It’s not gullibility; it’s malice. (C.S. Lewis is right and Ed Stetzer is wrong.)


Gullibility is a kind of innocence — an honest mistake. But gullibility is not the problem. Gullible people are relieved and happy to learn that some fake-news Scary Story isn’t actually true. But when those spreading such stories are disappointed, or defensive, or angry to learn they aren’t true, then we know that gullibility had nothing to do with it. [Read more...]

Kick a gay, keep your platform: Tribal gatekeepers of white evangelicalism demand their tribute be paid

Why revisit this post now? Because the original post was a lamentation over my old friend Ron Sider’s 2009 endorsement of the pompous and ridiculous “Manhattan Declaration,” and Sider is now doubling down — adding his endorsement to the equally fatuous 2015 statement, “Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage.” And also because today we learn that J.R. Daniel Kirk is getting the heave-ho from Fuller Theological Seminary. [Read more...]

Evil liberal media continues to persecute righteous white Christians by nitpicking about the sexual abuse of children


The Duggar scandal has reinforced support for Mike Huckabee among his chosen niche of white Southern Christian voters. He’s spun Josh Duggar’s creepy criminality into the self-aggrandizing narrative of “Christian persecution” by the nasty liberal media conspiracy. Huckabee’s defiant defense of a confessed child molester thus becomes evidence of his Christian virtue. Now we’ll see if Mike Huckabee can perform this same trick a second time. [Read more...]

‘We must be careful about what we pretend to be’: How tribal cheerleading creates new tribal dogma and changes the tribe to conform to it


Over time, these kinds of tribal-cheerleading responses to pollsters and other catechists eventually become required responses. And thus, over time, the things that people pretend to believe as a “way of showing that they’re members in good standing” of their political faction become the things that members of that faction actually believe. The fluff becomes substance — becomes dogma. And the tribe is transformed to conform to this new dogma. [Read more...]

When fantasy role-playing replaces faith (cont’d.)

A typical Unitarian church service.

Sustaining the kind of fantasy Linda Wall invites her readers to indulge in takes an enormous amount of imagination. It requires the collaborative effort of a community of fantasists who agree to cooperate by reinforcing one another’s fantasies. And it requires a willingness to reinterpret every mundane detail of the world around you into something fraught with all the drama of the pageant you’re creating in your head. [Read more...]

When fantasy role-playing replaces faith


The culture warrior faith of the religious right is sometimes criticized for being overly negative. That’s a misconception. All the things it seems obsessively negative about are really of no consequence to them. Their message is actually overwhelmingly positive. It is a steady stream of hyperbolic, unwavering, unquestioning praise and celebration. All of it directed toward themselves and their own pious righteousness. [Read more...]

What if it were all true?

Also for this TV show, everything in every Jack Chick tract is true. All of it.

Here’s the premise for a TV show: It’s all true. Everything Pat Robertson says is true. Everything that’s posted on Charismanews is true. All of it. All the writers need to do is conform the fictional reality of the show to the wild reality described every day by Robertson, et. al. [Read more...]

When fantasy role-playing replaces faith you still need a decent DM


Strachan’s fawning flattery is directed at an audience of conservative white Christians who love to sing “Dare to be a Daniel / Dare to stand alone!” This is a white evangelical subculture that replaced faith with fantasy decades ago. For them, discipleship means leveling up in a fantasy role-playing game in which they pretend to be heroic warriors battling against Satanic baby-killers, relativists, evolutionists, postmodernists, New Agers, the Gay Lifestyle, and a whole Monster Manual of other imaginary horrors. Strachan invites them to play this game, and they love this game. [Read more...]