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...]

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...]

Some Right-Wing Christians Enthusiastically Promoting a Form of Genocide

This column was originally published on AlterNet.In 2014, Charisma magazine, a major media outlet for evangelical and Pentecostal Christians, published an open call to genocide. The article in question, titled "Why I Am Absolutely Islamaphobic" [sic] and written by Gary Cass, begins with the premise that "every true follower of Mohammed" wants to "subjugate and murder" non-Muslims, and therefore it's impossible for Christians to live together peacefully with them.Cass proposes three … [Read more...]

Can Married Christians Go to Heaven?

Christians today are known for obsessively policing people's sexual behavior. But hard as it is to believe, their ancient predecessors were even more strict. To see how this can be so, let's examine a surprising, little-known Bible verse.In this New Testament passage, Jesus is being interrogated by the Sadducees, a Jewish sect skeptical of resurrection. They ask, if a woman's husband dies and she remarries, which one's husband will she be in heaven? Jesus' astonishing response is that the … [Read more...]

Repost: The Perils of Scriptural Morality

[I'm taking a break from the blog to bond with and care for my new son. Please enjoy this classic post! I'll check in periodically to answer comments.]I was cheered by a story I saw last week about about heroic activist groups working to end the barbaric custom of female "circumcision", aka female genital mutilation, that's practiced in parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. FGM isn't unique to Christianity or to Islam, but is found across a range of traditional societies that fetishize … [Read more...]

Repost: The Mystical Dogma of Human Equality

[I'm taking a break from the blog to bond with and care for my new son. Please enjoy this classic post! I'll check in periodically to answer comments.]Recently, the Catholic writer and apologist Mark Shea fielded a question from a reader who was disturbed by pro-slavery Bible verses quoted on an atheist billboard in Pennsylvania. Here's the letter, in part (HT: Friendly Atheist):One of my atheist/anti-Church friends posted a sign by American Atheists quoting Colossians 3:22 (Slaves, obey … [Read more...]

I Get Religious Mail: That’s Not What “Miracle” Means

The newest charity that's sent me an explicitly religious solicitation is American Leprosy Missions, "the oldest and largest Christian organization in the United States dedicated to curing and caring for people affected by leprosy and related diseases around the world". Take a look:Imagine pulling a dollar bill out of your pocket and seeing it multiply 33 times, like Jesus multiplying the loaves and the fishes!That's what you can do today. Because now every $1 you give will turn … [Read more...]

The Bad Parable of the Prodigal Son

The tale of the prodigal son is one of the Christian Bible's most famous parables. But there's something about it that's never sat right with me:"A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent … [Read more...]

Some Right-Wing Christians Enthusiastically Promoting a Form of Genocide

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.In 2014, Charisma magazine, a major media outlet for evangelical and Pentecostal Christians, published an open call to genocide. The article in question, titled "Why I Am Absolutely Islamaphobic" [sic] and written by Gary Cass, begins with the premise that "every true follower of Mohammed" wants to "subjugate and murder" non-Muslims, and therefore it's impossible for Christians to live together peacefully with them.Cass proposes three … [Read more...]

What the Bible Gets Wrong About Hymens

I appreciated this subversively feminist video from College Humor debunking myths about the hymen (SFW, anatomical talk but no explicit imagery):Watching this made me think of the infamous Old Testament law that decrees what to do if a man suspects the bride he purchased of not being a virgin on her wedding night:"If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, and give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and … [Read more...]