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Sunday Syllabus – 7/16/2017

Sunday Syllabus is a round-up of interesting articles and links that I came across over the last week. I sometimes provide a little commentary or raise questions. The content is not necessarily brand new, just new to me. If you have a recommendation, use the contact form. No promises.

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FEATURED ARTICLE: Lyman Stone over at Vox argues that the decline of mainline Protestantism is contributing to populism in politics and is even a bigger story than evangelicalism when it comes to explaining Trump’s success. He worries what will happen when other religious groups not far behind the decline curve also fade. I myself share some of these worries, since I consider churches the primary institutions that mediate between the small-scale individual or family and society at large.

Russell Moore’s ongoing struggle with his own Southern Baptist denomination is one of the more interesting sagas playing out right now. This piece puts some nice historical context on that. Who knew CNN was still in the news business?

A story about the Flat Earth Society raises questions about the sociology of knowledge in the age of the Internet. They’re a grassroots community of people with unorthodox beliefs, linked via media over long distances and committed to proclaiming their message to the deluded majority. Sound a little like religion?

Neil Carter of Godless in Dixie reflects, in a somewhat one-sided way, on the relationship between belief and the will. The question is not simply whether we can choose our beliefs, but to what extent we can hold people morally accountable for theirs. There’s an autobiographical component to his reflection, as perhaps there must be.

Author and pastor Eugene Peterson comes out in favor of same-sex marriage, then backtracks. More to come?

The Harvard Business Review thinks humanities degrees are the next big thing in tech. I might not starve to death when my funding runs out, as my Chronicle of Higher Ed Magic 8-Ball keeps predicting.

Andrew Knapp talks about the Ancient Near Eastern genre into which the biblical writings about David fall. This is a very popular-level presentation of his scholarship. However, he makes one unforgivable error in his writing, which I’m sure my astute readers can spot.

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