Never abandoned in the flood lands

Samoas

Once enough Baby Boomers die, Millennials might have a chance to declare a Jubilee and start rebuilding the infrastructure their parents and grandparents refused to maintain. Plus: Katy Perry, instant karma, a reminder that Franklin Graham is awful, and the first museum of the American Holocaust. [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

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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...]

Who was more Catholic: St. Francis or Torquemada?

Slouching

This framework grants an advantage to one kind of religion over the other. One strain is rewarded with the presumption of authenticity. The other is punished with the presumption of a lack of conviction. That grants the former greater influence within the religious tradition, and greater influence in the larger society. I’d prefer we didn’t do that. [Read more...]

Scholar clarifies, walks back his comments in Atlantic ISIS essay

Haykel’s comments were widely criticized because they were so familiar. It’s the same old language that religious fundamentalists always use to try to delegitimize the faith of non-fundies. It’s the same language that white evangelical Christians constantly use to try to discredit mainline Protestants. It’s the same language used in most of the hate-mail that I get as a non-fundie religious blogger. [Read more...]

The framework of fundamentalist propaganda distorts how we view every religion

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I think of this as a Yeatsian framework because it privileges the supposedly “more authentic” forms of religion due to their passionate intensity, while disregarding the supposedly “less authentic” due to their imagined lack of all conviction. And because it admires the passionate intensity of what I consider the worst aspects of religion while dismissing what I consider the best of religion as nothing more than that lack of conviction. [Read more...]

When some faction says they, and they alone, are the Real, True Christians, you shouldn’t take their word for it

StupidJuice22015.

The compulsion to elevate oneself as the righteous remnant, and to draw boundaries between Real True Believers and everyone else, is the hallmark of a particular strain of fundamentalist religion. It is a mark of religion that, I think, has elevated the cardinal sin above the cardinal virtue — substituting pride for love. That pride drives the obsessive need to constantly make and enforce distinctions between Us, the righteous few, and Them, the apostate hordes falsely claiming the name of our religion as they trundle down the broad path toward destruction. [Read more...]

The devil has been in twice as many movies as Jesus (and how that has changed our theology)

Priceless

Vincent Price is theologically significant. Price wore a devilish goatee that made him look like Satan. How do we know that’s what Satan looks like? We learned it from Vincent Price — and from a thousand other pop-culture and folk-culture figures preceding him. [Read more...]


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