What Christopher Hitchens missed about the gospel

In his book, Letters to a Young Contrarian, atheist provocateur Christopher Hitchens advised “permanent engagement with those who think they posses what cannot be possessed. Time spent in arguing with the faithful is, oddly enough, almost never wasted.” That line came back to me as I thought about Hitchens’ curious friendship with Christian apologist Larry Alex Taunton. Their relationship is vividly displayed in Taunton’s new release, The Faith of Christopher Hitchens, a…

The dangers of DIY spirituality

Anyone who acts as their own lawyer has a fool for a client. Repeat the old saw and most heads nod in approval. But we’re strangely willing to believe better about someone who serves as their own priest, spiritual director, or guru. If you want to get fit, you see a physical trainer. To get past psychological trauma, you see a therapist. To get ready for retirement, you see a financial advisor.…

How we write when we write about religion

Every writer knows the truth of the proverb: “A fool is known by his many words.” I prove it to myself once or twice a week—and to the rest of the world far more frequently. I think we can all agree writing about religion is particularly fraught. There are a few standard approaches to communication. We might inform, we might persuade, we might entertain. The best writing manages all three, at least…

What Athanasius can teach us about the hope of Christmas in perilous times

“What child is this?” asks the famous nineteenth century Christmas carol. It’s a question posed since Christ first entered human history two thousand years ago and one that sometimes provokes vitriolic and even violent answers today. We’ve seen it in public tiffs over religion at home and brutal persecution abroad, but a glance to the distant past can provide both perspective and hope. The purpose of Christmas Few people exemplify and clarify…