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Mithras

Bull-Killer, Sun Lord. "Foreign religions grew rapidly in the 1st-century A.D. Roman Empire, including worship of Jesus Christ, the Egyptian goddess Isis, and an eastern sun god, Mithras."
posted by homunculus on Aug 28, 2010 - 28 comments

Theocracy at the end of a Pipetman

With the passing of Executive Order 13505, Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells, in 2009 President Obama expanded federal funding and rescinded George W. Bush's policies that eliminated most federal funding and restricted human embryonic stem cell research to the use of existing, contaminated cell lines. On Monday, federal judge Royce C. Lamberth blocked this new order after protestations from James L. Sherley, a former scientist with the Boston Biomedical Research Institute, and Theresa Deisher, who operates the Ave Maria Biotechnology Company, which aims to do "pro-life" therapeutic research without the "taint of embryonic or electively aborted fetal materials". [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 25, 2010 - 45 comments

Traveler to the undiscovere'd country

Roger Ebert on Christopher Hitchens, illness, medicine, religion, and death. [via] [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Aug 13, 2010 - 85 comments

"This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions, or favor one over another."

"On September 11, 2001, thousands of first responders heroically rushed to the scene and saved tens of thousands of lives. More than 400 of those first responders did not make it out alive. In rushing into those burning buildings, not one of them asked 'What God do you pray to?' 'What beliefs do you hold?'"
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has recently defended the planned Cordoba Initiative Islamic Community Center and Mosque to be built near Ground Zero against critics. Yesterday, after the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to allow the demolition of a building that would be replaced by the center, Mr. Bloomberg gave a speech on Governor's Island (the location seems to have been deliberately chosen) in which he eloquently defended religious freedom. (YT: Video) (Previously on MeFi)
posted by zarq on Aug 4, 2010 - 315 comments

99 Names of Allah and the Glassmaker

Andrew Kosorok, a sculpture professor, has embarked on a project to create 100 glass sculptures inspired by the 99 Names of Allah. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Aug 1, 2010 - 26 comments

THE PHOTO ISSUE 2010

Still Lifes
"Supposedly the still life came to the fore when religion and the state became replaced by the middle class. Do you know when that was. The world began to be run by people who just wanted a lot of shit. And would go anywhere to get it. The Dutch who invented our own dear New York and this is why it is this wayfull of people who want stuffthey were the stars of this moment, collecting shit from around the world and putting big piles of it on shelves, in boats, taking it somewhere else. And making paintings of it. And really this moment never ended. They would paint marketplaces, and the thing that's funny is that if you were a painter and you weren't being paid to paint someone rich you would just probably paint some stuff and sell it in the market and so the place where all this was happening of course got painted too—it's dizzying." (via dd)
posted by kliuless on Aug 1, 2010 - 30 comments

"Democracy is stronger than this."

The Anti-Defamation League has been tracking religious extremism for several decades, including anti-Islamic violence in the United States after 9/11. Nonetheless, the organization joined right-wing opposition earlier this week to the construction of Cordoba House, a 13-story Muslim community center and mosque that may be built two blocks away from the site of the former World Trade Center. The ADL's alignment with calls for "refudiation" by Republican celebrities Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, along with other members of the GOP who are ramping up angry sentiments in voters during an election year, have puzzled and angered religious, political and cultural figures of various stripes, particularly within New York City itself. [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 1, 2010 - 446 comments

They call him the "Rabbah Rouser"

“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 - 35 comments

The Lifecycle of Software Objects

Ted Chiang on Writing (and other things) (Previously)
posted by Artw on Jul 26, 2010 - 49 comments

The Thinking Atheist

The Thinking Atheist Another atheism site on the internet, featuring a handy list of bible contradictions, a forum, etc. Most notably, they feature a series of slickly produced videos on various religious topics. [more inside]
posted by Uther Bentrazor on Jul 21, 2010 - 215 comments

Tiffany treasure

The Willard Memorial Chapel is all that remains of the original Auburn Theological Seminary. [more inside]
posted by Mblue on Jul 20, 2010 - 4 comments

Closer to God

"I was praying one day, and the Lord said, 'If you build me a treehouse, I'll see you never run out of material.'" So Horace Burgess built a treehouse. [more inside]
posted by starman on Jul 18, 2010 - 25 comments

Startup Religion

The rise of a new generation of Mormons [non-gated] - Many of the most successful US professionals are also members of the world's youngest major religion, which is being embraced by the elite in spite of its reputation. (via mr)
posted by kliuless on Jul 18, 2010 - 189 comments

France denies citizenship to man who failed to assimilate into French society

A Moroccan man whose wife wears a veil has been denied citizenship on the basis that he has failed to assimilate into French society. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jul 10, 2010 - 91 comments

Navigating the Post-Secular

John Milbank and Katherine Pickstock are interviewed about Radical Orthodoxy [more inside]
posted by superiorchicken on Jul 4, 2010 - 32 comments

Seeing animals as spiritual beings

Animals as spiritual, and the role of animals in spirituality. "Some religious leaders welcome pets to worship services, memorialize them at death and discuss them as spiritual beings without distinction from humanity" ... "Factory farming, green living among topics sparking discussion." [more inside]
posted by longsleeves on Jul 2, 2010 - 20 comments

Missionary Position: Facing West

Pope Benedict XVI has announced the establishment of a new Vatican department dedicated to tackling what he called 'a grave crisis in the sense of the Christian faith and the role of the Church." The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of New Evangelisation will (per Archbishop Vincent Nichols,) focus on countries "in which, even though the Christian Gospel has shaped an entire culture," secularism now reigns, in what the Pope termed an "eclipse of a sense of God." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 1, 2010 - 165 comments

At least we know what we don't know

An Agnostic Manifesto.
posted by homunculus on Jun 28, 2010 - 350 comments

DO YOU SEE THE LIGHT?!!!!

Given it is Sunday, feel free to get your Jesus on with The Mighty Clouds of Joy. Somebody say Amen.
posted by timsteil on Jun 27, 2010 - 17 comments

Fired For Fornication

Jarretta Hamilton, a teacher at a Christian school in Orlando, was fired after it was discovered that her baby was conceived before she was married.
posted by reenum on Jun 27, 2010 - 157 comments

Can I Have an Earlier Curfew?

A fresh perspective on the hijab, different from the more common apologist/sexist arguments, the carefully academic expositions, appearances in controversial news, and especially the crassly commercial.
posted by bardophile on May 30, 2010 - 131 comments

Religion and America's Academic Scientists

Science vs. Religion: a new book, Science and Religion: What Scientists Really Think by Rice University sociologist Elaine Ecklund, discusses the results of her detailed study of 1,646 scientists at top American research universities. Among her findings: ~36% of those surveyed not only believe in God but also practice a form of closeted, often non-traditional faith. They worry about how their peers would react to learning about their religious views. Interview with the author from the Center for Inquiry's Point of Inquiry podcast. Also, here's a webcast from an author discussion forum held at Rice University on April 7th. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 30, 2010 - 89 comments

"No matter what ideas the human mind generates, they must never be quashed."

New Scientist Special Report: Living in Denial. Includes articles by Michael Shermer, founding publisher of Skeptic Magazine [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 28, 2010 - 37 comments

The Three Christs of Ypsilanti

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 - 57 comments

Famous Theist Retires

The man who made philosophy safe for theists again is retiring. The conference in celebration of his impressive academic career is in progress on the campus of Notre Dame University and has brought together many important figures in contemporary analytic philosophy of religion. Many of Plantinga's seminal works are available in their entirety online.
posted by MultiplyDrafted on May 21, 2010 - 64 comments

The Most Widely Read Magazine in the World

The Most Widely Read Magazine in the World: The New York Review of Magazines on The Watchtower
posted by brundlefly on May 18, 2010 - 68 comments

Japan beats Sweden by a nose in secular-rational values.

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 - 21 comments

Conservative candidate believes homosexuality can be cured

Potential Conservative MP Philippa Stroud founded an evangelical church that tried to 'cure' homosexuals by driving out their 'demons'. Stroud is head of the Conservative thinktank The Centre for Social Justice, lauded as the most influential thinktank in Britain who have heavily influenced David Cameron's views and policies on the family. [more inside]
posted by ellieBOA on May 2, 2010 - 49 comments

Santa Muerte

A Saint for Lost Souls. "The barrio of Tepito, where it's said that everything is for sale except dignity, has been one of Mexico City's roughest neighborhoods since Aztec times. Famous for its black market and its boxing champions, Tepito is a place where residents learn to fight early and fight hard. These days it has also become the epicenter of Mexico's fastest-growing faith: Santa Muerte, or Holy Death, a hybrid religion that merges Catholic symbolism with pre-Hispanic worship of the skeletal Mictlantecuhtli and Mictlancihuatl, Lord and Lady of the Dead."
posted by homunculus on Apr 28, 2010 - 36 comments

Genetic material and informed consent

The Havasupai Tribe of Grand Canyon won a $700,000 settlement from Arizona State University, plus the return of remaining blood samples, regarding the use of members' blood and DNA for research. The Havasupai had originally contacted researchers at ASU concerning the Type II diabetes that has ravaged that tribe and others, particularly in the Southwest. [more inside]
posted by toodleydoodley on Apr 22, 2010 - 96 comments

Dr Evan Harris - The Liberal Democrat's Dr Death?

The new focus on the Liberal Democrats sees the Daily Telegraph's Cristina Odone profiling Dr Evan Harris. That's "profiling" in the sense that the FBI might profile a criminal. A criminal the papers are calling Dr Death. [more inside]
posted by DNye on Apr 20, 2010 - 71 comments

Ordination of women causes controversy in Buddhism

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 - 72 comments

The Return of Christian Terrorism

Threats of right wing violence have doubled in the past year. What is behind the latest upsurge in the movement to create a Christian theocratic state? [more inside]
posted by reenum on Apr 8, 2010 - 94 comments

Symbolizing the Threat with Women's Clothes

Recent troubles with Muslim women's clothes have lead to the Quebec Government to begin proposing legislation on the issue of face covering and access to public services. The niqab has become a central symbol in the anti-muslim rhetoric of nationalist parties in Europe (political poster examples: France, Switzerland, and Britain) about the threat Islam poses to tolerant secular societies. [more inside]
posted by ServSci on Mar 30, 2010 - 153 comments

Evolutionist Wins the Templeton Prize?

Affirmed evolution (and anti-intelligent design) biologist Francisco Ayala has won the 2010 Templeton Prize. In 1981, Ayala was a pivotal expert in overturning an Arkansas law that required the side-by-side teaching of creationism and evolution. Besides his nationally recognized work in evolution and genetics, the former Catholic priest has sought to reconcile evolution with religious belief, noting that science and religion are not mutually exclusive. [more inside]
posted by jabberjaw on Mar 25, 2010 - 67 comments

People of the (face)book

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 - 77 comments

"Quiet dear, the men are talking..."

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 - 129 comments

Whence Altruism?

A new study suggests that humanity's sense of fair play and kindness towards strangers is determined by culture, not genetics. Speculation: the finding may be directly related to the rise of religion in human history, as well as more complex economies. (Via). [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 22, 2010 - 49 comments

Pray with me, while I pretend to pray.

[pdf] Clergymen in the closet -- not because they are gay; because they don't believe in God. Here's a followup.
posted by grumblebee on Mar 20, 2010 - 162 comments

“You’re going to hell, and it bothers me,” Grisham responds. “What bothers me is you’re going to hell.”

Over the last few days, a fair bit of attention on the web has been focused on Repent Amarillo MySpace YouTube, an organization dedicated to converting Amarillo, TX to the organization's particular brand of Christianity. Their tactics include "Spiritual Warfare" and witnessing, but also appear to involve harassing people who they believe to be sinners. They've even got a map of sinful places in Amarillo, including gay bars, Masonic lodges, rival churches, and other religions' places of worship. But not everybody is all that amused; blogs and websites have started springing up in response.
posted by Pope Guilty on Mar 3, 2010 - 139 comments

Catholic Charities Denies Health Benefits To Spouses

I am writing to you to inform you of an important change to our group health care benefit plan that will take effect on March 2, 2010 due to a change in the law of the District of Columbia. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Mar 3, 2010 - 163 comments

Judaism is a science fiction religion

Why there is no Jewish Narnia. [more inside]
posted by valkyryn on Mar 3, 2010 - 136 comments

The Lessons of Gobekli Tepe

Laying bare the gratuitous assumptions of the patriarchal historical narrative. A weblog entry from the Aristasian Empire, of which a history and some kinnies [NSFW]. • Gobekli Tepe [previously] • Aristasia [previously]
posted by tellurian on Feb 24, 2010 - 31 comments

A+++ WOULD PRAY AGAIN

ChurchRater - like Yelp!, but for churches.
posted by jtron on Feb 22, 2010 - 33 comments

Christianity 2.0 - The Emergence Movement

A new view of Christian belief that views the acceptance, environmentalism, social justice and world peace as the embodiment of the Kingdom of God. [more inside]
posted by empty vessel on Feb 10, 2010 - 252 comments

The Evolutionary Origins of Religion

Ilkka Pyysiäinen and Marc Hauser have a new paper in the journal "Trends in Cognitive Sciences". The origins of religion : evolved adaptation or by-product? (via) [more inside]
posted by lholladay on Feb 10, 2010 - 28 comments

Breakfast destruction

Daily life of the jihadis: rants, the usual aggressive posturing, murderous threats, and dreams of paradise. Also, problems with frying eggs.
posted by four panels on Jan 28, 2010 - 9 comments

"Ahhh!" "No, not 'Ahhh!'"

Stewart Lee's Special Parable, The Story of The Prodigal Son, and more irreligious fun from the Sunday Heroes: Woman of sinful life, Ian, The Last Supper, Judas, Thomas.
posted by Artw on Jan 21, 2010 - 25 comments

Scholar of vodou on the tragedy in Haiti

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 - 148 comments

21st Century Interfaith Pioneer

The Interfaith Youth Core was started in 1998 by a group led by Rhodes Scholar Eboo Patel. Propelled by his experience growing up as a Muslim in the United States, and encouraged by the Dalai Lama, Patel seeded an organization dedicated promoting global pluralism. His story is detailed in his acclaimed autobiography, Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation. He keeps a blog at the Washington Post, and is a fellow at the Ashoka Foundation.
posted by Roach on Dec 29, 2009 - 4 comments

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