Did the Archbishop of Monrovia Blame Ebola on Gays?

A very unsettling report from Reuters. I saw this report about "churches" in Liberia blaming the Ebola outbreak on homosexuality and thought, here we go, more crazy Fundamentalists/Pentecostals/Evangelicals.But the report includes this line: In May, Archbishop Lewis Zeigler of the Catholic Church of Liberia said that "one of the major transgressions against God for which He may be punishing Liberia is the act of homosexuality," local media reported. The local media source seems to be this … [Read more...]

Will We Find Signs Of Intelligent Life In Religion Media Coverage?

The search for intelligent life in religion media coverage continues, and even though we've always come empty thus far, we should not lose hope. Maybe. If we find it, surely this will shake the world's major religions to their core.This is a question of which all religious people are well aware, and one of which they're probably tired, but this example (h/t Alan Jacobs) is astonishing both for the content and venue. This is an interview in (a) the Scientific American (which isn't a religion p … [Read more...]

What Is “Islam”?

After every new Islamist terrorist activity, there comes the same tired debate, endlessly rehearsed, as we know all so well: are groups like ISIS/Al Qaeda/Hamas/... authentic expressions of Islam, or not?Everybody is ready with an answer. The answer is always meaningless because it is almost always a form of social positioning: your answer mostly serves as a way to position yourself as one of the Good People, over and against the Bad People. And the answer is always meaningless because n … [Read more...]

“The Two Standards”

The Two Standards is one of the most well-known meditations of St Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises. One is invited to imagine, in Ignatius' 16th century Spanish military man language, two great armies, under two standards: the army of Christ and the army of the Devil, and make a choice.The Two Standards is also the title of, by many accounts, one of the masterpieces of 20th century French literature. It describes a unique kind of love triangle, in the bourgeois world of 1920s Lyon, t … [Read more...]

What To Do About Decadence?

Helen Andrews is a very erudite and talented writer, and she has a great little essay contrasting present-day decadence and the decadence of the late 19th century. I really recommend the essay.At one point, she riffs off an essay I wrote, arguing that one of the motives for the current "decadence" is a disordered understanding of risk. Here is what Andrews writes: Among the anti- and post-decadents of a century ago, there was a marked tendency to swing to the other extreme, trading the effet … [Read more...]