At CNN’s Belief Blog, John Blake offers four warning signs of when religious beliefs become evil. These include absolutism, charismatic leaders, apocalypticism, and the end justifying the means. He notes that “the line between good religion and evil religion is thin, and it’s easy to make self-righteous assumptions.”
Catherine Brekus introduces us to a disturbing, heartbreaking and improbably inspiring life. Sarah Osborn’s early years were an unending series of afflictions made worse by the austere Calvinism of her family and church. Born in England in 1714, Sarah emigrated to America with her parents, who settled in Rhode Island.
Candida Moss unravels a common misperception: that Christianity faced murderous government-sanctioned persecution for its first three centuries, a period in which “the blood of the martyrs” supplied seed for the growing church. Grounded in ten years of research on martyr traditions, Moss’s basic position will surprise few historians.
Instead of sending Jake Strotman to jail for assault, a Cincinnati judge ordered the 23-year-old Catholic to attend a Baptist church for 12 consecutive Sundays. Strotman had gone to a hockey game with some friends. It was dollar beer night at the arena, and the young adults apparently became inebriated. After the game they taunted some Baptist street preachers and a scuffle ensued. That his sentence should be attending Baptist services was Strotman’s suggestion (RNS).