Inter-religious Dialogue past Modernity

The obvious must sometimes be said: for inter-religious dialogue to be of any value those involved must know what they are talking about. And not just expertise. They must know what they have in common, what this “religion” thing is that they supposedly share. In conversation with a long-time Muslim partner in dialogue the issue [Read More...]

The Human Role in Religion

The idea that the human relationship to religion is of questioner to provider of answers may ultimately destroy both religion and our humanity. One of my colleagues recently circulated an exam question from a textbook in world religions. The exam asked “What is the most important question human beings must answer? Choose your question wisely, and [Read More...]

Discrimination Pure and Simple

The trending line on facebook had an appalling headline. “Beheading in Oklahoma.” The link took me to a local OK television station. There was the story of a man who was fired from his job. He returned to his old work place with a large knife. There he stabbed and slashed one woman multiple times, [Read More...]

Fear and Analysis

The most common, the most popular framework for analyzing religion in America appears to be fear.  Religion is complicated. It always amazes me when people think they can read a couple of books, check out a website or two, and then begin making strong assertions about this or that religion. Would they do that with [Read More...]

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...]


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