Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Christian Social Thought

Christianity and Liberalism

Over at the Gospel Coalition last week I reviewed Larry Siedentop’s Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism. As I conclude, “The story he tells is true, but at some points only half-true. Continue Reading...

The fruit of toil

In an Acton Commentary two years ago, I wrote about the significance of toil: In the midst of the now-common Christian affirmation of all forms of work as God-given vocations, the image of Sisyphus, vainly pushing his boulder up a hill in Hades, only to watch it roll back down again, might serve to remind us of the reality of toil, the other side of the coin. Continue Reading...

‘Riches do not bring freedom’

The contrast between the treatments by David Bentley Hart and Dylan Pahman of the question of the intrinsic evil of “great personal wealth” this week pretty well established, I think, that in itself wealth is among the things neither forbidden nor absolutely required. Continue Reading...

Does the New Testament say wealth is intrinsically evil?

In a recent article in Commonweal, the Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart responds to a rebuttal article written last year by Acton research director Samuel Gregg. Hart say that “on at least one point Gregg did have me dead to rights: I did indeed say that the New Testament, alarmingly enough, condemns great personal wealth not merely as a moral danger, but as an intrinsic evil.” What is Hart’s basis for the claim? Continue Reading...

How Christianity created the free society

While many Christians have undermined human liberty, says Samuel Gregg, the Director of Research for Acton, a new book of essays shows just how much of our contemporary freedom we owe to the Christian church, Christian thinkers, and Christian practice rather than liberals and liberalism. Continue Reading...

We hate politics and the media because they lower our status

“I have a simple hypothesis,” writes economist Tyler Cowen. “No matter what the media tells you their job is, the feature of media that actually draws viewer interest is how media stories either raise or lower particular individuals in status.” Cowen believes this explains why people “get so teed off” at the media: The status ranking of individuals implied by a particular media source is never the same as yours, and often not even close. Continue Reading...

Samuel Gregg on the Regensburg Address, Ratzinger, and reason

In a new article for Public Discourse, Samuel Gregg, the Director of Research at Acton, talks about the “Regensburg Address” and what it means 10 years later.  Benedict XVI’s speech at the University of Regensburg on September 12, 2006 “managed to identify the inner pathology that is corroding much of the world, how this malignancy emerged, and what can be done to address it.” According to Gregg, this speech “showed how a collapse of faith in full-bodied conceptions of reason explains so much of our world’s evident disarray.” But the Roman Pontiff didn’t just pull this idea out of nowhere; this is a concept that has been long featured in Joseph Ratzinger’s writings.    Continue Reading...