Is Christianity Fundamentally Sexist?

Or Women in the Apostle Paul’s Anthropology: the Image of God, Once Removed? I once told Nehama [Leibowitz] that the Abravanel does not believe that woman was created in the image of God. At first she said, 'No!' and I said, 'Yes.' Then she said, 'Show me.' When I did, she whispered, 'Don't tell anyone!' (Yaakov Fogelman, quoted in Yael Unterman, Nehama Leibowitz: Teacher and Bible Scholar, 297)     I would suggest that the Declaration was most prudent in quickly dismissing 1 … [Read more...]

Why Biblical Inerrancy May Be Catholicism’s Biggest Problem

 Over the past several years, I've gotten the impression that many people believe the idea of Biblical inerrancy—that the Bible is totally free from error, whether in its ethical teachings, its historical claims, or perhaps even its claims about the natural world more generally¹—to be a particularly Protestant notion, or a particularly fundamentalist or even American Protestant notion, associated with Southern Baptism and other types of so-called evangelical Christianity.We could cer … [Read more...]

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Trump, the New Messianic “King”? Between Caution and Conspiracy

Or "'The world was gloomy before I won': Trump and Messianism between Conspiracy and Parody" Over the past couple of days, the blogosphere and other social media has been abuzz in response to the Republican National Committee's 2016 Christmas message, written by Chairman Reince Priebus. The message—in which both author and audience are clearly assumed to share the same Christian identity—begins Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer … [Read more...]

Some Problem Areas for the Compatibility of Religion and Evolution

 I spend a lot of time talking religion and theology in pretty literate, mostly progressive Christian communities online. Despite a chunk of the typical postings being totally outside my wheelhouse (prayer requests and such), they're among the few places to discuss the history of Christianity with any regularity.I say mostly progressive because these communities are pretty big, and invariably attract a lot of other voices besides just progressive ones. Maybe it all evens out to where … [Read more...]

Has Noah Lost His Flood? The Ever-diminishing Biblical Deluge

 I started writing this just as a summary and analysis of an interesting (and potentially greatly important) new article on the Biblical flood published in the journal Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft: Idan Dershowitz' "Man of the Land: Unearthing the Original Noah."I kind of realized at one point, though, that Dershowitz' article is part of a bigger history and narrative here—one worth telling more fully. So I'm going to split this up into at least two parts, with … [Read more...]

Challenge for Christians: Defend Christian Universalism—for Charity!

 Christian universalism has become an important player in modern Christian theology, with an increasing number of sympathizers and amount of discussion pertaining to it, both among scholars/theologians and laity.¹In fact, I think that universalism hits enough theologically attractive notes to possibly make it slated to become one of the most dominant Christian theologies of the 21st century—or perhaps the dominant one, at least among Protestants. (The possibility of a Cath … [Read more...]

The Flood and the Bible: How Not to Reconcile Science and Religion

 Recently, in a few different articles,¹ I've drawn attention to a few uncritical arguments that've been used to bolster the idea of the harmony between religion and science, a.k.a. "accommodationism."²Now, before saying anything else—and as I reiterated in my most recent article on the issue—I agree that a world in which, say, the majority of Christians affirm scientific consensuses is far preferable to one in which they don't.³ Further, it's not the idea of the harmony between religion … [Read more...]

October 22: An Apocalyptic Anniversary Worth Remembering

 October 22 marks one of the most significant dates in American religious history; certainly in the history of the Second Great Awakening—that era of Protestant revivalism and millenarianism from the turn of the 18th century to the mid-19th century.It was October 22, 1844 that the Millerites, the impassioned followers of the Baptist preacher William Miller, looked forward to as the day of the Second Coming of Jesus, as had been predicted by one of Miller's devotees, based on complica … [Read more...]

The True “Most Embarrassing Verse(s) in the Bible”?

 C. S. Lewis, the consummate 20th century Christian intellectual and defender of Christianity, once rather famously dubbed Mark 13:30¹ the “most embarrassing verse in the Bible.” Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. This line, spoken by Jesus himself, appears near the tail-end of what's become known as the Olivet Discourse. As might be surmised, there was already contention over its meaning in Lewis' own time. (The essay in which … [Read more...]

Faith and History, Miracle and Mysticism: Critical Notes on Eastern Orthodoxy

(Or, more specifically, A Response to John Stamps' "St Symeon the New Theologian and the Quest of the Historical Jesus") John Stamps has written a provocative piece ("St Symeon the New Theologian and the Quest of the Historical Jesus") over at Eclectic Orthodoxy—one of the absolute best, consistently historically-rich and just all-around cerebral blogs on Christianity from the Eastern Orthodox tradition; or really, for that matter, from any tradition.As his title suggests, the ce … [Read more...]