The global war on Christians

Religion journalist John Allen has written a book entitled The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian PersecutionThe Washington Post has an interesting interview with him about the phenomenon.  Read excerpts after the jump. [Read more…]

The Satanic monument for the public square

This is the monument that the Satanists are trying to erect next to that of the Ten Commandments at the Oklahoma state capitol.

It’s an idol of Baphomet.   Note the effort to be child friendly.  It really does allude to the Old Testament conflicts with Canaanite idolatry.   Details after the jump. [Read more…]

Religious freedom vs. human rights?

The rise of religion globally threatens human rights, according to British academic Stephen Hopgood in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post.  After the jump, read his argument and consider the thoughts I raise. [Read more…]

Schism in the atheist church, already

The atheist church we’ve blogged about, the Sunday Assembly, has split over doctrinal issues, worship style, and fellowship controversies.  The breakaway denomination is calling itself Godless Revival. [Read more…]

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…]

Churches, sects, denominations, and non-denominations

Sociologist of religion Peter Berger (an ELCA Lutheran) discusses the phenomenon of the Sunday Assembly, which we blogged about yesterday.  He said the fact that atheists too are gathering together following the pattern of religious activities demonstrates the almost universal human need to worship (or the equivalent) and to join together with others who hold common religious or philosophical convictions.

In the course of his discussion, he draws on older sociologists who distinguish between different kinds of religious institutions:  a church (which a person is born into) and a sect (which a person chooses to join).  Such a distinction, it seems to me, grows out of the European state church.  American religion, according to Dr. Berger, has added the concept of the denomination, which a person may be born into or choose freely to join.  Dr. Berger further says that denominations of one sort or another–in the sense of “a community of value, religious or otherwise,” have become inevitable in America, extending even to atheists.

After the jump, read his argument and some questions I have about “non-denominational” churches.  [Read more…]