Nathan Schneider

Nathan Schneider is an editor of Killing the Buddha and writes about religion, reason, and violence for a variety of publications. He is also a founding editor of Waging Nonviolence. His first two books, published by University of California Press in 2013, are God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet and Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse. Visit his website at The Row Boat.

Recent Posts by Nathan

Killing the Buddha

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

No, this isn’t about Philip Pullman’s new book by the above title. For that, go read Christopher Hitchens’ review in the Times if you have to. I use the words for something else. Last night a Londoner friend, appalled by my ignorance of Italian cinema, put on Pasolini’s 1964 The Gospel According to St. Matthew….

The Memory Theater, Revisited

Late last year, I published the sketch of an essay here called “Don’t Take Away My Memory Theater.” The feedback that came in the comments from you readers was enough to encourage me to try developing the ideas in it even more. Now, finally, a much-extended version has been published by the good people at…

Martyr City

If you don’t know the name Hypatia, you should. In the grand mythology of the Enlightenment (to which, on optimistic days, I subscribe), her murder at the hands of a Christian mob marks more or less the end of Greek philosophy and the beginning of the Dark Ages. Now, for those of you who don’t…

The Politics of Big Questions

As I’ve worked on questions of religion and reason, both in the academy and as a journalist, the John Templeton Foundation has been around every turn. As I called, corresponded, and visited with many of the leading thinkers in the science-and-religion discussion, caution was the prevailing tone—some even joked that I should get them on…

The Crusades: Actually Not So Bad?

The sociologist of religion Rodney Stark is back (just in time for Medieval Week) with yet another in his always-controversial oeuvre, this time with a book about the very thing we all thought we could love to hate about Christian history: the Crusades. Our friends over at Patheos recently put up an interview with Stark…

Killing the Buddha

Turn off the History Channel and Read an Article

Whenever I see an ad for or flip past a showing of one of those History Channel “religion” documentaries—something about Revelation or Nostradamus or the Bible Code—there arises a feeling of all the mighty, righteous indignation my stomach can bring itself to squeeze out. I know, I should enjoy it, it’s just entertainment, like the…

Hayy performs surgery on the doe.

Alive, Son of Awake

Hayy Bin Yaqzan by Ibn Tufayl. In Medieval Islamic Philosophical Writings, edited by Muhammad Ali Khalidi (Cambridge University Press, 2005) Fitting, I think, that what is regarded as the world’s first philosophical novel can’t decide between science fiction and biblical plagiarism. The work is Hayy Bin Yaqzan by Ibn Tufayl, a Muslim philosopher and court…

Doubt in the Pulpit

Daniel Dennett, one of the feared New Atheists (or, with Christopher Hitchens, the “Four Horsemen”), has just released a powerful report about interviews with five Protestant pastors who remain in the pulpit but no longer believe in God. The report is the subject of a discussion over at On Faith, and in it Dennett explains,…

Killing the Buddha

John Milbank Evangelizes Zizek

Anglican theologian John Milbank has been defying expectations for a long time. His ideas, which have driven a movement called Radical Orthodoxy, refuse to be either liberal or conservative, radical or reactionary. They’re always challenging. In a classic Killing the Buddha essay about him, Jeff Sharlet wrote, with sensible hyperbole, that Radical Orthodoxy “may be…

Killing the Buddha

Attack of the God Blogs

Lately I’ve been waking up with these terrible cold sweats. Reptilian reflexes bounce me out of bed and to my laptop across the room, where my fingers pull up a familiar spreadsheet. I’ve forgotten a blog! How could I leave that one out? Now I’ve got to spend half the morning revising the whole thing…

Killing the Buddha

Saint Meets Sultan Meets Wishful History

Today at The Immanent Frame, I’ve got a report on last night’s event at Fordham University on St. Francis’ mysterious encounter with the sultan of Egypt. More and more, it is being remembered as an antidote to the “clash of civilizations” and a model for Christian-Muslim peacebuilding. But is the history really what we want…

The Most Controversial 89-year-old Man in New York

I’ve just been one-upped by The New York Times, and I’m glad of it. In October, 2008, I did an essay for The Smart Set in tribute to my favorite “ancient astronaut” theorists, the greatest of which is without question Zecharia Sitchin. About him, I wrote: The idea goes like this: If you read the…

Sex and Being Seen

Robert Wright (whom I recently interviewed in these pages) has an online essay at The New York Times today about what the world’s newfound Internetedness means for sexual infidelity. Some of the great sex scandals of the past year, including those of Tiger Woods and Mark Sanford, have been fueled by the discovery of emailed…

Buddhist Killing: It Really Happens

Buddhism is often thought of as the exception. It’s a religion without gods (at least in some forms), to the chagrin of those who want to define religion as something along the lines of “belief in gods.” By the same token, as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism take the blame for some of history’s most…

Theology for Atheists

At the Guardian today, I’ve got a short bit about secular, mainly Continental philosophers who, in recent years, have turned to theology: [Slavoj Zizek] is one of several leading thinkers in recent years who, though coming out of a deeply secular and often-Marxist bent, have made a turn toward theology. In 1997, Alain Badiou published…

The December 19th "panty ride" pauses at a stoplight in Hasidic Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Hipsters, Hasidim, and My Bike Lane

A couple weeks ago I was riding my usual route from home in Clinton Hill to the Williamsburg Bridge when I saw that the ground had shifted beneath my bicycle gears. As I crossed Flushing along Bedford Avenue, into the heart of Hasidic Williamsburg, Brooklyn, my bike lane was gone. Only a faint, sandblasted remnant…

The Irrelevance of Proof to the Holiday Spirit

I’ve got a zany new essay at Religion Dispatches today about a lecture earlier this week in Brooklyn, “A Philosophical Proof of Santa Claus.” Jamie Hook, the evening’s presenter, did a masterful job of miming some of the issues at play in debates about God—though in the guise of a fellow whose existence, this season…

Don’t Take Away My Memory Theater

What concerns me about the coming literary apocalypse that everybody now expects—the full or partial elimination of paper books in favor of digital alternatives—is not chiefly the books themselves but the assortments in which they find themselves. Specifically, I am concerned about what’s going to happen to my own library. For public and academic libraries,…