The Dark Knight and Human Nature

If you ever look up philosophical/psychological perspectives on Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, you would immediately come across arguments about whether the films are “liberal” or “conservative” particularly as they relate to the question of human nature. Questions concerning anthropology such as, “What are humans fundamentally?” “Is human nature essentially good or essentially evil?” “Is there even such a thing as an established human nature or is it malleable and constructed individually or culturally?” are important questions and undoubtedly emerge in Nolan’s three Batman films.  Some argue that the movies present a nihilistic worldview, (the rejection of any objective meaning or principle, life is ultimately void of any real purpose) as presented through the character of the Joker. Others think that the Batman trilogy puts forward a humanist worldview as it displays the greatness of the human spirit to overcome and triumph over struggles as presented through Bruce Wayne or the passengers on the ferries. Others think the story is about the battle between the humanist and the nihilist, one trying to convince the other that human beings are fundamentally evil or fundamentally good. I… Read More »The Dark Knight and Human Nature

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Interview with Holly Hamilton-Bleakley Part 2

SV: Given our culture’s emphasis on individualism and personal freedom, and more parents being out of the home so often, could you talk about the importance for parents spending consistent and quality time with their children (e.g. family dinners, family prayer)? HHB: Yes, we certainly do emphasize individualism in our culture, as well as a kind of personal freedom that brings with it a kind of unrealistic idea that we are independent from others, particularly our families.  That individualism, however, can be very closely tied to an isolated loneliness, especially in the teenage years (just look at the recent growth in self-harming among teenagers), if it isn’t tempered with a good dose of family connectedness. And how does a family feel connected?  Time spent together is an absolutely essential part of it.  But it doesn’t have to be ‘perfect time’.  In fact, I’m a big believer in the imperfectness of families.  One session at our family dinner table can go from laughing to fighting to complaining to scolding to edifying in about 5 minutes, and then repeat the cycle for the rest of the dinner. … Read More »Interview with Holly Hamilton-Bleakley Part 2

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Witches, Warlocks, and Magic

Growing up in a conservative Christian home there were some things that were considered sort of… “off limits.” And one of those things was books, tv shows, or movies that had anything to do with magic, or more specifically, witchcraft.

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Why I Hate Horror Films (And Think You Should Too)

I believe in objective goodness. I believe in objective truth. I also believe in objective beauty …and horror films are not beautiful. They are (objectively) ugly.  Strangely, many Christians have no problem believing in the objectivity of goodness and the objectivity of truth, but many of them don’t consider beauty to be objective. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” right? No, of course not. Just like truth and goodness isn’t up to me to decide, neither is beauty. When we see a mighty waterfall pouring down a cliff, it moves us (as something independent of us)  not just to feel like the waterfall is beautiful to me, but to say, “That is beautiful!” When we hear an amazing symphony by someone like Mozart or Beethoven, we say, “It is beautiful.” Similarly, if we saw rats eating and defecating on another, the response we would have is something like, “Eeeww! That is gross. That is disgusting,” not just “I’m having feelings of grossness.” Or what if someone looked at heinous sin, and found it beautiful, would they be (objectively) wrong? Or what if someone… Read More »Why I Hate Horror Films (And Think You Should Too)

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