Religion

The Christians, Traverse

Edinburgh Fringe highlights: world-class improv, Bible study and an hour with a gentle genius

29 August 2015
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical Pleasance
The Christians Traverse
John Lloyd: Emperor of the Prawns Assembly Checkpoint

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical offers a brand new song-and-dance spectacular at every performance. It opens with a brilliantly chaotic piece of comedy. A theatre producer on stage telephones Cameron Mackintosh… Read more

Clerical Crowd

God’s management consultants: the Church of England turns to bankers for salvation

18 July 2015

A new mood has taken hold of Lambeth Palace. Officials call it urgency; critics say it is panic. The Church of England, the thinking goes, is about to shrink rapidly,… Read more

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is greeted by Pope Francis during the Ordinary Public Consistory at St. Peter's Basilica in February (Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty)

The return of Benedict XVI

11 July 2015

One of the finest speeches Benedict XVI ever delivered was about sacred music. It is a small masterpiece, in which Benedict recalls his first encounter with Mozart in the liturgy.… Read more

(Photo: Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Sorry, but you can’t take the Islam out of Islamic State

4 July 2015

At last, British politicians have been galvanised into action by the appalling events last weekend in the Tunisian resort of Sousse, in which 38 people were murdered by an Islamist… Read more

Pope Francis (Photo: Getty)

In being suckered into climate alarmism, the Pope risks backing policies that hurt the world's poor

20 June 2015

In his latest encyclical Pope Francis will apparently describe global warming as a ‘major threat to life on the planet’. If the leaked reports are accurate, his Holiness is absolutely… Read more

Sir Thomas Browne (Photo: Getty)

It’s amazing how many different subjects Sir Thomas Browne’s latest biographer doesn’t care about

20 June 2015
The Adventures of Thomas Browne in the 21st Century Hugh Aldersey Williams

Granta, pp.330, £20, ISBN: 9781847089007

On the evening of 10 March 1804, Samuel Taylor Coleridge settled at a desk in an effort to articulate what he found so appealing about the 17th-century English polymath Sir… Read more

The-last-Christian-(1)_SE

2067: the end of British Christianity

13 June 2015

It’s often said that Britain’s church congregations are shrinking, but that doesn’t come close to expressing the scale of the disaster now facing Christianity in this country. Every ten years… Read more

YEMEN-CONFLICT-DEMO

Original sin makes us better people. I wish Muslims believed in it

11 April 2015

These days, on the subject of Islam, non-Muslims have mostly divided into two camps — though there’s a little wandering about between the tents. Camp one says Islam is a… Read more

catholic

Why Pope Francis could be facing a Catholic schism

11 April 2015

A scurrilous rumour recently swept Rome: the Pope had summoned the Vatican’s finance czar over his expenses. When Cardinal George Pell admitted spending more than £3,000 on a designer kitchen… Read more

Was Mrs Thatcher religious? Photo: Getty

Did Mrs Thatcher ‘do’ God? Denis thought so, and he should know, says Charles Moore

11 April 2015
God & Mrs Thatcher Eliza Filby

Biteback, pp.432, £25, ISBN: 9781849547857

As I swink in the field of Thatcher studies, this book brings refreshment. It is a welcome and rare. Far too many writers attitudinise about Margaret Thatcher (for and against)… Read more

Quiet Please

What happened to Julie Burchill on silent retreat

4 April 2015

When I told my friends that I was planning to attend a silent retreat, they all laughed. It’s true that I am something of a convivialist; my idea of heaven… Read more

Allah, Zeus and the Church of England

21 March 2015

A ‘prominent liberal cleric’ in London has held an Islamic prayer service in his church, St John’s Waterloo. ‘We all share these traditions,’ he announced, ‘so let us celebrate our… Read more

Muslims Celebrate The Festival Of Eid In London

Where the battle for the future of British Islam is being fought – and perhaps lost

7 March 2015

Tell Mama is Britain’s most prominent opponent of anti-Muslim prejudice. It monitors everything from criminal assaults to everyday abuse. The far right loathes it, and the Conservative press sells the… Read more

Rifle Lesson

21 February 2015

Gun lords The House of Lords shooting range is to be turned into a cupboard, having previously survived an attempt by Labour MPs in 1997 to turn it into a… Read more

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It takes a village (or six): the battle for rural churches

21 February 2015

Some of the longest job descriptions belong to rural Church of England clergy. ‘So what do you do?’ ‘I’m the Rector of Aldwincle, Clopton, Pilton, Stoke Doyle, Thorpe Achurch, Titchmarsh… Read more

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Paganism is alive and well – but you won’t find it at a Goddess Temple

14 February 2015

The first pagan temple to be built in Iceland for a thousand years has just been granted planning permission, a wonderful bureaucratic detail that shows up just how much this… Read more

Theo

Why calling for an ‘Islamic Reformation’ is lazy and historically illiterate

7 February 2015

It’s been said for years now: Islam needs its reformation. Some centuries ago, Christianity ditched its theocratic impulse and affirmed modern political values — let Islam do likewise! Let its… Read more

Quran_SE

How to save Islam from the Islamists

17 January 2015

The terror attack in Paris last week represents Islamism’s most explicit declaration of war on free society. Non-Muslims were slaughtered in a non-Muslim country to avenge a so-called crime against… Read more

An activist of Pakistani Islamic party J

'Religion of peace' is not a harmless platitude

17 January 2015

The West’s movement towards the truth is remarkably slow. We drag ourselves towards it painfully, inch by inch, after each bloody Islamist assault. In France, Britain, Germany, America and nearly… Read more

‘The Census at Bethlehem’, 1566, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Climate change, Bruegel-style

13 December 2014

It is cold, but not in a cheery, robin-redbreast kind of way. The sky is slate blue; the sun, a red ball, is slipping below the horizon, figures carrying heavy… Read more

8 November 2014

Mind games Sir: I hope that people are not unduly put off by Melanie McDonagh’s misrepresentation of mindfulness as a cop-out for navel-gazers who lack the moral fibre to engage… Read more

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

Watch out Pope Francis: the Catholic civil war has begun

8 November 2014

‘At this very critical moment, there is a strong sense that the church is like a ship without a rudder,’ said a prominent Catholic conservative last week. No big deal,… Read more

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is something worse than just a smug middle-class trend

1 November 2014

The chances are that by now either you or someone you know well has begun to practise ‘mindfulness’ — a form of Buddhism lite, that focuses on meditation and ‘being… Read more

Pope Benedict XVI (L), meets Britain's C

Jonathan Sacks on religion, politics and the civil war that Islam needs

1 November 2014

Jonathan Sacks has an impressive track record for predicting the age we are in. In his 1990 Reith Lectures, ‘The Persistence of Faith’, the then chief rabbi pushed back against… Read more

Jane Horrocks as the slovenly matriarch still fond of her bullying husband George (‘East is East’ playwright Ayub Khan Din, left)

Is London's West End Jewish enough for David Baddiel’s musical The Infidel?

25 October 2014
The Infidel — The Musical Theatre Royal Stratford East
East is East Trafalgar Studios

David Baddiel has turned his movie, The Infidel, into a musical. The set-up is so contrived and clumsy that it has a sweetness all its own. A golden-hearted London cabbie,… Read more