Traditions and Religious Worlds of Late Antiquity – #AARSBL15 Monday Afternoon

Traditions or Eastern Late Antiquity co-sponsored a session with the SBL section on Religious Worlds of Late Antiquity, focused on exploring and problematizing the phenomena that have been labeled “Christianization” and “Islamicization.” The papers looked at topics at the intersection of the two traditions, such as celibacy, and sacred space. I was delighted to see [Read More...]

Bordering Others: Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity #aarsbl15 Sunday Afternoon Session

The first paper in the TELA session on the theme “Bordering Others: Examining Religious Community in Eastern Late Antiquity” was by Jennifer Hart and focused in using orthopraxy to define “true” Mandaeism. She began with a quote from the work The Thousand and Twelve Questions, which is focused on ritual error and what to do [Read More...]

The Fear of Doubt (Truth and Tribalism)

A fantastic point was made recently on the blog Atheist Revolution, defining freethought as above all else a rejection of tribalism. Here’s an excerpt from the post: I find that one of the most important implications of freethought is that it rejects the sort of tribalism that would lead one to accept some ideas and reject others [Read More...]

That’s Not (De)conversion

If someone moves from fundamentalist religion to fundamentalist atheism, or vice versa, they haven’t actually converted or deconverted. It is only when you move from fundamentalism to a more mature and balanced view that you’ve actually undergone a fundamental change. I wrote the above words when sharing Allan Bevere’s tips for diagnosing and curing unreformed [Read More...]

All It Takes Is One

Yesterday I came across quotes from Roslyn and Bob Cargill, and I thought they deserved to be shared with a wider audience. First here’s Roslyn: Why is it when it comes to helping refugees in need, treating others as we would want to be treated, and loving our neighbors, conservative Christians scream out, “Yeah, but it [Read More...]

Nones and Mystics

There have been nuns who have been mystics. But that’s not what this is about. It has been common for religious freethinkers of various types to be labeled atheists by their religious opponents, and then claimed as such by atheists as well. But in many instances, these individuals are spiritual and may not sit comfortably in the [Read More...]

Magic Bowls at #AARSBL15 in Atlanta

For those interested in Judaism, Mandaeism, Late Antiquity, ancient magic, Aramaic, and any number of other topics, there are two sessions at AAR this year that you ought not to miss. One is the Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity session, about which I’ll include details further below. But the other is a session which will [Read More...]

ISIS vs. Islam

Daniel McClellan made the cartoon above, and I wanted to make sure more people see it. He makes the same points that are made in multiple other places around the web, but less succinctly. For instance, Mark Jurgensmeyer writes: ISIS has not been doing well these days. On the day before the attacks the strategic [Read More...]

Doctor Who: Sleep No More

This episode (spoilers ahead) does one of the things that Doctor Who has done quite often in the past, but not recently in any instance I can think of, namely poking fun at particular genres. Doctor Who is science fiction, comedy, horror, drama, and children’s show, all rolled into one. At times it has deliberately engaged [Read More...]

Fighting Fundamentalists vs. Fighting Fundamentalism

Dealing with an exploitative dictator by overthrowing that ruler and replacing them with oneself as dictator is fighting the dictator, but not dictatorship. Likewise, one can fight fundamentalists in a manner that is equally fundamentalist and so does not fight fundamentalism. This was a comment I left on a recent blog post about diagnosing and [Read More...]

They Will Know We Are Christians

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