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"confessions of a one-time religious right icon"

Frank Schaeffer: "You can’t understand why the GOP was so successful in winning back both houses of Congress in 2014, and wrecking most of what Obama has tried to do, unless you understand what we did back then." [more inside]
posted by flex on Dec 26, 2014 - 65 comments

"How can they possibly believe this shit?"

Piety and Plenty: The Buying and Selling of Christmas
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 15, 2014 - 55 comments

Deliver Us

Ridley Scott's new film Exodus: Gods and Kings recasts the myth of Moses in typically grimdark swords-and-sandals fashion. It... ain't so good. Want something more artful? Look no further than The Prince of Egypt [alt], an underrated masterpiece of DreamWorks' traditional animation era. Directed by Brenda Chapman (a first for women in animation), scored to spectacular effect by Hans Zimmer and Stephen Schwartz, and voiced by, among others, Voldemort, Batman, and Professor X, the ambitious film features gorgeous, striking visuals and tastefully integrated CGI in nearly every scene. It also manages the improbable feat of maturing beyond cartoon clichés while humanizing the prophet's journey from carefree scion to noble (and remorseful) liberator without offending half the planet -- while still being quite a fun ride. Already seen it? Catch the making-of documentary, or click inside for more. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 15, 2014 - 86 comments

"Religious freedom applies to all"

The Satanic Temple is a controversial religious organization whose main purpose is not to worship Satan, but to bring awareness to the varieties of religious freedom in the United States. [more inside]
posted by Librarypt on Dec 3, 2014 - 46 comments

TempleOS is both a temple and an operating system

Terry Davis has offered the world a temple to a God who speaks only to him, and is and still waiting for everyone else to listen. [TempleOS previously on MetaFilter, including conversation with the author.]
posted by Zarkonnen on Nov 25, 2014 - 18 comments

They look nothing alike but they love each other.

"2013. In my Medieval Literature class at the University of Pittsburgh, we’re talking about Margery Kempe, a 14th century English woman who wanted very, very much to be a saint, one of the few roles an ambitious woman of her time could aspire to achieve. She talked a monk into writing down her dictated autobiography, a sort of proto-memoir/self-hagiography that – along with a lengthy explanation of how she convinced God to make her a virgin again after having 14 children – includes visions of interacting with the Christ child. There’s one in which she explains to Mary, the mother of God, how to diaper the baby." [more inside]
posted by jetlagaddict on Nov 10, 2014 - 15 comments

“If there’s no god, why should I believe in him?”

The Norden is a Finnish TV series, taking Americans and introducing them to their profession within the Nordic countries. First, James Conway, retired Superintendent of Attica Correctional Facility in New York, visits four Nordic prisons and facilities. An excerpt, and the full episode with English subtitles. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Nov 8, 2014 - 70 comments

Naked Scripture Vs. Geopolitical Influence

Berkeley Students Rally To Remove Bill Maher As Commencement Speaker following critical comments about Islam.
"Freedom of speech, freedom to practice any religion you want without fear of violence, freedom to leave a religion, equality for women, equality for minorities, including homosexuals, these are liberal principles that liberals applaud for," Maher said, "but then when you say in the Muslim world this is what's lacking, then they get upset."
In what began as a debate over Islam between Maher, Sam Harris, and Ben Affleck on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, tensions rose. [more inside]
posted by Christ, what an asshole on Oct 29, 2014 - 282 comments

I also check my skeletons twice. You can never be too careful.

I waited silently for her to explain that the female pelvis is shaped slightly differently from the male’s, with a larger opening for childbearing. That part was the giveaway. The real purpose of the exercise was to make her prove her conjecture with measurements--to translate the theory to practice. I also wanted her to explain why this sexual dimorphism--that is, this sexually determined physical difference--is not nearly so pronounced in nonhuman primates, such as chimpanzees.

She spoke: Males have one fewer pair of ribs than females.
When teacher Robert S. Root-Bernstein got this answer to his question on how you should distinguish between male and female skeletons, he had to find a way to make her realise her error without disparaging her religion.
posted by MartinWisse on Oct 20, 2014 - 271 comments

All in the Family

The World Religions Tree [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator on Oct 13, 2014 - 65 comments

Si no fuera por el Almirante, que quería más el tributo

The Relación of Fray Ramón Pané famously records what one Hieronymite friar learned about the religious beliefs and healing practices of the Taíno between 1494 and 1496 (bilingual PDF with another translation and more introductory material), supposedly at the request of Christopher Columbus. Research published in 2006 on a "Lost document [that] reveals Columbus as a tyrant of the Caribbean" indicates that Pané was also a key witness in the trial of Columbus, partially responsible for sending Columbus home in chains, as depicted on the Columbus Doors of the U. S. Capitol building (detail).
posted by Monsieur Caution on Oct 12, 2014 - 3 comments

The American Dream has really good PR.

Guernica: In propagating a vision of life that's about wealth in the individual, perhaps the influence of these churches lies in what they obscure.

Anthony Pinn: Right. It hides the larger problem. The problem is poverty. And it hides the problem. We often associate black churches with a history of protest. But prosperity gospel and megachurches tend to be rather soft on political issues. T.D. Jakes doesn't take a major stand on political issues. Creflo Dollar certainly doesn't.

But it's the American way. So it seems to me that what they are doing is training black people to be even more American. To buy into this system rather than critique it. And if you're not gaining from it, to assume that the problem's with you. It provides a spiritual lesson that's very similar to the idea of "poor people want to be poor; if they just worked harder they could have more." Here, spiritual people could have more if they were just more spiritual and lived out scripture more authentically. So the prosperity preachers are training people to be better US citizens [laughs].
Meara Sharma at Guernica talks to Anthony Pinn about the ongoing embrace of prosperity gospel by preachers and parishioners at black megachurches across America: Divine Acquisition. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Oct 7, 2014 - 35 comments

"Where ignorant armies clash by night."

Sea of Faith: a six-part documentary television series, presented on BBC television in 1984 by Don Cupitt. [youtube]
"The programme dealt with the history of Christianity in the modern world, focussing especially on how Christianity has responded to challenges such as scientific advances, political atheism and secularisation in general"
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on Oct 7, 2014 - 4 comments

“You don’t understand, women are holier than men.”

"I'm not sure whether it mattered. One young man very kindly said to me, 'You don’t understand, women are holier than men.' I said, 'That’s rubbish and it doesn't excuse the insult,' and then I added that I spent 13 years in yeshiva and there's nothing he could tell me that I haven't already heard. Then the original man, the one who refused to sit next to me, muttered to another man as he was walking away, 'She doesn't understand.' I said, 'I understand everything, and don't talk to me as if I'm not here.' He ignored me, and all the other men turned their backs and did not respond or even look at me." [Similar version at JewFem blog.]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Sep 27, 2014 - 61 comments

A beacon, shining in the darkness of a world left behind...

The Online Legacy of a Suicide Cult and the Webmasters Who Stayed Behind. A short history of the Heaven's Gate Millenarian Cult and the (ex?) members who still keep the page running seventeen years after their last contact with the leader and members.
posted by 1f2frfbf on Sep 17, 2014 - 14 comments

"A Complicated Grief"

A Catholic woman grapples with the death of her sister's newborn baby. [more inside]
posted by Charity Garfein on Sep 15, 2014 - 18 comments

"'The family division is rooted in the same ground as fiction..."

Ian McEwan: the law versus religious belief. [The Guardian]
The conjoined twins who would die without medical intervention, a boy who refused blood transfusions on religious grounds…Ian McEwan on the stories from the family courts that inspired his latest novel.
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on Sep 13, 2014 - 10 comments

[Writing] fiction is much closer to a sort of dreaming

Marilynne Robinson discusses her novels, fiction, and religion at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University in 2009.
Dr. Robinson talks about writing and the Middle West at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
posted by OmieWise on Sep 5, 2014 - 7 comments

"I'm going by the word of God"

Last month, a video of a teenager coming out to his family went viral, (trigger warning), now viewed almost 6 million times. The young man who is disowned and abused in that video, Daniel Pierce, after receiving more than $90,000 in donations to live on his own, has now asked that donations be re-directed to Lost-N-Found Youth, a shelter in Georgia for LGBT Homeless Youth. Rolling Stone profiles The Forsaken: A Rising Number of Homeless Gay Teens Are Being Cast Out by Religious Families
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Sep 4, 2014 - 103 comments

The Original Tea Partier Was an Atheist

Politico: "Young called his creed 'the religion of nature' and 'the religion of nature’s God.' And he made abundantly clear that, in his own mind, this radical philosophical religion was the axis on which the Revolution turned. For him, the project to free the American people from the yoke of King George III was part of a grander project to liberate the world from the ghostly tyranny of supernatural religion." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Sep 2, 2014 - 26 comments

ICI FINIT LA CVLTVRE ALLEMANDE

On this day one hundred years ago, Imperial German soldiers who had peacefully arrived in the Belgian city of Leuven (Fr: Louvain), having taken hostages and accepted the parole of its mayor on behalf of its citizens, without warning set fire to the city and massacred its inhabitants forever altering the city, its university's library, and the course of the war.
  • Belgian Judicial Report on the Sacking of Louvain in August 1914
  • The destruction and rebuilding of the Louvain Library: claim and counterclaim
  • [more inside]
    posted by Blasdelb on Aug 25, 2014 - 13 comments

    Oh No Ross and Carrie

    Ross and Carrie are "curious investigators who love asking questions about spirituality, fringe science, religion and the paranormal." They investigate by joining religions, attending events, trying out alternative treatments, and just generally participating in anything weird. [more inside]
    posted by jenfullmoon on Aug 18, 2014 - 28 comments

    there's nothing that is scientifically proven

    (A theoretical physicist explains why) Science Is Not About Certainty [more inside]
    posted by flex on Aug 5, 2014 - 33 comments

    The Rise Of Europe’s Religious Right

    “A bomb with a long fuse has been lit,” said Sylvie Guillaume, a French MEP supportive of abortion rights and LGBT rights, who recently stepped down as vice chair of the largest center-left bloc in the European Union’s parliament. “We don’t know what’s going to happen.” [more inside]
    posted by ellieBOA on Aug 4, 2014 - 37 comments

    the purity myth

    Female 'Purity' Is Bullshit [more inside]
    posted by flex on Jul 29, 2014 - 135 comments

    Naughty Nuns & Flatulent Monks: Surprises of Sacred Medieval Manuscripts

    The images vary widely, but they tend to be very strange and even disturbing—overt sexual acts, defecation, monsters, human-monster hybrids, animals acting like humans. There’s also examples of clergy behaving very badly, the sort of thing you would not expect to see in the margins of a sacred book.
    Kaitlin Manning of B & L Rootenberg Rare Books and Manuscripts talks to Collector's Weekly (previously) about the exquisitely detailed religious texts surrounded by all manner of illustrated commentary, known today as marginalia.
    posted by Room 641-A on Jul 25, 2014 - 13 comments

    "wait for a bunch of old ideas to die in order for a church to live"

    A Church Divided Over Marriage Equality
    The Church’s rules against homosexuality have divided Methodists for forty years. Attempts to abolish or even soften these rules have failed at every General Conference, the quadrennial meeting of the denomination, since they were first added, in 1972, to the Book of Discipline, which contains the Church’s laws and doctrine.

    "And They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love"
    "Methodists should call meeting on gay divide, pastor says"
    "Ranks of defiant United Methodist clergy rise"
    "Defrocking of Minister Widens Split Over Gays"
    posted by davidstandaford on Jul 23, 2014 - 22 comments

    Evolution is wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.

    Understanding creationism: An insider’s guide by a former young-Earth creationist [more inside]
    posted by brundlefly on Jul 17, 2014 - 13 comments

    The Only Miracle Jesus' Mother Asked For Was Wine

    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 - 11 comments

    So this was where God lived.

    Tucked beneath the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge, beyond the serviceberry trees and hedgerows of the Bridge Park Greenway, across the blacktop of Furman Street, the House of God awaits. Nearly 7 million Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the world call the collection of buildings Bethel, transliterated from the Hebrew, Beth El, "House of God." Its tall red sign, a city landmark for decades, looms over the skyline: WATCHTOWER. The building is also home to thousands of volunteers who live on the premises, all in the service, among other things, of printing the most widely circulated magazine on the planet: 46 million every month. I was supposed to live there, too. God Lives on Lemon Street: An ex–Jehovah’s Witness visits Watchtower headquarters
    posted by davidjmcgee on Jul 10, 2014 - 13 comments

    Petition for cert.

    On the same day that a Colorado judge struck down that state's ban on same-sex marriage (pdf), the Utah Attorney General’s Office announced it will take the issue of same-sex couples’ marriage rights back to the Supreme Court, bypassing a 10th Circuit en banc review. All of this news comes just one day after several prominent LGBT groups announced they will no longer support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, as written, due to the religious exemptions therein. President Obama is facing pressure from religious groups to write a religious exemption into his promised executive order to protect LGBT federal contractors and workers from discrimination.
    posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jul 9, 2014 - 43 comments

    A less intellectually lazy atheism?

    Atheist bashing or tough love? A thought-provoking review by Michael Robbins of Nick Spencer's new book on the history of atheism in Slate magazine. It reads like an autopsy of the recently murdered religious/atheist dialogue, with the "intellectually lazy" new atheism atop the list of suspects. [more inside]
    posted by cross_impact on Jul 9, 2014 - 369 comments

    "Best Site On The Web!" - Mother Teresa, Mark Twain, and George Carlin

    “Those who are awake live in a state of constant amazement.”-Fake Buddha Quotes is your one-stop shopping for all quotes misattributed to The Buddha.
    posted by Navelgazer on Jul 7, 2014 - 48 comments

    pestilence is from the devil.

    A federal judge in New York has ruled against a group of parents who had filed a lawsuit, asserting that the New York City policy that allows schools to ban unvaccinated kids from attending classes when another child has come down with a vaccine preventable illness infringed on their practice of religion. The decision cites Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905), where the SCOTUS upheld Cambridge, Mass, Board of Health’s authority to require vaccination against smallpox during a smallpox epidemic.
    posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 23, 2014 - 88 comments

    School chaplaincy program deemed unconstitutional

    Today the High Court of Australia ruled (Williams v Commonwealth of Australia [2014] HCA 23) for the second time that Commonwealth funding of school chaplains was unconstitutional. This is in direct contradiction of the Abbott government's recent budget moves to totally defund secular counsellors in favour of a $244M school chaplaincy program[me]. [more inside]
    posted by wilful on Jun 18, 2014 - 48 comments

    So many floating tone arms!

    Mesmerizing internal Scientology promotional video - GATII Success Stories
    posted by The Whelk on Jun 10, 2014 - 239 comments

    Jedi is not the 2nd most popular religion in any state? How disapointing

    The second-largest religion in each state
    Christianity is by far the largest religion in the United States; more than three-quarters of Americans identify as Christians. A little more than half of us identify as Protestants, about 23 percent as Catholic and about 2 percent as Mormon. But what about the rest of us?
    posted by davidstandaford on Jun 5, 2014 - 104 comments

    Open defecation solves the child mortality puzzle among Indian Muslims

    “Hindus are, on average, richer and more educated than Muslims. But oddly, the child mortality rate for Hindus is much higher. All observable factors say Hindus should fare better, but they don't. Economists refer to this as the Muslim mortality puzzle. In a new study, researchers believe that they may have found a solution to the puzzle. And, surprisingly, the solution lies in a single factor – open defecation.” [more inside]
    posted by XMLicious on Jun 5, 2014 - 33 comments

    Selling Buddhism -- Selling Out the Religion

    Joanna Piacenza tackles difficulties she sees in the American conception of Buddhism. She was spurred out of writing silence several months ago by Time Magazine choosing for the second time in a decade to sell their magazine with a consumerist representation of Buddhism depicted on their cover with an pretty and ethereal looking white woman. Today, she published an article in First Things on why she believes Buddhism can't be just "an add-on: an energy boost in your spiritual smoothie," but is a religion and the American attitudes that she sees as enabling this misconception.
    posted by Jahaza on Jun 4, 2014 - 128 comments

    Weekend at Sri Ashutosh's

    Indian court asked to rule on whether Hindu guru dead or meditating: Since January 29 of this year, Sri Ashutosh Maharaj, founder of the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan religious sect, has been residing in a freezer in his ashram in Punjab. His followers claim he is in a "deep meditative state (samadhi)." Doctors, however, have declared Maharaj clinically dead and his family have sued to have his death be investigated and to have his body released for cremation. The guru's son also alleges that Maharaj was murdered and that his followers are trying to gain control of his estate, said to be worth $170 million. While traditional yogis have claimed extraordinary powers, including the power to stop one's heart, the evidence for these claims has been lacking.
    posted by Cash4Lead on Jun 2, 2014 - 37 comments

    Pope Francis never stops talking about the Devil; it’s constant.

    "A modern pope gets old school on the Devil" by Anthony Faiola
    "Witness to an Exorcism" -An interview with Anthony Faiola
    "The Exorcists Next Door"
    In their tidy suburban home, Marion and Larry Pollard have dug deep into the recesses of the Scriptures to save tortured souls—and command demons to get out. Get out now!
    posted by davidstandaford on Jun 1, 2014 - 64 comments

    Prayers get a new blessing

    The Supreme Court ruled (PDF) this morning that the town of Greece, New York did not violate the Constitution by starting its public meetings with a prayer from a “chaplain of the month." [more inside]
    posted by roomthreeseventeen on May 5, 2014 - 167 comments

    High-dollar trolling

    Vice has photos and updated information about the Baphomet statue that the Church of Satan wants to install at the Oklahoma City Courthouse.
    posted by Pope Guilty on May 2, 2014 - 132 comments

    "Let’s stop telling Adam and Steve jokes."

    "We’ve run off at the mouth, said things we shouldn’t have said. We’ve run around like a peacock all over the platform. We have said things because we were playing to the home team, and they all liked our act. On this issue, nobody likes our act, except the redneck factor." That was Pastor Greg Belser speaking at the Southern Baptist Convention's first ever conference on human sexuality currently being held in Nashville. As promising as those remarks are, however, Slate notes that the SBC still has a long way to go.
    posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Apr 23, 2014 - 23 comments

    The Next America

    "America is in the midst of two major changes to its population: We are becoming majority non-white at the same time a record share is going gray. Explore these shifts in our new interactive data essay."
    posted by Chutzler on Apr 13, 2014 - 44 comments

    Eppur si muove

    The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown is a nine-part series posted by sci-fi author and statistician Michael F. Flynn to his blog last year, covering the historical conflict between heliocentrism and geocentrism, with a special focus on Galileo. They are based on an article (pdf) by Flynn which originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Analog. [more inside]
    posted by zarq on Apr 8, 2014 - 10 comments

    "...said to be the messianic leader of an apocalyptic Islamic sex cult."

    Step inside this surreal world where religious piety meets psychedelic softcore porn, led by the world’s foremost Islamic creationist. "Followers of Harun Yahya (1, 2, 3) wear drag make-up and practice a “sexed-up, Disney version of Islam” that helps promote conservative Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s vision of a modern, Muslim Turkey."
    posted by artof.mulata on Apr 6, 2014 - 27 comments

    Saudi Arabia declares atheists and political activists “terrorists”

    The Sunni Islamic monarchy/theocracy's restrictive laws on political expression have become even stricter this year. This is in response to potentially dangerous dissidents returning to Saudi Arabia from the Syrian civil war. But the categories of offenses are so broad as to define virtually any non-Muslim as a terrorist, and to ban all independent political expression. [more inside]
    posted by Sleeper on Apr 2, 2014 - 48 comments

    When is a church not a church?

    NPR reporter John Burnett and investigator Samantha Sunne examine the finances of Christian TV network Daystar.
    At NPR's request, the Trinity Foundation, a watchdog group in Dallas that monitors Christian broadcasters, compiled a list of the nation's 30 leading evangelist broadcasters. Twenty-two of them are designated churches, meaning they don't have to report anything to anybody. Of those, two-thirds have churches, while a third of them — including Daystar — hold no regular services.

    posted by audi alteram partem on Apr 2, 2014 - 44 comments

    At least they don't follow Lazarus Long's philosophy

    "The Church of All Worlds, registered as a religion in the United Statesin 1968 and now a significant presence in the contemporary Pagan revival,takes its name from the fictional church in Heinlein’s novel. Tim Zell, now Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, is one of the most influential of contemporary Paganleaders, and his church has developed a revolutionary programme for thetransformation of Western society. CAW core doctrines (‘Thou art God’), rituals (water-sharing), and church organizations (nests) are based on those of Heinlein’s fictional church." -- Carole M. Cusack examines how Heinlein's most famous novel gave rise to a pagan religion that still exists today. (Warning: you may get a pdf download popup, depending on your browser's settings.)
    posted by MartinWisse on Apr 2, 2014 - 35 comments

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