The Week: Most Recent Religion Posts recent posts.en-usThu, 17 Apr 2014 06:07:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent Religion Posts from THE WEEKThu, 17 Apr 2014 06:07:00 -0400Why Holy Thursday is so important to Christians<img src="" /></P><p>For most Christians, this week &mdash; Holy Week &mdash; is the most important week of the year.</p><p>Holy Week culminates in the Paschal Triduum, the three days commemorating the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many Christians prepare for this event with 40 days of fasting, prayer, and alms giving.<br /> <br />Jesus had his last meal &mdash; a Jewish Passover meal &mdash; with his disciples on the evening of a <span class="aBn" data-term="goog_1250106325" tabindex="0"><span class="aQJ">Thursday</span></span> (commemorated as Holy <span class="aBn" data-term="goog_1250106326" tabindex="0"><span class="aQJ">Thursday</span></span>), was arrested during the night, tried Friday morning (Good <span class="aBn" data-term="goog_1250106328" tabindex="0"><span class="aQJ">Friday</span></span>), and condemned, crucified, and dead before sundown on Friday. And, according...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/pascal-emmanuel-gobry" ><span class="byline">Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry</span></a>Thu, 17 Apr 2014 06:07:00 -0400Why would a young person today be religious?<img src="" /></P><p>This week millions of Jews in America and around the world celebrate the holiday of Passover. Meanwhile, millions of Christians are preparing to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday and rejoice in his resurrection on Easter Sunday three days later.</p><p>And then there's everyone else.</p><p>I don't mean Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists and adherents of many other smaller faiths around the globe. I'm talking about the growing number of people, mainly in the U.S. and Europe, who couldn't care less about religious holidays and rituals. These are the "nones" &mdash; the roughly one fifth...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/damon-linker" ><span class="byline">Damon Linker</span></a>Thu, 17 Apr 2014 06:04:00 -0400Why the U.S. should step away from Israel-Palestine negotiations -- for good<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>The Israel-Palestine movie has been stuck on a loop for a long time. It's time now to admit we've seen enough &mdash; and exit the theater.</p><p>Nearly 24 years ago, then- Secretary of State James Baker sat before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, rattled off the White House phone number and told the Israeli government, via his interlocutors, "When you're serious about peace, call us." Baker delivered his blunt ultimatum in response to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's ostensible disregard for a U.S. diplomatic initiative aimed at bringing a negotiated resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Lisa GoldmanWed, 16 Apr 2014 09:20:00 -0400Jesus may have had a wife. But that doesn't mean women will become priests.<img src="" /></P><p>Holy Week began yesterday at churches around the world with the observance of Palm Sunday. Over the next six days, Christians will commemorate Jesus Christ's Last Supper, his tribulation in the Garden of Gethsemane, his arrest and trial before Pontius Pilate, his crucifixion at Calvary, and finally, on Easter morning, his resurrection.</p><p>And thanks to a tiny piece of papyrus (it measures 4 by 8 centimeters), at least some of those Christians will be wondering whether Jesus was mourned in death by a spouse whom he considered one of his disciples. When the fragment was unveiled in 2012 by a historian...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/damon-linker" ><span class="byline">Damon Linker</span></a>Mon, 14 Apr 2014 06:07:00 -0400For Christians, a silver lining to losing the culture war?<img src="" /></P><p>As I wrote last year, the culture war is over, and conservatives lost. For Christians, though, there might just be a silver lining.</p><p>Now, of course, it's understandable why many of my fellow cultural conservatives mourn the decline of Christian values in the public arena, inasmuch as they had a powerful influence on the rise of western civilization. Historians like Rodney Stark and sociologists like Mary Eberstadt (and many others) have chronicled this phenomenon. It's not simply about "losing power and market share," but mourning the very real downstream effects of secular liberal policies on...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/matt-k-lewis" ><span class="byline">Matt K. Lewis</span></a>Thu, 03 Apr 2014 10:40:00 -0400How Pope Benedict unwittingly made the Catholic case for 'conscious uncoupling'<img src="" /></P><p>When Pope Benedict XVI announced he was stepping down as pope a year ago &mdash; dropping the news almost casually, in Latin, at a meeting about an upcoming canonization &mdash; nobody was sure what to call it. No living pope had handed off the keys of St. Peter since Gregory XII in 1415. If Pope Benedict had only waited some 14 months to announce his retirement &mdash; or abdication, or vacation &mdash; we might have had an apt phrase at the ready: Conscious uncoupling.</p><p>Gwyneth Paltrow didn't make up the term to describe her separation from husband Chris Martin &mdash; conscious uncoupling as...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/peter-weber" ><span class="byline">Peter Weber</span></a>Mon, 31 Mar 2014 11:16:00 -0400Why Christianity demands pacifism<img src="" /></P><p>In a recent column, I discussed Nigel Biggar's important new book defending just war theory. Though admiring of the author's clarity and erudition, I found his arguments unpersuasive. Instead of encouraging policymakers and citizens to reflect more deeply on whether to go to war, just war thinking ends up providing additional moral and theological justification for militaristic actions the U.S. and Great Britain would be inclined to undertake anyway. I concluded that the book thus inadvertently demonstrates that "just war thinking, even at its very best, is an intellectual, moral, and theological...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/damon-linker" ><span class="byline">Damon Linker</span></a>Mon, 31 Mar 2014 06:06:00 -0400Why churches should brace for a mass exodus of the faithful<img src="" /></P><p>A few weeks ago, I wrote about how the sweeping acceptance of gay marriage in recent years is owed in large part to Christianity. Rejecting the rigidly hierarchical and stratified societies of the ancient world, Jesus Christ taught the equal dignity of all persons, proclaimed that the meek shall inherit the earth, and declared that the last shall be first and the first shall be last. The Western world has been working out the logic of these subversive teachings ever since, with the institutional transformation of marriage being the latest, though surely not the last, example of its social, moral...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/damon-linker" ><span class="byline">Damon Linker</span></a>Mon, 24 Mar 2014 06:25:00 -0400Why Christians should forgive Fred Phelps<img src="" /></P><p>Fred Phelps, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, reportedly passed away today. His death brings up conflicted memories &mdash; memories that, I imagine, would have been easier to brush away if I had not personally encountered the man and his congregation.</p><p>I met the Phelps family when the Westboro Baptist Church briefly picketed my undergraduate institution, Brandeis University. At the time I wrote for my school paper, and wanted to interview Shirley Phelps-Roper, the daughter of Fred Phelps, to find out why Brandeis had been chosen for a picket.</p><p>As it turned out, Brandeis had been selected...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/elizabeth-stoker" ><span class="byline">Elizabeth Stoker</span></a>Thu, 20 Mar 2014 12:31:00 -0400What the GOP just doesn't get about Christian voters<img src="" /></P><p>Christian leaders at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this year had an interesting message for religious voters: Don't take your values <em>too</em> seriously at the voting booth.</p><p>Tom Minnery, president of Focus on the Family's political branch, CitizenLink, told Christian voters that they should "put up with presidential candidates who may not be as pure as you are in your moral principles." According to John Andrews, another Christian conservative recruited to address voters at the conference, the media are party to a nefarious mission to create squabbles between conservatives and...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/elizabeth-stoker" ><span class="byline">Elizabeth Stoker</span></a>Tue, 18 Mar 2014 07:14:00 -0400