Downton Abbey and Churches

Recent episodes of Downton Abbey have focused a lot of attention on the way changing society in Britain led to the economic collapse of many estates owned by landed gentry. It struck me recently that this is a nice picture of the situation confronting churches in our time. Society has changed dramatically, and that doesn’t [Read More...]

Speaking about Religion

I am teaching a class this semester which focuses on speaking about religion. It will focus on integrating (1) effective communication, (2) the skills that pertain to finding accurate information about religion, and (3) navigating the controversies about religion in the present day. The “readings” for the course will all be recordings of people speaking. And I [Read More...]

Protestantism Produces Pluralism

Richard Beck wrote the following in a blog post on why being “biblical” means being doctrinally tolerant: People who claim to literally interpret the inspired and inerrant Word of God do not agree on what the bible says… The problem at the heart of Protestantism is that the bible is unable to produce consensus. This [Read More...]

Double Standard on Religious Violence

The above image indicates the double standard that most Americans have when it comes to people who engage in acts of violence in connection with their purported religious identity. The data comes from a 2011 PRRI study.   [Read more...]

The Contradiction of Fundamentalism

Via The Christian Left on Facebook. This really gets at the heart of the matter. It is the point that is made well in the Biblical story of Gideon, even though it is forgotten in much of the Bible as well. If a deity is offended, that deity can fight his or her own battles. [Read More...]

The Murders at #CharlieHebdo

Anyone who has seen the cartoons published in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo will know that they were deeply shocking and offensive. But no one deserves to die for being offensive. It isn’t satirical cartoonists who dishonor Muhammad. It is people who kill satirical cartoonists in his name. According to Islamic tradition, when Muhammad and [Read More...]

Embracing Science as a Christian

The quote comes from an article Hannah Birky wrote for BioLogos, “How Science Led Me To A Deeper Faith.” The background image is a NASA Hubble Telescope image of the Eagle Nebula in infrared light. Of related interest, see Ruth Bancewicz’s post about her new book, God in the Lab: How Science Enhances Faith. [Read more...]

Yoda, Buddha, Obi-Wan, and Confucius

AntiquityNow has free materials -ranging from bookmarks to cookbooks to curricula – related to the ancient world. Some of it incorporates science fiction, such as the bookmark below or the curriculum on time travel. Of almost but not entirely unrelated interest, The Toast has a list of courses taken by Lara Croft when working on her Master of Library [Read More...]

Hurtado on Paul’s Messianic Jesus

Larry Hurtado shared a link to the above video of his 2014 lecture on Paul’s Messianism as a variant of ancient Jewish Messianism. [Read more...]

Troubling Legacies

Biblical Studies Online drew attention to videos which Yale University has made available, from a conference about anti-Judaism in antiquity and its aftermath. Above is the video from the second session, focused on the New Testament. Click through for the rest of them. [Read more...]

The Ideologue

“The ideologue has a singular cast of mind, one that needs bold rules and eschews nuances. Abundant examples exist of those who, devout in proselytising for one belief system, undergo an epiphany, and then reach in sudden disillusionment for a diametrically opposed but equally rigid creed.” Gordon McLauchlan, Great Tales from New Zealand History, (Auckland, David [Read More...]


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