Friday's News & Ideas

  • Lincolnism, 200 years on
  • If philosophy is training for death, how did actual philosophers die?
  • Your state: pagan or religious?

State of the States: Importance of religionGallup News: Sixty-five percent of Americans say religion is an important part of their daily lives; Mississippi most religious state, Vermont least.

200 years later, Lincoln’s faith remains an enigmaReligion News Service: As the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth approaches, the 16th president and his unconventional faith continue to inspire and to confound.

Preaching made betterLouisville Courier-Journal: The Academy of Preachers trains and mentors young preachers with the belief that preaching is not only relevant but worth learning to do well.

50 ways to preach the GospelDaily Episcopalian: What does it mean, as Paul wrote in Philippians, for Christ to be “proclaimed in every way?”

The Spark

Dying and death: When you sort it out, what’s it all about, Diogenes?

Heraclitus, who believed that everything was in a state of flux, reportedly died of drowning in cow dung. Francis Bacon, that great champion of the empirical method, died of his own philosophy: in an effort to observe the effects of refrigeration, on a freezing cold day he stuffed a chicken with snow and caught pneumonia. As a philosopher dies, so he has lived and believed. And from the manner of his dying we can understand his thinking, the philosopher Simon Critchley seems to say in his “Book of Dead Philosophers.” A review in the New York Times says it’s a collection of “marvelous and funny anecdotes about the deaths of some 190 philosophers.”