When Dialogue Must Stop

A summer of violence is winding to an end, with yet another war between Israel and Hamas, the rapid rise of ISIS and its reign of terror against every possible sectarian or religious minority, and nations from the Magrib to Southeast Asian slipping into failed state status. Two things have become clear. First that religion [Read More...]

Is Islam a Religion of Peace?

Is Islam a Religion of Peace? Yes and No. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and the other religions I know of all encourage peace, both personal and social.  Yet at this moment in time members of all of these religions are not peaceful. By the billions they are afflicted with inner turmoil, sleepless nights, and [Read More...]

Indifference, not Skepticism, is the issue.

Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Public Square 2014 Summer Series: Conversations on Religious Trends. Read other perspectives from the Patheos community here. A recent book by Timothy Keller made the New York Times Best Seller list. “The Reason for God, Belief in an Age of Skepticism.” I suppose it has value for those for whom it [Read More...]

The Agnostic and the Atheist

Is agnosticism an tenable position in a religiously plural society? No. In my recent travels in Europe I fell into a conversation with a self-professed agnostic and a self-professed atheist, in which the atheist challenged the intellectual integrity of the agnostic’s position. The atheist’s argument was simple. The agnostic maintained that God’s existence was a [Read More...]

Dialogue with Atheists II

My last blog generated some interesting discussions. The interview below covers some of the issues raised in that discussion – and sheds new light on the arguments on both sides. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/category/the-stone/ [Read more...]

Interfaith Dialogue with Atheists

Real dialogue is necessary, not over the important secondary matter of whether God exists, but over the primary question of what constitutes the basis for human knowing. Two ads in the most recent edition of Scientific American caught my eye. On page 24 is an ad called “Leaving Truth.” It promotes a book designed to [Read More...]

Face to Face with Jesus (A Review)

Face to Face with Jesus, by Samaa Habib and Bodie Thoene Let me start by saying that I  support evangelistic efforts within the Muslim world, assuming they are carried out with the kind of discretion and care necessary for a full witness to God’s love. People of any religion who believe that faith makes a [Read More...]

How the West Really Lost God! (?)

I wonder. Perhaps the West isn’t losing God. Perhaps it is just beginning to find out who God really is. How the West Really Lost God is something I’m not sure I know, even after reading Mary Eberstadt’s new book. She seeks to turn the common idea that the decline in religion led to a [Read More...]

Getting Nowhere. . .

Each year I ask my students to write papers that have a clear thesis statement, a further clarification of the thesis in terms of definitions, a set of arguments for the thesis based on recognizable authorities, and a recognition of and answer to counter arguments. And finally a conclusion that reiterates the thesis and expresses [Read More...]

Got Religion? Maybe this book can help you.

Naomi Schaefer Riley sums up what she learned about getting post-college millenials back to the church, mosque, and synagogue in the final paragraph of her latest book: Got Religion. How Churches, Mosques, and Synagogues can Bring Young People Back. Little of what she offers strikes me as new. Peruse the various blogs on Patheos and [Read More...]

The Irrelevance of “God”

Maybe it is time we just drop the word God from our vocabulary in inter-religious dialogue, or for that matter any discourse. I recently read a prescient comment in book pointing out that Europe and North America are going the way of Japan in possessing a robust spirituality without any reference to God. Being “spiritual [Read More...]


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