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Love and Death In the House of Prayer

A former member of a tight-knit college prayer group describes his community's disintegration — and how one of its members ended up dead.
posted by SkylitDrawl on Jun 19, 2014 - 68 comments

Jedi is not the 2nd most popular religion in any state? How disapointing

The second-largest religion in each state
Christianity is by far the largest religion in the United States; more than three-quarters of Americans identify as Christians. A little more than half of us identify as Protestants, about 23 percent as Catholic and about 2 percent as Mormon. But what about the rest of us?
posted by davidstandaford on Jun 5, 2014 - 104 comments

Can the evangelical church embrace gay couples?

A small but significant number of theologians, psychologists, and other conservative Christians are beginning to develop moral arguments that it’s possible to affirm same-sex relationships not in spite of orthodox theology, but within it. In books, academic journals, magazines, blog posts, speeches, conferences, and campus clubs, they are steadily building a case that there is a place in the traditional evangelical church for sexually active gay people in committed, monogamous relationships. They argue that the Bible, read properly, doesn't condemn such relationships at all—and neither should committed Christians.
Can the evangelical church embrace gay couples? Here Matthew Vines speaks to each of the 'clobber' passages used to attack homosexuality in engaging detail and describes his vision for the role of gay Christians in the church. (1:07:18) [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on May 13, 2014 - 154 comments

Prayers get a new blessing

The Supreme Court ruled (PDF) this morning that the town of Greece, New York did not violate the Constitution by starting its public meetings with a prayer from a “chaplain of the month." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on May 5, 2014 - 167 comments

Why and When is Easter?

Easter is the most famous movable feast in our calendar. Its date appears to change unpredictably from year to year, and different branches of Christianity disagree on when exactly it should be marked. In some years, like 2014, western Christians and the Eastern churches (such as the Greek and Russian communities) celebrate Easter on the same Sunday – but that is not always the case. [via BBC]
posted by marienbad on Apr 21, 2014 - 84 comments

That's right. Somebody called the cops on Jesus.

Statue Of A Homeless Jesus Startles A Wealthy Community
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 13, 2014 - 165 comments

Eppur si muove

The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown is a nine-part series posted by sci-fi author and statistician Michael F. Flynn to his blog last year, covering the historical conflict between heliocentrism and geocentrism, with a special focus on Galileo. They are based on an article (pdf) by Flynn which originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Analog. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 8, 2014 - 10 comments

Why are Christians so concerned about sex?

Why are Christians so concerned about sex? When English interpretations of the New Testament talk about ‘sexual immorality’ they are really translating the Greek word porneia (πορνεία), it’s used almost every time the topic of sex comes up and often when talking about the worst sins in general. If you can really grok what Paul was talking about as he uses the root for the word over and over again (it appears 32 times in the New Testament) then the rest falls into place. Now porneia has always been translated into Latin as fornication, while being understood by many conservatives to just be a 1:1 stand in for ‘any sexual expression not between husband and wife’. However, Porneia in post-classical Corinthian Greek did not mean generic sexual sin, or even sex outside of marriage, at all exactly and neither did fornication in actual Latin. The truth, like in many things, is a little bit more complicated and a lot more interesting. TRIGGER WARNINGS AHEAD FOR DEPICTIONS OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION IN CLASSICAL GREECE, ALSO AN NSFW VASE. (SFW version) [via mefi projects]
posted by jaduncan on Mar 26, 2014 - 108 comments

Being Gay at Jerry Falwell's University

"Yes?" she asked me, and the tone of her voice calmed me down. It was as if she was saying, Brandon, I already know what you want to tell me. Please, just say it. Brandon Ambrosino writes about coming out as a student at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University. Recently Ambrosino was hired for Ezra Klein's new journalism venture, Vox, a decision that has bred controversy. Andrew Sullivan explains, and defends him.
posted by shivohum on Mar 14, 2014 - 182 comments

Forgive me for being longwinded, but I was speaking from the heart.

As Gawker has done for a couple years now, they sent letters to all the U.S. death row inmates who have execution dates in the upcoming year. Texas inmate Ray Jasper, who is set to be executed later this month, responded with an incredible letter on his thoughts about the US justice system, race, Christianity, and society as a whole.
posted by gman on Mar 5, 2014 - 84 comments

The Bushel Basket

W.H. Auden had a secret life that his closest friends knew little or nothing about. Everything about it was generous and honorable. He kept it secret because he would have been ashamed to have been praised for it. [more inside]
posted by Diablevert on Mar 4, 2014 - 55 comments

Trusting God

Patrick Henry College has been called "God's Harvard." The tiny, elite school is considered a safe haven for fundamentalist evangelical Christians. It teaches a dominionist "Biblical Worldview" and has a uniquely religious campus culture (pdf) that emphasizes evangelical moral values. Which leaves female students in a particular bind: How do you report sexual assault at a place where authorities seem skeptical that such a thing even exists?
posted by zarq on Feb 18, 2014 - 154 comments

Apartheid in South Africa (1957) Documentary

This film produced by the United States Federal Government in 1957 explores South Africa's apartheid policy, focusing on issues such as race relations, political practices, and segregated dwellings. The footage very radically contrasts the bleakness of black life with the privileges enjoyed by most whites as well as including several interviews with black leaders, while also giving the architects of Apartheid a platform to defend themselves and their policies. (34:11)
A fascinating snapshot of the time.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Feb 12, 2014 - 4 comments

The Missing Christians

For years, Fred "Slacktivist" Clark has been dissecting, page by page, the Left Behind series of Evangelical Christian potboilers. Clark, a Christian himself, goes far beyond merely mocking them but also analyzes the theology, philosophy, and politics underlying them. As an aside, he's looked at other Rapture narratives and is asking, "Why are Rapture stories always so dull?" To this end he examines The Missing Christians, a 50-minute 1952 movie about the Rapture, which is available to watch on YouTube. Clark warns: "This is far, far worse than you’re expecting even if you take into account that it will be far, far worse than you’re expecting." As usual, Clark goes beyond (but certainly by way of) just mocking the film to get at the core of what he argues the Rapture idea is really about, and why, despite the Apocalyptic material, these stories always end up so dull.
Part of the problem here, as in Left Behind, is that the “storytellers” of Evangel Films aren't nearly as interested in telling their story as they are in settling the score with their perceived enemies. These are the same enemies that haunt the sleep of Tim LaHaye — those sophisticated “liberal” Christians who refuse to concede the expertise of “Bible prophecy” experts. Just like Left Behind, The Missing Christians is a revenge fantasy in which those evil sophisticates are “proved” wrong and the righteous are proved right.
(More Slacktivist on MetaFilter)
posted by Legomancer on Feb 12, 2014 - 115 comments

The Millenial Gospel

If Jesus and company were around today, the Bible may look like a art & fandom Tumblr project, complete with meta essays, headcanons, and playlists. Their writers aim to "follow in the Judeo-Christian tradition of questioning, evolving, and shaking up the status quo in order to update scripture for a secular audience, offering it up as a volatile mix of narrative, social commentary, spirituality, and punk rock." In this version Jesus is a cat-loving activist, Mary Madgalene is a hijabi punk, and the mystics are spoken word artists, musicians, and bloggers.
posted by divabat on Feb 3, 2014 - 18 comments

The Wars Over Christian Beards

To shave or not to shave? That is the question which has divided the Christian Church for 2000 years.
posted by cthuljew on Jan 26, 2014 - 40 comments

What is it like to be an African-American atheist

In this short documentary, filmmaker Darrin Johnson explores the status of atheism within African-American families and communities, and meets some non-believers from California about their experiences with breaking from religion.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jan 19, 2014 - 27 comments

"My desire is, as always, to pursue the truth."

"I'm making it official and embarking on a new journey. I will "try on" atheism for a year. For the next 12 months I will live as if there is no God. I will not pray, read the Bible for inspiration, refer to God as the cause of things or hope that God might intervene and change my own or someone else's circumstances. (I trust that if there really is a God that God will not be too flummoxed by my foolish experiment and allow others to suffer as a result)."
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jan 15, 2014 - 130 comments

Mr. Rick Wakeman on keyboards ... and various other concerns

Whether taking all mankind close to the edge with his keyboard contributions to every punk's favorite prog-rock band Yes, or going it solo (in fully sequined gown) with all Six Wives of Henry VIII all the way to the center of the earth, or perhaps with figure skating Knights of the Round Table, or composing the score for Ken Russell's Liztomania (and "acting" in it), or doing definitive session work for the likes of David Bowie, Black Sabbath, etc, or candidly singing the praises of Christianity and/or Freemasonry ... [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Dec 21, 2013 - 34 comments

The Lord is my happening; he's where it's all at.

In the late 60s, Lutheran clergyman John Rydgren hosted the weekly radio Silhouette, broadcast across the US and in Vietnam, and squarely aimed at the flower power generation. Silhouette Segments (1968) was a double-album which compiled short excerpts from the show. I've compiled as many of the tracks as I can find (see below). But perhaps it makes sense to begin with the Hippie Version of Creation: "The Cat flipped a switch, blinked those big, eternal eyes, and he dug the switch action. 'Yeah... I'll take it.' " [more inside]
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Dec 15, 2013 - 19 comments

July 30, 762 to February 13, 1258

In two weeks of blood and fire, one of the greatest intellectual and cultural legacies the world had ever seen came to an end. Crushed under the hooves of a mighty foe (in one case literally), a dynasty, an empire, a city, and a library all disappeared. It was perhaps the swiftest and most complete collapse of a civilization ever, still felt to this day. Now, how about for some context? [more inside]
posted by cthuljew on Dec 13, 2013 - 39 comments

Paul Crouch is Dead.

TBN head Paul Crouch died Saturday, November 30 at 79. Under Crouch, TBN grew to “84 satellite channels and over 18,000 television and cable affiliates around the world.” But he was a controversial figure, even among televangelists. (Previously on Metafilter, [via Slacktivist])
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me on Dec 3, 2013 - 35 comments

496 years ago, bittersweet day in church history, great for a potluck.

Out of love and concern for the truth, and with the object of eliciting it, the following heads will be the subject of a public discussion at Wittenberg under the presidency of the reverend father, Martin Luther, Augustinian, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and duly appointed Lecturer on these subjects in that place. He requests that whoever cannot be present personally to debate the matter orally will do so in absence in writing.
Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences Commonly Known as The 95 Theses by Dr. Martin Luther on October 31, 1517. or 496 years ago today. [Original Latin]
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 1, 2013 - 56 comments

The Bible as fanwank and flamewars

Confused about who wrote the Bible we have, and why? Jim MacDonald has the answers. How was the Canon of the Christian Bible selected? There really isn't a better, or funnier, short account than this. After all, if fandom is a religion, then religions must work like fandom, right? And the epistolatory disputes of late antiquity were just Usenet to the Greeks. So if you want to know how the Doctrine of the Trinity became important, this will explain it: [more inside]
posted by alloneword on Sep 13, 2013 - 151 comments

"Riding with the Ghost"

Panzer Dragoon was a series of video games released between 1995 and 2003. Created by Yukio Futatsugi, the series quickly became a hit among gamers for its arial combat and great soundtrack. And if that weren't enough, apparently the ending of the third installment helps explain the Holy Trinity.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Aug 20, 2013 - 20 comments

Who gets to speak, where, in front of whom, and about what  

Why the controversial (and somewhat backfired) Lauren Green interview of Reza Aslan is is about more than just Fox News idiocy.  
posted by Artw on Jul 31, 2013 - 162 comments

The rise of the religious left

According to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute [PDF], 1 in 5 Americans can now be defined as "religious progressives". These people, who eschew the current Republican agenda of religious social conservatism, have Republican leaders caught in the middle between an aging religious conservative majority and young religious progressives.
posted by reenum on Jul 24, 2013 - 183 comments

American Rhetoric

Perhaps slightly obscurred by its charmingly primitive web design, my new favorite website is a fantastic reference resource for delving into American speeches that have changed history as well as discovering new amazing ones. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jun 17, 2013 - 5 comments

Christians fight the Right

The goal of Red Letter Christians is simple: To take Jesus seriously by endeavoring to live out His radical, counter-cultural teachings as set forth in Scripture, and especially embracing the lifestyle prescribed in the Sermon on the Mount. [more inside]
posted by No Robots on May 16, 2013 - 362 comments

The Old Believers

Alaska is home to two small villages of Russian Orthodox "Old Believers," whose ancestors left the church and their home in Siberia in 1666 in the face of state-issued church reforms. They have traveled more than 20,000 miles over five centuries in the search for the perfect place to protect their traditions from outside influences. Now, assimilation into American culture is slowly overtaking them. (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 5, 2013 - 49 comments

An Open Letter to the Church from My Generation

'Church,
I got to go to the Macklemore concert on Friday night. If you want to hear about how that went, ask me, seriously, I want to talk about it until I die. The whole thing was great; but the best part was when Macklemore sang “Same Love.” Augustana’s gym was filled to the ceiling with 5,000 people, mostly aged 18-25, and decked out in thrift store gear (American flag bro-tanks, neon Nikes, MC Hammer pants. My Cowboy boyfriend wore Cowboy boots…not ironically….). The arena was brimming with excitement and adrenaline during every song, but when he started to play “Same Love,” the place about collapsed. Why? While the song is popular everywhere, no one, maybe not even Macklemore, feels its true tension like we do in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. If you’re not familiar, here’s the song.' [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Apr 11, 2013 - 80 comments

"There was no return from apostasy."

Leaving the Witness. "In one of the most restrictive, totalitarian countries in the world, for the first time in my life, I had the freedom to think." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 21, 2013 - 26 comments

Gay Mormon Records Reactions To His Coming Out

This Gay Mormon Spent 1 Year Recording His Friends Reacting To Him Coming Out. (SLYT). He's rather chipper, considering his church says he can't get married or have sex...
posted by shivohum on Mar 3, 2013 - 93 comments

Let his love pop a cap in your butt

Rappin for Budda! (100x more realness than Rappin For Jesus) [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Feb 12, 2013 - 17 comments

Christmas, cancelled.

The Puritan War on Christmas
posted by cthuljew on Dec 16, 2012 - 66 comments

"we are all actors trapped in the plot of history, playing roles most of us haven’t chosen."

A Lost Map On The Tramway In Istanbul
In Turkey, there lives a mysterious minority known as the “secret Armenians.” They have been hiding in the open for nearly a century. Outwardly, they are Turks or Kurds, but the secret Armenians are actually descendants of the survivors of the 1915 Genocide, who stayed behind in Eastern Anatolia after forcibly converting to Islam. Some are now devout Muslims, others are Alevis –generally considered an offshoot of Shia Islam, even though that would be an inaccurate description by some accounts–, and a few secretly remain Christian, especially in the area of Sassoun, where still there are mountain villages with secret Armenian populations. Even though Armenian Gypsies wouldn’t strictly qualify as Secret Armenians, they share many traits with the latter, including reluctance or fear to reveal their identity even to fellow Armenians.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 15, 2012 - 15 comments

Olivier Messiaen's "Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jésus"

To say that Messiaen's Vingt Regards sur L'Enfant-Jesus (Twenty Contemplations on the Infant Jesus) is a masterpiece is a gross understatement. Over sixty years after its composition, it has rightfully earned the recognition of being one of the most important piano works of the 20th century. ... [It] is one of the most personal and intimate pieces Messiaen ever wrote, and it gives the listener a close look at Messiaen the person. Messiaen was a deeply religious person, and although his faith influenced every single piece he wrote, the Vingt Regards is almost like his own personal spiritual diary. - Keith Kerchoff [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Dec 13, 2012 - 16 comments

Interviews with Virgins

The Hairpin's Jia Tolentino holds three interviews with virgins. (Trigger warnings on the second and third stories.)
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Dec 7, 2012 - 12 comments

"Jake from Two and a Half Men means nothing. He is a non-existent character."

Angus Jones, better known as Jake on the show Two and a Half Men, has joined the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The young star has released a pair of videos urging people to stop watching the show.
posted by reenum on Nov 26, 2012 - 182 comments

The generation game

"the most embarrassing verse in the Bible" - C.S. Lewis "this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" - 2000 years of arguments over the central verse in all prophecy. The meaning of Christianity, and hence much of our culture, hangs on the disputed meaning of a single word, "genea" or "generation." [more inside]
posted by EnterTheStory on Nov 9, 2012 - 103 comments

Coronet Instructional Films

From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 1, 2012 - 41 comments

The Gay Moralist

You are likely already familiar with many of the arguments for and against marriage equality but here are cogent arguments for precisely why it is needed, unthreatening, and beneficial; patiently explained by a gay philosopher who recently spent quite a bit of time hanging out with NOM’s co-founder, Maggie Gallagher. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 25, 2012 - 31 comments

The right...of segregation is clearly established by the holy scriptures...

Missouri pastor's protest against equal rights has a twist in the tail (SLYT)
posted by howfar on Oct 19, 2012 - 90 comments

From the ash-heap of history

"A historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School has identified a scrap of papyrus that she says was written in Coptic in the fourth century and contains a phrase never seen in any piece of Scripture: 'Jesus said to them, "My wife ... '" [more inside]
posted by Countess Elena on Sep 18, 2012 - 93 comments

"I went from God loves everybody to God saves everybody to God is in everybody."

From Bible-Belt Pastor to Atheist Leader. Jerry DeWitt is a former Pentecostal pastor in the evangelical parish of DeRidder, Louisiana who slowly lost his religious faith. Last Fall, he went public with his atheism, committing what he calls "identity suicide," and instantly becoming "the most disliked person in town." Since then, Mr. DeWitt's lost his job, his wife, his community and may be losing his house, but is still persevering and working to help others who find themselves in similar circumstances. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 27, 2012 - 163 comments

Christianity for Atheists

The Human Bible is a podcast by Robert M. Price, professor of biblical criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute, and author of a number of books on theology. Though an atheist -- and skeptical of the very existence of the Jesus portrayed in the Gospels -- Price's great knowledge of (and love for) the Scriptures is evident throughout. No matter what you believe, you won't regret listening to these podcasts.
posted by Pararrayos on Aug 24, 2012 - 15 comments

The Bully Pulpit

Late last month, after vocally anti-gay evangelical author and blogger Jonathan Merritt's essay defending Chick-Fil-A appeared in The Atlantic, Azariah Southworth outed Merritt on his blog. An interview with Merritt about his sexual orientation. Follow-up column from Southworth: Why I outed a Christian star. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 13, 2012 - 237 comments

America's Best Christian

America's Best Christian, Betty Bowers, on traditional marriage. (Triggers, NSFW)
posted by the young rope-rider on Aug 5, 2012 - 13 comments

My Name is John Daker

John Daker is going to sing a song that's very popular nowadays, it's Christ The Lord Is Risen Today, and he's going to do Amore too, okay? There is a subtitled and animated version also.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Aug 3, 2012 - 35 comments

Please take the wheel

A very short history of The Rapture
posted by Artw on Jul 25, 2012 - 88 comments

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