Cultural Revolutions

Newsweeklies In Hell

Every Easter and Christmas at least one of America’s three newsweeklies—Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report—includes articles trashing Christian dogmas.  For Easter 2010, Newsweek featured a piece by religion editor Lisa Miller blurbing her new book, Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination With the Afterlife.

Concerning the resurrection of men, she wrote, “It’s a supernatural event.  It’s a special act of grace or of kindness on God’s part.”  After she tried to explain it as a kind of materialist abracadabra, a rabbi told her, “The belief in resurrection is more radical.  It’s a supernatural event.”  To which Miller responded with pop-cult clichés: “For my part, I don’t buy it.  I do, however, leave the door open a crack for radical acts of grace and kindness—and for humbling ourselves before all that we don’t understand.”

That’s an echo of the 1980’s dorm poster, “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.”  I have always wondered: How can kindness and beauty be random and senseless?

At the height of their popularity and influence in the 1960’s and 70’s, the newsweeklies tried to jam seven days’ worth of events into a convenient format for Mr. & Mrs. Joe America.  The magazines provided...

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