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Skipping The Summer Reading

This essay is about reading gay porn before class. And it resurrects an Ideological Outrage Of The Day from 2012. And a graphic novel. And striking out romantically. And Richard Dawkins.

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Michael Bay Answers Critics of His Upcoming Easter Movie

Advanced showings of Michael Bay’s upcoming Easter movie, which depicts the events immediately preceding and following the crucifixion of Jesus, has come under fire from critics and religious scholars alike. Hoping to stave off protests, Bay has issued both an apology and explanation. Will it be enough?

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Toxic Relationships

Masses of people agreeing to vote for officials who want to go to war, continue using the death penalty, and tend to oppose programs that would support the poor all so those officials will do little more than pay lip service to the virtue of female chastity surely isn’t the ideal arrangement for a democracy.

The “Feminized” Jesus

Lieutenant General William G. “Jerry” Boykin, now with the Family Research Council, wants to be like the Jesus who was a “man’s man,” who had “big, bulging biceps” and “smelled bad.”  Nothing is stopping him, but he’s nevertheless concerned with the “feminized” way Jesus often gets portrayed.  You know, without massive muscles. Not a tough…

The End of Absolute Sexual Morality

My friend Darwin observes: When trying to make-nice to conservatives, proponents of “same sex marriage” tend to emphasize it as a way of enshrining commitment and sexual morality. However, while this tends to suggest that same sex relationships should have the same moral obligations and boundaries as traditional ones, in practice I have never known…

The Development of Sex, Marriage, and Nature in Christian Thought

“To have intercourse without intending children is to violate nature, which we must take as our teacher.”  – Clement of Alexandria Throughout many traditions of Christian thought, theologians have taken nature, by which they’ve generally meant human nature, as an instructor of moral norms.  It would be a mistake to read “nature” here as simply…

Talk radio, taxes, and the Bible

~by M.A. Conor P. Williams, in Conservatism Isn’t Radical—It’s “Modular”, argues that there is a certain amount of mental jiu-jitsu involved in shifting frameworks from argument to argument. An interesting test of this very case came up this morning with the local radio talk host bringing up the topic of the death penalty in conjunction with…

Fantasy and the Anglosphere

When I published my fantasy piece in the Atlantic it was linked (reproduced?) by Richard Dawkins’ site and a number of the atheists in the commentariat had scathing things to say about fantasy literature. Apparently it is not enough that readers of fantasy do not, in fact, believe in their make-believe. Apparently the fact that dragons…

Beck and Obama’s radically different theologies

[updated] It is perhaps a little ironic that Beck is invoking theology so often and especially in order to demonize Obama further. Ironic because conservative and evangelical Christians probably have more in common theologically with Barack Obama than with Glenn Beck. Mainline Protestantism is still a lot more similar to evangelical Christianity than Mormonism –…

conservatives as self-parodies

This interview with Andy Schlafly [below] of conservapedia.com is hard to watch.  It’s almost embarrassing.  I think Colbert is at his best for most of the exchange, and the zinger about creating his own reality is marvelous.  Schlafly really is the ultimate self-parodic conservative, and I’m not just saying that because he has one of the…

The War on Pluralism Christmas

(cross-posted from the United States of Jamerica) This is a little ridiculous (via Dara’s Google Reader feed): Boss Creations, a new holiday decor company, has introduced the new “CHRIST-mas” Tree, featuring the unique trait of a trunk in the shape of a wooden cross. Company owner Marsha Boggs says the tree was specifically designed to…

The Manhattan Declaration

Well, this is the trajectory of the modern Christian right.  Its leaders have signed this declaration, further entwining religion and politics, and further entrenching the culture wars in the useless “us against them” language that has proved so ineffective for so long. I prefer the Nicene Creed, myself. But we’d have to be naive or…

Modernity, Christianity and Islam

I linked to this earlier, but amateur history buffs will find Cato Unbound’s discussion on the origins of modernity pretty fascinating. The central point of contention is the so-called “first cause” of modernity – did the West develop because of spontaneous social change, secularism, the rise of “engineering culture,” or competition between European states? I’m…

The End of Christianity in America

Michael Spencer predicts an evangelical collapse in the United States and Cathy Lynn Grossman of USA Today reports that virtually all Christian sects have lost followers since 1990.  The only group to gain in numbers, according to the American Religious Identification Survey, has been non-believers, or as Amy Wellborn terms them, “Non-Joiners.”  Wellborn breaks down…

Self-Identification, pluralism, and all that…

Okay.  So, after writing this and unintentionally sparking a number of reactions including a pretty good number of dissenting comments (good natured cries of “ignorance” and “ignoramous!”), a follow-up post, a few other responses including some that agree and some that don’t, I sat down and talked the whole thing over with my wife. Basically…