Sightings Articles



Everything’s on Sale: Appropriations of Religion

A sighting of the unseen forces of religion at work during the holidays and what they tell us about this age

December 23, 2019

Christmas | Max Weber | Civil Religion

Christmas Movies and the Religious Dimensions of Story Structure

Can religion help settle the debate about whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie?

December 2, 2019

Christmas | War on Christmas | Myth | religious ethics

A Season of Myths, Part Two

Ed. Note: Sightings will be on “holiday hiatus” until Monday, January 7. We would like to thank our readers and contributors for their continued support and engagement this past year, and we look forward to bringing you more of the very best commenta...

December 24, 2018

charity | Christmas

Charities Feel Christmas Fear

“Charities Fear Tax Bill Will Cut Giving” is the kind of headline leaders of churches and charities hate to read about trends that they don’t like to face, as face they must. The subhead in a story reflecting on the current tax bill in The New York T...

December 18, 2017

Jesus | Christmas | Muhammad | Qur'an | Virgin Mary | prophets

Christmas Mubarak! Islamic Beliefs About Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him)

Greetings, or mubarak in Urdu. While Christians throughout the world will be celebrating Christmas tomorrow with traditional festivities, Muslims like me are celebrating the birth of the Prophet Muhammad today, Christmas eve.   A similar convergenc...

December 24, 2015

American exceptionalism | Soren Kierkegaard | scandal of Christianity | Christmas | virgin birth | political parties

Exceptionalism -- Martin E. Marty

Flashback: 75-plus years ago, growing up in Nebraska, my friends and I looked for something that might give us any kind of bragging rights. We were envious of California, New York, etc. for being Number One in so many rankings, which left us out. As ...

January 5, 2015

Tithing | Christmas | Paul Ricoeur | generosity | hospitality

Topsy-turvy Theological Acts -- Martin E. Marty

We did not have to squint or wear spectacles to sight this top-of-the-front-page headline on Christmas-past (four days ago!) “Tithing in Reverse” (Chicago Tribune). If something in the world is going the wrong way, putting or viewing it in reverse ca...

December 29, 2014

Handel's Messiah | Christmas | Advent | George Frideric Handel | Victorian Era | Easter | Michael Marissen | Charles Jennens

Handel's Messiah: A Christmas Oratorio? -- Emily C. Hoyler

The Christian season of Advent abounds with traditions that have been upheld, invented, and reimagined over the centuries. In the West, one such tradition is attending Handel’s oratorio, Messiah (1741), with its famed “Hallelujah” chorus. Every Decem...

December 25, 2014

Christmas | War on Christmas | religio-secular culture

Post-War on Christmas -- Martin E. Marty

Now that the “War on Christmas” is over—its publicist, Fox News Bill O’Reilly, announced this finding last week—we can survey the post-war terrain. We consider it to be one episode in the ongoing unfolding of what Sightings keeps citing as a “religio...

December 22, 2014