“There’s a tremendous amount of anxiety among religious traditionalists that when you take one step toward egalitarianism, the floodgates are open and everything that seemed self-evident will no longer be. Men go to work, and women raise children. If you undermine that, you have lost your whole universe.”
The Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements of Judaism have been ordaining women as rabbis for decades, but the religion's most traditional sect, the Orthodox, remains a lone, minority holdout against egalitarianism. Last year, Orthodox Rabbi Avraham "Avi" Weiss (political activist
and founder of the controversial
, liberal, "Open Orthodox" Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Yeshiva in New York) tried to shake things up by ordaining the first female American Orthodox rabbi
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jul 31, 2010 -
In the late 1950s, psychologist Milton Rokeach was gripped by an eccentric plan. He gathered three psychiatric patients, each with the delusion that they were Jesus Christ, to live together for two years in Ypsilanti State Hospital to see if their beliefs would change.
Vaughan Bell tells the story
of one of the weirdest experiments in the history of psychology. (via
posted by The Mouthchew
on May 27, 2010 -
The Inglehart Values Map
, based on the World Values Survey, visualizes the strong correlation of values in different cultures. Countries are clustered in a remarkably predictable way, with great cultural continuity across the English-speaking world.
posted by ms.codex
on May 9, 2010 -
In 2009, four Buddhist nuns (Bhikkunis) were secretly ordained
in Australia - the first ever ordination of Bhikkunis in Australia, and a first for the Thai Forest
tradition anywhere. London-born Ajahn Brahm
, a long-time supporter
of women's equality in Buddhism, facilitated the ordination. For this he was expelled
from his community, the Wat Pa Phong Sangha
, and his monastery's status was revoked
. This video
summarizes the conflict, and is possibly the first use of the Downfall meme related to Buddhism. This March, more nuns were ordained
in the UK for the first time since the Australia controversy, but they're still not equal
to male monks. This blog post
discusses sexism, fundamentalism, and the conflict between East and West. The modern opposition to bhikkhuni ordination is no ancient Buddhist tradition. It can be traced no earlier, so far as I am aware, than the abhorrent 1928 ruling against bhikkhuni in Thailand, made by monks who thought it reasonable to arrest nuns and throw them in jail for ordaining. [more inside]
posted by desjardins
on Apr 14, 2010 -
Is Facebook chametz?
An interview with two rabbis about their Facebook group
, encouraging Jews to consider giving up Facebook for Passover next week
. While the word "chametz"
strictly refers only to leavened bread, which is prohibited during Passover, the group is inspired by a Chassidic interpretation that connects the leavening of bread to an "over-inflated sense of self."
posted by albrecht
on Mar 24, 2010 -
Women were not allowed to speak
at a meeting held to determine the fate of suspended principal John Hartwig of St. John’s Lutheran School
in Baraboo, WI. While women are normally not allowed to vote at such meetings, this is the first time in recent history that the St. John’s Council President exercised his authority to keep females from even speaking. Women who wanted to ask questions were told to write them on a piece of paper and have a man read them aloud. Hartwig was suspended for distributing a document questioning Lutheran doctrine that says that women should not hold authority over men.
posted by Consonants Without Vowels
on Mar 24, 2010 -
An excellent response to Pat Robertson.
"This Vodou priest is not speaking about divine retribution, as has Pat Robertson. God is not punishing us for disobedience. Erol is speaking about a giant natural rebalancing act, a reaction against human dealings with the ecosystem."
posted by fullofragerie
on Jan 15, 2010 -
“We got a bit excited because we realized that people have collected
lots of dybbuk
stories, but our fragment
describes a real event, where you see how they come together and pray in order to exorcise the ghost from a widow,” [more inside]
posted by ServSci
on Dec 21, 2009 -
A major survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that most Americans have a non-dogmatic approach to faith. A strong majority of those who are affiliated with a religion, including majorities of nearly every religious tradition, do not believe their religion is the only way to salvation. And almost the same number believes that there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their religion. The survey
finds that constant movement characterizes the American religious marketplace, as every major religious group is simultaneously gaining and losing adherents. (.pdf of full report (268 pages)
or watch the video of Pew Forum Director Luis Lugo
giving an overview of the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey and talking about some of its key findings.) [more inside]
posted by ServSci
on Dec 11, 2009 -
Dr Kent Hovind
(seen here previously
) claims to hold a doctorate, but both he and its awarding institution (Patriot Bible University
) have refused to publish his dissertation in any form. The WikiLeaks
site has obtained a scanned copy; highlights include "the truth about cave men", the co-existence of humans and dinosaurs, and a null reference list.
posted by gene_machine
on Dec 10, 2009 -