“Is God Dead?” 50 years–and 439 years–later

This month 50 years ago, in 1966, Time Magazine featured its cover-story entitled “Is God Dead?” The article was about the “Christian atheists,” such as Thomas J. J. Altizer, of the theology faculty at Emory, who argued that the traditional deity is no longer relevant to the modern age and that we need to find new modes of spirituality for a new era.

Leigh Eric Schmidt has written a perceptive article on the impact of that cover story and of the theological fad that it discussed.  He says that it contributed to the rise of evangelicalism, as people sought a more robust understanding of God than was being taught in liberal seminaries.  Mainline Protestantism once exerted genuine cultural leadership and the public was attentive to its theological scholarship.  (Time also had cover stories on Paul Tillich and Reinhold Niebuhr.)  But Schmidt observes that the “Is God Dead?” story was mainline Protestantism’s last hurrah.

So, fifty years later, God is not dead.  Altizer is not dead either, hanging on at 88.  Time is also hanging on, despite big drops in circulation and the competition of the internet.  Mainline liberal Protestantism has also been dwindling in numbers and relevance, though you wouldn’t know that from academic religion departments.

After the jump, though, I offer a passage from the Formula of Concord, Article VIII, on the person of Christ, which discusses the death of God in a completely different way.  It takes up the controversy at the time of whether we can say that “God died on the Cross.”  Zwingli and others said that only the human nature of Christ suffered and died, and that we cannot ascribe such limitations to God (scriptural language to the contrary being merely a figure of speech).  But Luther insisted that because of the incarnation and the communication of the attributes of Christ’s two natures, it is true that the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity, did suffer and die.  Otherwise, another human death could not help us.  We can indeed say that God died on the Cross.  But then He rose again. [Read more…]

When journalists try to be theologians

G. Shane Morris has a great piece in the Federalist about how journalists have been lecturing us on theological questions while knowing nothing about what they are talking about.  (The article includes a definitive discussion of why Christians do not, in fact, worship the same deity as Muslims, contrary to what the media has been saying in the Wheaton case.) [Read more…]

Media union endorses Bernie Sanders

The Communications Workers of America endorsed the socialist candidate for the Democratic nomination for the presidency, Bernie Sanders. This is the biggest union to come out for Sanders, with most of the others supporting Hillary Clinton.

What most of the media reports about the CWA are omitting is that this is the union representing, along with telephone employees, newspaper workers (The Newspaper Guild) and broadcasters (National Association of Broadcasters). [Read more…]

Prayer shaming while praying to the government

When a tragedy strikes, it seems natural for those affected to ask for people’s prayers and for those concerned to pray for the victims.  This held true with the recent shootings in Colorado Springs and San Bernadino.  But this time, multiple pundits and media figures mocked those who were praying.  Prayer won’t solve the problem, went the theme, gun control will!

Lutheran journalist Mollie Hemingway has written a piece about this that you need to read all the way through.  She cites the various commentators and publications that indulged in this “prayer shaming.”  She then showed how they too are praying with unquestioning faith to their omnipotent deity–the federal government!  She concludes with an excellent discussion of what Christian prayer is and why it is important.  I’ll quote the first few paragraphs after the jump, but then click the link to read the whole thing. [Read more…]

Banning the Lord’s Prayer video

This video was made by the Church of England to help publicize a new prayer website. A cinema advertising firm was paid to show it as one of those advertisements that run before the previews. But then the advertising company banned the video on the grounds that it might offend some people.

Interestingly, though, the British public is now up in arms over the decision. Not just church leaders, but the Prime Minister, politicians of all parties, and representatives of those expected to be offended, including Muslims and atheists. Even the new atheist author Richard Dawkins is speaking out against the ban.

But enjoy the video for its own sake and as a Thanksgiving prayer.

 

[Read more…]

CNBC moderators lost the debate

Pretty much everybody agrees with the conclusions on our liveblog that the CNBC moderators of the Republican debate did an embarrassingly horrible job.  Even usually liberal observers–such as Time, NPR, and Politico–are saying so.  For a colorful account, see the British take in the London Daily Mail.

It wasn’t just that the questions were hard, or even biased.  Everyone expects that.  It’s that the questions were trivial (casting aspersions on Rubio for cashing in a $67,000 IRA?  Asking Jeb Bush his position on taxing fantasy football?), insulting (asking Trump if he is a “comic book” candidate?), and not fact-checked (one moderator cited information that he himself had had to retract earlier!).  And yet, the Republican candidates, individually and as a whole, scored big against them, with both indignation and wit.

After the jump, a good summary from the usually liberal Daily Beast, with this deck:  “From silly and inaccurate questions to just plain awkward interruptions, Team CNBC stumbled in Boulder—and was absolutely clobbered by the Republican presidential field for it.” [Read more…]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X