We Need A Different Way of Understanding Evil

Good versus evil
I lead a religion book club that has been very enthusiastically reading The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans, and Heretics, by Princeton professor Elaine Pagels. Using what she calls "a social history of Satan," Dr. Pagels explains how gospel authors intensified "the satan's" relatively benign Hebrew Bible character to create the being of mythology known today by many as The Devil. Pagels demonstrates with numerous examples the varying degrees to which the satan/Satan f...

When Modern-Day Messengers Cook Up Unpalatable Messages

Once upon a time in a land far away, on a day many thousands of years before today, a man received a bread recipe. The ingredients were not out of the ordinary for the man's era, and certainly would not be strange for our society: Wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt... The man was instructed to store the mixed bread  elements in a jar, just as his ancestors had been instructed to store manna in a jar. The man combined the ingredients in the jar and built his fire in preparatio...

Is Humanism a Religion? (And more thoughts on religious privilege)

I just finished reading an article titled "Is Black Humanism a Religion" on the website belonging to the Society for U.S. Intellectual History. The writer says that he is "leaning toward categorizing black humanism as more a part of intellectual history than religious history,"-- a decision I understand, but with which I am not in total agreement. We tend to think of people who believe in God and people who don't believe in God as if they exist in two mutually exclusive worlds. I understand thi...