How New World Wine Resurrects Old Religion
I used to be a regular at a wine bar in San Clemente, a beach town in California where my wife and I lived when we were first married. The ‘Tuscan’ decor of the place was a little too vivid for my taste, but the wine was priced right and the owner was a great conversationalist. He would tell us stories from behind the bar about his travels to vineyards in Chile and New Zealand, and he had a charming populist streak. When people got too pretentious about the wine, he would roll his eyes and say: ‘Relax, it’s just a beverage.’
He was wrong about that, of course. Since its invention more than 8,000 years ago, wine has always been more than just a beverage.
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Jul 16, 2014 -
How Humankind's Theory of Mind Could Have Produced God
"As a direct consequence of the evolution of the human social brain, and owing to the importance of our theory-of-mind skills in that process, we sometimes can't help but see intentions, desires, and beliefs in things that haven't even a smidgeon of a neural system... More than a few of us have kicked our broken-down vehicles in the sides and verbally abused our incompetent computers.... So it would appear that having a theory of mind was so useful for our ancestors in explaining and predicting other people's behaviors that it has completely flooded our evolved social brains. As a result, today we overshoot our mental-state attributions to things that are, in reality, completely mindless. And all of this leads us, rather inevitably, to a very important question: What if I were to tell you that God's mental states, too, were all in your mind?" [more inside]
posted by bookman117
on Jul 21, 2012 -
This weekend marks the time of the Hajj
, a core pillar of Islam in which great tides of humanity
venture to the ancient city of Mecca to honor God.
Predating Mohammed's birth by centuries, the pilgrimage comprises several days of rites
, from congregation like snow on Mount Arafat
and the ritual stoning of Shaitan
to the circling of the sacred Kaaba
cubical monolith Muslims pray toward daily
) and kissing the Black Stone
(colored by the absorption of myriad sins, and believed by some to be a fallen meteorite
While the city has modernized
to handle this largest of annual gatherings -- building highway-scale ramps, gaudy skyscrapers for the ultra-rich
, and tent cities the size of Seattle
-- it remains mysterious, as unbelievers are forbidden from entering its borders
Richard Francis Burton became famous for touring the city in disguise
to write a rare travelogue
, but contemporary viewers have a more immediate guide: Vice Magazine
journalist Suroosh Alvi, who smuggled a minicam into the city to record The Mecca Diaries [alt]
, a 14-minute documentary of his own Hajj journey.
Browse the manual
to see what goes into a Hajj trip, or watch the YouTube livestream
to see the Grand Mosque crowds in real time.
posted by Rhaomi
on Nov 4, 2011 -
Ask the atheist
"Have a question for an atheist? Ever wonder what atheists think about morality, faith, science, etc.? How do atheists live their lives without a god? How do they know right from wrong? Are they just angry at god? Do they really NOT believe?" [more inside]
posted by Paragon
on Oct 13, 2010 -
A series of Youtube videos detailing the author's separation from his faith. His diction, with...pauses, is a little odd to get used to but worth getting around.
posted by notsnot
on Nov 1, 2009 -
is a global project for people around the world to share their innermost hopes - and fears - through prayer. Some photos NSFW.
posted by ColdChef
on Apr 13, 2008 -
The Four Horsemen:
Just in time for holidays, enjoy a pleasant chat between the world's most famous atheists - Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett.
posted by empath
on Dec 23, 2007 -
In God we doubt.
This is not an intellectual game. Even if we know what is true – and we don’t – you cannot reduce life to a set of provable realities. Humanity is too complex for that. In the end, it comes down to whether the world would be a better place without religion; and that is a matter of judgment, not certainty.
posted by veedubya
on Sep 2, 2007 -
Scents from the Bible
The world's first spiritual perfume, "Virtue® was conceived out of our desire to provide a perfume that would allow a person to be reminded of their Spiritual Self, by a simple whiff of it's fragrant essence." Smell the holy!
(Post not inspired by previous )
posted by SansPoint
on Apr 15, 2007 -
Darwin's God. "A scientific exploration of how we have come to believe in God."
This article tracks the possibility that belief in a higher power is the product of evolution.
posted by inconsequentialist
on Mar 3, 2007 -
Youtubes of Dawkins lecturing from Lynchburg, VA, reading excerpts from 'The God Delusion' in Pt.1
& an entertaining Q&A session in Pt.2
; in related news, Sam Harris
elucidates the dangers of religious moderation...
posted by Rufus T. Firefly
on Nov 25, 2006 -
ATMs for Jesus.
A Georgia pastor has created a business that brings churches further into the digital age- for a few grand and a $50 monthly fee, now your congregation can have the convenience of a debit kiosk inside your church. (via Pandagon)
posted by XQUZYPHYR
on Sep 28, 2006 -
Grief, Gratitude and Baby Lee.
She wanted to honor her son, to celebrate his life, however short. That's why she had refused an abortion, even after doctors told her that her little boy would be born without a brain.
posted by matteo
on Jan 29, 2006 -