Just watching myself in some play

A great magician reveals a trick; the end of the season and the End of the World; standing athwart algebra, yelling Stop; coherent theodicies; “How to Get a Drink at a Crowded Bar;” and the twilight of the answering-machine song. [Read more…]

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God is not like Ramsey Snow

For those unfamiliar with the TV show “Game of Thrones,” this is a picture of Ramsey Snow, and he’s a monster. He’s smiling in that picture, and that can’t be good, because the only thing that makes Ramsey Snow smile is hurting people. His proudest achievement is the horrible torture he has wreaked on the wicked traitor Theon Greyjoy — a kind of Hell. [Read more…]

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Smart people saying smart things (5.12)

Candida Moss on the pedagogy of Hell. Libby Anne on “Orgies, Bisexuality, James Dobson, and Evangelicals.” Ronald Osborn on misreading Genesis and mistreating animals. Matthew Frost on the Bible on its own terms. And the Associated Press finds that “Your seafood might come from slaves.” [Read more…]

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Indiana Jones, the Antichrist, and Hell

The stories in the text provide the basis for other stories about those stories, and details from those new stories seep back into the popular understanding as though they were part of the original. The revised and expanded original then provides the basis for even more new stories, and the cycle repeats itself. The text feeds into popular culture and popular culture, in turn, feeds back into the text, and after multiple repetitions of that cycle we lose the ability to distinguish one from the other. [Read more…]

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‘You will have no more mercy than I do’

It’s an ambiguous statement that can be read in two opposite ways: “You will have no more mercy on sinners than I do, for I was crucified because of them.” Which way do you think it should be read? Your answer will depend on what you think Jesus is like. Your answer will depend on what you believe about the character of Jesus. [Read more…]

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Feedly Hell

I do not believe in the existence of Hell, but I do believe in “Hell” in the biblical sense. My statement here — “There’s a very special room in Hell” for these hackers — employs the term in precisely that biblical sense, conveying no more and no less than what the small handful of biblical passages mentioning “Hell” also convey. [Read more…]

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Conversion to what? Conversion from what? The unanswered questions of ‘Great Commission Baptists’

“Conversionism” is one of the defining characteristics of white evangelicalism — part of the famous “Bebbington quadrilateral” that attempts to define this amorphous stream of Protestant faith. But conversionism is an empty set, a cipher, a blank slate. It is meaningless unless we can first answer two unasked and unanswered questions: Conversion to what? And conversion from what? [Read more…]

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Anti-abortion activist says Obama’s presidential library will be just like Heaven

Erasing those women — eliminating them from our imagining — is probably the second-most horrifying thing about the ghost story that Michael Bresciani has assigned us to imagine. Perhaps even worse than that, though, is this terrifying realization: Bresciani’s surreal imaginary haunting of the Obama presidential library provides an image of what the majority of white evangelicals insist that Heaven is like. [Read more…]

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