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Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher

Religion Archives

Why I became Orthodox

posted by Rod Dreher

Wrapping up my four Beliefnet years, I was thinking about the posts that attracted the most attention and comment in that time. Without a doubt the most popular (in terms of attracting attention, not all of it admiring, to be […]

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Modern Calvinists

posted by Rod Dreher

Wow, they don’t make Presbyterians like they used to!

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China is turning Christian

posted by Rod Dreher

I saw recently a statistic saying that China today exports as much every six hours as it did in all of 1978, when Deng Xiaoping’s revolutionary opening of China to the world started. Thirty years ago, would anyone have foreseen […]

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Religion and authenticity

posted by Rod Dreher

As I’ve said before, if you are an intellectually serious and culturally engaged Christian, you really should subscribe to the Mars Hill Audio Journal. There is nothing else like it. I have been a subscriber for a few years now, […]

Firing a Catholic prof: the back story

posted by Rod Dreher

Fascinating, and very ugly, insider story of anti-Catholic bias and academic politics behind the recent dismissal of Ken Howell. If this account is correct, then it’s pretty clear that the complaint that Howell’s teaching was anti-gay was merely a pretext. […]

Rowan Williams: Why society needs God

posted by Rod Dreher

I know he’s a favorite punching bag of a lot of folks who share my religious sensibilities, but the fact remains that Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is one of the most thoughtful and intelligent religious leaders in the […]

Church as training, not therapy

posted by Rod Dreher

Our parish priest, Father Joseph, is a good preacher. His sermons are practical, but exhortative, and he preaches with such conviction. Today he preached about evangelism, and how there’s far more to it than simply telling people about our faith. […]

Information, the basis of reality

posted by Rod Dreher

Yesterday at the Foundation, I heard a presentation by Hyung Choi, a physicist, philosopher and theologian who is in charge of our grant-giving in mathematics and the physical sciences. Hyung said that the emergence of quantum mechanics caused a revolution […]

Golly! Trickster Maciel fooled ‘em all

posted by Rod Dreher

Three statements you should roll your eyes at: 1. “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” 2. “I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” 3. “None of the current superiors had knowledge of the behavior […]

The graceful Christopher Hitchens

posted by Rod Dreher

Via Ross Douthat, I found this long, wonderful Hugh Hewitt interview with Christopher Hitchens, who has this to say about people who have been praying for him: CH: Well look, I mean, I think that prayer and holy water, and […]

Catholicism for solipsists

posted by Rod Dreher

An angry Moralistic Therapeutic Deist decides he can make up his own religion, call it Roman Catholicism, and demand, via the pages of the Boston Globe, that everybody else join him in his self-deception. Excerpt from Charles Pierce’s piece: And […]

The real Tibet

posted by Rod Dreher

Some time ago, I read something, can’t remember where, about Tibetan Buddhism. The author may have been a scholar of Tibetan Buddhism; I just don’t recall. Anyway, the writer said that in the West, we have a completely romanticized view […]

Monsanto’s genetically-modified Eucharist

posted by Rod Dreher

Many religions have laws governing ritual purity. The Roman Catholic Church, for example, ruled that under its own laws, a gluten-free wheat wafer cannot be used to confect the Eucharist. Unless you are a canonist or otherwise versed in this […]

Thornton Wilder, American Taoist

posted by Rod Dreher

Sam Crane is performing in a community theater production of “Our Town” this summer, and it got him to thinking about Taoist themes in the play. For Taoism, he writes: Th e complex is to be found in the simple, […]

In defense of French Muslim burqas

posted by Rod Dreher

I don’t like the burqa. In fact, I think it’s appalling. I don’t like what it says about the place of women in the societies where it’s common. I like that the imam of the Grand Mosque of Paris says […]

Catholicism must paganize or die — Vasquez

posted by Rod Dreher

I hadn’t looked in on the Cosimanian Orthodox gloomster The Ochlophobist in ages, and so enjoyed it that I made a note to bookmark his site. I also found there links to the blog of one Arturo Vasquez, a Catholic […]

Marilynne Robinson vs. Scientism

posted by Rod Dreher

Here’s the best five minutes you’re likely to spend today: Jon Stewart’s interview with novelist Marilynne Robinson, discussing science and religion and her new book “Absence of Mind.” Robinson’s basic view is that scientistic reductionists claim too much for science, […]

The academy and pseudo-tolerance

posted by Rod Dreher

Frank Beckwith takes a troubling case from the University of Illinois and draws a sharp, correct conclusion: The aggrieved student in the Howell case is the product of a generation of institutional coddling that rewards intellectual immaturity if it can […]

The truths of Art and Religion

posted by Rod Dreher

Via Ross Douthat, here’s poet Christian Wiman on why, in approaching truth, Art and Religion can take us places that science, by its very nature, cannot: In the Gospels Jesus is always talking to the crowds in parables, which he […]

The problem with blindly trusting scientists

posted by Rod Dreher

You may have read that a British investigative panel cleared UK climate scientists of Climategate charges (that they had manipulated data to support political ends). But it was not a complete exoneration. Climate scientist Roger Pielke had this to say […]

Stop the presses! Religious people being religious!

posted by Rod Dreher

Did you read the massive, acres-and-acres-of-newsprint story in the New York Times, in which they documented how American tax policy was underwriting the settlement of the West Bank by right-wing Israeli Jews? It was the kind of “ooh, scary religious […]

Halal hair defends glorious Iranian revolution

posted by Rod Dreher

You just know that young Iranians are laughing their butts off: The haircut guidelines appear to be aimed at balancing the more aggressive enforcement with a softer promotion. On Monday, the director of the Veil and Chastity Day festival, Jaleh […]

How the cultural Left paved way for pedophilia

posted by Rod Dreher

Before you say anything, this is not one of those rants in which the writer accuses liberals of poisoning the minds of the young with dirty movies and stuff. This is from the German magazine Der Spiegel, and it’s a […]

William James was a Wii designer

posted by Rod Dreher

Via Andrew, here’s a pretty interesting commentary by Jonah Lehrer in praise of the Wii as a videogame experience that fully engages the emotion because it engages the body in ways other videogame systems do not. Excerpt: To understand how […]

The NYT’s weak hatchet job on Benedict

posted by Rod Dreher

When I opened up my morning New York Times and saw a giant, above-the-fold story on how Cardinal Ratzinger’s office had the authority all along to deal with the sex-abuse crisis, and not just since the early part of the […]

Bad news on interfaith marriage

posted by Rod Dreher

Naomi Schaefer Riley: The Reyes-Shapiro divorce is about as ugly as the end of a marriage can get. Some of the sparring is an example of the bad ways people act when a union unravels. But the fight over Ela’s […]

Shh! Nobody talk about Islam!

posted by Rod Dreher

Charles Krauthammer repeats an exchange in a May 13 hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, in which a latter-day Basil Fawlty the U.S. Attorney General sat for questioning: Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.): Do you feel that these individuals might have […]

Three words: Tumor. Got. Smaller.

posted by Rod Dreher

My sister Ruthie went to see her oncologist today for results from last Friday’s CT scan. As you may remember, she was diagnosed in February with advanced lung cancer, despite never having smoked a day in her life. Many of […]

Why Belgian police raided the Church

posted by Rod Dreher

Now we’re getting more information about why Belgian police launched that unprecedented raid on Belgian Catholic church properties: Four days after a series of police raids of Catholic institutions in Belgium that drew sharp criticism from the pope, the reason […]

Against the cult of the amateur

posted by Rod Dreher

David Rieff says that yes, we have grown too trusting in the opinions of experts, who have proven themselves to be unreliable, but that we now face the opposite threat from the Cult of the Amateur. Excerpt: On both the […]

Cardinal Schoenborn’s McChrystal moment

posted by Rod Dreher

This is a story both heartbreaking and infuriating: VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican issued an unprecedented public rebuke Monday of a leading cardinal who had questioned the church’s policy of celibacy and openly criticized the retired Vatican No. 2 […]

Danneels approved pedophilic catechism?

posted by Rod Dreher

That is the shocking allegation by Alexandra Colen, an orthodox Belgian Catholic, who details her long fight with Cardinal Danneels and the Belgian Catholic hierarchy (including the pedophile recently retired bishop Vangheluwe) over a pedophilic sex-ed book approved for Belgium’s […]

Pope wrong to denounce Belgium raid

posted by Rod Dreher

Pope Benedict today issued a strong denunciation of the extraordinary police raid in Belgium on church properties — including police prying into tombs of deceased Belgian archbishops. Excerpt: In an exceedingly rare personal message and rebuke of a sovereign country, […]

Outing pastor a disgusting act

posted by Rod Dreher

A gay publication in Minnesota outed a conservative Lutheran pastor after its reporter infiltrated a confidential support group for Christians struggling with same-sex attractions, who wish to be chaste. In his piece, the gay journalist quotes things the pastor said […]

A saint from … Brooklyn?

posted by Rod Dreher

Saith The New York Times: Brooklyn, the borough of churches and trees, Walt Whitman and Woody Allen, Barbra Streisand and Mike Tyson, has never lacked for people of distinction — except perhaps in one category. Nobody from Brooklyn has ever […]

Skepticism in religion reporting

posted by Rod Dreher

More from Conor’s Mark Oppenheimer interview. Here’s Oppenheimer on his approach to religion reporting: The most common flaws in religion reporting are the same as common flaws in all reporting: lack of skepticism, taking the speakers’ words for it. We […]

Cops raid cardinal’s house in sex probe

posted by Rod Dreher

This is big: BRUSSELS — Police raided the home and office of the recently retired archbishop of Belgium on Thursday, carrying off documents and a personal computer as part of an investigation into the sexual abuse of children by Roman […]

Michelangelo, Kinkade, Carpathian walls

posted by Rod Dreher

1. Did Michelangelo conceal a drawing of the human brain within God’s beard? 2. Writer Susan Orlean briefly feared she was going to have to pay alleged Pooh-piddler Thomas Kinkade a million dollars. She’s not scared of that anymore. 3. […]

Entertaining angels in West Texas

posted by Rod Dreher

I’ve been sitting here at my mom and dad’s all afternoon working on a project for Ruthie. While I was busy, my folks got a visit from a neighbor, who came by to check on Ruthie. He must have stayed […]

TMatt & Neroulias on Godbeat as therapy

posted by Rod Dreher

Terry Mattingly at Get Religion has his say about yesterday’s hot thread in these parts. Excerpt: In this new essay, Rosen connects some of the same dots. One of his central points is that most journalists hold in contempt people […]

L’chaim, y’all

posted by Rod Dreher

Did you know that some Southern towns are paying cash premiums to entice Jewish families to relocate there? Why the heck not? The magificent Boss Hogg was a Jew. Sort of. True fact: The things you learn on this here […]

Stephen Colbert: ‘Jesus always wins!’

posted by Rod Dreher

Stephen Prothero appeared on Colbert last night to talk about his new book “God Is Not One” (which I’ve blogged about here and here). It was an enjoyable five-minute segment, with serious points being made amid Colbert’s hilarious mugging. Take […]

Media bias, media blandness

posted by Rod Dreher

Journalism prof Jay Rosen has a long, great, difficult to sum up post about how the deepest bias among the press is toward a false moderation, and against so-called “extremists.” I think this sentiment expressed by my Beliefnet blog colleague […]

Orthodoxy contra Darwinism?

posted by Rod Dreher

A troubling development from Moscow: The Russian Orthodox Church called Wednesday for an end to the “monopoly of Darwinism” in Russian schools, saying religious explanations of creation should be taught alongside evolution. Liberals said they would fight efforts to include […]

The Tao of Wendell Berry

posted by Rod Dreher

THE LAW THAT MARRIES ALL THINGS 1. The cloud is free only to go with the wind. The rain is free only in falling. The water is free only in its gathering together, in its downward courses, in its rising […]

Unobtanium discovered in Afghanistan!

posted by Rod Dreher

I told a friend the news that the U.S. has discovered vast mineral wealth in Afghanistan. She said sarcastically, “Oh great, now we get to ‘Avatar’ those people” — by which she meant that the U.S. stands to economically colonize […]

Get Religion bait

posted by Rod Dreher

For the second Saturday in a row, The New York Times surprises me with unpredictable (for the Times) and engaging religion journalism. Last week Mark Oppenheimer profiled Eve Tushnet, a Catholic lesbian writer in Washington who is happily and openly […]

Yes mosque, no MAS

posted by Rod Dreher

Today’s NYT features a story about Staten Island residents who are hot about a plan to turn an abandoned convent there into a mosque. You may remember that I oppose plans to build a grand new mosque near Ground Zero, […]

Science, religion and Templeton: A defense

posted by Rod Dreher

The prominent science journalist Chris Mooney, author of (among other titles) “The Republican War on Science,” is one of the 2010 Templeton-Cambridge journalism fellows. This is the program I was on last summer. The first session is wrapping up in […]

Wendell Berry, American Confucius

posted by Rod Dreher

Gotta say I’m really enjoying BU religious studies prof Stephen Prothero’s “God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World — and Why Their Differences Matter,” which I initially blogged on yesterday (read that entry, which leads […]

Why Jews couldn’t ‘go home’ to Poland, Helen

posted by Rod Dreher

I’ve hesitated blogging on the Helen Thomas affair, mostly because I’ve been away at meetings in New York, and I didn’t have time to monitor the comboxes for anti-Semitism. My view is that her opinions are obnoxious and wrong, but […]

All religions are NOT the same

posted by Rod Dreher

I am in New York at the moment, and am going to walk across the street to a bookstore in a minute to buy Boston University religion scholar Stephen Prothero’s new book, “God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions […]

Tradition, liberty and the open road

posted by Rod Dreher

Via Andrew Sullivan, I learned of Jesse Walker’s remembrance of Dennis Hopper, which contains these fascinating sentences: A central theme of the western is the tension between the sometimes lonely freedom of the road and the sometimes suffocating security of […]

Science & religion incompatiblists shut out?

posted by Rod Dreher

Science + Religion Today draws attention to a controversy at the World Science Festival, on now in NYC. There’s a panel discussion about the relationship between science and faith. On the panel: astrophysicist Paul Davies, biologist Francisco J. Ayala — […]

Oil spill & the uneasy Evangelical conscience

posted by Rod Dreher

Whatever you do today, you have to read this stunning blog entry from the Southern Baptist theologian Russell D. Moore, who just returned from a visit to Biloxi, Miss., his hometown. He calls the Gulf spill the ecological Roe v. […]

Ted Haggard event pre-criticized for your convenience

posted by Rod Dreher

Here’s what’s going to happen today, says the AP: COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Former megachurch pastor Ted Haggard has called a news conference to announce the next step in his career. OK, stop right there. You want a sign that […]

Spiritual lives of children

posted by Rod Dreher

In our house, the usual nighttime routine involves me lying down with each of our two younger kids — Lucas is six, Nora is three — praying with them, then talking with them about what’s on their minds. In the […]

Atheists who teach in parochial school

posted by Rod Dreher

Get Religion highlights a couple of stories about Catholic schools firing teachers who declared their atheism – as well as parochial school teachers who pretend to be believers to get jobs in this terrible economy. Excerpt from the GetRel clip: […]

How seminary ruins one’s faith

posted by Rod Dreher

This comment from a parish priest showed up in the (excellent) “Pastors who don’t believe in God” thread. I think Father makes such an important point that it deserves to be highlighted. I especially like his analogy to entering into […]

Pastors who don’t believe in God

posted by Rod Dreher

Daniel C. Dennett and Linda LaScola researched five pastors — all Protestants — who no longer believe in God, but who are still in the pulpit. In interviewing these closeted non-believing pastors, Dennett and LaScola recognized that there’s a problem […]

Lady Gaga & the ‘spiritual, not religious’ scam

posted by Rod Dreher

David Mills brilliantly lays into the laziness of people who like to say that they’re “spiritual, but not religious.” Excerpt: It’s one of those easily remembered phrases that work like a “get out of jail free” card for anyone who […]

Mexico on the Cross

posted by Rod Dreher

A very sad letter from a Dominican brother, used with permission: I spent my pastoral year working at our mission in Mexico, and I also work with Hispanics here in the states. As a cult, La Santa Muerte is growing […]

Ground Zero mosque imam a closet Islamist?

posted by Rod Dreher

So says Walid Shoebat, an Arabic speaker who says he found an Arabic-language interview in which Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf — the allegedly liberal/moderate New York imam who wants to build a giant mosque near Ground Zero to make a […]

Santa Muerte: the religion of narcoterrorists

posted by Rod Dreher

I blogged earlier today about the desperate situation in Mexico, in which narcotics cartels are supplanting the state in some areas. A reader put on the comments thread a link to a fascinating Small Wars Journal article about the pseudo-religious […]

Will there ever be an American Orthodoxy?

posted by Rod Dreher

That’s the question I have as the Assembly of all the “canonical” Orthodox bishops of North America gets underway in New York. As I understand it — and I invite correction if I’m wrong — the Ecumenical Patriarch and the […]

A mosque at Ground Zero? Insane

posted by Rod Dreher

New York City officials have voted to allow construction of a $100 million mosque near the site of the World Trade Center. I mean no disrespect to Muslims, but this is an unspeakably bad idea. The 9/11 hijackers brought down […]

Theist vs. atheist battle: tempest in teapot?

posted by Rod Dreher

Garret Keizer, reviewing Philip Pullman’s latest blast against Christianity, wonders if the public isn’t really largely indifferent to the back-and-forth between believers and their antagonists. Excerpt: The commonly held notion that we are in the midst of a great public […]

Mark Souder & forgiving the hypocrite

posted by Rod Dreher

I’m afraid I don’t follow the logic of my Beliefnet colleague Diana Butler Bass, who refuses to entertain the idea that the disgraced Republican congressman Mark Souder should be forgiven for his adultery and related shameful behavior. Excerpt: So, Rep. […]

American Jews less Jewish? Does it matter?

posted by Rod Dreher

Lots of controversy afoot over Peter Beinart’s New York Review of Books essay in which he observes that younger American Jews don’t have as much connection to Israel and to Zionism as their forebears — a situation Beinart (who is […]

Christian hipsterism explained

posted by Rod Dreher

Brett McCracken, whose book “Hipster Christianity” and the online “Are you a Christian hipster?” quiz inspired this popular post yesterday , turned up in the combox thread to that post to explain what he was up to in that book. […]

Are you a Christian hipster?

posted by Rod Dreher

UPDATE: Brett McCracken, author of the Christian hipster book, weighs in in the combox thread!Try this online quiz. Caveat: it’s intended for Evangelicals, so there will be questions that Catholics and Orthodox Christians can’t answer. What’s more, if you don’t […]

Cardinal Sodano should walk the plank

posted by Rod Dreher

Jody Bottum of First Things and I have not been on the same page in responding to the Catholic sex abuse scandal, to put it very mildly, so I have to strongly commend to you today his ringing unambiguous call […]

Ted Haggard starts another church. Oh dear

posted by Rod Dreher

Disgraced megachurch preacher Ted Haggard has started a new church. Good luck to him, I guess, but what I can’t quite grasp is why clerics who have been spectacularly ruined as he was don’t just go sell life insurance, or […]

Benedict goes to Fatima. Souvenirs, anyone?

posted by Rod Dreher

Longtime readers will recall that I have a long and intimate history with Our Lady of Fatima. I invite you to read this post from several years back explaining the rather amazing things that happened to me out of that […]

What do we mean by ‘soul’?

posted by Rod Dreher

Philosopher Stephen Asma is irritated by the imprecise way students use the word “soul.” He says that science cannot prove the existence of the soul, so it’s an extremely dubious concept to use when philosophizing. But he believes he’s come […]

Atheists are ‘vincibly ignorant’ — claim

posted by Rod Dreher

Joe Carter at First Things: Historically speaking, this concession to the greatest lie in the universe is a rather recent development. While there have always been people who deny the existence of a deity, it has not been a prominent […]

Diarmuid Martin, truth-teller and prophet

posted by Rod Dreher

Yesterday Pope Benedict’s astonishing words of truth-telling about the sex abuse scandal were reported. And now I wish to draw your attention to an absolutely remarkable speech that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the Catholic primate of Ireland, has just delivered, on […]

‘Allahu akbar’? Gee, what could that possibly mean?

posted by Rod Dreher

One of the cartoonists who got in trouble with Muslims for drawing the Prophet was physically attacked in a classroom lecture about free speech by one or more lunatics who broke his glasses. The Associated Press filed a 14-paragraph dispatch […]

Benedict: Sex abuse scandal is our fault

posted by Rod Dreher

This is fairly breathtaking stuff: The pontiff said the crisis over paedophile priests was “born from sins within the church” not outside, and called for penance. In some of his strongest comments to date, Pope Benedict said the Catholic church […]

The other side of clergy sex abuse

posted by Rod Dreher

What happens to a priest who is falsely accused? Where does he go to get his reputation back? This story is a reminder that a mere accusation, no matter how unfounded, is enough to ruin a man’s reputation and clerical […]

No Protestants on the Supreme Court? Wow.

posted by Rod Dreher

I hadn’t realized, till I read Diana Butler Bass’s lament, that if Elena Kagan, the president’s nominee for the Supreme Court, is confirmed by the Senate, there will be no Protestants on the High Court. Kagan is Jewish, as is […]

Melissa Hill, Mother of the Year

posted by Rod Dreher

You’ve really got to read this amazing story about Melissa Hill of West Dallas. I wrote about her husband Trey a couple of years ago, and how he (and she) had given up a life of privilege to go live […]

Awlaki was insincere? Shocked, shocked.

posted by Rod Dreher

Big, long NYT front-pager today about the double life of Anwar al-Awlaki, who went (says the Times) from condemning terror to preaching jihad. Awlaki, a Yemen-based al-Qaeda fellow traveler who has inspired recent Islamic terrorists (e.g., Maj. Nidal Hasan), lived […]

Nietzsche, death of God, our political future

posted by Rod Dreher

Francis Fukuyama gives a favorable review to Julian Young’s new “philosophical biography” of Friedrich Nietzsche in this weekend’s NYT Book Review. This section of the review jumped out at me: Whether we acknowledge it or not, we continue to live […]

Christian preaching illegal in UK?

posted by Rod Dreher

In Britain, a street preacher was arrested recently for saying in public that homosexuality is a sin. Excerpt: Dale Mcalpine was handing out leaflets to shoppers when he told a passer-by and a gay police community support officer that, as […]

Why didn’t Walker Percy kill himself?

posted by Rod Dreher

Others in his melancholic family had done so. Nearing the 20th anniversary of Percy’s death by natural causes, Russell Moore ponders why the novelist escaped. Excerpt: Others have sought to argue that the difference for Walker Percy was medical or […]

The cross without Christ

posted by Rod Dreher

I was pleased to see the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing a large cross built on public land in California to stay in place. I don’t understand why some people freak out over things like this, as if any sign […]

David R. Spotanski, Catholic hero

posted by Rod Dreher

Ross Douthat calls him “the man who saved American Catholicism,” and in this inspiring story, you can see why David R. Spotanski, a middle-aged Catholic father of three from the Midwest, may well have earned that accolade. Spotanski, a layman, […]

Epistemic closure and what Ratzinger knew

posted by Rod Dreher

At the risk of beating a dead horse (but when has that ever stopped me?), I want to bring the epistemic closure discussion to bear on what Cardinal Ratzinger knew, or should have known, about the Maciel scandal, and related […]

Cardinal Sodano and the Grand Inquisitor

posted by Rod Dreher

The NYT reports further on the Vatican politicking around Marcial Maciel. It strikes me that the Maciel scandal, and perhaps even the wider abuse situation, is now a story that can best be told not by a journalist, but by […]

Pope takes over Legionaries; is it enough?

posted by Rod Dreher

Over the weekend, Pope Benedict moved to take over the Legionaries of Christ, still reeling from revelations that its hero-worshiped founder, the late Fr. Marcial Maciel, was a drug-abusing, child-molesting bigamist. Some praised the Vatican for moving so strongly against […]

Kristof’s backhanded compliment to Catholicism

posted by Rod Dreher

I’m having a tough time trying to figure out what I think of Nicholas Kristof’s column today. In it, he’s trying to defend the Catholic Church as a liberal writing to a liberal readership. Here’s the tack he takes: Yet […]

Science vs. Religion: What do scientists say?

posted by Rod Dreher

I dropped by a colleague’s office today carrying a copy of a new Oxford University Press book, “Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think,” by Elaine Howard Ecklund. “Have you seen this?” I asked her. “It’s really great.” “You know,” […]

Modernity’s vultures come for the Parsis

posted by Rod Dreher

Meera Subramanian writes about an unusual problem adherents to the Parsi faith (modern Zoroastrians) in India are confronting. Excerpt: In a ritual so old it was described by Herodotus, Zoroastrians have laid out their dead atop Towers of Silence to […]

Jenkins: Catholic Church headed south

posted by Rod Dreher

Philip Jenkins forecasts that the abuse scandal is going to change the Catholic Church — by turning it upside down, demographically. Excerpt: Some media commentators are even asking if the Church can survive the crisis. But most evidence suggests that […]

The yin-yang of religion and idea systems

posted by Rod Dreher

Last night I was reading a chapter of a book on mysticism and physics, and in this chapter the author described Chinese religious and philosophical thought as taking place between the poles of Taoism and Confucianism. This point was actually […]

Elites and their private contempt

posted by Rod Dreher

John O’Sullivan, commenting on Gordon Brown’s gaffe: What makes this much more than simply embarrassing for Labour is that it illustrates the private contempt of Left elites for ordinary Labour voters, with their old-fashioned patriotic and conservative social prejudices on […]

All religions are not the same

posted by Rod Dreher

Religion scholar Stephen Prothero says what really needs saying more often. Excerpt: No one argues that different economic systems or political regimes are one and the same. Capitalism and socialism are so self-evidently at odds that their differences hardly bear […]

Is The New York Times a religion?

posted by Rod Dreher

At Commonweal’s blog, former Newsweek religion writer Kenneth Woodward let’s the Times have it, comparing the newspaper to a religion. Excerpt: Again like the Church of Rome, the Times exercises a powerful magisterium or teaching authority through its editorial board. […]

A Benedictine guide to cheese-making

posted by Rod Dreher

This item about a Benedictine nun drawing spiritual lessons from cheese-making might just be the Platonic ideal of a Rod Dreher blog post. Excerpt: Mother Noella began her presentation with a slide of a gold-gilded icon of St. Benedict beholding […]

The spiritual mask

posted by Rod Dreher

One reason the Restore Stephen Baldwin nonsense bothers me so much is that it gets to something that bothers me to the marrow about religious culture, and it’s this: that religious people have a weakness for disguising ordinary crappy human […]

Give alms to a tax deadbeat: Restore Stephen Baldwin

posted by Rod Dreher

Look, I’m sorry that actor Stephen Baldwin is bankrupt, but this whole Restore Stephen Baldwin campaign is the ne plus ultra of Evangelical cheesiness. Baldwin is the D-list actor who became a born-again Christian in 2002. But he got into […]

South Park vs. Islam: Decadence on display

posted by Rod Dreher

Ross Douthat takes measure of the South Park vs. Islam controversy. Excerpt: Across 14 on-air years, there’s no icon “South Park” hasn’t trampled, no vein of shock-comedy (sexual, scatalogical, blasphemous) it hasn’t mined. In a less jaded era, its creators […]

Faith, secularism and our tragic dilemma

posted by Rod Dreher

The organizers of a traditional Latin mass in Washington this past weekend wisely disinvited Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, fearing that protests over the retired cardinal’s letter in support of a molester-protecting French bishop would mar the day. Good move. In […]

Ruthie Leming and Father Seelos

posted by Rod Dreher

I’m told that my cancer-stricken sister Ruthie is making a pilgrimage today to the New Orleans shrine of the Blessed F.X. Seelos, a 19th-century priest whose prayers are believed to have been instrumental in miraculous cures. There is a healing […]

Holy Ghost Hokey Pokey? Shoot me now.

posted by Rod Dreher

Adventures in modern Christian piety. At the two-minute mark, things really get rolling:On second thought, maybe Torquemada was onto something…UPDATE: Seriously, though, I honestly don’t understand the appeal of this kind of religion. I am not a charismatic, nor do […]

News flash: We are all epistemically closed

posted by Rod Dreher

There has been a lot of commentary on the political blogs around the concept of “epistemic closure,” which is a fancy way of saying “closed-mindedness.” The point of discussion has been on whether or not conservatives today are “epistemically closed,” […]

They don’t make atheists like Nietzsche anymore

posted by Rod Dreher

If you found the Woody Allen nihilism thread of interest, I’ve got something else for you to chew on. In a bracing essay dismissing the New Atheists lock, stock and barrel, Orthodox Christian theologian David Bentley Hart says none of […]

Science, religion and ways of knowing truth

posted by Rod Dreher

Andrew Brown on the problem with “natural theology”: But neither is it satisfactory for Christianity to retreat entirely from the world of facts about the world and to suppose that God is merely a matter of opinion, not of truth. […]

Can we have a religious duty to kill?

posted by Rod Dreher

Earlier this week, I watched a documentary film about the life and death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Evangelical pastor hanged by the Nazis for his role in a plot to assassinate Hitler. The case of Bonhoeffer, who risked his […]

Life tortures Woody Allen

posted by Rod Dreher

In an interview with Commonweal, Woody Allen shows the skull beneath the skin. Excerpt: RL: When Ingmar Bergman died, you said even if you made a film as great as one of his, what would it matter? It doesn’t gain […]

How religious leaders should handle media

posted by Rod Dreher

Ross Douthat, who is Catholic, wishes Pope Benedict were more media-savvy. Here’s part of the advice he offers the Vatican: Again, the Catholic Church will always face particular difficulties in its dealings with the press. But the rules that apply […]

Traif: The bad-faith restaurant

posted by Rod Dreher

Lots of press attention to Traif, a new restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, run by a Jewish man and his Gentile partner. Their gimmick is … well, it’s the sort of thing that if a Muslim tried it with a restaurant […]

Should Christians practice martial arts?

posted by Rod Dreher

I’d love to see a (civil, philosophical) discussion on the question above. Though I ask for a view on whether or not Christians should do this, I would also be interested in hearing from Jews and Muslims about whether it […]

What words have to do with distrust

posted by Rod Dreher

I had lunch today with a priest who said at one point that he had listened to the famous speech the newly consecrated OCA Bishop Jonah (now Metropolitan) gave just before his election, in which he spoke with startling bluntness […]

We can’t escape the human stain

posted by Rod Dreher

I am taking a break from blogging on the Catholic scandal, but I think Michael Sean Winters tells us something important about human nature in this short essay on one of the America magazine blogs. While he is quite strong […]

The civilizational cost of a corrupt clergy

posted by Rod Dreher

In a combox thread below, I mentioned that my priest yesterday said in his homily that one of these days, a general persecution of Christians is coming; his point was, more or less, to ask if they start putting people […]

Cardinal: John Paul approved of cover-up

posted by Rod Dreher

The plot thickens: ROME (AP) — Spanish media are quoting a retired Vatican cardinal as saying the late Pope John Paul II backed his letter congratulating a French bishop for risking jail for shielding a priest convicted of raping minors.Web […]

How the primate raped the Church

posted by Rod Dreher

While we’re on the topic of crooked and immoral church administration, let’s look at the Orthodox Church in America. Shortly before he was elected primate of the Orthodox Church in America, Bishop Jonah gave an electrifying speech in which he […]

Top cardinal: ‘Bishops, protect pedophile priests’

posted by Rod Dreher

Lee Podles draws attention to a French Catholic magazine’s publication of a 2001 letter Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos wrote to Pierre Pican, a French bishop who had just been sentenced to jail for not having reported a pedophile priest to […]

Peggy Noonan meets Cardinal Law

posted by Rod Dreher

This extraordinary passage from (the Catholic) Peggy Noonan’s Wall Street Journal column today. She recaps how American bishops reacted at first to the 2002 scandals, and then says: Does any of this, the finger-pointing and blame-gaming, sound familiar? Isn’t it […]

Giving scandal

posted by Rod Dreher

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church: 2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother […]

Are we hard-wired for God?

posted by Rod Dreher

New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade has made a Darwinian case for the religion instinct. From Commonweal’s mostly favorable review of Wade’s book: Again, religion is important to Wade only because it is biologically adaptive: it has fostered the […]

Fish, Habermas, reason and religion

posted by Rod Dreher

Stanley Fish chews at length over Jurgen Habermas’s new position on religion. Habermas, an ardent Enlightenment secularist, now recognizes that secularity is missing something essential to being human. That, he now believes, is the religious sense. Habermas now believes that […]

Big Baptists

posted by Rod Dreher

Time for a Southern culture break. Caroline Langston writes an affectionate appreciation of Southern Baptists she grew up with in Mississippi, and takes note of the ambiguous phrase “Big Baptists,” with which many Southerners will be familiar. Excerpt: So what […]

Psychedelic medicine on the rise

posted by Rod Dreher

John Tierney reports on doctors who are revisiting the therapeutic effects of psilocybin, psychedelic compound. Excerpt: The subjects’ reports mirrored so closely the accounts of religious mystical experiences, Dr. Griffiths said, that it seems likely the human brain is wired […]

Accountability and its conspicuous lack

posted by Rod Dreher

Father Tom Reese, S.J., has a good column in America suggesting how the European bishops can and should learn from the painful experience of the American bishops in our Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis. Excerpt: Finally, the American bishops excused […]

Benedict: Probably better than John Paul II

posted by Rod Dreher

…at poping, that is. Ross Douthat, the non-ridiculous Catholic on the Times columnist roster, makes an important point that can’t be said often enough: though John Paul II was by far the more charismatic figure, Benedict XVI will likely be […]

Ratzinger: “Bishop, take your time with that pedophile”

posted by Rod Dreher

Well, this is depressing: The priest, convicted of tying up and abusing two young boys in a California church rectory, wanted to leave the ministry. But in 1985, four years after the priest and his bishop first asked that he […]

You’re wrong about cultural change

posted by Rod Dreher

…says sociologist James Davison Hunter, whose presentation “To Change the World” given to the Trinity Forum some years back (available in PDF form here) is the basis of his new book of the same title. I urge you to read […]

Western art in the post-Christian West

posted by Rod Dreher

How London’s Victoria & Albert Museum dealt with the challenge of presenting Christian art to a public that has forgotten the narratives that defined the West. Excerpt: This situation is unprecedented in western civilisation: even 50 years ago, when these […]

Changing churches, changing communities

posted by Rod Dreher

The Catholic writer John Zmirak went back to his favorite Catholic haunts in his native New York during Holy Week, and published this beautiful but deeply melancholic reflection on the loss of the world he once knew. Excerpt: St. Vincent […]

Maciel’s mafia

posted by Rod Dreher

Stunning reporting from the National Catholic Reporter’s Jason Berry about how the drug-addicted pedophile Father Marcial Maciel funneled payoffs to very high-ranking members of the Roman curia — including his great protector, for Vatican Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sodano […]

Walker Percy and our deranged world

posted by Rod Dreher

It’s startling to realize that we’re coming up on the 20th anniversary of Walker Percy’s death (May 10, 1990). Has he really been gone that long? What would he have to say to us today? I wish he were still […]

Abuse scandal and the problems of localism

posted by Rod Dreher

In this blog post, I will show you Ross Douthat saying why the Catholic abuse scandal is bad news for Red Tories and Front Porchers who prize localism. But first, a word about Maureen Dowd. Another day, yet another nitwit […]

Evolution defense behind theologian’s ouster?

posted by Rod Dreher

Shocking news from the world of Protestant theology: Bruce Waltke, arguably the pre-eminent Old Testament scholar in the field, has resigned from the Reformed Theological Seminary Orlando. Why? It’s not clear, but this comes right after he was excoriated by […]

Penis-mad Dutch bomb the Christian rubble

posted by Rod Dreher

They’ve already all but demolished Christianity in their country, but the Dutch cultural elite continue their fight against a phantom enemy. Look: Perhaps the quietest spot, however, is the Museum of Christian Art, or Catharijneconvent, named for its patron, St. […]

Abandon politics, change the world

posted by Rod Dreher

The cultural conflict scholar James Davison Hunter has a new book out that I’m definitely going to get, criticizes Christian political engagement of both the right and left. From a Hunter quote on Andrew Sullivan’s site: The tragedy is that […]

What is heaven like?

posted by Rod Dreher

Johann Hari reviews Lisa Miller’s new book about heaven. Excerpt: The heaven you think you’re headed to–a reunion with your lost relatives in the light–is a very recent invention, only a little older than Goldman Sachs. Most of the believers […]

How does Benedict fix this mess?

posted by Rod Dreher

Here’s a story about how complicated the whole abusive priest situation is . Indian priest serving in Minnesota allegedly abuses girl, who goes to police after he is back in India. Charges are filed. Extradition is sought. The Minnesota bishop […]

What it means to be Catholic

posted by Rod Dreher

I know it’s a bit late, but here’s a terrific homily delivered at Easter Vigil by my Beliefnet co-blogger Deacon Greg Kandra, at his Catholic parish in Queens. The theme: “What does it mean to be a Catholic today?” Excerpt: […]

Priest/pastor as spiritual father

posted by Rod Dreher

I was thinking this morning after a post-Lenten breakfast with some Catholic friends how rarely, no matter which parish I’ve attended, or church I’ve been part of, I have thought of the priest or pastor as a spiritual father. Credible […]

Is Greek Easter, American peoples!

posted by Rod Dreher

A Pascha classic:Via the Byzantine, Texas blog.

Was Rowan Williams wrong to smack Irish Catholics?

posted by Rod Dreher

Sorry to bring up some controversy on this Easter day, but I’m genuinely interested to poll the room here for reaction to the impolitic language uttered by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, re: the Catholic Church in Ireland. From the […]

The best parts of Easter

posted by Rod Dreher

Check out Elizabeth Scalia’s NPR piece on why she remains a Catholic, despite it all. Excerpt: The darkness within my church is real, and it has too often gone unaddressed. The light within my church is also real, and has […]

The (very) religious shall inherit the earth

posted by Rod Dreher

So says political scientist Eric Kaufmann, in his new book on religion and demography, which goes into territory Philip Longman trod several years back in “The Empty Cradle.” In New Humanist’s worrying (to them) feature on Kaufmann’s work, the interviewer […]

Is Christopher Hitchens doing Vatican PR?

posted by Rod Dreher

How not to defuse a public relations crisis: ROME — A senior Vatican priest speaking at a Good Friday service compared the uproar over sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church — which have included reports about Pope Benedict XVI’s […]

Noonan: Journalists are the Church’s best friend

posted by Rod Dreher

An extraordinary column today by the Catholic writer Peggy Noonan, who wrote a book called “John Paul the Great,” especially this bit: In both the U.S. and Europe, the scandal was dug up and made famous by the press. This […]

Complexity, collapse and Catholicism

posted by Rod Dreher

In a post about the future of media business models, Clay Shirky offers the following rumination on an archaeological book by Joseph Tainter, “The Collapse of Complex Societies.” He says Tainter’s thesis is that complex societies of the past collapsed […]

How to admit that you were wrong

posted by Rod Dreher

A reader forwards this LA Times column by Tim Rutten, who wonders what prominent American Catholics who had publicly defended the Legionaries of Christ founder Marcial Maciel from abuse charges will do now that the late Maciel has been revealed […]

Triduum in a cave

posted by Rod Dreher

Today, for many Christians, begins the Triduum, the holiest period of the Christian year. Awful night last night — anxiety dreams about my sister and her cancer. Images of me walking on broken glass with bare feet, trying to get […]

Passover: No strangers at Sharon’s table

posted by Rod Dreher

On today, the first day of Passover, Sharon Astyk writes about welcoming the stranger. Excerpt: One of the central pieces of the Passover story, then, which is so important we tell it twice, on two separate nights, is this – […]

The NYT and Pope Benedict

posted by Rod Dreher

By the way, I am persuaded by Father R.J. de Souza’s argument that The New York Times was desperately stretching to connect Benedict with the Father Murphy disaster in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. I always believed this was a problem […]

Sister Sue’s credo

posted by Rod Dreher

“To live is Christ; to die is gain.” — St. Paul, martyr, to the Phillippians. “Hold the crucifix up before my eyes so I may see it until I die.” — Joan of Arc, at her martyrdom by fire. “I […]

Could an abuser pope survive the Internet?

posted by Rod Dreher

Longtime readers know that I have a fascination with the relationship between power and authority in the age of the Internet, with its culture of near-total transparency, and instant global dissemination of information. Writing in one of the comboxes here […]

Jews fleeing European anti-Semitism

posted by Rod Dreher

…but not neo-Nazis this time, but rather Muslim thugs in Sweden. Immigration to Israel by French Jews for similar reasons rose in the last decade, but now seems to be declining.

Why there is no Christian Tibet

posted by Rod Dreher

Reviewing (highly favorably) a book about a Jesuit missionary to Tibet, David Bentley Hart muses on the obstacles the Christian faith faced (and faces) in that country: Cultural conversion is something that happens under only very particular circumstances. Christianity spread […]

Douthat: Repent, bishops!

posted by Rod Dreher

Ross Douthat, who is Catholic and an admirer of Pope Benedict, makes sense in his clear-eyed column today. The conclusion is a bit puzzling, though: There has been some accountability for the abusers, but not nearly enough for the bishops […]

OK, yes, the Times is piling on Benedict

posted by Rod Dreher

This morning’s NYTimes brings us the shocking news that as Archbishop of Munich, Joseph Ratzinger was preoccupied with theological matters. Clutch the pearls! Here’s the story. Excerpt: When Pope Benedict XVI was archbishop of Munich and Freising, he was broadly […]

Pope Benedict and the irony of history

posted by Rod Dreher

Having been away from the keys most of the day, I want to post an important update to the commentary on the Catholic sex abuse scandal and Pope Benedict’s response. The journalist John Allen has provided one of his typically […]

Sex abuse scandal: What can the Pope do?

posted by Rod Dreher

Today’s paper brings news that as the Archbishop of Munich, Pope Benedict knew more about the molester priest’s transfer than the Vatican has admitted. This should not be surprising; as the editor who ran the Boston Globe’s coverage of the […]

Polkinghorne on the nature of religion

posted by Rod Dreher

Here’s a good interview with Sir John Polkinghorne, the Anglican priest and physicist, talking about virtue, science and religion. Excerpts: I call myself a bottom-up thinker. I try to move from experience to understanding, to look at experiences, which may […]

One more Lenten week to go!

posted by Rod Dreher

I’m so sick of beans. I’m so sick of almond butter. I’m so sick of broccoli and hummus. I’m so sick of tofu. Please, Jesus, come out of that tomb and bring us some dadgum barbecue! UPDATE: A reader informs […]

Another pogrom against Nigerian Christians

posted by Rod Dreher

More murders of Nigerian Christians this week. Excerpt: LAGOS, Nigeria – Attackers killed 12 people Wednesday morning in a small Christian village in central Nigeria, officials said, cutting out most of the victims’ tongues in the latest violence in a […]

Francisco Ayala wins the Templeton Prize

posted by Rod Dreher

At this moment, I’m at the National Academy of Sciences watching biologist Francisco Ayala named as winner of the 2010 Templeton Prize. Ayala, a former Dominican priest, is being recognized in part for his work in reconciling evolution with Christian […]

Father Murphy, molester of deaf children

posted by Rod Dreher

From today’s NYTimes: Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on […]

How to govern a church: a case study

posted by Rod Dreher

I want to contrast the way the institutional Catholic Church is struggling to deal with its problem bishops, versus the way the Orthodox Church in America (my church) has done it recently. It shouldn’t be necessary to say this, but […]

Dhimmitude at the drive-thru?

posted by Rod Dreher

A British customer of KFC is irate because his local KFC wouldn’t serve him a sandwich with bacon on it. Excerpt: The company has taken the burger off the menu because Islamic dietary law forbids Muslims to eat anything which […]

Can the Pope get rid of problem bishops?

posted by Rod Dreher

Mark Shea says no, he can’t. Interesting, his explanation for why not: The irony, particularly in Dreher’s case, is that in his frustration and sense of crisis about the Roman Church, he chose to be jump to the ecclesial camp […]

Bring on the married priests

posted by Rod Dreher

A Ukrainian Catholic priest — Eastern Rite Catholics can have married priests — at home with his family. Excerpt: Ukrainian priests, while reluctant to criticize Pope Benedict XVI over his unyielding stance on the celibacy requirement, said permitting them to […]

Templeton Prize winner on Thursday

posted by Rod Dreher

I’m on my way to Washington now to get ready for the 2010 Templeton Prize winner announcement on Thursday. I can’t reveal the name of this year’s winner, but I can tell you the selection will cause a certain amount […]

Cancer and enlightenment

posted by Rod Dreher

In “The Quantum and the Lotus,” a book-length dialogue between astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan (born a Buddhist), and former scientist Matthieu Ricard, who left the Pasteur Institute to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk, Ricard writes of why he abandoned his […]

What you lose when you lose faith

posted by Rod Dreher

The final essay in Roger Scruton’s “Gentle Regrets” is a magnificent meditation called “Regaining My Religion.” In it, Scruton talks about why he returned to the faith (he’s an Anglican), and what our secular age means. “The loss of faith […]

The Pope writes to the Irish church

posted by Rod Dreher

Here is the text of Pope Benedict’s letter to the Catholic Church in Ireland. There are plenty of very strong words in it, and a level of detail and directness that is incomparably better than the vague euphemisms Benedict’s predecessor […]

Not yet, God, I’m reading about you

posted by Rod Dreher

I love the smell of used bookstores. The aroma of yellowing print and flaking glue in the binding is so comforting to me. In the old days, I used to visit them far more frequently, in part because I was […]

Roger Scruton: Stealing from churches

posted by Rod Dreher

I’ve been thinking today about the things I heard at the Phillip Blond event, and hope to post a response sometime tomorrow. I want to say, though, that while in Washington, I bought a (startlingly expensive paperback) book of Roger […]

On sex abuse, Benedict now vs. then

posted by Rod Dreher

This story on Pope Benedict and the current sex abuse crisis reminds me once again why John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter is an invaluable source in helping us understand what’s happening and why. It’s a long story, but […]

Red Tory Philip Blond at Georgetown

posted by Rod Dreher

Longtime readers may recall my blogging last year about the work of Philip Blond, the English theologian and political economist who advocates “Red Toryism,” a conservative middle way advocating for a strong civil society to mediate between the excesses of […]

What’s your food and weight story?

posted by Rod Dreher

As a way to think and talk around the controversy over obesity and weight control in earlier threads, I’m thinking it might be good to start a thread in which people who have struggled with food and weight issues — […]

The Koran — the critical edition

posted by Rod Dreher

Somebody’s asking for trouble: This is a serious business. A team of researchers at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences is preparing to bring out the first installment of Corpus Coranicum – which purports to be nothing less than the first […]

John Paul II and the mall girls

posted by Rod Dreher

Journalist Sandro Magister: In June 1991 John Paul II returned to his native Poland for the fourth time. The Wall had fallen, the soviet empire was in pieces. But the pope refused to celebrate. On the contrary, he had never […]

Advice for Rapture-ready frequent flyers

posted by Rod Dreher

From the website of Bible Believers Evangelical Association, the Dallas-area ministry run by Ruth and Leon Bates, the couple responsible for this famous folk art image of the Rapture: NOTICE the airplane crashing into the skyscraper. Leon had this painting […]

Rod Dreher in USA Today

posted by Rod Dreher

My USA Today guest column argues that the news media are failing to treat religion with the seriousness it deserves when journalists approach minority religions with kid gloves. Excerpt: A culture’s metaphysical dream tells us a lot about its strengths […]

Return to America’s Ugliest Churches

posted by Rod Dreher

Andrew Sullivan kindly linked to last week’s Ugly Churches post here, which has brought in a new group of commentators. You might want to revisit the post to read the new stuff in the comboxes. I had a good laugh […]

Free speech vs. gay rights

posted by Rod Dreher

On The Atlantic’s site, Wendy Kaminer writes: An openly gay student seeking a graduate degree in counseling at a state university is expelled for refusing to agree that homosexuality is immoral and declining to enter an anti-gay indoctrination program. An […]

A pagan, an undercover atheist, and common ground

posted by Rod Dreher

Franklin Evans passes along this post by Gus diZerega, who writes the Pagan blog on Beliefnet, in which Gus talks about how Pagans find themselves pulled in both directions in the culture war, between the forces of mainstream conservative religion […]

The dark side of minority religions

posted by Rod Dreher

Over on the Big Journalism site, Bruce Carroll highlights a YouTube clip in which a Muslim adjunct faculty member at Vanderbilt University agreed under questioning in a public forum that Islam requires the death penalty for homosexuals. The Muslim, a […]

The Brothers Hitchens make peace

posted by Rod Dreher

A friend passes along this lovely essay by the British journalist Peter Hitchens, a political conservative and a mid-life convert to Christianity, in which Hitchens writes at length (and with gratitude) about how he and his famously atheistic brother finally […]

Doubts about Darwin

posted by Rod Dreher

Writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Michael Ruse, the historian and philosopher of science, considers recent skepticism about Charles Darwin voiced not by creationists, but by eminent philosophers. Excerpt: Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini were an isolated case, one could dismiss […]

Ugly churches of our time

posted by Rod Dreher

An image of this monstrous French church, L’Eglise Ste-Bernadette du Banlay, assaulted me as I read the NYT Arts section today. Reviewing architect Claude Parent’s work, the Times critic says: Mr. Parent’s building — massive concrete walls with rounded corners […]

Against religious blackmail, nitwittery

posted by Rod Dreher

Christopher Hitchens: This has to stop, and it has to stop right now. All democratic countries and assemblies should be readying legislation along the lines of the First Amendment, guaranteeing the right of open debate on matters of religion and […]

Perfect love casts out fear

posted by Rod Dreher

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18, NKJV) — “I was surprised to realize,” said the man […]

Your living will may be invalid

posted by Rod Dreher

Reader Helen writes: I thought of your blog when I saw this post at the NY Times’s New Old Age blog. Apparently a new directive from Catholic bishops requires assisted nutrition and hydration in all Catholic hospitals and nursing homes, […]

Journalists don’t get religion, Ex. 95,244

posted by Rod Dreher

Leading the New York Times site right this moment: Ethnic Violence in Nigeria Has Killed 500, Officials Say By ADAM NOSSITER DAKAR, Senegal — Officials and human rights groups in Nigeria said Monday that about 500 people had died in […]

Mysticism at the mall

posted by Rod Dreher

Ross Douthat’s wonderful column yesterday explores the cheapening of mysticism via the mass market. Excerpt: Mysticism is dying, and taking true religion with it. Monasteries have dwindled. Contemplative orders have declined. Our religious leaders no longer preach the renunciation of […]

A problem with missionaries

posted by Rod Dreher

We heard from an Orthodox missionary at church yesterday, as I wrote in last night’s post. In his talk, he lamented that there is only a relative handful of Orthodox missionaries in the world. He mentioned that American Protestants are […]

Healing, hope and the Cross

posted by Rod Dreher

Today is the Sunday of the Cross for Orthodox Christians, the Sunday of Lent in which we are supposed to consider the full gravity of what it meant when Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny […]

Can Scientology be reformed?

posted by Rod Dreher

Laurie Goodstein at the NYT breaks a story about more and more people leaving Scientology telling scandalous stories about what life is allegedly like within the church. Excerpt: Raised as Scientologists, Christie King Collbran and her husband, Chris, were recruited […]

Scientific knowing, religious knowing

posted by Rod Dreher

Gary Zukav, who wrote “The Dancing Wu Li Masters,” has this famous aphorism: Acceptance without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western religion, rejection without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western science. I thought of it when I read […]

New Right, New Left, Old Utopia

posted by Rod Dreher

I’ve been thinking off and on all day about what to say about David Brooks’ provocative column today, in which he compares the Tea Party Right of today with the New Left of the 1960s. Here’s an excerpt: But the […]

Previous Posts

Another blog to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Rod Dreher. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: Most Recent Scientology Story on Beliefnet! Happy Reading!!! ...

posted 3:25:02pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Mommy explains her plastic surgery
In Dallas (naturally), a parenting magazine discusses how easy it is for mommies who don't like their post-child bodies to get surgery -- and to have it financed! -- to reverse the effects of time and childbirth. Don't like what nursing has done ...

posted 10:00:56pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

Why I became Orthodox
Wrapping up my four Beliefnet years, I was thinking about the posts that attracted the most attention and comment in that time. Without a doubt the most popular (in terms of attracting attention, not all of it admiring, to be sure) was the ...

posted 9:46:58pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

Modern Calvinists
Wow, they don't make Presbyterians like they used to! ...

posted 8:47:01pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

'Rape by deception'? Huh?
The BBC this morning reported on a bizarre case in Israel of an Arab man convicted of "rape by deception," because he'd led the Jewish woman with whom he'd had consensual sex to believe he was Jewish. Ha'aretz has the story here. Plainly it's a ...

posted 7:51:28pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

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