A way back from secularism

Secularism separates all things, says Rev. Anthony Perkins in this week’s Acton Commentary, even sacred ones, from their source and turns them into objects. These are difficult times that divide Christians from their neighbors and from one another. Continue Reading...

The Christian life and the common good

In this week’s Acton Commentary I show that the idea that “physical needs must be met before people experience spiritual needs” is older than Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs. The key to understanding how this might be lies in a distinction between the order of time and the order of being. Continue Reading...

Maslow, material needs, and the gospel

“Human beings are created with bodies and souls,” says Jordan Ballor in this week’s Acton Commentary. “We have both material and spiritual needs.” Earlier this year, Susan Mettes of Christianity Today critiqued the use of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a ministry tool. Continue Reading...

On #GivingTuesday, avoid benevolent harm

Now that the giving season is upon us we should ask, says Andrew Vanderput in this week’s Acton Commentary, “How can one’s charity actually undermine the causes or people they mean to champion?” When charity is defined as “willing the good of the other,” it ought to necessitate that more reflection and thought be given towards the practical effects of one’s charitable acts. Continue Reading...

Russell Kirk: Where does virtue come from?

“How can human society form and raise up virtuous people?” asks Barton Gingerich in this week’s Acton Commentary. As Gingerich notes, Russell Kirk explored this perennial question in a 1982 essay titled, “Virtue: Can It Be Taught?” Kirk defined virtues as “the qualities of full humanity: strength, courage, capacity, worth, manliness, moral excellence,” particularly qualities of “moral goodness: the practice of moral duties and the conformity of life to the moral law; uprightness; rectitude.” Despite modern attempts to supplant vigorous, active “virtue” with passive “integrity,” people “possessed of an energetic virtue” are still needed, particularly in more turbulent times. Continue Reading...

The spiritual core of political hate

“A new study confirms that creeping tribalism has Americans bitterly divided, acrimonious, and dismissive of others based on political differences,” says Rev. Ben Johnson in this week’s Acton Commentary. “Behind this animosity lies a spiritual principle that Rev. Continue Reading...

Alexis de Tocqueville, socialism, and the American Way

Tocqueville determined that the one defining factor in the United States was equality of condition, says John Wilsey in this week’s Acton Commentary. Tocqueville noticed that Americans apparently had the singular ability to prevent equality of conditions from yielding democratic despotism. Continue Reading...

The Romer Nobel cheers human potential

“Just last week I was telling a colleague that I hoped Paul Romer would finally win the Nobel prize in economics,” says Victor V. Claar in this week’s Acton Commentary. “And then he did.” I’ve been a Paul Romer fan since I started teaching intermediate macroeconomics more than a decade ago—the “macro” course college students might take following the introductory one. Continue Reading...

5 ways the West gets African development all wrong

“In the last few weeks, Africa witnessed two major events that could influence the continent’s economic landscape in the coming decades,” says Ibrahim B. Anoba in this week’s Acton Commentary. First was the visit by British Prime Minister Theresa May and her pledge of $5.1 billion in investments continent-wide, as the UK prepares for life after Brexit. Continue Reading...

A Jewish perspective on market, justice, and charity

“Not a day goes by when there’s not some concern raised about the state of the economy and how people are faring,” says Curt Biren in this week’s Acton Commentary. “While recent economic growth has been promising, wage growth is lackluster, many say.” The middle class is shrinking. Continue Reading...

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