In his latest the Times’ conservative Wunderkind Ross Douthat attempts to explain the current crisis as the result of our nation’s departure from orthodoxy. An honest look at the history of orthodoxy and he might see a past rife with the sin and brutality, enforced less by faith than by coercion.Read More
It’s usually clear to Bart Ehrman who loves him and who hates him. Evangelical Christians have been raking Ehrman over the coals for years for his rejection of biblical inerrancy—and atheists and humanists have embraced his writing as ammunition in the fight against the evils of organized religion. In his new book, Did Jesus Exist?, Ehrman debunks the work of so-called “mythicists”—writers who have argued that a man named Jesus who taught about the coming Kingdom of God never really existed, and that the religions created around him are nothing but fantasy.
A self-styled “devout atheist,” cultural critic Mark Dery is well-known for his sharp-penned critiques of the bigotry and anti-science know-nothingism of the religious right. Yet, in the mid-’70s, Dery was a born-again Christian, caught up in the “Jesus Freak” movement that began in Southern California, near his hometown of San Diego.
In Leper Messiah: A Jesus Freak’s Search for the Meaning of Bowie, Dery uses his spiritual crisis, as a born-again teen torn between his conservative faith and his obsession with David Bowie, to explore the historical connections linking religious zealotry and rabid fandom. Revealing for the first time the doubt-haunted spiritual yearnings at the heart of Bowie’s art, Dery asks searching questions about the costs of blind faith—in messiahs and pop icons—and about what we lose when we lose our religion.Read More
In the eighth and final installation of Mark Dery’s “critical novella” about a ’70s Jesus Freak who switches saviors (from J.C. to Ziggy), the author connects the dots between his devout Bowiephilia and what theologians call kenosis—the emptying out of the self to make room for the indwelling spirit of god.Read More