The Week: Most Recent Religion Posts recent posts.en-usMon, 15 Sep 2014 06:06:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent Religion Posts from THE WEEKMon, 15 Sep 2014 06:06:00 -0400Can we lead spiritually fulfilling lives without religion?<img src="" /></P><p>Normally when I read a book by Sam Harris, I have to restrain the urge to hurl it into the trash.</p><p><em>The End of Faith</em> (2004) launched the New Atheist movement by ignorantly distorting, simplifying, and insulting all three monotheistic religions, while also denouncing, in flagrantly illiberal terms, "the very ideal of religious tolerance."</p><p><em>The Moral Landscape</em> (2010) cavalierly dismissed the broad range of problems and proposals put forward in the philosophical and theological traditions of the West in favor of a facile, desiccated form of scientistic utilitarianism.</p><p>But Harris' new book, <em>Waking...</em></p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/damon-linker" ><span class="byline">Damon Linker</span></a>Mon, 15 Sep 2014 06:06:00 -0400In defense of the prosperity gospel<img src="" /></P><p>The wife of famed televangelist Joel Osteen said something stupid the other day &mdash; so stupid there's now a YouTube meme about it, featuring Bill Cosby saying, "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life."</p><p>In the original clip, Victoria Osteen says, "I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we're not doing it for God &mdash; I mean, that's one way to look at it. We're doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we're happy." Osteen continues, "So I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Wed, 03 Sep 2014 06:05:00 -0400Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage<img src="" /></P><p>A majority of Americans already favor same-sex marriage &mdash; and most everyone agrees that same-sex marriage will continue to be accepted by an ever-bigger majority.</p><p>In many urban and progressive circles, it's beyond impolitic to oppose gay marriage. Indeed, there's a movement underfoot to make opposition to same-sex marriage akin to support for racism. That is to say, anyone who expresses opposition to same-sex marriage would be ostracized, with many progressives hoping to employ a variety of social and governmental means of coercion to force gay-marriage opponents to the margins of society...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/pascal-emmanuel-gobry" ><span class="byline">Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry</span></a>Wed, 03 Sep 2014 06:03:00 -0400What Ann Coulter and atheist Richard Dawkins have in common<img src="" /></P><p>Dr. Kent Brantly, the American physician who contracted Ebola while treating the virus in Liberia, has now fully recovered. A month after falling ill with the famously lethal fever, Brantly is now walking, talking, and returning to business as usual. The only thing more surprising than Brantly's sudden and total recovery has been the inability of particular pundits to cope with it in a sane, humane fashion.</p><p>For someone who risked his life to perform charitable medical care, Brantly has incurred a truly mind-boggling level of backlash. After he thanked God for his recovery in a press conference...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/elizabeth-stoker-bruenig" ><span class="byline">Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig</span></a>Thu, 28 Aug 2014 06:10:00 -0400Is the Christian music industry liberalizing on gay marriage?<img src="" /></P><p>Does it matter if the lyrics you sing to worship God were written by someone with whom you have deep theological disagreements? <br /> <br /> Christian rock star Vicky Beeching forced her fans to confront this question last week when she told <em>The Independent</em> that she is a lesbian. Her songs are among the most commonly sung in North American churches. But many within her Christian fan base believe gay sex and marriage are sinful.<br /> <br /> Beeching has shared harrowing stories of struggling to shirk her sexuality. She even recounts participating in a traumatic exorcism at a Christian youth camp. Nineteen years after...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/jonathan-merritt" ><span class="byline">Jonathan Merritt</span></a>Thu, 21 Aug 2014 06:06:00 -0400How American Christians can stop being bullies and start winning converts<img src="" /></P><p>Eight years ago, Sally Quinn founded "OnFaith," a religious blog hosted (until recently) by <em>The Washington Post</em>. One thing she didn't anticipate? All the nasty Christian commenters.</p><p>"I can't tell you how many people wrote in to say that I was a whore and a slut and so much worse that I can't even write it here. And these all came from Christians," Quinn wrote in a recent article titled, "When It Comes to Hateful Internet Speech, Christians are The Worst."</p><p>She's been told that Jesus hated her, that she had punched her ticket to hell, and that she had made a pact with the devil. One "God-fearing...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/jonathan-merritt" ><span class="byline">Jonathan Merritt</span></a>Wed, 13 Aug 2014 06:07:00 -0400How the battle for religious freedom became a nonsensical free-for-all<img src="" /></P><p dir="ltr">Journalists are generally expected to adhere to some sort of code. For traditional news reporters, this may mean avoiding the appearance of being biased. For those at ideologically minded publications, it may mean staying on a certain side of the idea divide. At minimum, most outlets want their staff to avoid wildly unhinged, reputation-damaging rants.</p><p>But this is not how Robert Dale Eschliman sees it. The former editor-in-chief of Connecticut's <em>Newton Daily News</em> argues that anti-gay proselytizing on his personal blog is a vital part of his religious expression and therefore an invalid reason...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/elizabeth-nolan-brown" ><span class="byline">Elizabeth Nolan Brown</span></a>Wed, 30 Jul 2014 06:08:00 -0400Blame Obama and U.S. evangelicals for the persecution of Iraqi Christians<img src="" /></P><p>"Convert to Islam, leave, or die."</p><p>This is the ultimatum, given by Islamic extremists in Iraq, that has forced thousands of Christians to flee the communities they've inhabited for almost 2,000 years. In the wake of this crisis, some conservative evangelicals here in the United States have been unsurprisingly quick to point the finger at the Obama administration for its lack of urgency:</p><ul><li>Tony Perkins of Family Research Council commented, "I'm not sure what's more shocking: the atrocities of ISIS or the silence of the Obama administration."</li><li>Todd Starnes, Fox News radio host and career bomb-thrower...</li></ul> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/jonathan-merritt" ><span class="byline">Jonathan Merritt</span></a>Mon, 28 Jul 2014 06:08:00 -0400A gay Mormon's complicated journey<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Alasdair Ekpenyong had never heard of a gay Mormon before. It seemed like a paradox, an oxymoron. "What is a gay Mormon?" he asked.</p><p>"It's someone who stays in the Mormon community," Rick replied, "even while dating someone of the same gender."</p><p>Rick was recounting his life for Alasdair and a group of visitors. He was not a gay Mormon anymore &mdash; he'd left the faith years ago, fed up with feeling unwelcome in his own religion. So now Rick was just a gay man with a towering stature and a scraggly beard. On this day he was also wearing a dress, a detail that made Alasdair squirm in his slacks...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Daniel A. GrossSun, 27 Jul 2014 09:00:00 -0400What progressives fundamentally don't get about traditional Christians<img src="" /></P><p>From Christian colleges challenging ObamaCare's contraception mandate to the Catholic bishops protesting gay marriage, Christians are among the most unyielding opponents of sexual liberation. Progressives working towards greater public acceptance and support of LGBT rights would no doubt like to see Christians with traditionalist views abandon their old-fashioned doctrines on these matters. Or just go away.</p><p>Neither will happen.</p><p>These Christians are bound to their idea of human sexuality because it is fundamentally inseparable from their understanding of God. Put another way: if they're wrong...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/kyle-cupp" ><span class="byline">Kyle Cupp</span></a>Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:07:00 -0400