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 -
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 -
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 -
“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 -
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 -
“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 -
"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 -
"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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
"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 -
For years, Fred "Slacktivist
" Clark has been dissecting, page by page
, the Left Behind
series of Evangelical Christian potboilers. Clark, a Christian himself, goes far beyond merely mocking them but also analyzes the theology, philosophy, and politics underlying them. As an aside, he's looked at other Rapture narratives and is asking, "Why are Rapture stories always so dull?"
To this end he examines The Missing Christians
, a 50-minute 1952 movie about the Rapture, which is available to watch on YouTube
. Clark warns: "This is far, far worse than you’re expecting even if you take into account that it will be far, far worse than you’re expecting."
As usual, Clark goes beyond (but certainly by way of) just mocking the film to get at the core of what he argues the Rapture idea is really about, and why, despite the Apocalyptic material, these stories always end up so dull.
Part of the problem here, as in Left Behind, is that the “storytellers” of Evangel Films aren't nearly as interested in telling their story as they are in settling the score with their perceived enemies. These are the same enemies that haunt the sleep of Tim LaHaye — those sophisticated “liberal” Christians who refuse to concede the expertise of “Bible prophecy” experts. Just like Left Behind, The Missing Christians is a revenge fantasy in which those evil sophisticates are “proved” wrong and the righteous are proved right.
posted by Legomancer
on Feb 12, 2014 -
If Jesus and company were around today, the Bible may look like a art & fandom Tumblr project
, complete with meta essays
, and playlists
. Their writers aim to "follow in the Judeo-Christian tradition of questioning, evolving, and shaking up the status quo in order to update scripture for a secular audience, offering it up as a volatile mix of narrative, social commentary, spirituality, and punk rock."
In this version Jesus is a cat-loving activist
, Mary Madgalene is a hijabi punk
, and the mystics are spoken word artists, musicians, and bloggers
posted by divabat
on Feb 3, 2014 -
As part of a settlement between the Archdiocese of Chicago and the victims of 30 pedophile priests, a cache of 6000 documents
has been made public, detailing the Catholic Church's efforts over many years to cover up sexual abuse and protect accused priests.
posted by reenum
on Jan 22, 2014 -
"I'm making it official and embarking on a new journey. I will "try on" atheism for a year.
For the next 12 months I will live as if there is no God. I will not pray, read the Bible for inspiration, refer to God as the cause of things or hope that God might intervene and change my own or someone else's circumstances. (I trust that if there really is a God that God will not be too flummoxed by my foolish experiment and allow others to suffer as a result)."
posted by paleyellowwithorange
on Jan 15, 2014 -