Repost: “Choose Faith in Spite of the Facts”

I usually don't think it's worth beating up on the purveyors of popular evangelical feel-goodism, for the same reason I don't get in boxing matches with life-size Jell-O sculptures. But I had to make an exception for this tweet from human tooth-whitening strip Joel Osteen:The facts may tell you one thing. But, God is not limited by the facts. Choose faith in spite of the facts.— Joel Osteen (@JoelOsteen) November 26, 2014Osteen is most famous for his surgically implanted smile … [Read more...]

Show Me How the Bible Hurt You

I came across this page from an ad right here on Patheos. It's another of those proselytizing Christian websites that seeks to convert people in the guise of "answering questions" they may have about the Bible and Christianity. Its creators have chosen to stay anonymous, except to describe themselves as "a diverse group who believes that, when engaged thoughtfully, the Bible can be one of the most exciting, surprising, and life-giving books in the world".This is all boilerplate-standard … [Read more...]

I Get Religious Mail: Bibles for China

The 1.3 billion people in China are a tempting target for marketers, especially as the country industrializes and they become more affluent. Countless Western companies have tried to expand into China, often complying with the authoritarian government's censorship demands, for the sake of access to that enormous market.Religious evangelists are hungering to make converts in China for similar reasons. And they, too, appear to be engaging in calculated self-censorship to do so, as we can see … [Read more...]

Evangelicalism Returns to Its White Supremacist Roots

Since the election, my post on the white supremacist roots of evangelical Christianity has been getting a lot of hits, and no wonder. In retrospect, it was the key to understanding the transformation that this election cycle has wrought in the country.And that change is continuing, as argued in an article by Sarah Posner with an unsurpassable title, Amazing Disgrace. Posner traces the resurgence of what she calls "alt-right Christianity" - the marriage of convenience between white … [Read more...]

The Cult of the In-Group

Well, it was only a matter of time until someone made this argument:In Matt 25, when Jesus talks about caring for "the least of these," he isn't talking about the poor in general, but fellow Christians.— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) March 17, 2017Matthew 25, the parable of the sheep and the goats, has long been a thorn in the side of the religious right. It's a story that's supposed to take place on judgment day, where Jesus exalts some people and condemns others for how they … [Read more...]

Evangelicals Cement Their Bigotry

The new administration's Muslim travel ban has inspired vehement protests across America. Even if the courts uphold it, which seems unlikely, the fear and dismay it's caused in immigrants throughout the land will have a lasting effect. In a black irony, its most salient effect may be to chase away skilled workers of all types - including immigrant doctors from Muslim countries who work in the underserved regions of Appalachia and the Rust Belt. (Once again, you get what you vote for.)The … [Read more...]

Secular Community-Building Is Hard Work

Another of Christianity's big names has left the faith and joined us: Bart Campolo, son of the famous preacher Tony Campolo and a well-known evangelical pastor in his own right.As Mark Oppenheimer's article says, Campolo finally dropped his faith after surviving a serious bicycle accident in 2011, which persuaded him of the fleeting nature of life and the importance of making the most of it. But his beliefs had been weakening for some time. A lifetime of experience had eroded their … [Read more...]

The Moral Ruin of Evangelicalism

According to exit polls, 81% of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. It's safe to say that most of them are happy with the outcome. But there's one question they may not have considered: What price did they pay for this victory?An article by Robert P. Jones, head of the Public Religion Research Institute, gives us the answer. They won the election, and all it cost them was their convictions:In 2011 and again just ahead of the election, PRRI asked Americans … [Read more...]

Jack Chick’s Cowardly Evangelism

Jack Chick has died. His publishing company broke the news on Facebook:To be honest, I was surprised because I thought Jack Chick had died long ago. I assumed the tract business was being run by descendants or new owners who hired artists to draw under his name. Chick's reclusiveness probably fed this perception: according to his Wikipedia page, he only did one interview after 1975, and there are few pictures of him, none of them recent.As many atheists know, Chick tracts push an … [Read more...]

All the Kingdoms of the World

By now, you've heard, we've arrived at a new low in an election season that's seen no shortage of them. In 2005, Donald Trump was caught on a hot mic backstage at Access Hollywood, bragging about his ability to sexually assault women and get away with it, and we've just heard the tape:"I've got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her," Trump says. "You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful [women] — I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't e … [Read more...]