RELIGIOUS STUDIES: “The Rise of Atheist Churches?” / ReligionForBreakfast / Andrew Henry ☮

As religiously unaffiliated people become a larger and larger portion of the US population, scholars are noticing a rise in atheist/humanist/agnostic gatherings that mirror some of the characteristics of Christian churches (i.e. meeting on Sundays, participating in collective rituals such as singing). What can we learn about these gatherings? Can we call this a godless form of religiosity?

QUANTITATIVE SOCIAL SCIENCE: “Why There is No Way Back for Religion in the West” / TEDx Talks University of Essex / Andrew Henry ☮

Religion is in decline across the Western world. Whether measured by belonging, believing, participation in services, or how important it is felt to be, religion is losing ground. Society is being transformed, and the momentum appears to be unstoppable.

You might be asking yourself two questions. Is it actually true? And even if religion is currently losing ground, could things change in the future?

David is a quantitative social scientist with a background in demography. He serves on the executive committee of the European Values Study and is co-director of British Religion in Numbers (, an online centre for British data on religion that has received recognition as a British Academy Research Project. He serves on the editorial boards of the British Journal of Sociology and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. With Mike Brewer, David directs the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change (MiSoC). He is also Deputy Director of ISER.

RELIGIOUS STUDIES: “Colbert on Religion” / ReligionForBreakfast / Andrew Henry ☮

I’ve watched a lot of Stephen Colbert over the years. When you watch enough of one TV show, you start to notice patterns. For Colbert, I noticed he talks about religion a lot…at least more than other late night TV shows. What can we learn about this?

RELIGIOUS STUDIES: “What are Frankincense and Myrrh?” / ReligionForBreakfast / Andrew Henry ☮

According to the Gospel of Matthew, the magi bring gold, frankincense, and myrrh as expensive gifts to the young Jesus. We all know what gold is, but what is this frankincense and myrrh stuff? What did the ancients use it for?

RELIGIOUS STUDIES: “The Infancy Gospel of Thomas Explained” / ReligionForBreakfast / Andrew Henry ☮

Stories about Jesus’ birth are famous. But what about stories about Jesus’ childhood? One early Christian text, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, invents some pretty crazy stories about the schoolboy Jesus. But what did this text mean for an ancient audience?

RELIGIOUS STUDIES: “History of Halloween: Pagan or Christian?” / ReligionForBreakfast / Andrew Henry ☮

Halloween was not always a holiday of candy, costumes, and parties. Its history stretches back almost two thousand years. But what is this history? And what extent can we call Halloween a Christian holiday…if at all?

RELIGIOUS STUDIES: “Emperor Constantine Did NOT Choose the Books of the Bible” / ReligionForBreakfast / Andrew Henry ☮

One of the most enduring myths today about the Council of Nicaea is that the council members voted on which books to include in the Bible. This myth is sometimes expanded to include Emperor Constantine as some driving political force behind the formation of the canon. This, in actuality, is almost certainly a fable. Dive into the historical evidence to see why.

RELIGIOUS STUDIES: “The Only US Public School with a Mandatory World Religions Course?” / ReligionForBreakfast / Andrew Henry ☮

Teaching neutral, academic religious studies courses in American public schools is tricky. Many people don’t even realize that it is legal! But one school district in Modesto, California is proving that a world religions requirement for all students can help improve religious literacy and foster respect for religious freedom.