Overheard: July 2016

01 Jul 2017
Overheard: July 2016

“The psalmist is brutally honest about the explosive joy that he’s feeling and the deep sorrow or confusion. And I often think . . . why isn’t church music more like that? Why I am suspicious of Christians is because of this lack of realism. And I’d love to see more of that—in art and in life and in music.”

Lead singer of Irish rock band U2, Bono, critiquing contemporary Christian music.
—The Huffington Post (US)

“An 81-year-old is eight times more likely to attend church than a 21-year-old.”

John Spence, the Church of England’s finance chief, commenting on the decline of church attendance in the UK by today’s young people.—The Guardian (UK)

“It’s sad that so many people feel pressured to do the traditional Christian wedding even when they don’t relate to much of the religion. If people can find some happiness in having Pastafarian weddings, that’s great, and I hope no-one gives them any flak about it.”

Founder of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Bobby Henderson, after New Zealand hosted the world’s first Pastafarian wedding. The group, which began in the US as a protest against religion encroaching into public schools, has gained legitimacy in New Zealand, where authorities recently decided it can officiate weddings.—Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

“The research starkly demonstrates the ways in which [Christians] are out of the cultural mainstream. In fact, sceptics and religiously unaffiliated are now much closer to the cultural ‘norm’ than are religious conservatives. In other words, the secular point of view, which says faith should be kept out of the public domain, is much closer to the mainstream.”

David Kinnaman, president of research company, Barna Group, and lead researcher on a study that revealed faith and religion and Christianity are viewed by millions of adults to be extremist.—Barna (US)

“Christians do not disavow war because it is often so horrible, but because war, in spite of its horror—or perhaps because it is so horrible—can be so morally compelling. That is why the church does not have an alternative to war. The church is the alternative to war.”

Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law, Stanley Hauerwas, on why pacifism needs to be the normative stance for Christians.—ABC Religion and Ethics (Australia)

“Many who leave religion . . . become isolated from their former communities, which can make them anxious, depressed or even suicidal. Others feel liberated. No deconversion story is the same, but many who leave behind strongly-held religious beliefs can see an impact on their health.”

Jon Fortenbury, reporting on the negative physical and mental health effects people may experience after abandoning their faith.—The Atlantic (US)


* Multiple Authors