December 9, 2020

When you read 1984 you may have thought the notion of “doublethink” was an exaggeration. If you are watching the news in the United States lately you will know this is not the case. While there have been plenty of examples (such as the “pro-life” support for war and lack of concern for the well-being of the living, or the use of “religious freedom” to refer to the freedom to impose one’s views on employees or society as a whole) one… Read more

December 8, 2020

It has seemed unnecessary to me for the passive voice to be avoided when writing. Until recently, that is, when one of the implications of this way of writing was drawn to my attention. In reading student assignments about the Islamic Middle East, I was struck by the way more than one student talked about how men and women “were viewed” in particular historical and cultural contexts. I noticed as never before how this linguistic maneuver allowed the involvement of… Read more

December 7, 2020

Since I write about ancient and modern religious debates with such frequency, I expect some will assume based on the title that this post will be about something along those lines. It isn’t, although those controversies aren’t entirely unrelated to the relevance of my focus here, which is on the decision of yet another university (this time the University of Vermont) to eliminate its religion program along with a number of others, ceasing to offer majors and minors that are… Read more

December 6, 2020

We tend to focus, when thinking about doctrines of afterlife and eternal punishment, about what is or isn’t fair to the one punished. We rarely if ever take time to reflect on the ramifications of such doctrines for those who presumably won’t be subjected to the torments of hell–humans, but also God. I heard a sermon many years ago, the ideas in which were not new then and continue to circulate or be thought of since. The sermon began with… Read more

December 5, 2020

I am serious about what I suggest in the title of this blog post, even though trying to grab readers’ attention is definitely a motive for putting it this way. There are things to be said by way of clarification that couldn’t go in the title. For one thing, I find the terminology of “high Christology” and “low Christology” problematic. For another, I think the extent of development in the New Testament period is seriously overestimated. That is not, however,… Read more

December 4, 2020

Call for Abstracts: Theology and Dystopia  Edited by Scott Donahue-Martens and Brandon Simonson From the Greek dus- (“bad”) and topos (“place”), dystopia as a genre is often characterized by its use of post-apocalyptic and totalitarian imagery. Dystopia stands in contrast with its counterpart utopia, an equally far-off yet disparately ideal world. Both dystopian and utopian worlds abound with theological meaning, especially where they can offer insight into real-world human experience, belief, practice, and society. The editors invite abstracts for chapters on topics at the intersection… Read more

December 3, 2020

This post is about two anonymous sources of sayings attributed to figures who are regarded by their followers as prophetic leaders striving for a just order against forces of darkness in high places. When you put it like that, it becomes clear that QAnon is essentially an apocalyptic religion. I was initially inclined to call it a “secular” apocalyptic cult, but secular may not be the right word. The Q source that is referred to in New Testament studies is… Read more

December 2, 2020

This looks like a great call for papers: Secular and the Supernatural (PCA/ACA, Philosophy and Culture Area, panel/roundtable) deadline for submissions: December 30, 2020 full name / name of organization: Philosophy and Culture Area, Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (Annual Convention, Boston, Massachusetts, June 2-5, 2021, contact email: Synopsis: A number of anniversaries in 2021 — the tenth of the premiere of David Benioff and W.B. Weiss’ television series, Game of Thrones, Tom Perrotta’s novel, The Leftovers, and Terrence Malick’s… Read more

December 1, 2020

Back in 2007 I wrote this review of God’s Universe by Owen Gingerich (for those who may have wondered from the title how on God’s green Earth I hoped to review the entirety of God’s universe). I highly recommend the book. For such a tiny book (121 page that are each about half the size of an average-sized book), it covers a remarkable amount that is of significant, discussing both the history and philosophy of the interaction between religion and science. Among… Read more

November 30, 2020

When Donald Trump makes his claims about voting fraud and the election being “stolen,” he is using a tactic that is familiar to those who have made efforts to combat conspiracy theories and other misinformation about science, history, medicine, and politics. It goes something like this (with apologies for the language used—this isn’t my creation): An election was held that coordinated the collection of millions of data points (votes). These are not gathered centrally but are surveyed and studied by… Read more

Browse Our Archives