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Responding to Jimmy Carter’s Criticism of the All-Male Priesthood

If President Carter is correct that the institution of the all-male priesthood contributes to sexism and the abuse of women, then it behooves the church, if not to change its doctrine on the priesthood, at least to acknowledge this unintended effect and work diligently to counter it.

Questioning Faith

Asking questions is dangerous business.  I have friends and acquaintances who, after completing an inquisition into their own religious beliefs, forsook their religion, kicked the dust from their feet, and hit the road for a stroll in the sun.  You probably know such people as well.  I know others whose questioning led them to embrace…

Should I Desire That You All Follow My Religion?

I would hope not to court much controversy by saying that all of us should live in accordance with the truth.  Call it a notion of natural law that I can get behind.  That each of us conceives and understands the truth differently complicates the imperative, but it doesn’t do away with it.   More controversially,…

Anita Sarkeesian and the Damsel in Distress Trope

In early 1986 Nintendo released the action-adventure video game The Legend of Zelda, and when I, a geeky eight-year-old, first got my hands on a NES controller and, with the press of a few buttons, took the sword from the grammatically-challenged old man in the cave, my gaming life changed forever. Even at eight, though,…

Does Opposition to Abortion Demand Certainty That the Fetus Is a Person?

I agree with Ned Resnikoff that the issue of abortion hinges on the question of personhood, but I am not sure the question of personhood as related to nascent human life has to be answered definitively before one may have an ethical basis to avoid (or morally permit) lethal violence against it. We may not,…

The Meaning of Human Sexuality: A Philosophical Query

I don’t suppose I’ll be courting much controversy by saying that human sexuality has historical meaning. The sexual revolution would have made no sense had sex meant nothing to anyone. It was a reaction against prevailing sexual norms, beliefs people had about the nature of sexuality, and cultural attitudes concerning appropriate sexual behavior–i.e., the time’s…

Being in Uncertainty

Claire Creffield, an atheist who finds that, sometimes, “invoking the concept of God seems a very compelling way indeed of doing justice to the strangeness, the beauty and the peril of our lives,” asks whether a religious person could ever conceive of religion as a “non-creedal” way of “being in uncertainty” instead of as a…

Visiting Heaven

Eban Alexander has journeyed to heaven and returned to tell the tale. In addition to writing an upcoming book, he chose to publish his private revelation in the pages of Newsweek. He’s a neurosurgeon, so he’s credible, and we should believe his self-described logical and scientific account of what he experienced. Except he doesn’t proceed…

Human Sexuality and Religious Norms

Decades after the sexual revolution, many religious conservatives remain fiercely committed to preaching, if not always living, an absolute and absolutist understanding of human sexuality. Mainstream biologists, psychologists and sociologists, building on the science of evolution and other modern advancements of understanding, have helped redefine the meaning of normal when it comes to sex, moving…