Visualizing Religious Switching

Mike Bell created the above image, displaying the movement of individuals either remaining within or changing out of their religious communities. The data derives from the Pew surveys. I think this is striking in ways that reading the numbers, or graphing them in other ways, has not been. The fact that greater numbers have moved from the [Read More...]

From Jesus of Nazareth to Church of Jerusalem

A commenter asked a good question about the geographical shift in early Christianity, from Jesus of Nazareth active primarily in Galilee according to the Synoptic Gospels, to a church whose leaders are based in Jerusalem. One can certainly articulate reasons why a move of this sort would have made sense – Jerusalem was the hub of [Read More...]

The One True Religion, With Evidence

IO9 shared the above comic, depicting a future in which people have found a way to exploit a religious loophole in laws regarding medical ethics. It is OK to make exceptions for sincerely-held religious beliefs. Well, what if someone finds a way to foster certain beliefs, in the interest of scientific advancement…and profit? If you like the [Read More...]

A Prayer for Discomfort

May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart. May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all [Read More...]

Evolution and the Environment

Josh Rosenau took the Pew data on churches’ acceptance of evolutionary biology and of climate science, and made a chart. The correlation is clear and striking. Jim Kidder also shared it, together with some thoughts of his own. [Read more...]

What Is Progressive Christianity?

The quote is from yesterday’s post, “Progressive Christianity in the Spotlight.” The background image is Miami Chapel. Of related interest, David Schnell offered a response to the claim of critics of progressive Christianity to represent “Biblical Christianity.” He writes: The myth is that so-called Biblical Christianity is tenable, that it exists, and that it is not merely [Read More...]

Progressive Christianity in the Spotlight

The Fountains United Methodist Church recently had the experience of a number of conservative churches in its area banding together to preach against progressive Christianity. They promoted the sermon series with signs and news articles promising a series of sermons on conservative fundamentals: The Fountanins UMC church responded with a banner borrowed from another congregation: [Read More...]

Would Discovering Extraterrestrial Life Make us – and them – Platonists, Mormons, or Atheists?

The Week featured an article a while back which suggested that the discovery of alien life would turn us all into atheists or Mormons. Matthew Ferguson recently mentioned a number of issues which would, at the very least, raise issues for traditional Christian theology. In an article which quoted me (even if it gets my name and [Read More...]

Politicized Christianity’s Pact With The Devil

Having recently shared some thoughts on the separation of church and state, and the politicization of religion, in relation to the Pew survey data that was published recently, I thought I would also re-share the meme above, which I made a few years ago, and shared in a post called “Possibly the Most Interesting Pact [Read More...]

Membership and Religiosity

This New Yorker cartoon is a great response to the discussions of the recently-published Pew survey data which everyone is talking about. Surveys are interesting, but often we have seen surveys about an election (for instance) suggest one thing, only for the actual result to be very different. People identify themselves in multiple and various ways. There [Read More...]

Jesus: Out Of This World

This cartoon by Spike Davis seems perfect for Ascension Day. It raises lots of interesting questions, related to topics such as inclusiveness and revelation, and not only about the meaning of the story in Acts depicting Jesus ascending into the sky, headed in the direction of what we today think of not as “heaven” but [Read More...]


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