ongoing immolation. The room is inescapable, isolated from outside contact, and the...

The Justice of Eternity

Let’s get right to it: it is unpleasant to think about Hell. Everlasting emptiness, eternal separation from God, no hope of escape. It’s not hard for us, though, to imagine Hell as a fitting place for Earth’s most depraved souls. Of course the dictator and serial killer deserve it. But me,...

Don't Read a Book, Kid

Hello, dear Reader. Today I come to you with a response to this month’s article on time, morality, and the Bible. The article asks us to look at the Bible as a source of moral knowledge. Frankly, I’ll be the last one to disagree with that on principle. On the other hand, I worry that the article...

Bringing Sinai into Our Lives: A Jewish Perspective

The Jewish people’s encounter with God at Mount Sinai is considered the most spiritual moment in Jewish history. The nation was one with God in a way that they never had been nor ever were again. There, it received the Torah, the book upon which Judaism is based that serves as a sort of blueprint...

FOREVER AND A DAY

In modern American culture, knowledge of the Bible has in many ways been reduced to “God bless you’s” and an unusually helpful advantage in Jeopardy. Stop nearly anyone on the street, and they could tell you the basic gist of many Bible tales - Adam and Eve eating forbidden fruit, Noah building a...

For an Audience of One

How do you know someone’s an atheist? Don’t worry, they will tell you. And yes, I am an atheist, so you know, there you go. I also consider myself to be an avid follower of art. And though at some point I completely dismissed the concept of religion altogether, religion did not dismiss me...

Happily Ever After?

The author of “Identifying with the Antagonist of the Story”, Emma Hetrick, argues that audiences identify too much with protagonists and do not focus enough on their counterparts, and postulates that pop culture is in need of more antagonist-centered stories. I would like to suggest that Hetrick,...

The Relativity of Antagonists

I love a good story just as much as anyone else. It can be fiction or nonfiction, thought-provoking or simple fun, dramatic in scale or strong in heart. As long as the quality of the production lines up with my personal tastes, then the genre it falls into matters little compared to its execution....

Identifying with the Antagonist of the Story

I recently saw the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. I had seen the show before, but what stuck out to me the most this way was the character of Judas. He is portrayed as a complex figure, a man who thought he was doing what was right when he turned Jesus in to the authorities, and who was so...

We missed a lot of church / So the music is our confessional

My love of hip hop began with T-Pain's "Buy U A Drank." In July 2009, this 12-year-old Asian-American girl from the Bay Area learned the word "shawty" and heard about drinking in the club for the first time. Hip hop had come a long way from New York City’s South Bronx, where this cultural and...

A Cynic's Confession: Cory Booker's Speech and the Nature of Truth

I wandered out of Penn’s graduation ceremony among the crowd of black robes, hungry and a bit dazed, still thinking about Cory Booker’s dramatic speech. I felt underwhelmed and disappointed in Penn’s decision to ask a politician to speak. Why? Not because of Booker’s message, which I thought...

A Message We (and our Enemies) Need to Hear

This year’s commencement speech by New Jersey senator Cory Booker was widely well received by Penn audiences. In it, he urges the audience to demonstrate love for others through our small but consistent actions, using the terms “moral imagination” and “creative compassion.” Booker clearly made an...

On Knowing

A Christian is politely asked by a friend to explain the source of her faith. She answers that while she sees evidence for her beliefs in the world, her faith stems from the sense of the divine imbued within her, and that her feeling of God is justification enough. The questioner is unsure what to...

To See, To Love

“Perhaps the most valuable thing you can give someone in your life, is your attention… we’re all fighting hard battles, pay attention to people, see them.”1I always wished I could see you. To read off your face the infatuation or hurt or hidden anger. To ask the choice questions that would pierce...

The Case for a Case: Christian Apologetics in Perspective 

Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. 1 Peter 3:15Today’s church bears the burden of proof in establishing that it is, in fact, a place of rational thought. If this sounds...

Following the Greatest Commandments in the Post-Election Reality 

The day after the election, cheerless pallor spread across campus. And no, it was not merely the rainy weather. The gloom revealed many students’ reactions as they came to grips with the results of the election. Many, myself included, were astonished and disheartened that America could elect such...

The Burden of Forgiveness

Five weeks after the election, I embraced a friend who had broken down in tears speaking about Donald Trump, her family, the safety of her body and those of her loved ones.When I look back on this moment, I see in her sorrow the same despair that has plagued marginalized communities for far longer...

Trump's Image of Power

For a long time, I did not know how to approach writing this article. The election of Donald Trump was a significant event in American politics and, for many people, signified difficult truths about the American electorate. But I was unsure how to relate this event to a theological question. At...

Learning to find Community  

While community in its purest form can be a supportive lifeline, it can be hard to find, and even harder to maintain. At its root, a community is a group of people who come together in order to give something of themselves to the others. The process of creating a community, of going out, meeting...

First Steps

I went to the Christian club at my high school once. Seven a.m., the desks in a chemistry classroom rearranged in a ring. I walked in fifteen minutes late and surveyed the room full of popular kids, including the girl who’d later become our class president. All white. Almost immediately, the guy...