Religion

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The Multiverse in a Flat Circle

The Multiverse in a Flat Circle

I LEARNED about the possibility of the multiverse the same way lots of people did: from William Shatner. It happened well before I was born, in October 1967. Captain Kirk was in trouble.  He and his...

The Return of the Repressed

The Return of the Repressed

THIS IS AN ODD TIME in history to be reading and discussing theology. On the one hand, Richard Dawkins — a rock star, if atheists ever had one — avers with the utmost confidence that no sane, educ...

On Defending Mike Diana

On Defending Mike Diana

MIKE DIANA has become the stuff of lore: on March 29, 1994, a jury in Pinellas County, Florida, found the comics creator guilty of three counts of obscenity. He was sentenced to undergo several punish...

The Limits of Muslim Liberalism

The Limits of Muslim Liberalism

IN HIS semi-fictional account of Barbary Coast Pirate Utopias, Peter Lamborn Wilson traces the unwritten dissident history of a communion of outsiders — heterodox Muslims and Christian renegades. Un...

Matters of Faith

Matters of Faith

GROWING UP CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICAL, I learned a deep distrust of the “smells and bells” of the high liturgies of Christian worship traditions such as Roman Catholicism and Greek Orthodoxy. Their ...

Faces of Faith

Faces of Faith

Graterford’s religious practices are principally geared to help a man survive only in the conditions he currently finds himself.  — Joshua Dubler, Down in the Chapel  ALLOW ME to cut to the ch...

The Decline of the Revival

The Decline of the Revival

TO THE PERPLEXITY of many nonbelievers, the United States remains a stubbornly religious nation. While much of the developed world, especially Western Europe, charts an ever more secular course, large...

Syria and the Peace of Westphalia

Syria and the Peace of Westphalia

LITTLE MORE than two years ago, Western pundits were all '48ers — 1848ers, that is. The events on which we slapped the label “Arab Spring” seemed to be our century’s iteration of the “Spring...

Parent of All the Gods

Parent of All the Gods

LIKE THE TERMS NOW used for “society,” “economy,” and “politics,” the Chinese word for “religion” (zongjiao) is a late-19th-century loanword from Japanese. It was the Meiji-era moderni...

True Believers

True Believers

ONE HAS ONLY to turn on the news to see that there are those determined to fit American faith into a neat arc — conflict, resolution, redemption — so that they may repurpose and repackage the fore...

Are There Universal Human Rights or Not?

Are There Universal Human Rights or Not?

WITH DO MUSLIM WOMEN NEED SAVING? Lila Abu-Lughod, an anthropologist and professor at Columbia University, has written a book that departs from her two earlier studies of Egyptian Bedouin women (and a...

Of Gods and Philosophers

Of Gods and Philosophers

RONALD DWORKIN DIED, aged 81, in February 2013. Published posthumously, Religion Without God, which is based on the Einstein Lectures he delivered in Bern in 2011, is the last book he wrote. During th...

Of Gods and Languages: On "When God Spoke Greek"

Of Gods and Languages: On "When God Spoke Greek"

WHAT actually is the Bible? The question is harder to answer than it first seems. These days the Christian Bible is usually regarded as the Greek New Testament added to the Old Testament, which is a ...

Only God Knows

Only God Knows

PEOPLE BELIEVE IN GOD for many reasons, some of them simplistic, others superstitious, but some existentially vital. Someone may, for instance, find the thought of their own death intolerable and turn...