Marcus Otte

 

Faith Features Columnist

 

Marcus Otte is a philosophy PhD student and teaching fellow at Boston College, and an adjunct professor at St. John's Seminary.   

  

Wed

26

Sep

2018

Euthanasia is the Most Serious Threat to Human Dignity Today

by Marcus Otte

 

The unique horrors of abortion are primarily its volume (recently estimated at 3,000 per day in the US), the complete innocence of its victims, and its sundering of the maternal relation. Even so, euthanasia has an even greater power to disfigure consciences and to destroy our understanding of the significance of life. In these respects, it is perhaps the most dire threat to human dignity today.

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Thu

03

May

2018

The English Language isn't that Bad for Discussing Love

by Marcus Otte

 

In Catholic circles, you often hear that English is deficient because we only have one word for “love,” whereas the ancient Greeks had four, or five, or six (the number changes depending on who you talk to). Supposedly, this wider vocabulary meant the Greeks had words for specifying different kinds of love, e.g., brotherly love vs. romantic love, whereas English-speakers are stuck with one all-encompassing (and therefore, ambiguous) word: love.

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Wed

28

Mar

2018

Courage Looks Like Recklessness, but We Should be Courageous Anyway

by Marcus Otte

 

A few months ago, I was visiting a friend at St. Mary’s College, in California. I taught the day’s lesson to his class, and afterwards we returned to his home. Upon leaving the college, we had to drive down a winding mountain road. We had not gone far, when we encountered two men, both college-age, skateboarding down the mountain. One of them was filming a video of their skating run.

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Tue

27

Feb

2018

Dogs Are Not Babies

 

 

 

by Marcus Otte

 

One elementary truth forgotten today: there is no analogy between raising children and caring for pets. It makes no sense to substitute one with the other. Here are some extremely important differences, nearly all of which should be obvious. I will use dogs in my examples because they are the most popular child substitutes:

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Wed

31

Jan

2018

Whence Comes Modern Pessimism?

 

 

by Marcus Otte

 

What is the greatest good for a human being? Or, to put it differently, what is happiness? When pre-modern philosophers reflected on morality, these were the most fundamental questions they raised. Every other question was answered in their light. The meanings and requirements of such virtues as courage, generosity, justice, and prudence, were each understood in a manner that supported the greatest good for a human being.

 

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Wed

29

Nov

2017

If Naturalism is True, Religion Should Not be Blamed for Suffering

 

by Marcus Otte

 

One of the chief complaints against religion is that it has been the cause of tremendous suffering worldwide. The crusades and inquisitions are the examples most often cited. Sometimes, it is (quite ludicrously) claimed that “most” wars have been caused by religion. Others worry that religious influence upon legislation is a slippery slope to theocracy, and therefore, to tyranny. The conviction that faith is inherently irrational is a common thread among those who make such arguments.

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Thu

26

Oct

2017

The Worst Argument for the Death Penalty

 

 

by Marcus Otte

 

Last month, I wrote about the problem of “therapy culture.” I am sure that, for many readers, the influence of therapeutic thinking on the Left came readily to mind. But therapeutic priorities are far more pervasive than many would suspect. The Right is also affected. Perhaps the most disturbing evidence of this occurs in debates on capital punishment.

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Tue

26

Sep

2017

Morality and “Me”

 

 

by Marcus Otte

 

It is commonplace for Christians to regard relativism and skepticism as the principle cultural challenges that face catechesis today. And this is not without good reason. But I want to suggest these are not the most fundamental sources of secularism, or of confused religion. Relativism is, at heart, a negative doctrine: it denies the existence of objective truth. Skepticism, which denies the existence of knowledge, is likewise negative. And just as negative passions, such as anger or fear, are ultimately grounded on positive passion (e.g., love for something one believes is threatened), negative doctrines rest upon positive ones. The most fundamental layer of a person’s belief system is not what they are against or deny, but what they are for and affirm.

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