Top religion stories of 2013

After the jump, the top religion news stories of 2013, based on a  poll of the Religion Newswriters Association.  Strangely downplayed or omitted:  the persecution of Christians in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East; the new assaults on religious liberty; the new prominence of aggressive atheism; the rise of the “nones.”

What do you think should be included?  What do you think of this list?  Was 2013 a good year or a bad year for religion? [Read more...]

The myth of the Christmas myth

It’s still Christmas, there being 12 days of that season, so thanks to Truth Unites. . .and Divides for posting in the comments to another thread this video from Rev. Hans Fiene at Lutheran Satire.  You all need to see it:

Most important historical development of 2013

I would say that the most important historical development of 2013, the one that will prove most pivotal and culturally significant , is the Supreme Court decision casting out the Defense of Marriage law, which, along with various other court decisions and state laws, threw the door completely open for same-sex marriage.  Never in all of human history and never in the wide diversity of human cultures, including those that have been most open to homosexuality, have men married men or women married women.  Just as a matter of history and anthropology, the new legal and social acceptance of gay marriage is revolutionary and unprecedented.

What else happened in 2013 that you think historians of the next century will study?  (That will not necessarily be the same as the “top news stories,” since historians are more interested in the big picture.)


Top news stories of 2013

The Associated Press released its list of the top 10 news stories of 2013, based on polls of American editors and news directors.  See the list after the jump.  What would you add?  What do you think was the most important news event of 2013? [Read more...]

Harold Camping dies

Radio evangelist Harold Camping has died at the age of 92.  Best known for predicting that on May 21, 2011, Jesus would come back, Camping’s most harmful teaching was that all church bodies were heretical and that people should just listen to his radio broadcasts instead of going to church.

Longtime readers of this blog might recall some good discussions we had about Mr. Camping’s predictions and his theology, including with one of his followers.  (See, for example,  here, here and here.)

[Read more...]

Sex and freedom in ancient Rome

Classical scholar Peter Brown has published in the New York Review of Books an excited review of Kyle Harper’s From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity (Harvard University Press).  The book, which is said to break new ground in the scholarship of ancient Rome, shows that the vaunted sexual permissiveness of ancient Rome was inextricably linked to the practice of slavery, with slave boys and girls being the primary sex objects who could not object to how they were used.  He also shows how the early Church, which decisively challenged and successfully changed this  brutal and hypersexualized culture, connected sexual morality with freedom.

After the jump, an excerpt from the review with a link to the book.  Question:  Could Christianity transform sexual morality once again? [Read more...]