Future of Christian faith on the debate table at Yale Divinity School

A public conversation between New York Times op-ed columnist Ross Douthat and author Diana Butler Bass on the future of the Christian faith in the United States will take place at Yale Divinity School on Thursday, April 25.

The event, which is free and open to the public, takes place at Marquand Chapel, 409 Prospect St., 3–5:30 p.m.

The conversation will be moderated by Bob Abernethy, host of the PBS program “Religion and Ethics Newsweekly,” and Lillian Daniel, author of  “When ‘Spiritual but Not Religious’ Is Not Enough”(2013).

In his book, “Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics” (2012), Douthat writes that “traditional Christian teachings have been warped into justifications for solipsism and anti-intellectualism, jingoism and utopianism, selfishness and greed.” Douthat attributes this to a “choose-your-own-Jesus mentality [which] encourages spiritual seekers to screen out discomfiting parts of the New Testament and focus only on whichever Christ they find most congenial.”

“Douthat’s vision for the for the future can be found by looking to the past,” say event organizers, who add that Douthat invokes the likes of Reinhold Niebuhr, Fulton Sheen, Billy Graham, and Martin Luther King, Jr., as keepers of Christian orthodoxy.

Butler Bass is a writer and independent scholar who looks at American religion and culture in historical and social context. In her recent book, “Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening” (2012), Bass explores why Christianity in the U.S. seems to have lost the cultural influence and numerical strength it once enjoyed. Rather than calling on Christian orthodoxy of the past to forge the future, Bass suggests that ancient traditions need to be reformed, renewed, and reimagined in ways that “make sense to contemporary people,” according to the organizers.

Titled “The Future of Faith,” the conversation will also be webcast live.

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