‘Moral tribalism’ and translating the d-word

Haidt’s use of that word “righteous” is primarily, almost entirely, negative, implying a kind of self-righteousness or a sense of self-justification. This is righteousness as rectitude, as uprightness, or moral purity and correctness. It is righteousness as the acquisitive and proprietary possession of truth. This form of righteousness is not a virtue, but it’s what American Christians have learned from their American Bibles. [Read more…]

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Makin’ sure your soul’s all right

Christianity Today interviews Nate Parker about his film “The Birth of a Nation,” which is, among other things, one of the most Bible-saturated movies of all time. Plus: Donald Trump’s ever-shifting history on Iraq; 23 years of tax returns; and the Train Job in India. [Read more…]

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And if you float you burn

“This is a round up,” featuring two very different analyses of two very different candidates’ economic proposals; the perversity of pretending children are adults; folklore as memory and history; and North Carolina’s admission that it seeks to disenfranchise black citizens. [Read more…]

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Rekindled with fire from above

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?” [Read more…]

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‘You will find out on that day …’: False prophets and lost endings

The Republican National Convention opened yesterday in Cleveland with a horrifying “benediction” from prosperity-gospel huckster Mark Burns. Burns has me thinking again of Zedekiah son of Chenaanah, the ridiculous court prophet-for-hire from the Bible. But as always when dealing with this story, I wind up getting frustrated and sidetracked by it’s missing ending. [Read more…]

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The Psalms and the word of God

Psalm 104 is a beautiful, moving, heartfelt hymn of praise — just so long as it isn’t the product of “plenary verbal inspiration.” If we read that Psalm assuming that every particular word of it was chosen and determined by God — by the very same God who is the apparent subject of all that praise and adoration — then it just becomes something weird and kind of creepy. [Read more…]

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‘Game of Thrones’ and the Bible

Readers of “Ulysses” face the same danger that readers of “A Song of Ice and Fire” do — the danger of confusing the two kinds of inconsistency and thus dismissing meaningful discrepancies as meaningless errors or, in the other direction, reading too much into simple errors and fabricating meanings where none was intended. This is true of any long text written and read by us humans. And, yes, that includes the Bible. [Read more…]

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Clobber-texting isn’t a principled hermeneutic: A horrifying case study

You have heard it said that if a man meets a virgin who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her, she shall become his wife; but I say unto you, screw that. Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Get that rapist behind bars and keep him as far away from his victim as possible. Love is the fulfillment of the law. [Read more…]

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