Paper Clippings The Blog of The Crossroads Cultural Center

Paper Clippings, more than a classical blog, is a service providing valuable reading material in order to help readers reach a judgment about current affairs. Comments and discussion are more than welcome.


You shall be alone

One may think that the problem of widespread nihilism is some kind of philosophical concern, until one realizes that one of the most violent ways to crush a human being is by destroying his/her affectivity.


Meet the Amari family, in Baghdad

Like other 15 million Iraqis, the Amari family yesterday went to the polling station.
The Amaris live a life that they say could not tolerate a descent into balkanization. Shiites who have sometimes married Sunnis, they also have a few relatives who are married to Kurds. Their story is a symbol of a new Iraq.
"God willing, I hope that all Iraqis will turn into a family like ours and have the freedom to chose."


Capitalism and Christianity

We have already published an excerpt from 'The Victory of Reason', the new book by Baylor sociologist Rodney Stark. In today's New York Times, columnist David Brooks (a Jewish, by the way) exalts the book and the importance of the Catholic Church in the economic history of the world.


Remember the Balkans

Ten years ago, on December 14, 1995, the signing of the Dayton Accords marked the end of the war in the Balkans. Here are some Magnus Photos to remember that tragedy.


The future of newspapers

This is a blog, that is an electronic media. So we shouldn't be worried about the future of newspapers, right? Wrong. Peter Johnson, UsaToday media reporter, tells why everybody should be worried. "My son is a junior in college and I've seen him pick up a newspaper maybe three times in his entire life."
Do you want more? "You don't save papers by cutting newsrooms", say Todd Gitlin and Olivier Sylvain.
Finally: Is there a liberal bias in the media? You bet there is, says Neil Cavuto.


The real spirit of Christmas

Pope Benedict XVI: "In today's consumer society, this time (of the year) is unfortunately subjected to a sort of commercial 'pollution' that is in danger of altering its true spirit, which is characterized by meditation, sobriety and by a joy that is not exterior but intimate".
"The Nativity scene helps us contemplate the mystery of the love of God, which is revealed to us in the poverty and simplicity of the grotto in Bethlehem."


Why the West won

Here is an excerpt from The Victory of Reason.


A TEMPI column

By Marco Bersanelli*

Since the “Intelligent Design” (or rather I.D., as they call it) neo-creationist movement started spreading in the United States, the debate about evolution has grown more and more heated. This is an important step for the traditional American creationist environment: till now the debate was shaped by protestant fundamentalist groups, who claim that the Bible should be used as a scientific treatise to be taught in schools, and in this way help those who are trying to ridicule the Jewish and Christian faith about the creation of man and the world.
On the contrary, those supporting I.D. are serious scientists, coming from the best American Universities and well-equipped to keep the level of the debate high. Everybody should acknowledge this as a merit.
The scientific debate around neo-Darwinist theories has grown as well, and this is a positive development because, while biological evolution is a fact supported by many genetic and fossil proofs, neo-Darwinism on the contrary is just a theory, not universally accepted, that tries to explain its mechanism. From a scientific point of view the debate is still open.
In addition to that, it [neo-Darwinism] is being proposed as an ideology. The word itself “neo-Darwinism” has become more and more ambiguous, a philosophical theory more than a scientific hypothesis as the article by James Watson on the September 29th issue of “Il Corriere della Sera” sadly shows: he says "One of the greatest gifts science –and especially Darwinism- made to the world is the ongoing elimination of the supernatural." The same intolerance of creationists here is supporting scientism’s materialistic dogma.

Free From Prejudice

But watch out. Some of the ID theories are looking for evidence of an “intelligent design,” guiding the evolution of biological complexity, inside the gaps of contemporary scientific theories. They somehow remind us Newton’s position, postulating God’s intervention to compensate gravity in order to prevent the collapse of the solar system. It is a new form for the old temptation to “prove” the existence of God on an experimental basis. Let us ask ourselves: is the role of God to fill the gaps of science? Does not gravity, like other things that science can somehow “explain”, also come from God? And by the way, if we fill the gaps, what happens to God? And even more important, who are we to judge how the Creator should have created reality? Free and rational man is not afraid of God’s freedom, he doesn’t impose Him conditions. If he’s not blinded by prejudice, such man can instead admire His work, even through science.

*Professor of Astrophysics - University of Milan (Italy)


The happiness lobby

The Guardian informs us that "research has established more clearly than ever what the most likely predictors of happiness are, and there are now proven methods to treat unhappiness...The huge ambition of the small but growing happiness lobby is that the state resumes a role in promoting the good life."

Talking of "happiness," here are some statistics.


Big daddy

'Young people end up confused because they don't understand what sex is all about.' So let the state explain it to them. Well, what is it about?

Maybe Her Majesty's government should try and explain them what being a human being is about. Do they have any "experts" on that matter?


Oh, well

Some of the most intelligent comments on the gay-priests controversy have been made by blogger Eve Tushnet. At least she hints at the word nobody understands and nobody talks about, namely virginity. Once it is understood that that there is essentially one Christian vocation that is offered to all but takes different forms, then keeping homosexuals out of the priesthood (or not) is strictly a practical question. Note this observation:

"In my own life, I can't unhook the longing for beauty that drew me to the Church with the longing for the beauty I saw in other women. (And I don't especially want to unhook those things, I must admit. It seems to me that Catholic faith and chastity might be one way for me to honor those women. Look how important you were!)"

Dante would agree, except he would correctly conclude that the world has gone nuts, since this is a woman speaking...


The Wahabis are toast

if the mentality of young Saudi women is being shaped by Oprah.

More on the situation in Saudi Arabia from the Chicago Tribune. What is striking is the inexorable power of Western (originally Christian) ideas, at the very same time when the West itself has been quickly losing its identity. "The West plays a very important role because it gives hope to people... Even among those who hate the West..."


Splendor of the Truth

The Seattle Times meets the Wolfes.


Strategy for Victory

So, what about this 'National Strategy for Victory in Iraq' that President Bush released yesterday? First of all, it's a good idea to read the document itself, instead of just a news analysis of it.
Than, there are many interesting articles out there. Like this one by Fred Kaplan, who writes the 'War Stories' column for Slate. What about this sentence in the article: "The war in Iraq, even the war on terrorism (of which it has lately become a part, though it wasn't before Bush invaded), does not carry the same moral or strategic weight as the Cold War, much less World War II''?


Feisty Lady

If you have never read her stuff before, you may want to experience this classic tirade by Oriana Fallaci on the alliance between the left and Islam to destroy Western freedom. The most interesting part is probably the account of her recent meeting with the Pope.