But religion, if it is not merely private opinion, or personal feelings, or a fantasised cosmology, is fundamentally about loyalty, collective identity, boundaries, deeply engrained feeling for what is native and what is alien. It is, in short, as much of map as of mood. [Read more]

Special Meetings

The women were saved to a place of emotional gratification not otherwise on offer in their lives. The men were saved from the filthiness of their natural desires. It was all about sex, really. Their disappointments they kept to themselves. Washed in the Blood of the Lamb. Trusting in the Promises of God. [Read more]

Jessica Jones

Something like the preoccupations of other long tales with an element of the fantastic, from the Bible to Lord of the Rings by way of Pilgrim’s Progress. That is, an extended debate on the nature of radical evil, or, more precisely, on what to do about it. [Read more]

Tent meeting

The place is a vacant lot in Sunset Park, in Brooklyn. The year is 1939, the year I was born. I am not in the picture, nor are my parents, but I recognise most of the people, and indeed I remember some of these tent meetings, which continued through the 1940s. [Read more]


The question arises, if we lay to rest the distortions and untruths of the Christian past, indeed of the whole Abrahamic inheritance, as unworthy of free and intelligent people, what bulwark will we have against the worst, who are full of passionate intensity? [Read more]


It is rather the How, or the What, that arrests—the Act, the Thing—and that mysterious tipping point where all the reasons—serious or trivial, long-standing or spontaneous—give way to plot, to considerations of method, timing, even of theatre. This must be the point of supreme danger. [Read more]