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Religion

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Pope Francis gets evangelical on World Youth Day

28 July 2013 10:59

Copacabana Beach dazzled last night as many, many thousands of worshippers (perhaps as many as 3 million according) celebrated mass and a vigil with Pope Francis on World Youth Day,… Continue reading

4 Comments
Image: Getty

It’s fine to be a ‘new’ atheist, so long as you don’t object to Islam

22 July 2013 17:21

Rationality can be an overrated quality in politics. Communism was, after all, so rational that it imagined humans as lumps of clay to be moulded at will – with unsuitable… Continue reading

387 Comments
Pride and Prejudice Ball To Celebrate The 200th Anniversary Of The Book

Alexander Pope, mock-epic, modernity and misogyny

16 July 2013 12:01

from The Rape of the Lock And now, unveiled, the toilet stands displayed, Each silver vase in mystic order laid. First, robed in white, the nymph intent adores With head… Continue reading

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A boy climbs on a bonfire made from pallets and old tyres on the Loyalist Ballycraigy estate in Antrim, near Belfast. (Image: Getty)

Ulster’s Orangemen show that Britain can do internecine vindictiveness too

11 July 2013 10:23

This all looks terribly good fun, don’t you think? Spectacular towers which will make wonderful bonfires: it must have taken them ages. My only caveat is that they are all… Continue reading

111 Comments
Lord Tebbit on top form earlier in the year. (David Parker/AFP/Getty Images)

The great Lord Tebbit

4 July 2013 10:48

Lovely to see Lord Tebbit at The Spectator summer party. I reminded him that he had once written a short letter to me, which I still cherish. Back when I… Continue reading

36 Comments
Way Of The Cross Led By Pope Benedict XVI

Laughing at sin

1 July 2013 11:27

Francis Quarles, An emblem on books ‘The world’s a book, writ by the eternal art Of the great Maker, printed in man’s heart; ‘Tis falsely printed, though divinely penned, And… Continue reading

11 Comments
Images: Getty

The Pope, Welby, and the new evangelical swagger

14 June 2013 13:27

There’s excitement in Christian circles today about the first meeting of Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby. The two men have important things in common. Both reached their positions of power… Continue reading

28 Comments
Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and Pope Benedict XVI, pictured in 2010.

Jonathan Sacks is right: the new atheists have only opened a discussion

13 June 2013 16:33

There is a superb piece in the magazine this week by the Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, titled ‘Atheism has failed: only religion can defeat the barbarians.’  Whether you agree with… Continue reading

44 Comments
Journey Of The Cross And Icon Takes Place In Sydney

The fatuousness of a scientist. Steve Jones edition

10 June 2013 9:00

It’s refreshing to hear an eminent scientist like Professor Steve Jones concede that their discipline has delivered less than it promised, and to hear him voice scepticism about the pace… Continue reading

18 Comments
he Cleansing of Naaman by Elisha. Woodcut from the Biblia Sacra Germanaica

Professor Steve Jones: Why I think religion is a bad thing

10 June 2013 8:45

Steve Jones is Emeritus Professor of Genetics at University College London. Some of his previous books include: The Language of Genes, Y: The Descent of Men, The Single Helix, and… Continue reading

59 Comments
Journey Of The Cross And Icon Takes Place In Sydney

Discovering poetry: John Donne, from deviant to Dean of St. Paul’s

3 June 2013 12:43

Holy Sonnet 7, John Donne At the round earth’s imagined corners, blow Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise From death, you numberless infinities Of souls, and to your scattered bodies… Continue reading

2 Comments
A makeshift memorial for the victims of the Boston marathon bombing. Picture: Getty

God, guns and America

17 May 2013 15:27

While training as a playwright, I was taught that any gun brought onstage must go off. Anton Chekhov said, ‘One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no… Continue reading

3 Comments
(Grzegorz Michaowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Cult fiction – Amity and Sorrow by Peggy Riley

14 May 2013 13:57

There’s an attraction, certainly, in joining a cult. Not a Sheryl Sandberg working women type cult but a good old fashioned we’re all in it together wearing hemp skirts type… Continue reading

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'Some Issues in Human Sexuality' was a compromise: so the church shouldn't go for another such fudge, argues Alan Wilson. Picture: PA

It’s time for the Church of England to drop the culture wars

30 April 2013 15:14

Almost three thousand years ago the Prophet Amos asked ‘can two walk together except they be agreed?’ How can the Church of England, pragmatic and volunteer-led but with complex legal… Continue reading

57 Comments
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Move over, Dawkins. The atheist spring of the last decade is wilting.

19 April 2013 16:09

I couldn’t get Richard Dawkins to reply to Theo Hobson’s excellent article on ‘the new new atheists’. Probably, he didn’t see my message. Or maybe he thought it beneath him. Or maybe like God he… Continue reading

47 Comments
Ian Bell plays another breathtaking cover drive against New Zealand last month. (Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images)

Wisden finally merits the epithet ‘Cricket Bible’

17 April 2013 11:11

The man who christened Wisden ‘The Cricket Bible’ had little religion. Wisden is an unprepossessing sight: a 1,500 page tome surrounded by a flame-yellow dust jacket covered in mud brown… Continue reading

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The Archbishop Of Canterbury Justin Welby's First Easter Sunday In Office

Live from Golgotha

31 March 2013 18:04

A rather charming and typically self-deprecating Easter sermon from Archbishop Justin at Canterbury Cathedral; I’m beginning to like him. His subject was the inevitability of disillusion with things like governments… Continue reading

39 Comments
Pope Francis Attends Easter Mass and Urbi Et Orbi Blessing in St. Peter's Square

Happy Easter

31 March 2013 11:15

It is a glorious morning, suitable weather to mark this joyous day in the Christian calendar. The leading column in this week’s issue of the magazine considers the Easter story… Continue reading

7 Comments
A snow-dusted rural parish. (PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images)

Brace yourself for the real experience of going to a rural parish service on Easter Sunday

31 March 2013 7:30

‘And we extend a special welcome to all our visitors here today.’ That’s the vicar speaking; and this Sunday is one of the two days in the year when you… Continue reading

37 Comments
John Banville's The Sea wins the 2005 Booker Prize. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Interview with a writer: John Banville

29 March 2013 11:00

The salubrious surroundings of the Waldorf Hotel seem like a very apt setting to interview a master of style and sophistication. When I arrive in the lobby, John Banville is… Continue reading

0 Comments
Assisi In Umbria Birthplace Of Francis Of Assisi From Who The Newly Elected Pontiff Has Taken His Papal Name

Holy Week is a time for contemplation and renewal

29 March 2013 10:47

Good Friday is a day for contemplation. If you have time, do read Roger Scruton’s piece in the latest issue of the Spectator. It is, among other things, a deep… Continue reading

13 Comments
Rowan Williams; more of a Game of Thrones fan than a Lord of the Rings one? Image: Getty

The life of a former ABC

21 March 2013 9:43

Steerpike is back in this week’s magazine. As ever, here is your preview: ‘”A Cambridge student reports this snippet from a Sainsbury’s checkout. ‘Is that a Lord of the Rings… Continue reading

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A view of the Himalayan Mountain range of Annapurna and Mount Machhapuchre. PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images

The pleasure of reading Rumer Godden’s India

27 February 2013 11:07

Rumer Godden’s prose tugs two ways at once. It is subtle, descriptive, and light, but also direct and unashamed of being turned inside out until darkness consumes it, rendering what… Continue reading

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Cardinal O'Brien standing next to Gordon Brown at a function in 2006. (SHAUN CURRY/AFP/Getty Images)

Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s prayers

26 February 2013 9:48

As the late Christopher Hitchens used to say of the most vociferous, gay-obsessed clergy: ‘I have a rule of thumb for such clerics and have never known it to fail:… Continue reading

23 Comments
Image: Getty

The Koran and Richard Dawkins’s survival instinct

25 February 2013 16:33

I thought that readers might be interested in this new piece from me on Islam, the Koran and Richard Dawkins’s survival instinct.

100 Comments