You could see both those impulses at work in the discussion following the great fire at Notre-Dame. On the one hand there was a strident liberal reaction against readings of the tragedy that seemed too friendly to either medieval Catholicism or some religiously infused conception of the West.
But at the same time there was a palpable desire to claim the still-smoking Notre-Dame for some abstract idea of liberal modernity, a swift enlistment of various architects and chin-strokers to imagine how the cathedral owned by the French government, thanks to an earlier liberal effort to claim authority over Christian faith might be reconstructed to be somehow more secular and cosmopolitan, more of a cathedral for our multicultural times.
As with monuments, so with beliefs. Consider the fascinating interview my colleague Nicholas Kristof conducted for Easter with Serene Jones, the president of Union Theological Seminary, long the flagship institution for liberal Protestantism. But is Jones a Richard Dawkins-esque scoffer or a would-be founder of a Gnostic alternative to Christianity? This last dig is true in certain ways and false in others. One of the basic facts of contemporary religious history is that Christians around the world are persecuted on an extraordinary scale — by mobs and pogroms in India, jihadists and United States-allied governments in the Muslim world, secular totalitarians in China and North Korea.
Yet as an era-defining reality rather than an episodic phenomenon this reality is barely visible in the Western media, and rarely called by name and addressed head-on by Western governments and humanitarian institutions. This absence reflects, once again, the complex combination of liberal impulses toward Christianity. There is a fear that any special focus on Christians will vindicate the jihadist narrative of a clash of civilizations.
There is a fear that narratives of global Christian persecution will somehow help the conservative side of Western culture wars. Unfortunately the various conservative alternatives to this liberal muddle are not always more helpful to persecuted Christians. Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium. The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment.
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Shape Created with Sketch. Health news in pictures Show all A vaping-related lung disease has claimed the lives of 11 people in the US in recent weeks. Researchers in the US claim to have overcome one of the major hurdles to cultivating human follicles from stem cells.
The new system allows cells to grow in a structured tuft and emerge from the skin. A study in the journal Scientific Reports suggests that a dose of nature of just two hours a week is associated with better health and psychological wellbeing. Exposure to air from traffic-clogged streets could leave women with fewer years to have children, a study has found.
Italian researchers found women living in the most polluted areas were three times more likely to show signs they were running low on eggs than those who lived in cleaner surroundings, potentially triggering an earlier menopause. Junk food adverts on TV and online could be banned before 9pm as part of Government plans to fight the "epidemic" of childhood obesity.
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Plans for the new watershed have been put out for public consultation in a bid to combat the growing crisis, the Department of Health and Social Care DHSC said. On migrating from Africa around 70, years ago, humans bumped into the neanderthals of Eurasia. While humans were weak to the diseases of the new lands, breeding with the resident neanderthals made for a better equipped immune system.
The breath biopsy device is designed to detect cancer hallmarks in molecules exhaled by patients. By their 10th birthdy, children have on average already eaten more sugar than the recommended amount for an 18 year old. The average 10 year old consumes the equivalent to 13 sugar cubes a day, 8 more than is recommended. While there is not enough evidence of harm to recommend UK-wide limits on screen use, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have advised that children should avoid screens for an hour before bed time to avoid disrupting their sleep.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that many elderly people are taking daily aspirin to little or no avail. A study by the University of Minnesota's Masonic Cancer Centre has found that the carcinogenic chemicals formaldehyde, acrolein, and methylglyoxal are present in the saliva of E-cigarette users. Obesity is a leading cause. The majority of antidepressants are ineffective and may be unsafe, for children and teenager with major depression, experts have warned.
In what is the most comprehensive comparison of 14 commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs to date, researchers found that only one brand was more effective at relieving symptoms of depression than a placebo. Another popular drug, venlafaxine, was shown increase the risk users engaging in suicidal thoughts and attempts at suicide.
Researchers at the Baptist Health South Florida Clinic in Miami focused on seven areas of controllable heart health and found these minority groups were particularly likely to be smokers and to have poorly controlled blood sugar.