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...]

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...]

Who did you say you represent?

How can there be a dialogue about sexuality with only men? How can there be a discussion of religious views of homosexuality with only straight men? Good questions. Questions asked at the end of our recent Faiths in Conversation Dialogue on sexuality, marriage, and homosexuality. These questions reveal the vast gulf between traditional religious views [Read More...]

Sexual Desire versus Sexuality

We may call ourselves and others human, but that is a word that hides more about us than it reveals us to each other. In the recent dialogue over sexuality, marriage, and homosexuality there was one particular aspect of two presentations that members of the audience found offensive. In different ways the rabbi and the [Read More...]

Same Kind of Different

An inter-religious dialogue on sex, marriage, and homosexuality raised more questions that it answered. At a May 19th Faiths in Coversation Dialogue, held at Synagogue Beth Torah, we hear that all three religious leaders agree on this point: The God who created humanity has also established and revealed a normative social order. Thus each religion [Read More...]


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