RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "Christianity"

A Further Note on Cronus and Chronos

A Further Note on Cronus and Chronos

By Louis A. Ruprecht, Jr., Georgia State University…..
I recently published a piece at “Religion Dispatches” about the Roman winter festival called Saturnalia. A commentator noted that I had inadvertently confused (or rather, conflated) two very different divinities in that piece: namely, the Greek figures of Cronus and Chronos. I was grateful for the opportunity this provided to say what I should have said then with a bit more care and clarity, and the detail of these reflections seems perfectly suited to the non-at-all nerdy audience at “Religion Nerd.” So here goes. Greek and Roman religions were religions without canonical scriptures; their mythology is notoriously complex and, to modern eyes, often contradictory.

The “Business” of Being Christian: The Ethics of Usury

The “Business” of Being Christian: The Ethics of Usury

By Kate Daley-Bailey….
For thousands of years, the Christian Church has identified “usury” as a sin… however various theologians and scholars living within these thousands of years disagreed over exactly what “usury” was and was not. A brief exploration of the term “usury” (and its multiple manifestations) may lead us to a better understanding of what was actually being prohibited by various religious communities, especially Christian ones.

Is Norway’s Suspected Murderer Anders Breivik a Christian Terrorist?

Is Norway’s Suspected Murderer Anders Breivik a Christian Terrorist?

By Mark Juergensmeyer, Religion Dispatches…..
The similarities between suspected mass killer Anders Behring Breivik and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh are striking. Both were good-looking young Caucasians, self-enlisted soldiers in an imagined cosmic war to save Christendom. Both thought their acts of mass destruction would trigger a great battle to rescue society from the liberal forces of multiculturalism that allowed non-Christians and non-whites positions of acceptability. Both regretted the loss of life but thought their actions were “necessary.” For that they were staunchly unapologetic. And both were Christian terrorists.

The Christian—Pagan Mix-and-Match

The Christian—Pagan Mix-and-Match

Louis A. Ruprecht Jr., Georgia State University…..
After Christmas and Easter, what’s the most important Christian holiday? It’s not really a very Protestant question—since you need saints and Mary, and the whole ritual calendar they entail, to pose it—and even in the Catholic or Orthodox Christian world it depends very much on where you put the question. In Greece the question has a pretty clear answer: it’s August 15, the feast day of the “All-Holy” (Panagia) Virgin Mary. And in Rome it’s equally clear: it was June 29, the Feast of Peter and Paul.

Starving for God: Foodless Dieting For the Soul

Starving for God: Foodless Dieting For the Soul

By Joseph Rosenthal, Georgia State University…..
“Man shall not live by bread alone,” responds Jesus defiantly in the Gospel of Matthew (4:4) to Satan’s entreaty to break his forty-day fast. This phrase has been used variously by Christians throughout history as a tribute to the virtues of moderation and as a justification for some of the most extreme forms of asceticism. Dietary practice is the second most popular domain of religiously motivated self-denial, surpassed only by matters of sex and human intimacy. The diversity of rituals, laws, and red tape surrounding the consumption of food ranges from prohibitions of basic food types (e.g. shellfish, pork, alcohol, etc.) to extended periods of fasting. The religious preoccupation with what goes into the body goes well beyond hatred of gluttony, sometimes verging on total caloric restriction.

Harold Camping—Penny Guru of Spiritual Scams

Harold Camping—Penny Guru of Spiritual Scams

By Michel-Camille Bordeau….
We can’t expect restoration of trustworthiness with the likes of Harold Camping. He’s already made that very clear. After the fiasco of May 21st, he took time to regroup, and when he was ready to face the public, he came out to announce that he wasn’t wrong, he couldn’t be wrong, and he would never be wrong. The Patriarch, provider of eschatological hope, had spoken. But these were not the expected words. He did not seek forgiveness or offer an apology to his wounded children and/or the rest of the world. Being wrong was the right thing for him—and he was certain that God would forgive him. In fact, he was convinced that it was in God’s plan…for him…through him… and for the rest of the world… whether we liked it or not. Even if some of us, his dearest fans, suffered great emotional injury.

Freethinking in the words of CJ Werleman

Freethinking in the words of CJ Werleman

By Michel-Camille Bordeau….
CJ: Absolutely the Bible is a dangerous book if you do what God commands you to do. For example, if my daughter says, “God damn it!” I’m to take her to the edge of the town and bash her brains out with large rocks. If I wish to sell my daughter into sexual slavery, not only does the Bible not say there’s anything wrong with that, it gives commercial terms and conditions for doing such a thing. When we look at places like tribal Pakistan, for example, there they routinely execute people for blasphemy, a victimless crime. Now, are they barbaric, evil people? No they’re not. In fact, according to biblical law, of which the Koran is based, they’re more pious and pleasing to God than those who ignore that command. When people become cognizant of these kinds of issues, people realize this ancient book has no relevancy in today’s times.

The Most Important Discovery in the History of Archaeology

The Most Important Discovery in the History of Archaeology

By Joe Fernander, Religion Nerd….
Have you ever walked around a group of people and caught wind of their conversation? If you’re like most people, you have. Walking through a crowd of students at Georgia State University makes this activity all the more interesting. In one walk around campus you might hear stories of sex, betrayal, money and interestingly enough – Jesus. Today alone I was able to catch seven conversations that were clearly about Jesus and the Bible (not including the street evangelist or Gideon’s). It seems that no matter what religious tradition or worldview you follow, Jesus proves to be of some importance to your life; after all you do live in the year 2010 A.D.

Terry Jones and Free Speech

Terry Jones and Free Speech

Terry Jones has a right to free speech, regardless of how repugnant. Just as I lauded the Supreme Court’s decision regarding Snyder vs. Phelps, I will stand beside Terry Jones (way far away!) to protect his right to free speech. Any limitation on his free speech is a limit on my free speech. The government has no business telling anyone what to say or not to say. The First Amendment to the Constitution explicitly states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” How difficult is that to understand?

Averting Your Eyes: The Devastating Consequences of Ignoring Women’s Rights

Averting Your Eyes: The Devastating Consequences of Ignoring Women’s Rights

Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, State of Formation….
Jerusalem’s Old City when a bearded man with narrow eyes reached out his hand and tried to grab my breast. I did not know him. I had not made eye contact. I was not acting provocatively—in fact, despite a heat wave that added insult to the already injurious desert summer, I was burning up in the long-sleeved shirt and ankle-length skirt that’s customary for the region. In response, the man with whom I was traveling reached out and struck the stranger’s hand, causing him to trip sideways into the crowd.

Not Theology, but Authority: Rob Bell and the Evangelical Institutional Establishment

Not Theology, but Authority: Rob Bell and the Evangelical Institutional Establishment

Michael J Altman…….
Rob Bell challenges the authority of the (Calvinist) evangelical establishment and they don’t like it. For example, Bill Walker has a compared Bell’s ideas in Love Wins with conservative evangelical darling and Presbyterian Church in America pastor Tim Keller’s ideas in The Reason for God. As Walker lays it out, the two share a lot in common. They both lean heavily on C.S. Lewis for their ideas and Bell even cites Keller’s other bookProdigal God in his “further reading” section of Love Wins. Yet, Keller is beloved by those in the pews and quoted by those in the pulpits while Bell is dangerous.

ABC’s Good Christian Bitches Makes Feminists of Religious Right

ABC’s Good Christian Bitches Makes Feminists of Religious Right

By Sarah Morice Brubaker, Religion Dispatches….
Attention, Internet! Good Christian Bitches, Kim Gatlin’s first book, has the word “bitch” in the title. I shall now give you a moment to compose yourself. Go find a cool compress for your fevered brow and/or relax the vicelike grip with which you surely must be clutching your pearls. “Christian” and “bitch,” right next to each other like that. The literary juxtaposition, O, it dazzles. It’s like saying… I don’t know… “four weddings and a vasectomy” or “love in the time of booger-eaters” or “the unbearable lightness of being a redacted expletive.”

Retreating to Dzogchen Beara: Eastern Spirituality in Western Ireland

Retreating to Dzogchen Beara: Eastern Spirituality in Western Ireland

By Melinda Rothouse….
From the moment I stepped into the van, I knew I had entered a different world. The other passengers are already well-acquainted with the weekly O’Donaghue bus from Cork to Castletownbere, a little town somewhere far out on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork, Ireland.

Heading home from a day of commerce in the city, many passengers carried loads of shopping bags that filled the narrow aisles while others were making a weekend commute to the Peninsula. A musty odour permeated the vehicle, smoky—dusky, an infusion of cigarette smoke and body odour, perfume and food. Aromas left behind by the countless passengers who made the trip many years past.

A Wiccan Perspective on Satan, Evil, and all that Biblical Stuff

A Wiccan Perspective on Satan, Evil, and all that Biblical Stuff

By Lady Arsinoe…..
The Wiccan idea of evil is vastly different from that of the Abrahamic religions. Wicca is a nature-oriented spiritual path that tends to focus inside ourselves and then outward to our relationship with the Universe. We do not see evil as being something outside or “other”. As a result, Wiccans have no convenient excuse for ill behavior; there is no “the Devil made me do it!” in Wicca. Evil exists only because mankind has evil tendencies. Wiccans understand that we, as human beings, are responsible for our own actions. No outside Deity of Good or Evil makes us do anything. We see humans acting out of Good or Evil because humans want to, and we reap the benefits or consequences of our actions accordingly. We see everything we do as coming back to us according to the Threefold Law: whatever energies we put out into the world comes back to us threefold, be it for good or ill.