Articles 

Mary Magdalene: The reviewers reviewed

I haven’t seen the film in question but I’ve read a lot of reviews now and it’s not clear whether this film is really terrible or really powerful. It’s also not clear what people think about the main character Mary Magdalene. History hasn’t treated Mary very fairly. The Economist explains it like this The film’s declared aim is to exonerate Mary Magdalene from a centuries-old charge, and a common misconception. In the sixth century, the Roman church opined that she was the same person as the unnamed sinful woman who,…

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The Curiosity Index (26.03.2018)

Boko Haram kept one Dapchi girl who refused to deny her Christianity “We begged her to just recite the Islamic declaration and put the hijab on and get into the vehicle, but she said it was not her faith, so why should she say it was? If they want to kill her, they can go ahead, but she won’t say she is a Muslim.” Powerful. Pray for Leah Sharibu. Church planting realities What it’s like being involved in a church plant in Finland. How about this for an endorsement: Moving countries…

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How Christianity thrived

Sometime ago I read a post by Scott Alexander on The Invention of Moral Narrative in which he tries to understand where our good v evil theme comes from. He’s trying to figure this out because, I’m basing this off of my continuing confusion over the rise of Christianity. Christianity came out of nowhere and had spread to 10% – 20% of the Roman population by the time Constantine made it official. And then it spread to Germany, England, Ireland, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Armenia, and Russia, mostly peacefully. Missionaries would…

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The Curiosity Index (23.03.2018)

Bill Hybels Accused of Sexual Misconduct by Former Willow Creek Leaders Whichever way this turns out, it’s a really sad story. Darwinian differences: How the theory of evolution viewed women as inferior Darwin claimed that equality was scientifically impossible. In line with his own ingrained assumptions, the standard ones of Victorian England, Darwin maintained that female inferiority is an inescapable consequence of nature. Awkward. So Christianity is no longer the norm? Going underground will do it good Peter Ormerod has a good response to the news that Europe is non-Christian…

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Nine signals of progressive Christianity

Scot McKnight interacts a little with Roger Olson’s attempt to identify markers of progressive Christianity. You should read the whole thing but here they are in condensed form: Doctrines are talked about only as historical relics, not as living realities to be protected and defended An abandonment of church discipline especially as that relates to doctrinal accountability and sexual behaviour A determination, however, slow and subtle, to accommodate to trends within academic culture An elevation of inclusiveness to a virtue bar none The abandonment of concepts such as “sin,” “repentance,” “salvation,” “return of Christ,” and, yes, “judgement of God.” Implicit universalism—…

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The Curiosity Index (22.03.2018)

Are religious people really less smart, on average, than atheists? Apparently so. But what the research actually says is that religious people are more intuitive. “This work suggests, religious belief predisposes people to rely more heavily on intuition in decision-making – and the stronger their belief, the more pronounced the impact.” It also seems to suggest that religion causes intuition but could it not be the case that intuitive people discern that there must be more to life than this? Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer: The New Trinity? And why it won’t…

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The rise of a non-Christian Europe

New research confirms what we have known for a long-time: Europe is a post-Christian continent and post-religious too. As the focus of the study is on 16-29 year olds Stephen Bullivant, a professor of theology and the sociology of religion at St Mary’s University in London and author of the report is probably correct when he says, “Christianity as a default, as a norm, is gone, and probably gone for good – or at least for the next 100 years.” The research supports what has been my theory (based on anecdotes…

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The Curiosity Index (21.03.2018)

Did Jesus Promise to Return within the Lifetime of his Disciples? “Is it really true that Jesus predicted that he would return in the lifetime of his disciples?”  Michael Kruger with the answer. Can religion solve El Salvador’s gang problem? Over the past year, the church has become a refuge for recently released prisoners who are trying to leave the Barrio 18 gang and pledge themselves to God. There’s Saúl, whose sister drove him straight to the church when he left prison five months ago after serving 15 years for…

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