Something like love should hold me up high


I don’t recall reading any interviews with Jon Stott about his leaving evangelicalism for the Anglican Church. It’s perfectly legal to execute an innocent person — William Rehnquist said so. The Eggman of Euclid is not the worst Ohio criminal on the loose. And two trailers that explain why I’ll probably be pretty unproductive next month. [Read more...]

Never abandoned in the flood lands


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...]

Who was more Catholic: St. Francis or Torquemada?


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


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...]

This is a big deal: David Gushee’s ‘Changing Our Mind’


“It is difficult to overstate the potential impact of Gushee’s defection. His Christian ethics textbook, Kingdom Ethics, co-authored with the late Glen Stassen, is widely respected and was named a 2004 Christianity Today book of the year. He serves as theologian-in-residence for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a coalition of 15 theological schools, 150 ministries, and 1,800 Baptist churches nationwide. … Gushee is not someone who can be easily dismissed.” [Read more...]

Gatekeepers and clumsy magicians


Watching Ricky Jay perform will teach you what magic tricks are supposed to look like, but no matter how closely you watch him, you won’t ever learn how the trick is done. To learn that, you need to watch someone who isn’t a master at the craft. The clumsier and more inept the magician, the more you’ll be able to see how the trick works. That’s why it can be instructive, sometimes, to check in with our old friends at the Institute on Religion and Democracy. [Read more...]