Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hipster Jesus Debut


"We felt this design summed up the spirit and activity of Christ perfectly and I think it speaks for itself," says Father David Buckley, of Our Lady Immaculate and St Philip Neri Catholic church in Uckfield, UK.

Via the Telegraph.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Jesus Loves you, but I'm his favorite

The New York Times reports on the holier-than-thou syndrome: an inclination to believe that our individual morals are stronger than our peers. Such an inclination is most pronounced in the religious:
One practice that can potentially temper feelings of moral superiority is religion. All major faiths emphasize the value of being humble and the perils of hubris. “In humility count others as better than yourself,” St. Paul advises in his letter to the Philippians.

Yet for some people, religion appears to amplify the instinct to feel like a moral beacon. In a 2002 study, researchers at Baylor University in Texas and Simpson University in California evaluated the religious commitment of 249 students, 80 percent of whom were members of a church.

The researchers, led by Wade C. Rowatt of Baylor, found that the students in this highly religious group considered themselves, on average, almost twice as likely as their peers to adhere to such biblical commandments as “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The study also found that the most strictly fundamentalist of the students were at the highest end of the scale.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

'Joe the Plumber' on the Christian Right, Gerson on why it needs to back off

The Everyman of the 2008 presidential campaign talks with Christianity Today about same sex marriage, the appeal of the Republican Party, his love of James Dobson, and his future in politics.
'Joe the Plumber' (aka Samuel Wurzelbacher), hopes "our leaders actually check with God before he does stuff" and feels that the Republican party needs to work with God more:
Does the Republican Party reach out to evangelicals enough?

No. None of them stand up for anything. They use God as a punch line. They use God to invoke sympathy or invoke righteousness, but they don't stay the course. That's why I think that all needs to be taken out of the federal level and give it back to the states. We've lost our American history. Every state has "In God we trust" or "With God's help" in their constitution. God is recognized as, if you will, America's religion.

In related news, Michael Gerson writes that a large segment of the non-religiously affiliated twenty-somethings would join a community if the religious right hadn't turned them off. Gerson quotes Robert Putnam (of "Bowling Alone" fame), who together with David Campbell, is working on a new book on the subject:
"They are not in church, but they might be if a church weren't like the religious right. . . . There are almost certain to be religious entrepreneurs to fill that niche with a moderate evangelical religion, without political overtones."

What would Jesus say about torture (and why aren't Christians saying it)?

Christians are out of step with the gospel that they preach, writes Cynthia Tucker.
Many evangelical Christians, black, white and brown, are Biblical literalists, insisting that homosexuality is a sin and evolution is heresy because the Bible says so. That same Bible introduces a simple teacher who instructed his followers to turn the other cheek, to repay cruelty with kindness, to disregard their personal safety. Yes, we may be forgiven for being afraid, but fear cannot justify inhumanity to others. How does that jibe with support for barbaric treatment of detainees?