Our new issue is now live, giving you a little time in advance of Christmas to see what's inside -- such as this multi-part reassessment of the theology in Terrence Malick's film The Tree of Life, and this piece on the collected essays of Jean-Paul Sartre. See the full table of contents here.
Also posted today: E. J. Dionne Jr. on how the defrocking of a Methodist minister and the "Duck Dynasty" controversy "remind us that the appearance of a Savior whose ministry led to the creation of one of the world's most durable religions did not end our battles with each other over what God demands." More:
Yet when even the pope wonders aloud as to whether it's appropriate for him to judge, you begin to see the difficulty of deciding what "true Christians" ought to believe. This raises the question of whether the religiously based principles are merely cultural artifacts that we bend to our own immediate purposes.
The answer lies in embracing a humility about how imperfectly human beings understand the divine, which is quite different from rejecting God or faith. This humility defines the chasm between a living religious tradition and a dead traditionalism. We need to admit how tempted we are to deify whatever commitments we have at a given moment. And those of us who are Christian need to acknowledge that over the history of the faith, there have been occasions when "a supposedly changeless truth has changed," as the great church historian and theologian Jaroslav Pelikan put it.