Religion: Powerful and Dangerous Medicine

The purveyors of religion insist that their product is so powerful it can transform a life, but somehow, magically, it has no risks. In reality, when a medicine is powerful, it usually has the potential to be toxic, especially in the wrong combination or at the wrong dose. And religion is powerful medicine! – Marlene [Read More…]

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Perspective on Persecution

The quote from conservative commentator Tim Swarens comes from his opinion piece in the Indianapolis Star, “A little perspective, please, on Christian ‘persecution’ and RFRA.” The photo used in the meme image also comes from the Star and was taken by Michelle Pemberton. [Read more…]

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How Liberal Scholars are Made

Yuriy Stasyuk shared the image above on Facebook, with a quote from Daniel Wallace. It draws attention to the fact that studying the Bible in a rigorous, academic way, results in people feeling compelled to draw conclusions which conservatives dislike – in many cases, which they themselves dislike, having started out as conservatives. Most liberal Biblical [Read More…]

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Scholar or Apologist? Why Not Both?

Although this isn’t a case of “two great tastes that taste great together,” I’ve suggested before that “apologist” and “scholar” are not an absolute dichotomy, but a spectrum. I think that point is relevant to the discussion that has exploded in the blogosphere, with Nijay Gupta, Mike Bird, Anthony Le Donne, Jonathan Bernier, Very Rarely [Read More…]

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Banning God from Schools and T-Shirts

It is interesting that an atheist could apparently see that the theology on the t-shirt on the left above is idiotic, while the conservative American Christian who made it, and those who wear it, apparently could not. Someone did their own version, making the t-shirt on the right above, which they shared on imgur. But the [Read More…]

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Some Say

Historically, there have been a variety of explanations for the way things are. Most of a culture’s stories along these lines could be prefaced with “Some say,” with an implicit “Others say” in view. We see a reflection of this in the Bible, with its variant creation stories, its variant stories of how David and Saul [Read More…]

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What Does Conservative Christianity Conserve?

[C]onservative Christians have long been engaged in a remarkably successful PR exercise to give the impression that they are the ones who are faithful to the Bible and historic Christianity. But in fact, what they conserve is an older but non-original form of Christianity as it came to be expressed in a particular historical and [Read More…]

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Can University Walls Keep Out The Internet?

This is my conference paper for the Metacriticism of Biblical Studies section at SBL: ______ Can University Walls Keep Out The Internet? James F. McGrath, Butler University   ABSTRACT Statements can be found on the websites of many sectarian educational institutions, indicating that faculty and students are required to subscribe to a particular doctrinal statement. [Read More…]

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Conservative Christian Approach to Everything Difficult

Chris Nelson said in a comment on a recent post: The conservative Christian approach to most everything difficult is to deny difficulty. I’m not sure if that speaks to an appalling lack of insight or an appalling surplus of denial. That seemed to me meme-worthy. [Read more…]

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The Harrowing of Hell House

Fred Clark has come up with a response to the phenomenon of conservative Christian “hell houses” for Halloween. His post literally made me laugh out loud. Here’s how it starts: Hell Houses are an irredeemably bad idea — a combination of the very worst forms of evangelism with the very worst forms of community theater. The [Read More…]

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Conservative Illustration of Pentateuchal Composition

I recently read an assignment which drew on sources critical of the Documentary Hypothesis. Ironically, the assignment was in fact plagiarized from a number of online sources. And at least one of those sources in turn clearly plagiarized from another. Here’s a bit of text: The J, or Jehovahist, document (usually known as the Yahwehist [Read More…]

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