Tag: Religion

Atheists in the Pantheon

Atheists, infidels, unbelievers. Humanists, materialists, naturalists. There are a lot of terms for the nonreligious, and many only tell us what people don’t believe. But what do nonbelievers ...

A Tapestry of Black Lives

James Baldwin’s legacy looms powerfully in this current moment. This may be all the more true for black writers. Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, one of the contributors to Jesmyn Ward’s timely new anthology ...

Losing Their Religion

Rarely do we pity the pious Victorian patriarch. Why should we sympathize with the privileged men who stoutly believed that God had placed them at the apex of a “Great Chain of Being”? One of the ...

God Walks Into a Bar

One of the stories in Joy Williams’s Ninety-Nine Stories of God finds Franz Kafka triumphantly addressing a fish at a public aquarium. He has just become a vegetarian, and thus finally feels his ...

How Spiritualism Spread

It seems unlikely that any era in human history was without its fascination with death or the desire to communicate with those who have passed into it. But the 19th century was a period in which ...

Orange Alert

In our post-9/11 era, the phrase “national security” has become all too familiar. A simple Google search yields over 361,000,000 results, ranging from the National Security Council homepage to op-eds ...

A Muslim Future to Come?

The devastating attacks of November 13 on Paris’s 10th and 11th arrondissements viciously targeted the “progressive” heart of the city. When I am there, that is where I live. Like many other ...

The Spinning Wheels of Pluralism

Throughout his poetry, recently published as the collection Sufi Lyrics, Bullhe Shah describes religious life as a spinning wheel. We are impelled to spin properly, but that can only take us so far ...

Saving Muslim Women

The 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris—along with the brutal activities of ISIS—have spurred a resurgence of concern about Islam in Western media. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof fretted ...

Empathetic Criticism

Over the past 50 years or so we have heard repeated calls to break down and restructure the canon, to integrate works from non-Western literary cultures into the general knowledge we expect an ...

Soft Atheism

It’s not easy being new. It doesn’t last long. Sometimes it isn’t even an apt characterization in the first place. Take “New Atheism,” the label applied to a body of writings by such figures as ...

Falling Faintly: McEwan’s Latest

In 1893, the Scottish writer William Sharp began publishing poetry under the pseudonym Fiona MacLeod. MacLeod’s poems caught the eye of W. B. Yeats, who admired her lyricism even as he disdained the ...