Category: Religion

Why Christians need one another

06/03/07 | by hirby [mail] | Categories: Religion

In an interview published in The Christian Century (May 15, 2007), David Burrell, C.S.C., responds to a question about this interest in ecumenism and interreligious dialog as follows:

Christians need one another desperately, though not to erase our differences; these can be helpful, and God is beyond conceptualization anyway. But we need strength to walk in a world that marginalizes us. If this world doesn't marginalize us, this world is even worse. Late capitalism eats out Christianity's guts from the inside. It's far more dangerous to the faith than Marxism, which just tried to dominate it.

I find this remarkable on two counts: The reminder that we shouldn't get overwrought about theological differences because "God is beyond conceptualization anyway"; and the observation about capitalism.

The image of having our guts eaten out from the inside is terrifying. The truth and value of capitalism are foundational components of the socially constructed reality we inhabit, but in Burrell's view it is dangerously corrrosive. Christian community, indeed ecumenical Christian community, is an important preventative to being eaten up by it.

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The DNA of Religious Faith

04/18/07 | by hirby [mail] | Categories: Religion

In this essay in The Chronicle Review of April 20, David Barash says,

It has long been, let us say, an article of faith that at least in polite company, religious faith — belief without evidence — should go unchallenged.
No longer. If recent books — many of them by prominent biologists — are any indication, the era of deference to religious belief is ending as faith is subjected to gimlet-eyed scrutiny.

He reviews several recent books on this theme, giving a balanced and thoughtful appraisal of them and of the religious and cultural issues that they raise.

Subscription required to read the article.

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Tony Campolo: Duplicity on the Right

10/03/06 | by Steve [mail] | Categories: News, Religion, Politics

Tony Campolo calls it duplicity; some others might call it hypocrisy. If the Bible is the literal and inspired Word of God, as so many in the religious right would have it, how then can "a dozen top leaders of America's Religious Right" argue that sometimes torture is justified? Either they've parked their religious principles at the door (while exhorting the rest of us to vote our values), or they've abandoned their reliance on the infallibility of scripture. As Campolo notes,

If they have changed their minds and are ready to refute the golden rule, then it is time for them to say plainly, "For the most part we agree with Jesus, but there are special circumstances when we must ignore His teachings."

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Separation of Church and Science

08/02/06 | by Steve [mail] | Categories: Religion

This is an interesting article about the first grants from a new foundation "for projects that have broad implications for our understanding of the deep or ultimate nature of reality."

So far, all of the institute's money is from the Templeton Foundation, which has often been criticized by scientists for attempting to blur the lines between science and religion.

Even skeptics, though, suggested that the new institute, which used the Templeton money as seed money and is run completely separately, could be good for science.

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On musical apartheid -- John L. Bell

07/25/06 | by Steve [mail] | Categories: Religion, Music

The July 25 issue of The Christian Century includes an interview with John Bell of the Iona Community and the Wild Goose Resource Group. Bell is not only eminently singable, he's also eminently quotable. This statement (p. 21) speaks to me:

If the church in the Northern hemisphere does not in the next ten years use songs that come from Asia, South America and Africa, it'll be deemed racist. It will be seen as a case of musical apartheid. Most Christians in the world are black and poor. They're not white and affluent. If that's the body of Christ of which we are a member, then we have to share the joy and the pain of fellow members.

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