27
Feb
It is not too much to say that whoever wishes to become a truly great moral human being (and let us not ask whether or not this is possible) must first divorce himself from all the prohibitions, crimes, and hypocrisies of the Christian church. If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him.
- James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
02
Apr

Andrew Sullivan: Christianity in Crisis

Jefferson’s vision of a simpler, purer, apolitical Christianity couldn’t be further from the 21st-century American reality. We inhabit a polity now saturated with religion. On one side, the Republican base is made up of evangelical Protestants who believe that religion must consume and influence every aspect of public life. On the other side, the last Democratic primary had candidates profess their faith in public forums, and more recently President Obama appeared at the National Prayer Breakfast, invoking Jesus to defend his plan for universal health care. The crisis of Christianity is perhaps best captured in the new meaning of the word “secular.” It once meant belief in separating the spheres of faith and politics; it now means, for many, simply atheism. The ability to be faithful in a religious space and reasonable in a political one has atrophied before our eyes.

Christianity comes not from the head or the gut, but from the soul. It is as meek as it is quietly liberating. It does not seize the moment; it lets it be. It doesn’t seek worldly recognition, or success, and it flees from power and wealth. It is the religion of unachievement. And it is not afraid. In the anxious, crammed lives of our modern twittering souls, in the materialist obsessions we cling to for security in recession, in a world where sectarian extremism threatens to unleash mass destruction, this sheer Christianity, seeking truth without the expectation of resolution, simply living each day doing what we can to fulfill God’s will, is more vital than ever. It may, in fact, be the only spiritual transformation that can in the end transcend the nagging emptiness of our late-capitalist lives, or the cult of distracting contemporaneity, or the threat of apocalyptic war where Jesus once walked. You see attempts to find this everywhere—from experimental spirituality to resurgent fundamentalism. Something inside is telling us we need radical spiritual change.

11
Feb
It should be clear from this catalog of atrocities that anti-Christian violence is a major and underreported problem. No, the violence isn’t centrally planned or coordinated by some international Islamist agency. In that sense the global war on Christians isn’t a traditional war at all. It is, rather, a spontaneous expression of anti-Christian animus by Muslims that transcends cultures, regions, and ethnicities.
Instead of falling for overblown tales of Western Islamophobia, let’s take a real stand against the Christophobia infecting the Muslim world. Tolerance is for everyone—except the intolerant.
—
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, contrary to other prominent “new atheists,” is a political conservative. The statements you see above, excerpted from Ali’s recent Newsweek article, sound fairly close to the kind of arguments New Gingrich or Rick Perry might make if either of these men knew nearly as much about the world as Ali does. 
It is hard to say Ali is wrong when she lists one example after another of tens of thousands of oppressed and persecuted Christians living in the Muslim world. It can be said, however, that this is a very odd point to make and it’s a point that appeals directly to religious conservatives in America.
Most nonbelievers would probably look at these examples and shake their heads, dismayed at the extraordinary ability of religion to turn entire societies mad. But Ali interprets these examples not as symptoms of organized religion, but as a Muslim war against Christianity. 
I think it’s time to start recognizing that Ali is a deeply conservative person and that even those devoted to the Enlightenment can still fall victim to political ideology and bias. 

It should be clear from this catalog of atrocities that anti-Christian violence is a major and underreported problem. No, the violence isn’t centrally planned or coordinated by some international Islamist agency. In that sense the global war on Christians isn’t a traditional war at all. It is, rather, a spontaneous expression of anti-Christian animus by Muslims that transcends cultures, regions, and ethnicities.

Instead of falling for overblown tales of Western Islamophobia, let’s take a real stand against the Christophobia infecting the Muslim world. Tolerance is for everyone—except the intolerant.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, contrary to other prominent “new atheists,” is a political conservative. The statements you see above, excerpted from Ali’s recent Newsweek article, sound fairly close to the kind of arguments New Gingrich or Rick Perry might make if either of these men knew nearly as much about the world as Ali does.

It is hard to say Ali is wrong when she lists one example after another of tens of thousands of oppressed and persecuted Christians living in the Muslim world. It can be said, however, that this is a very odd point to make and it’s a point that appeals directly to religious conservatives in America.

Most nonbelievers would probably look at these examples and shake their heads, dismayed at the extraordinary ability of religion to turn entire societies mad. But Ali interprets these examples not as symptoms of organized religion, but as a Muslim war against Christianity.

I think it’s time to start recognizing that Ali is a deeply conservative person and that even those devoted to the Enlightenment can still fall victim to political ideology and bias. 

19
May

The Christian afterlife provides comfort to millions with its heartwarming creed: “Join us or go fuck yourself.” 

via: anarchival