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Commands of the Blood

Commands of the Blood

Often referred to as Hitler’s theoretician or Hitler’s philosopher, Alfred Rosenberg codified much of the anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, and anti-Communist rhetoric which Hitler used to legitimize his political agenda. Rosenberg’s most significant text, The Myth of the 20th Century: An Evaluation of the Spiritual-Intellectual Confrontations of our Age, was revered, at least superficially, by the Reich as second only to Mein Kampf as embodying the mythical and ideological frame for Hitler’s Germany. According to Rosenberg, for races around the world, blood was fate. Physical, intellectual, and spiritual characteristics were the products of blood. According to Rosenberg, there was no redemption for the ‘lesser’ races… their blood made them the natural enemies of the Aryan Volk… their blood had sealed their fate.

Religion, Politics & Patronage: The Galileo Affair

Religion, Politics & Patronage: The Galileo Affair

By Alex Johnson ….
Galileo Galilei once said that, “There is no event in nature, not even the least that exists, such that it will ever be completely understood by theorists” (Drake 91). This is certainly true for natural phenomenon, even though they are constantly available to us for observation, but sadly, we find that this statement is often true of historical phenomenon as well, because they can only be observed through the surviving records. Despite this, or perhaps, in spite of this, we are in constant pursuit of an understanding of the past. The Galileo Affair is a prime example of this. Every facet of this event has fascinated historians and scholars of religion for almost 400 years. What happened? Why, and what does it all mean for us today?

Victims or Conquerors: The Saxon Gospel and Glenn Beck

Victims or Conquerors: The Saxon Gospel and Glenn Beck

By Kate Daley-Bailey….
I have the perfect gospel for Glenn Beck; a Saxon retelling of the Christian gospel with Jesus as a warrior chieftain written in “song” or epic form in the early part of the 9th century CE and was supposedly used to convert the pagan Saxons, after they had been conquered and forcefully baptized by Charlemagne.
This rendering of the Jesus story is no direct translation of a canonical gospel rather it is an actual retelling of the Jesus story. As an expert on the Heliand, the title of this Saxon gospel, G. Ronald Murphy, J.S. describes the text as “a reimagining of the gospel.” Murphy writes that the Heliand’s author, whose identity is still a mystery, “rewrote and reimagined the words and the events of the gospel as if they had taken place and been spoken in his own country and time.”

The Donation of Constantine

The Donation of Constantine

By Mark L. Movsesian, CLR Forum ….
The Donation was a purportedly an imperial decree, signed by the Emperor Constantine, granting the entirety of the Western Roman Empire to Pope Sylvester I and his successors. Constantine supposedly made this gift ingratitude for Sylvester’s actions in miraculously curing him of leprosy and baptizing him in the Christian faith. Throughout the Middle Ages, the Donation was taken as authentic, and it played a major role in justifying papal assertions during the investiture crisis that Harold Berman famously described in Law and Revolution. By the Renaissance, however, scholars within the Church had begun to have doubts.

What Should the Vatican Say to the (Last Generation of) Nuns?

What Should the Vatican Say to the (Last Generation of) Nuns?

By Peter Manseau, Religion Dispatches….
I grew up around nuns. My mother had left the convent five years before I was born, but all through my childhood our home was often visited by her “convent buddies,” a dozen or so women who had formed enduring friendships as novices or professed sisters of the Roman Catholic religious orders they had joined as teenagers. Daughters of immigrants from Irish and Italian enclaves, many of them had become sisters for reasons not just of faith, but of education and opportunity. The convent to them had been an unlikely part of the American dream.

By the time I met them, some of these women had left religious life, having shed their habits in the late 1960s, as my mother had, as if to feel more of the breeze blowing after Vatican II famously “opened the windows of the Church.”

Coming Out As a Heretic

Coming Out As a Heretic

By Kate Blanchard, Religion Dispatches…..
I could very much relate to the recent NPRstory about a Christian minister losing her faith. Like her, I once counted myself among the über-faithful but then “fell away” in my twenties. Despite marrying a clergyman and spending lots of time in theological school, I never made it back to the one true way. But there is a major difference in my story and this minister’s story, which is that she has embraced the name “atheist,” while I cannot bring myself to do so.

There is Something About Mary Magdalene, Part III

There is Something About Mary Magdalene, Part III

By Catherine Schmidt, Georgia State University….
This is part III of a IV part series exploring popular culture depictions of Mary Magdalene. In part I, we looked at a brief history of pre-Vatican II portrayals of Mary. Part II discussed the history of Vatican II in relation to Mary and how the change in Church thinking did little to how Mary was portrayed in popular culture as seen in Lady Gaga’s music video “Judas.” Part III will build on the post-Vatican II portrayals with the musical film Jesus Christ Superstar.

4 big myths of Book of Revelation

4 big myths of Book of Revelation

By John Blake, CNN Belief Blog….
You don’t have to be a student of religion to recognize references from the Book of Revelation. The last book in the Bible has fascinated readers for centuries. People who don’t even follow religion are nonetheless familiar with figures and images from Revelation. And why not? No other New Testament book reads like Revelation. The book virtually drips with blood and reeks of sulfur. Elaine Pagels, one of the world’s leading biblical scholars, first read Revelation as a teenager. She read it again in writing her latest book, “Revelations: Visions, Prophecy & Politics in the Book of Revelation.”

We Are All Nuns

We Are All Nuns

By Mary E. Hunt, Religion Dispatches….
When it comes to the Vatican’s crackdown on women religious, I believe it’s time to declare that for the purpose of this struggle:we are all nuns. If you can spell Catholic, you are probably asking: how dare they go after 57,000 dedicated women whose median age is well over 70 and who work tirelessly for a more just world? How dare the very men who preside over a Church in utter disgrace due to sexual misconduct and cover-ups by bishops try to distract from their own problems by creating new ones for women religious? While this story is focused on nuns, it doesn’t stop there.

There is Something About Mary Magdalene, Part II

There is Something About Mary Magdalene, Part II

By Catherine Schmidt, Georgia State University…..
In part one of this series, we looked at how Mary Magdalene was depicted in popular culture prior to Vatican II. This second installment will discuss both the history of Vatican II in relation to Mary and Lady Gaga’s interpretation of Mary in her music video for her son “Judas”. In the 1960s the Catholic Church held a council to essentially modernize the Catholic Church. This was the Second Vatican Council, also known as Vatican II. One of the many things done was the changing of the suggested readings for Mary’s saint day. No longer did the readings include the Biblical verses that Pope Gregory I attributed to Mary, making her a prostitute in the eyes of the church.

ROY MOORE, REDIVIVUS

ROY MOORE, REDIVIVUS

Louis A. Ruprecht Jr., Georgia State University….
One of the dangers in reporting on the Republican presidential primaries, and now the looming presidential election season, is that national issues and agendas drown out any real connection to more local issues and concerns. I was reminded of this again last week as I drove through heavily wooded back roads of Alabama, and saw signage on trees relating to the primary election they held in back mid-March. Over and over again, I saw the name: Roy Moore.

There is Something About Mary Magdalene, Part I

There is Something About Mary Magdalene, Part I

By Catherine Schmidt, Georgia State University….
There is something about Mary…Magdalene that is. She is one of the few New Testament women (or even characters for that matter) that continues to fascinate the public; and yet, we know so very little about her. Because we know so little, it leads some people to create stories of what they think she was like. Depending on the time and place, she is different things for different people. Sometimes she is a repentant whore while other times she is the lover—or even wife—of Jesus Christ. Many of these depictions of Mary Magdalene actually diminish her memory.

Good Friday Christianity

Good Friday Christianity

Louis A. Ruprecht, Jr., Huff Post….
The consensus view is that Paul’s letters were written in the mid-to late 50s, whereas Mark’s Gospel was written right around 70 C.E., after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple by centurions very much like the one he describes observing Jesus’s death. Some important implications of this dating are the following. It could be the case that Mark was responding directly to Paul’s claims in this letter. It could be the case that he had never heard Paul speak, nor ever read this letter. It could be the case that Mark was responding to the kind of beliefs articulated by Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians, whether Paul was the original author of such views or simply one especially vocal proponent of them.

Not All Choice is Free: Why demand religious exemption for contraception, but not the death penalty, torture, or unjust war?

Not All Choice is Free: Why demand religious exemption for contraception, but not the death penalty, torture, or unjust war?

By Louis A. Ruprecht, Religion Dispatches….
On November 2, 1984, Velma Barfield became the first woman to be executed in the U.S. since 1962, and the first to be executed in the State of North Carolina after the nationwide moratorium on the death penalty was lifted in 1976. She was 52 years old. For those of us who had worked on her clemency petition, it was a devastating blow. Then-Governor Jim Hunt was running for a seat in the US Senate against arch-conservative Jesse Helms. Inexplicably, Barfield’s clemency hearing had been scheduled just six days prior to the election. Helms made it a campaign issue, of course, suggesting that, were the Governor to grant Barfield clemency, then his true liberal stripes would be clear to everyone.