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Film

'Hail Satan?' Is Devilishly Fun

Documentarian Penny Lane challenges you to leave behind your preconceptions and give the Devil his due in this irreverent, entertaining look at the Satanic Temple, Hail Satan?

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Film

All the Right Intentions Can’t Bring 'Boy Erased' to Life

The tragedy of conversion therapy is confronted in Boy Erased, a well-meaning but perfectly conventional message movie.

Film

Gay Conversion Therapy Onscreen: Joel Edgerton On 'Boy Erased'

Actor-director Joel Edgerton details the sensitive process of making Boy Erased and how the film could act as a lifeline for families who have experienced gay conversion therapy.

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The End of Endings; or, Why Won't Anyone Stay Dead?

What does it mean, ontologically and narratively, when the seeming finality of death disappears from our stories? What does it mean when our stories and our characters, unlike our lives, refuse to come to an end?

Books

The Devil's Music Captures How Evangelicals Went from Condemning Rock 'n' Roll to Harnessing It

Religious conservatives have spent as much time studying popular culture as they have condemning it, and they have arguably learned its lessons more effectively than social progressives.

Books

Stephen King: 'America's Dark Theologian'

Horror might not be a replacement for the absolutism of religion, but for Stephen King its proved to be both a lucrative and at times life-long examination of what exists behind locked doors.

Books

What Do We Mean When We Say America Is a Christian Nation?

Matthew Bowman provides a dutiful if rather too clinical examination of how Americans have clashed or convened as to what Christianity encompasses and how this concept alters as the nation debates itself.

Music

ionnalee Brings a "Full on Requiem" to the Album Format

After three compelling audio-visual albums as iamamiwhoami, a profound health scare inspired Jonna Lee to relaunch as a bold, talented solo artist -- for the second time in her career.

Books

A Religion Scholar Goes 'In Search of Soul', Comes Back with Ralph Ellison, Garcia Lorca, and Hip-Hop

Alejandro Nava ties black and brown art about survival to biblical values and stories.

Books

'The Meaning of Belief' Prefers Calm Logic to Bold Catchphrases

An atheist argues against the New Atheists by promoting an alternative reaction to religion.

Books

Martin Luther Bio 'A World Ablaze' Burns with Righteous Heat

Craig Harline dramatizes the historical record, so we witness verified events as they occur. His style carries one into the considerable courtly power plays, keeping erudite ideas vivid.

Books

Yoshio Aramaki's 'The Sacred Era' Is Anything But a Heavenly Read

As much as I had hoped, Cloud Atlas, The Bone Clocks, or even 1Q84, The Sacred Era is not.

Politics

Can We Say the F Word Yet? On Fascism and Humor

In light of the decrees and executive orders signed thus far by Donald Trump, we might reasonably ask: is fascism relevant to America's current political state?

Reviews

On Political, Religious, and Business Interests in The West Bank: 'The Settlers'

The Settlers is a poignant documentary focused on the Israeli Settler Movement in the West Bank and the multiple forces perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Politics

Believe Me! Trumpism and the Messianic Impulse

Mario Cuomo once said that candidates campaign in poetry then govern in prose; Trump’s utterances, however, might better be characterized as speaking in tongues.

Music

Ab-Soul: Do What Thou Wilt

Top Dawg's Ab-Soul approaches a lot of interesting thoughts with his newest release, but doesn't explore them fully enough to make them stick.

Games

Searching for Wholesome Online Fun: LDS Gamers

While being skeptical about the Church ever officially endorsing video games, LDS gamers remains hopeful about the future, knowing that Mormon society is slowly growing to appreciate gaming.

Science

Nutty Professors? The Case for Scientist-Humorists in the Culture Wars

It's time for the personalities of the science community to emerge from their labs and to get into the ring.

Reviews

A 50th Anniversary Reflection on the Greatness of Lenny Bruce

Chief among Bruce’s peeves is hypocrisy of any stripe, and chief among his virtues is his constant willingness to cop to his own sordid contradictions.

Politics

Who's Better Than Mark Twain at Bible-bashing?

Sounding more like Christopher Hitchens than a lapsed Presbyterian from the 19th century, Mark Twain rips apart Testaments Old and New.

Culture

The Gospel According to Ricky Gervais (in 140 Characters or Less)

One of today's most accomplished and revered comedic minds has jettisoned himself onto the frontlines of the culture wars where he wittily battles on behalf of humanism, reason, and secularism.

Television

Bill Maher and the Perils of the Commentator-Comedian

To offend is inevitable for the socio-political commentator-comedian, and to suffer the slings and arrows of backlash should be equally expected.

Culture

George Carlin: Philosopher, Poet, Preacher

Few comedians have aimed for the mind over the funny bone (while still reaching both) quite like George Carlin has.

Politics

Before Charlie Hebdo: The Cartoon Wars

Why is it that cartoons, more than any other expressive form, have incited the wrath of religious backlash?

Reviews

Nobody Won the 'War for the Soul of America'

Andrew Hartman’s engaging exploration of the culture wars confirms that the conflicts will never be resolved because both sides are too extreme for America's moderate middle-ground.

Politics

Antitheism and the Art of the "Hitch Slap"

Before Bill Maher became the demon-du-jour for his satirical scorn of religion, Christopher Hitchens led the charge of rhetorical antitheism.

Performing Arts

The Commandments of Lenny Bruce

Lenny Bruce made the stage his pulpit, the audience his parishioners, and stand-up the sermons for his alternative secular faith.

Music

The Fascination with Fundamentalism in Hardcore Punk

Some bands echoed the Dead Kennedys' anti-Moral Majority messages; others embodied right-wing religion.

Science

A User's Guide to Parody Religions: Churches of the SubGenius & the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Our prophet explains that we may know what gravity is, but we don't know the cause of it, thus, “What if it is He, pushing us down with His Noodly Appendages, that causes this force?”

Games

'Journey' As Ritual

An entire year has passed since I last played Journey, but the weathered ruins and scattered tombstones seem instantly familiar. I have come to this place as a pilgrim, transforming play into ritual.

Politics

A User's Guide to Parody Religions: Dudeism, Invisible Pink Unicorns, and Americhrist Ltd.

Plotting exposure, parody seeks to unveil rather than to mask, to offer truths where it finds lies, deceit, or hypocrisy. So why has religion proven particularly prone to this means of comedic put-down?

Books

Not All Werewolves Are Like "Twilight's" Jacob Black

The White Devil: The Werewolf in European Culture gives you what you wish your teachers taught you in school: Werewolf History.

Film

Monty Python vs. the Religious Right

The Life of Brian tells us much about a period when disparate cultural values were battled over in a dramatic tug-of-war on the frontlines of society -- and for Monty Python, the threat of prison loomed.

Film

Trapped in a Car Driving Through the Desert with Abbas Kiarostami’s 'A Taste of Cherry'

As civil liberties were absorbed by the religious state and exacting codes of conduct were implemented with brutal force in Iran, Kiarostami used his canvas to show hope to his countrymen.

Politics

Family Guy's Sunday Services

Whereas The Simpsons makes an effort to balance its religious satire with pro-spiritual representations, Family Guy largely regards organized faith as wholly corrupt and its believers as dupes and dopes.

Politics

Is 'The Simpsons' TV's Most Sacred Show?

The Simpsons has always taken topical roads less traveled and nowhere is this more apparent than in its regular engagement of personal, institutional, and social issues surrounding religion.


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