Indeed, throughout much of the Christian tradition, it was commonplace to refrain from eating all meat during the 40 days of Lent (which commemorate Jesus fasting for 40 days in the desert), as well as for even married couples to abstain from sex. In many other religious traditions, vegetarianism and celibacy were seen as two facets of the jewel of asceticism.
I don’t fault anyone for joining a club, which for many becomes an important locus of support and community. Yet too many people view independent life as bizarre or unrealistic. With a small critical mass of friends to join you, a willingness to meet new people, and the initiative to organize and build up your own community, the independent life is both feasible and rewarding.
In order to differentiate the dozens of bright and hardworking students in a class, the grading system doesn’t measure how much a student learned, but how much he or she is willing to sacrifice for a class. For some students, this sacrifice will be sleep. For others, it will be extracurriculars. For yet others, mental health.
The topic of compelled speech recently made headlines as Jack Phillips, the Colorado cakeshop owner who refused to make a same-sex wedding cake, went before the Supreme Court. Amidst comparisons to racism and Jim Crow, serious mischaracterizations of Phillips’ position have spread.
Technology is a tool to improve society but shouldn’t be idolized. It is a means and not an end. Unless we think critically about what purpose we are building towards, we may find ourselves inventing things that would be better off not existing. History is rife with examples of technology going wrong or even being used to advance death and destruction, from the A-bomb to Zyklon B. Furthermore, there are some things that technology may never be able to do. I am skeptical that an app will ever cure depression or heal racial divides. We should not approach technology unquestioningly, but rather with a balance of both hope and realism about its limitations.
Hormonal birth control — assuming it is prescribed to avoid pregnancy and not to treat another gynecological problem — suppresses the natural function of the reproductive system. This sets it apart from other drugs that treat illnesses or disorders and seek to return the body to health, as defined by the proper functioning of all bodily systems. Certainly, contraception may improve the subjective well-being of the person, yet the ability to become pregnant is far from a disorder; it is an indicator of health.
Toxic masculinity brings out the worst in men and damages the community at all levels. Let’s reclaim what is positive and healthy about male identity and reject unhelpful stereotypes. Let’s give men something to be proud of.