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Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher

Religion Archives

What a bad teacher can do

posted by Rod Dreher

We are accustomed to narratives praising good teachers and the difference they’ve made in the lives of their students. But I don’t think I’ve ever read one about what a bad teacher has wrought in a student’s life — until […]

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Why no Jewish fantasy novels?

posted by Rod Dreher

Ross Douthat investigates via an essay by Michael Weingrad, who takes up the question, “Why are there no Jewish Narnias?” Douthat, who links to the Weingrad essay from his blog entry (which I’m trying to get you to visit), writes: […]

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“There’s Never Enough Morphine”

posted by Rod Dreher

My dad, I’m pleased to say, has quit smoking. After seeing what his daughter is going through with her lung cancer, he stopped cold turkey, after a lifetime of the habit. Talking to him on the phone driving into work […]

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‘A New Age of Wonder.’ Really?

posted by Rod Dreher

The big science and tech thinkers in the orbit of Edge.org recently held a grand dinner in California, on the theme of “A New Age of Wonder.” The title was taken from a Freeman Dyson essay reflecting on how the […]

Does Templeton “buy off” journalists?

posted by Rod Dreher

The John Templeton Foundation — for which I now work, please note — has announced winners of its 2010 Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowships in Science & Religion. They are: Qanta Ahmed, Contributor, Huffington Post, and Broadcast Commentator John Farrell, Freelance Journalist […]

From neo-Nazi to haredi Jew

posted by Rod Dreher

Here’s an astonishing story of a miracle of repentance: WARSAW — When Pawel looks into the mirror, he can still sometimes see a neo-Nazi skinhead staring back, the man he was before he covered his shaved head with a skullcap, […]

Sarah Ruden, a joyful iconoclast

posted by Rod Dreher

The most exciting book of historical analysis I’ve read in ages — indeed the most exciting book period — is the Classical scholar and translator Sarah Ruden’s “Paul Among the People” (Pantheon) which attempts to defend St. Paul against his […]

Is the Reformation ending?

posted by Rod Dreher

My friend and colleague Charlotte Hays has a Wall Street Journal commentary up today, in which she reflects on Pope Benedict’s recent outreach to disaffected Anglicans. This passage, about Father Eric Bergman, a former Episcopal priest turned Catholic priest, caught […]

Health as harmony

posted by Rod Dreher

More from that Krista Tippett interview with Dr. Sherwin Nuland I blogged about yesterday — an excerpt from a Nuland book: Always, the purpose of treatment is only to restore nature’s balance against disease. There is no recovery unless it […]

God and foreign policy

posted by Rod Dreher

New study finds that American foreign policy is handicapped by a “God gap,” an inability of the U.S. foreign policy establishment to fully appreciate the role of religion in human affairs. Excerpt from the Washington Post report: “It’s a hot […]

How not to analyze religion

posted by Rod Dreher

I was surprised to come across my own name in Samuel G. Freedman’s religion column this past Saturday in the NYT. Freedman wrote a piece saying that voodoo is misunderstood and unfairly criticized by Westerners. Here’s the part where he […]

Andy Crouch’s three last things

posted by Rod Dreher

Andy Crouch, contemplating the possibility of lung cancer at age 42 after troubling medical test results, thinks of three things: First, I love the world. E. B. White, author of Charlotte’s Web: “All that I hope to say in books, […]

When prayer seems futile

posted by Rod Dreher

I am finding it hard to maintain my prayers right now. I know in my head that just because my sister has not experienced a miraculous recovery and jumped out of bed to second-line out of the hospital, that does […]

The theology of illness

posted by Rod Dreher

On the way out the door to the airport yesterday, I pulled a few books off my shelf that I thought might be useful reading in the days to come. One I grabbed was a thin but rich book by […]

What good has intelligent design done?

posted by Rod Dreher

Not much, either for science or religion, says physicist Stephen Barr. Excerpt: None of this is to say that the conclusions the ID movement draws about how life came to be and how it evolves are intrinsically unreasonable or necessarily […]

Why Orthodox Judaism thrives

posted by Rod Dreher

Shorter Ben Greenberg: Because it’s the antidote to Moralistic Therapeutic Deism among Jews. From the longer essay by Greenberg, who is the Orthodox rabbi at Harvard: What changed in the half century since 1952? If anything, the America of today […]

Icarus and the seraph

posted by Rod Dreher

Artist Dan Hillier’s portrayal of Icarus has the mythical figure being dropped from the sky by a seraph, one of the higher angels. Interesting what it says about hubris as a form of defying divinity. In this image (at least […]

Pews vs. standing: an Orthodox controversy

posted by Rod Dreher

My family came into Orthodoxy in a parish without pews. St. Seraphim’s Cathedral in Dallas observes the traditional Orthodox custom of parishioners standing for the entire two-hour liturgy, though there are chairs lining the sides of the worship space for […]

Lent is here

posted by Rod Dreher

So, it begins — at least for us Orthodoxes; our Western Christian brothers and sisters will join us on Wednesday. I felt far away from our church home in Dallas today; the Forgiveness Vespers service is always so very moving, […]

St. Paul, in historical context

posted by Rod Dreher

Sarah Ruden is an highly acclaimed classical translator , a researcher on the Yale Divinity School faculty, and a Quaker. She’s also the author of a new book about St. Paul, called “Paul Among the People: The Apostle Reinterpreted and […]

Darwin & Gray: How to talk about science and religion

posted by Rod Dreher

Via a New Scientist blog, here’s a nifty notice of the stage play “Re: Design,” built on the real-life 40-year correspondence between Charles Darwin and his friend, Harvard botanist Asa Gray, who accepted Darwin’s theory of evolution without losing his […]

Mortality

posted by Rod Dreher

Woke up this morning to the shocking, awful news that an old friend was killed yesterday in a car crash near New Orleans. Gerard was taking his parents, who also died, home from the doctor. Police today booked a woman […]

Atheism and our inhuman nature

posted by Rod Dreher

On the drive to work this morning, I listened to a Mars Hill Audio Journal interview with the Orthodox Christian theologian David Bentley Hart , in which Hart discussed his book “Atheist Delusions,” which attacks Ditchkins et alia. In the […]

Modernity and seeing through a glass, darkly

posted by Rod Dreher

I’m really enjoying Templeton Prize winner Charles Taylor’s massive tome, “A Secular Age.” Unlike most philosophers, Taylor is a crystal-clear writer, and has the gift of being able to discuss profound and complex thoughts without giving himself over to impenetrable […]

Young adults: lost without a map

posted by Rod Dreher

I keep telling you that you need to subscribe to Mars Hill Audio Journal, and sure enough, every time I listen to a new edition, I marvel at how terrific Ken Myers’ interviews are, and how nobody is doing anything […]

Faith, reason and paradigm shifts

posted by Rod Dreher

Writing in The Guardian, Mark Vernon comments on a recent Cambridge University lecture delivered by the major philosopher and Templeton Prize winner Charles Taylor, who spoke about religion and science. Taylor reportedly said that in the conventional understanding of faith […]

Voodoo Christians? Really?

posted by Rod Dreher

Syncretism in our time, in the home of a former Lutheran pastor and her husband, who are now worshiping voodoo spirits: CHICAGO – Images of the washed-out Haitian hillside where their children’s relatives lived have led Peter and Paula Fitzgibbons […]

If Haitian vodou isn’t demon worship, what is?

posted by Rod Dreher

Regular readers know that I hold anthropologist Wade Davis in high esteem, as I’ve been quoting extensively and approvingly from his new book “The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World.” As one would expect, he excoriated televangelist […]

The language of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

posted by Rod Dreher

This morning on the way in I was listening to an old episode of the unfailingly excellent and indispensable Mars Hill Audio Journal, in which sociologist Christian Smith discussed his findings about American youth and Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. I was […]

Why we need more Tim Tebows

posted by Rod Dreher

Washington Post sportswriter Sally Jenkins, who is openly pro-choice, makes a good and important point about masculinity, athleticism and virtue: Here’s what we do need a lot more of: Tebows. Collegians who are selfless enough to choose not to spend […]

MMA and the Fight Club for Jesus

posted by Rod Dreher

In an effort to bring young men to church, some Evangelical ministries and churches are embracing Mixed Martial Arts. Excerpt: Mr. Renken’s ministry is one of a small but growing number of evangelical churches that have embraced mixed martial arts […]

The New Atheists: Just like fundamentalists

posted by Rod Dreher

So says the Canadian philosopher (and 2007 Templeton Prize winner) Charles Taylor, whose masterwork “A Secular Age” I’ve just started. What follows is a passage from an interview Taylor did a couple of years ago, in which he pointed out […]

Haiti and voodoo economics

posted by Rod Dreher

Social scientist Elizabeth McAlister writes about the real-world effect of voodoo religion on the ways Haitians explain — and make — the material world around them. What I found most interesting about McAlister’s post, which appears on the social science […]

The pain in religious conversion

posted by Rod Dreher

An Orthodox friend sends word of a catechumen in his parish, coming to Orthodoxy from Catholicism. My friend is pleased about this, as am I — but I told my friend that as a former Catholic, I have absolutely no […]

Father Moses Berry and black Orthodoxy

posted by Rod Dreher

What an unexpected surprise to find in this morning’s NYT a story about Father Moses Berry, an African-American priest of the Orthodox church, who not only pastors a small Orthodox parish in his Missouri hometown, but also runs a tiny […]

Alabama Baptist boy turned jihadist

posted by Rod Dreher

Fascinating NYT Magazine account today about Omar Hammami, a charismatic boy from small-town Alabama who, having been raised a Baptist, embraced his father’s Islam — and went on to embrace a radical version of same, and to become a celebrated […]

Why is the South so religious?

posted by Rod Dreher

Randall Stephens, editor of the Journal of Southern Religion, says it has a lot to do with the South’s cultural homogeneity for most of its history. I suspect too that the fact that the South remained agrarian (and comparatively poorer) […]

The tragedy of deracination

posted by Rod Dreher

Anthropologist Wade Davis, from his excellent 2009 book “The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World”: Our way of life, inspired in so many ways, is not the paragon of humanity’s potential. Once we look through the anthropological […]

Atheist pwns liberal Christian

posted by Rod Dreher

Via Kathryn Jean Lopez, an exchange between a Unitarian minister and Christopher Hitchens: [Unitarian;] The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories from […]

Pope John Paul II, flagellant

posted by Rod Dreher

Did you hear the latest revelation about the spiritual life of the late Pope John Paul II? Excerpt: Pope John Paul II not only practiced severe bodily penance – including whipping himself with a belt and sleeping on the floor- […]

Reason, religion and moral behavior

posted by Rod Dreher

Yesterday I was discussing with a colleague the role religion has in guiding moral behavior among individuals and groups. Is it possible to demonstrate empirically that religion lowers rates of crime and anti-social behavior? My thought was that the question […]

Would space aliens need redemption?

posted by Rod Dreher

Via Science & Religion Today, we learn of a two-day Royal Society conference in London in which scientific big thinkers speculate on what alien life is likely to be like, if it indeed is ever discovered. A piece in New […]

M. d’Espagnat, the apophatic quantum physicist

posted by Rod Dreher

I’ve been at Templeton only two weeks, and all these great and fascinating things keep turning up. Yesterday after church, I spoke with a friend at coffee hour who, when I told him I’d gone to work for Templeton, spoke […]

George Noory, a religious talk radio host?

posted by Rod Dreher

Loved this Atlantic Monthly profile of George Noory, the host of the overnight syndicated radio show “Coast to Coast.” I had no idea that Art Bell had left the show years ago, and handed it off to Noory. Why is […]

And yet, the Haitians praise God

posted by Rod Dreher

The other night, a day after the Haiti earthquake, ABC News ended its evening broadcast with video of destitute and shell-shocked Haitians standing in the street, singing alleluia. It was a stunning sight. Last night on Fox, Geraldo Rivera reported […]

The newest great American

posted by Rod Dreher

Just got word that my dear friend and godfather Vladimir Grigorenko today became an American citizen. He is the iconographer at St. Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral in Dallas — pictured above — and an emigre from Ukraine. Vladimir was raised without […]

Frenemies: Vatican vs. ‘Avatar’

posted by Rod Dreher

Rome does not like ‘Avatar’. From the NYT report: The newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, wrote that “Avatar,” which stars Sam Worthington, right, “gets bogged down by a spiritualism linked to the worship of nature,” according to The A.P. Vatican Radio said […]

Haiti: Religion as a negative example

posted by Rod Dreher

While we’re talking about the unseen value of native religions, David Brooks reminds us in his column today that a big part of Haiti’s problem is voodoo. Excerpt: Why is Haiti so poor? Well, it has a history of oppression, […]

Religion and empiricism

posted by Rod Dreher

I’m on a Wade Davis kick this week, so I do apologize for the repetition in this week’s blogging of these themes of religion, truth, and culture. But I find this stuff engaging at the moment, and appreciate your comments […]

Faith and ways of knowing truth

posted by Rod Dreher

Today in New York, I paid a visit by the Beliefnet mothership, and said hi to some of the great people who bring you this here blog. I’ll admit, it surprised me that they have upended bottles of Veuve Clicquot […]

Haiti’s agony

posted by Rod Dreher

I apologize for having been away from the keys all day. I’m in New York doing Templeton stuff, and haven’t been able to find a wifi connection at the places I’ve been. I woke up this morning to the terrible […]

Wade Davis on ancient religious knowledge

posted by Rod Dreher

Excerpt from a more recent TED talk by Wade Davis — the entire thing is in the video above — reflecting on the meaning of the worldwide web of religious knowledge: And if we slip from the realm of the […]

The separation of religion and life

posted by Rod Dreher

Good Ross Douthat column today, talking about the meaning of Brit Hume’s on-air appeal to Tiger Woods to embrace Christianity. Douthat neither endorses nor condemns Hume, but does question our culture for pushing the discussion of religion strictly to the […]

In UK, poor Muslim families doing better

posted by Rod Dreher

Poking around the Templeton Report archives this afternoon, I found this news of a Templeton-funded research project that examined life among a geographic segment of economically disadvantage British teenagers. Here’s one of the things researchers found: Hodge Hill is one […]

Faith and speaking today’s language

posted by Rod Dreher

In Philadelphia, several historic Orthodox Christian parishes are on their last legs, because times have changed and so have the demographics of the areas they serve. From a long, interesting report in the Philadelphia Inquirer; Therein lies the challenge for […]

Arguments for the existence of God

posted by Rod Dreher

I’ve just started a novel called “36 Arguments for the Existence of God,” by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein. It will be released next week. Here’s what the author says on Amazon about her book: Dinner party hostesses used to be warned […]

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 to your na-nas? Doc has just the solution: Doctors say

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 October 12, 2006, entry in which I revealed and explained wh

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 racist verdict, and a bizarre one -- but there's more t

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

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