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Religion Book Notes

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The sound of publishers' envelopes and boxes dropping onto the office floor is a steady reminder that there is no end to the writing of books, including books about religion. So many words; so little time to ingest and savor. But I do my best to skim and sometimes even to peruse.

In a time of ...

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books
religion
politics

Faith of a Skeptic

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When reporting about religion, I am often asked about my own beliefs. My response is usually evasive, though at an unspoken level, it runs something like this: "Hey, I'm the neutral observer here; I don't have to account for my religion!"

To which a more truthful inner voice replies: "Baloney!

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religion

A Megacorrection for a House of Worship

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What if you were at the helm of one of the most successful megachurches in the country and you discovered that one of the keys to your success wasn't really making your congregants better Christians? In the case of Bill Hybels, the founder and pastor of Chicago's Willow Creek Community Church, the ...

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religion

The Birth of Fundamentalism

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Religious fundamentalism has become one of the great cultural and political forces in the modern world. Associated with scriptural literalism and inflexible dogmatism, it has created divisions and hostilities within different religious traditions as well as among them. In its most extreme forms, it ...

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religion

Norman Mailer: Theologian, of Sorts

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Norman Mailer—before he died, almost implausibly, last weekend—fought with any individual or group that provoked him. And since that included just about everybody at one time or another, it's probably not surprising that he also quarreled, at least somewhat respectfully, with God.

Mailer's idea of ...

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TAGS:
religion
evolution

Judas Wasn't Even a Gnostic Hero

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Remember all the hoopla about the Gospel of Judas, the long-lost Gnostic text that depicted Judas not as wicked villain but as the Messiah's favorite, who was given the nasty job of betraying him because he understood Jesus's special mission better than anybody else did?

Well, now it turns out that ...

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Christianity

A Mighty Blunt Instrument

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Of the many things 9/11 might be blamed for, the dumbing down of the nation ranks among the worst of the worst. For recent evidence of this effect—ah, where the war on terrorism has taken us— consider the decision by the federal Bureau of Prisons to remove hundreds of thousands of religion books ...

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TAGS:
9/11
religion
Department of Justice

So What's Their Problem With Israel?

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If America's support of Israel is unswerving—perhaps uncritically so, some critics say—a new report on attitudes of young American Jews toward the Jewish state suggest that they may not be the solid block of Israel boosters that their elders have traditionally been. Indeed, the study finds that ...

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TAGS:
Judaism
Israel
demographics

Mother Teresa's Struggle

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Pre-publication buzz about a book containing Mother Teresa's private writings, Come Be My Light, occasioned an unusually strong burst of media attention last week, including a cover story in Time and coverage on all the major networks. The big news was that the Albanian-born religious who devoted ...

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TAGS:
religion
Christianity
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