In Amsterdam in 1709, philosopher John Toland set his eyes upon a remarkable manuscript—what he described in Nazarenus as “a Mahometan [i.e., Muslim] Gospel, never before…Read More
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