THE GHOSTS OF WARS TO COME

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As we commemorate the First World War in coming months, we are going to hear a great many myths and mis-statements. Although it certainly is not the most pernicious, let me just correct one of the more persistent. Recently, the Weekly Standard presented an interesting review by J. Harvie Wilkinson III, who began, “Back then, [Read More...]

CULT ALTERNATIVES

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I recently asked “Where have all the cultists gone?” – that is, why do we no longer have cult panics like we have had so frequently throughout US history, but so floridly and sensationally in the 1970s and 1980s. I suggested that small controversial groups might be less likely to be formed and grow in [Read More...]

WHERE HAVE ALL THE CULTISTS GONE?

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One of the most enjoyable academic conferences on religious studies is CESNUR, the Center for the Study of New Religions, and this past month we hosted the group’s annual meeting at Baylor. I spoke on a topic that I have addressed before, namely the sharp decline in public concern (or panic) about dangerous religious cults [Read More...]

MASONS AND MUSLIMS

zColonial Possessions in 1900

I have recently been posting on the astonishingly widespread influence of Freemasonry both in Anglo-American culture, and in Continental Europe. But that global influence went even further, into some regions and contexts that today seem almost incredible. To illustrate this, I turn to the origins of modern Islamic thought. At the end of the nineteenth [Read More...]

FREEMASONS AND THE NEW AGE

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I posted recently on the importance of Freemasons in Anglo-American history – political, cultural and religious. Masonry had a substantial influence on mainstream churches, especially in what we call mainline denominations. But its impact was all the more obvious among more marginal groups, and in new religious movements. When we look at America’s esoteric and [Read More...]

MACHEN’S TERROR

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I recently published the book The Great and Holy War, about the supernatural dimensions of the First World War. In connection with that project, I have posted on some of the major books of that era, including works by George Moore and H. G. Wells. I am arguing that the war’s astonishing violence inspired both [Read More...]

THE FOUR HORSEMEN

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Following on from my book The Great and Holy War, I have been working on the religious and apocalyptic aspects of the First World War, and have recently posted on some major popular culture items from that time. I find myself concentrating on 1916, the year of Mr Britling Sees It Through and The Brook [Read More...]

TECTONIC FAITH

In my new book The Great and Holy War, I argued that the catastrophe of the First World War transformed the world’s great religions. I continue to think through some of the implications of this story, for what it might tell us about the history of religions more generally. (I have already posted a couple [Read More...]

THE BROOK KERITH

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I recently published the book The Great and Holy War, about the religious and apocalyptic dimensions of the First World War era. Looking at the best-selling books of those years gives us a sense of the strong and diverse religious interests of that time, and the results are often surprising. Who for instance would think [Read More...]

MASONS AND CATHOLICS

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I have been posting on the pervasive influence of Freemasonry in Anglo-American culture. Usually, that tradition was very wide-open and generous in terms of its racial and religious attitudes, but there is one enormous exception to that rule, and that concerns Roman Catholics. Indeed, much of European and American politics over the past two centuries [Read More...]


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