So I've been listening to this podcast on the History of Christianity from the Reformed Theological Seminary and there is an odd way that events in the early period of the church are presented which seems rather anachronistic or suffers from "hindsight bias". Is there a term for this? I was wondering if there is literature on this tendency in religious thought (i.e. in which present orthodoxy is retrojected into past debates and conflicts over doctrine.) Is it common? [more inside]
In the recent book by Pope Francis, The Name of God is Mercy, I stumbled at the following in chapter VI: "None of us should speak of injustice without thinking of all the injustice we have committed before God. We must never forget our origins, the mud of which we were made." If God made us out of mud (i.e. something base and, literally, dirty), why is it the Christian view that God is upset when we act according to our base and dirty nature, and that we must seek forgiveness for our actions and our nature? [more inside]
I"m looking for an introductory historico-philosophical text on religion and politics, political-theology, or secularism and anti-secularism philosophically? Specifically, I'm interested in understanding, the context and surrounding works which would situate Carl Schmitt's claims regarding the persistence of theological concepts in 20thC political philosophy. [more inside]
I am trying to find a text that discusses the interpretations of God as "Being" that exist in philosophy (e.g. Spinoza, Hegel, Ancient Greek Philosophy etc) in connection with the common translations of YHWH as "I am". There must be writings on this? [more inside]
Growing up Christian with a fundamentalist slant, I internalized Jesus's "turn the other cheek" teachings to mean, "don't ever set boundaries or express anger."** I'm no longer Christian, but I'm working on reclaiming my spiritual past and figuring out what to keep and what to set aside. Are there texts that interpret the teachings of Jesus through a lens of social justice/personal boundaries/feminism/activism? I'm interested in scholarly or theological texts rather than pop psychology books. [more inside]
There are widespread reports that the Pope now claims that animals go to heaven, based on this article from the illustrious Daily Express newspaper, and in particular this line: “One day we will see our animals again in eternity of Christ’, Francis quoted Paul as saying. Is this a real quote attributed to Paul, or is the Express making shit up, or is Francis making shit up, or what is happening
Help me out, Hivemind. I'm looking for respectable, scholarly books, friendly to the layman, on the early beginnings of Christianity. More specifically, I'm interested in its first few centuries. I'm also hoping to attain a better understanding of Gnosticism and its place in Christianity's history. I am NOT looking for New Age-y neognostic inculcations.
I had a particularly useful version of this in a book some years ago while teaching a class on Chaucer's The Merchant's Tale. It was an (I think) early monochrome block-print of a tree with the peripheral twigs and branches taking one from multiple minor indiscretions to the core seven branches of the deadly sins. For example the twig of impatience might lead to the the branch of wrath. Google image search is not throwing up the detailed "mind-map" tree I recall. It may have been a more modern representation/interpretation of the idea.
I've been a self-studied, involved Christian for most of my adolescence and early adulthood - first as a Catholic, now as an Episcopalian. Here's the thing: I'm pretty sure I don't believe in sin. So, what am I, exactly? [more inside]
I grew up in an atheist household and have never read the Bible. I would like to tackle that beast and start wandering through various branches of Christian theology, with my main goal to start in on Barth's complete works. Can you recommend a good Academic primer or companion to the Bible and general theology that doesn't try to convert me? I am interested in the topic in a scholarly/philosophic sense. I do have a good understanding of the Old World and its various empires and wars, but I am still in the shallow end as far as biblical knowledge is concerned.
I am trying to find some reputable graduate schools that offer masters degrees in Christian theology which can be completed mostly or completely online. [more inside]
I belong to a progressive congregation of the United Methodist Church, and we often host educational series exploring other religions/belief systems (our congregation isn't of the "one true path to God" variety). This fall, we're planning a series on Buddhism. Our adult education committee has tasked me with selecting a book to study. [more inside]
I'm looking for a book that is essentially a mashup of behavioral economics, social psychology, neuroscience, wisdom/bible literature, and mythology. [more inside]
Looking for recommendations for websites and books that explain gay theology. More specifically, pro-gay arguments explaining tough Bible passages that have respected scholarship. I'm tending to see all the usual conservative stuff instead.
What is the best Latin lexicon for translating theological works, especially John Calvin? [more inside]
Why is the concept of evolution seen as contrary to Christian teaching? [more inside]
I want a primer on 20th century theology. Reading suggestions? [more inside]
I'm looking for short Christian/theological readings for a weekly group I'm facilitating this semester. [more inside]
A couple years ago, I read a really intriguing essay that compared the American cultural ideal of "effortless cool" to the theological debate over the importance of grace vs. good acts. I believe that the writer identified the Puritans as coming down on the side of grace, and made a connection between their influence on early America and our cultural preference for grace (i.e. "effortless cool") over good acts (i.e. "trying too hard"). I would really love to cite this essay, but unfortunately, my Google-Fu is failing me. I remember that I read it online, and it was probably linked from a comment on The Blue. Any idea what I read or who wrote it?
I am interested in finding a layman's book about the Hellenistic influences of early Christianity. (Basically how Christianity either adopted or smuggled it in. Not sure which word to use.)
I'm looking for books, documentary, video, anything decently published on the topic of doubt and doubting in Christianity. [more inside]
What books or articles should I read to introduce me to the theology of Cornel West? [more inside]
Good argument/ ideas for an essay on St. Augustine's work? [more inside]
I am looking for suggestions and advice: On obtaining an accurate translation of the Westminster Confession of Faith in Telugu. Thanks!
Can anyone recommend a history of liberation theology? [more inside]
I'm looking for philosophers, both classical and modern, who have constructed arguments for optimism. [more inside]
EpiscopalFilter: What must one believe to be an Episcopalian? What do a significant majority of Episcopalians agree on? What (non-political) issues are members fairly evenly split on? What beliefs are left up to individual members? [more inside]
I'm trying to find a good atlas that shows all of the Roman Roads built throughout the Roman Empire for my pastor friend. I think there were some 53,000 miles of highway built by the Romans, and, as he is preaching through Acts and following Paul's journeys, he'd like to have a good atlas that shows the period Roman district names, cities, terrain features, and especially the roads. Do you have any idea where he might find something like that?
In Reformed Theology, what is the role of Satan? There is talk of foreordination and foreknowledge and absolute sovereignty of God so I don't understand Satan's creation and necessity in this theological framework. Can anybody explain the view or John Calvin's view?
Recommendations for books about religion & theology - phenomenology of, anthropological, sociological, etc. [more inside]
Are there strong theological explanations for why the current activity in miracles isn't quite what it used to be? No more pillars of salt, burning bushes, days being stopped etc... Doesn't he love us?
I'm looking for a place to find a rare copy of a theological text as a present for a retiring professor. [more inside]
My apologies for this vague description--I used to work in a bookstore where I'd pick up and browse through a number of books. One book included a letter written to God by a Jewish man (maybe a rabbi?) imprisoned during the Holocaust. Part of the letter involved him saying, essentially, "no matter what you do to me, God, or what suffering you send, you can't make me stop loving you. That is the form my free will takes." Does anyone know the author or title?
A tough one: I remember reading that during the Reagan years, as part of the campaign to convince the Russians that the US really would launch a second strike if faced with a preemptive Russian attack, Reagan turned to a religious figure or theologian who explained that a retaliatory attack, even if it resulted in the extinction of the human species, would be morally approvable and even required by God, and that it would serve the glory of God, despite the unfortunate consequences it might have for human beings. I don't think I just imagined all this, so I wonder: who was the religious person that articulated this position? What source can tell me about this stuff? Many thanks for any clues.
Help tracking down a Flannery O'Connor quotation. [more inside]
Who is the originator of the familiar literary trope that human beings are half lofty/angelic, half base? [more inside]
Why are Christians opposed to heterosexual pre-marital sex. I can find some Paul diktats but is that the only problem?