7 Questions for Anthony Petro

AIDS Memorial Quilt

I wanted to write something about religion and sexuality for my doctoral work, but I never thought about writing on religion and the AIDS crisis until I watched a film by Gregg Bordowitz, an artist and professor at the Art Institute of Chicago. . . . One of the scenes featured a gay black man standing at a microphone, describing how horrendous the AIDS crisis was at the time – in the 1980s – and then he spoke about God. Not in a negative way, but as a positive force, as a source of grace, even for gay men with AIDS.

The Muppets are America

Miss Piggy and Kermit

Hussein Rashid The Muppets are back on TV, and now seems to be a good moment to talk about how they represent what America is, not what it was. Their recent family news and music videos display the multi-cultural United States that is our new normal. First, of course, is the shocking news that Kermit and Miss Piggy have broken up, and that Kermit has a new girlfriend. It is a sad day, but also speaks to the fact that the US has a high divorce rate.

Seven Questions for Ted Smith

“Tragic Prelude,” a mural portion by John Steuart Curry, in the Kansas Statehouse, 1937–42.

The deepest roots of this book, Weird John Brown, are in my attempts to think about how to live as a white man in a United States that is so deeply disfigured by slavery and its legacies. 

American Religion: Less is More

Reason Rally

Gary Laderman What do you think? Is religious life fully captured by survey questions, graphs and bar charts? Or do these methods of collecting and displaying data fall short as indicators of the spiritual lives of Americans? Is it time to panic about the supposed decline of religion, or should we look to other metrics and methods to delve into what is really happening on the American religious landscape?

Giving up the Ghost?: Being Human in the Age of Intelligent Machines (Part I)

Artificial Intelligence

Sylvester Johnson For several centuries now, at least, a thriving humanities tradition has been established on the notion that being human is in large measure predicated on the ability to think and reason. In contemplating the nature of human ontology, Rene Descartes (1596–1650) famously quipped that the human subject can be known to exist precisely because of thinking, which requires a thinker as subject—Cogito ergo sum