On Theology and Wild Boar

This post will not be about Easter bunnies, but it will be about animals. In the Christian tradition, animals possess a rich symbolic significance. Ask most Christians whether they would prefer being a goat or sheep in the eyes of the Lord and you will quickly baa-baa. From Genesis through Revelation, animals are regularly invoked [Read More…]

Secularization or Religious Pluralism?

What is the “big story” that scholars should tell about the relationship of religion to the modern world? For many decades, social scientists believed that modernization led ineluctably to secularization. Modern goods such as science, democracy, technology, social mobility, and the free market meant that, sooner or later, religion was destined to swoon and irreligion [Read More…]

Deciding about College

The season has arrived when many graduating high-school seniors and their parents begin to make decisions about college for next fall. Certainly, many considerations go into a decision of this magnitude, and no simple formula applies to all. Even so, as someone in the academic world, permit me suggest ten questions that thoughtful Christian (or [Read More…]

Remembering the Massacres of Innocents

Lately, the nation has rightly focused on the jihadist massacres in Beruit, Paris, and San Bernardino. But the presents roughly marks the two-year anniversary of our own homegrown terrorism committed in Newtown, Connecticut. Since December 28 is the Feast Day of the Holy Innocents, permit this re-posting from the Anxious Bench archives: The senseless tragedy [Read More…]

Religious Conviction and “Altruistic Evil”

The murders in Beirut, Paris, and San Bernardino raise many questions, but few are as haunting and recurring as this one: how in the name of religious conviction can acts of such ghastly violence be committed? Sadly, this might well be the defining riddle of our age. But it’s an old one and many explanations [Read More…]

India Today and Hindu Nationalism

After traveling in the United States, G. K. Chesterton famously described America as “a nation with the soul of the a church.” Something akin to this could be said of India, but to church one must quickly add Buddhist stupa, Jain mandir, Sikh gurdwara, Parsi dar-e mihr, Muslim mosque, and, not least, Hindu temple. Indeed, [Read More…]

The Popes and America

Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on the Pope in America: Implications, Collaborations, Challenges. Read other perspectives here. In September 22-27, Pope Francis will visit the United States, making stops in Washington, New York, and Philadelphia. Most discussion in anticipation has focused on the Pope’s attendance at the World Meeting [Read More…]

Rome, for Protestants

Most people today ooh-and-aah when they experience or envision a trip to Rome. It was not always so. Until the era of modern tourism, trips to Rome were rare, undertaken only by the wealthy. For devout Protestants, encountering Catholicism’s Eternal City could often induce more revulsion than admiration. Prior to Italian unification in the 1860s-1870s, [Read More…]

Snake Handling and Religious Freedom

Snake handling churches are back in the news after a Kentucky man died from a rattle snake bite at a recent worship service. If this piece of news failed to show up during your daily Internet browsing, your sources might be insufficiently cosmopolitan. If there is any religious practice in America that receives smirks from [Read More…]

Islam in the Christian College?

(The conference mentioned below in this previous post has been funded and will take place on the campus of Gordon College on September 21, 2015. For more information, write to cfi@gordon.edu or go to http://www.gordon.edu/islamintheclassroom) In a post 9/11 world, engaging Islam in the college classroom is more important than ever. Unfortunately, too many evangelical [Read More…]


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