May 20, 2014

No topic is more important today than how to deal with violence, and Cesáreo Bandera’s book A Refuge of Lies: Reflections on Faith and Literature provides important insights about the truth of human violence. Dr. Andrew McKenna, Professor of French Language and Literature at Loyola University, recently joined us for a chat about A Refuge of Lies. Andrew wrote a review of the book for the Colloquium on Violence and Religion Bulletin, which you can read on page 8 here. In the… Read more

May 16, 2014

How do you defeat Satan? That was the question the University of Harvard had to answer on Monday night when the Harvard Extension School’s Cultural Studies Club planned a Satanic “Black Mass” at the university. The Harvard community, led by Harvard president Drew Faust, was outraged by the Black Mass. Faust addressed the situation by stating, “The ‘black mass’ had its historical origins as a means of denigrating the Catholic Church; it mocks a deeply sacred event in Catholicism, and… Read more

May 15, 2014

Adam is heading off to his new home in Eugene today. I have been in denial about this since last year when I he told me about it. It’s strange how hard change is — I am going to miss having him right next door in our adjacent offices, when I can just yell out “A-DAM” whenever I need him for an edit, a help with some social media mystery or some other tech glitch. We have edited each others… Read more

May 14, 2014

There are two related misconceptions about what mimetic theory says about being human: that (1) we are inherently violent and (2) unavoidably slavish imitators, incapable of individual or original expression. Mimetic theory, a theory of violence and imitation, says nothing of the sort, in fact it leads to the opposite conclusions. The problems arise because of misconceptions about violence and imitation that most of us bring with us, clouding our ability to see the ways in our preconceptions are being… Read more

May 12, 2014

What’s Emerging? A New Story Dave Csinos, the founder and president of the Faith Forward Conference taking place in Nashville May 19-22, is excited by what is emerging in Christian education curricula today. He sees more taking place than just surface changes. New forms are reflecting the revitalization of emerging Christianity and that diversity is just what Dave hopes participants at Faith Forward 2014 will experience and continue to build on together. What strikes Dave as particularly relevant is that… Read more

May 8, 2014

On April 15, terrorists from Boko Haram abducted 276 Nigerian girls sleeping in their high school dormitory. The girls awoke to a nightmare of violent gunfire as the terrorists forced them into their vehicles and vanished. Recently the leader of Boko Haram has garnered media attention with his video arrogantly taking credit for the kidnapping. He added a religious element to his repulsive actions: “I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah. There is a… Read more

May 5, 2014

What’s Emerging? A New Theology of Atonement Why do violence and religion appear to be such intimate bedfellows? The apparent connection between the two has provided low hanging fruit for atheists and anti-Christian polemicists for centuries. Not only do we fight brutal wars for religious reasons, but religion itself seems to have been born as a practice of ritualized violence. No human culture seems to have emerged without the appearance of religion, and most of these archaic religions involved some… Read more

May 5, 2014

Happy 5th Anniversary Patheos! In just five short years, Patheos has become the go to website for an open exchange of ideas about religion. We have watched with admiration as their  respect for the variety of religious expression has created a safe space for debate around honest, sometimes difficult questions. So we are delighted to be joining Patheos as a new blog during this celebration! We share the Patheos insight that understanding the role of religion in our lives is… Read more

May 2, 2014

I have long been aware of mimetic theory’s critique of philosophy’s inability to tell the truth about violence. The depth of the problem, however, was only recently made clear to me by this article in the New York Times: Abandon (Nearly) All Hope by Simon Critchley, professor of philosophy at the New School for Social Research. In his defense of philosophical realism, Prof. Critchley gives voice to a pervasive misunderstanding of Christianity, one that provides academic cover for the cold… Read more

May 1, 2014

Dear White People, We need to take a long, painful look in the mirror. The image we see will make us uncomfortable, but, tragically, it is us. The image staring you back at you is the image of Donald Sterling. We have found a new sense of self-righteousness by uniting against Sterling for his racist comments. All of us white people can agree that Sterling is a despicable human being and he deserved to be banned from the NBA for… Read more

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