Teaching Religion: Universal Ideas?

In my last post, I tried to identify some of the universals in human nature that supply the foundation for much religious behavior, whether we are looking at the great world faiths, or traditional primal religions. Let me here offer some of the specific examples, of what I call the “building blocks” of faith, and of faiths. What features do all human beings have in common, which taken together provide the components of a kind of default religion? There are… Read more

The Roots of a Public Housing Crisis in Cairo, Illinois

We are joined today at the Anxious Bench by Kerry Pimblott, author of Faith in Black Power: Religion, Race, and Resistance in Cairo, Illinois, and Lecturer in International History at the University of Manchester. Cairo, Ill., is on “life support.” At least that was the verdict of neurosurgeon and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Ben Carson, upon visiting the rural community earlier this summer. Carson’s grim diagnosis comes on the heels of HUD’s announcement in April that Cairo’s… Read more

The Medieval Counsel of Biblical Womanhood

The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood exploded my twitter feed last week. As a Texan with both friends and family in Houston, I really just wanted to see the update on Hurricane Harvey. But the Nashville Statement dominated my news feed. I confess after scrolling through headline after headline I mostly just felt tired, One article revived me. Written by Jeffrey Miller, a Bible professor and editor of the Priscilla Papers, the article highlights women, from the pages of church… Read more

How Do Protestants and Catholics View Each Other in 2017?

For the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, new survey examines how Protestants and Catholics view each other — and themselves — in the U.S. and Western Europe. Read more

Teaching Religion: Building Blocks of Faith

Recently, I discussed teaching courses in Religious Studies, and specifically in World Religions. I always began such a course with what I called the building blocks of religion, and why we find the same themes across the spectrum of faiths – why certain numbers, colors, and so on enjoy special status across continents and civilizations. As the class proceeded, we would use these different themes and headings as a means of organizing and understanding material. In the next couple of… Read more

The Media Mangle a Religion Story, Again

No, this is not going to shake the foundations of faith. Read more

The Chance of Salvation

Lincoln Mullen is the author of the recently published The Chance of Salvation: A History of Conversion in America. As he states in his introduction, historians have delved deep into the story of American religious diversity over the past several decades, but in the process have “left behind the task of synthesizing American religious history.” By contrast, The Chance of Salvation, stitches together the history of many different religious traditions through the experience of and rhetoric surrounding conversion. Below is… Read more

A Highly Trained Nonviolent Peacekeeping Force

The Mennonites behind the Clergy Protests in Charlottesville Read more

The Religious History of State Fairs

Is there a religious history of America’s state fairs? Chris reports from one of the largest such events. Read more

Antislavery Monument for Sale

Some monuments should be put into storage. Others should be taken out. Read more

Follow Us!