3 More Christian Defenses of Josh Duggar, and Why They Fail.

The ruined temple of Castor and Pollux, the Dioscuri who may have later inspired the depiction of two of Jesus' apostles,  the "sons of thunder," James and John. (Credit: David McSpadden,  CC license.)

Here’s a quick between-meals snack of three new defenses that are emerging around the Josh Duggar molestation scandal and why they fail completely. [Read more...]

The Loyalty Test and Ireland’s Referendum.

The poster campaign during the referendum. (Credit: William Murphy, CC-ShareAlike license.)

Archbishop Martin, speaking after the referendum in his country, declared that his religion needs “a reality check” and needs to quit denying “the realities.” He went on to say that “We won’t begin again with a sense of renewal, with a sense of denial.” But what are the realities of which he speaks, and what is it he thinks his religion is denying? [Read more...]

Josh Duggar: Excusing the Inexcusable.

A stained glass window in Creston, Washington. (Credit: wplynn, CC-NoDerivs.)

The scandal around Josh Duggar has had a few days to ferment. News sites that previously hadn’t even breathed a word about the scandal are now tiptoeing into the waters with super-carefully-worded pieces about what he did, now that it’s painfully obvious that Christians as a group are talking about it. Mainly, unfortunately, they’re largely defending it. [Read more...]

Christian News Sites’ Reactions to Josh Duggar’s Molestation Confession.

Spoiler alert: this is what it was like to go looking for this news on Christian sites. (Credit: Don Graham, CC license.)

Only one site featured the story of Josh Duggar’s pedophilia. I was surprised at which one! Maybe all the other sites’ writers are in church right now or busy praying so they didn’t get the news? For, uh, two days? Or were they all busy circling their wagons? [Read more...]

Josh Duggar and the Anatomy of a Not-Pology.

A courtroom in Sarasota, Florida. (Credit: Clyde Robinson, CC license.)

By now you’ve likely heard about the scandal rocking the right-wing conservative Christ-o-sphere: Josh Duggar, one of the older sons of the fundagelical reality-TV Duggar family, has confessed publicly to being a child molester. Worst of all, it seems clear that at least some of his victims were his own young sisters. The story gets more and more shocking with every single new detail that emerges about it. Just when I think it’s gotten as bad as it can get, I see something else. So tonight we’re going to talk about it. [Read more...]

The Declines of Empires.

An ancient brothel, fallen into ruins. I'm sure the owners blamed the wide availability of internet porn for the eventual failure of their business. (Credit: Dennis Jarvis, Flickr, CC-NoDerivs license.)

Anything that takes effort to build and create can fall apart if it doesn’t get the resources it needs. Online spaces, too, can die; so can religions. The reason it’s so hard to recover from fading glory is because at that point, two things are working against the place, game, or group in question. [Read more...]

Excuses, Excuses: Two Ways Christians Delude Themselves about the Pew Study.

Signs of the times. (Credit: Gilles Douaire, CC license.)

But what this study did do was to shine a line on two particular, self-servingly deluded claims made by the worst elements of Christianity: just how many members they have, and exactly how they view membership numbers. Here is how these two factors are working against Christianity in general when it comes to comprehending just how much trouble they’re in. [Read more...]

Patheos Book Club: The Hand on the Mirror and TOWTTHO.

We see through a mirror darkly... (Credit: jessie essex, CC license.)

Janis Heaphy Dunham has written a book about her dive into the world of supernatural and paranormal pseudoscience after the tragic death of her beloved husband, Max. I grieve along with her–he sounds like an amazing man, and the world is the poorer for his absence. However, this book leaves me unconvinced that he’s the one who did all the stuff she writes about in her book. [Read more...]

Imminent Dominance Failure.

Some stuff really is this simple. (Credit: Justin, CC license.)

Some computer error messages, like “imminent hard drive failure,” are really quick, simple to interpret, and definitive as to resolution. Life doesn’t often hand us something so easy! But with the 2014 Religious Landscape Study, life has done exactly that for Christians. [Read more...]

Youth Pastors: Harbingers of the End.

This is from a real place called "Nine Ghost Church," apparently, but I think I prefer "Our Lady of NOPE NOPE NOPE." Just imagine a day--and that day is coming soon--when churches will look a lot more like this than they do today on Sundays. Every single terrible scandal brings us a little closer to that fine day. (Credit: [AndreasS], CC license.)

Tony Waller’s story illustrates an overarching trend and a deeper problem in the religion: Christianity is failing its young people. To understand how someone like this could end up in a church ministry involving children, we have to dig deep into what evangelical churches think about youth ministry–and how someone unqualified could end up with a church’s most precious and finite treasure in his hands. [Read more...]