Daily Beast: The Strange Science Behind Virgin Births

Turns out that nun who gave birth to a child named after the Pope is in good company in the long history of virgin births. Professor Candida Moss on all the strange excuses given when there’s no father.


Last week a nun in Italy gave birth to a baby boy after being rushed to hospital with stomach pains. She named the boy Francesco, or Francis, and nuns at her convent are said to be “very surprised” by the news. No one more so than the woman herself who remarked—in what could be a direct quote from the hit Discovery Channel TV show—“I didn’t know I was pregnant.” Still, while few details are available, she presumably knows how she got that way.

Full story here.

How Santa Hurts Christmas

Yes, it’s true, but Mr. Claus is just about the worst thing to happen to Christianity. We make kids believe in a fat man who hands out gifts unfairly and makes out with mom, and then ask them to believe in Jesus. Right.


Santa is a fixture in a fixture in holiday calendars, at malls, and on lawns across suburbia. But who is Santa really, and does he embody “the spirit of the Holiday” of consumer Christmas?

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Daily Beast: Sarah Palin is Here to Save Christmas

.Our favorite Alaskan wants to rescue the holiday from angry atheists and liberal do-gooders, but what exactly does she have in mind? There’s scant talk of the Bible in her book.

The war on Christmas comes but once an election cycle, and with Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, fires the first shot. The volume is part call to arms against the “Scrooges” secularizing Christmas, part theological statement about the meaning of Jesus’s birth, and part recipe book.

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Daily Beast: Run with the Devil

A high school student refused to compete with the bib number 666 because it’s the sign of the Beast. But is it? And just how can one run with God?


It sounds like a Disney version of Chariots of Fire. Kentucky high school student Codie Thacker made waves this week by refusing to compete in a cross-country race with the assigned bib number 666. As religious devotees, horror movie buffs, and Iron Maiden fans know, that’s what the Biblical book of Revelation calls the “number of the Beast.” Her coach tried without success to secure another number for the 16-year-old, but in the end Thacker nobly withdrew on religious grounds because, as she puts it, “I didn’t want to risk my relationship with God.”

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Daily Beast: America’s Wrong About Jesus

A new poll finds that 26 percent of Americans believe the Jews killed Jesus. They’re historically ignorant, but they do read their Bible—that is who the New Testament blames, after all.
poll released last week by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reports that twenty-six percent of the American public continues to believe that “Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus.” Although the number has dropped from 31% in 2011, the ADL described it as “surprisingly large.”Read more here

Daily Beast: Diet Like Jesus

According to Pat Robertson a low carb diet goes against God’s laws. Candida Moss on how we were all vegans in Eden and other Biblical diets that you may (not) want to follow today.


On last week’s 700 Club, Pat Robertson announced that low-carb diets “violate the principles that God set down.” Finally, something Pat Robertson and I can agree on. According to Robertson—not a registered dietician—low carb diets “build up clinkers” and “you get swollen joints, you get gout.”  The principle behind this, he adds, is that “carbs are the fire that burn everything completely.” Like napalm or the wrath of God, but for your digestive system.

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Daily Beast: Scalia and the Devil

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia believes in the devil. Do you? Religion professor Candida Moss on why the justice’s admission is common—and what the Bible says about devilry

.In an interview in New York Magazine, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia declared that he believes the Devil is a “real person.” Scalia went on to say—in a statement reminiscent of Baudelaire and The Usual Suspects—that the Devil is actively engaged in “getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.”

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The Gospel of Bill O’Reilly

Jesus was killed because of taxes.That’s more or less the message of Bill O’Reilly’s new book. Professor Candida Moss on what else the Fox host gets wrong—and what he leaves out.

In Killing Jesus: A History, Bill O’Reilly and writing partner Martin Dugard bring us their long-awaited “accurate account of not only how Jesus died, but also the way he lived.” This should settle two millennia of Christian debate.

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A Coming American Schism Over Pope Francis?

He opposes war, succors the poor, and now preaches tolerance. What’s a conservative Catholic to do about Pope Francis? Candida Moss on the latest revelations about homosexuals and where it might lead.


Who doesn’t love Pope Francis? Hands up, if you dare. He opposes violence and war, supports the poor, focuses on the needs of the disabled, and talks about the need to suspend judgment of others. The videos of Pope Francis hugging children and asking nine-year-olds to pray for him are deliciously heartwarming. Decadently good. Baby panda falling off a slide good.

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The End Time Infatuation

President Obama’s anticipated strikes against Syria have some on the Christian right proclaiming Biblical prophecy and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Easy there, writes scholar Candida Moss, we’ve been here before.


The Evangelical Christian world is abuzz with the “news” that the end of the world is upon us. One blog proclaims “the long prophesied end days are here.” Christian radio host Carl Gallups told WND that “ancient prophecies are being fulfilled right before our eyes,” and added, “we are the first generation in history to see such dramatic and striking alignments.” These Christians see the Syrian crisis as the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. Isaiah 17:1 reads, “See, Damascus will cease to be a city, and will become a heap of ruins.” Yes, that Damascus.

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