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Joseph Smith: America's Hermetic Prophet

Joseph Smith: Magus, Freemason, Kabbalist and Gnostic.

The remarkable founder of the only truly American religion.
posted by y2karl on Dec 2, 2002 - 101 comments

Dhimmi, Goyim, and alike

Bat Yeor is a researcher of the life of dhimmi (non-Muslims) under Islam. How do other religions treat the 'infidels'? Judaism has the goy, but what's his rights? What about Christianity? Hinduism? Shinto? How has the legal view of the minorities developed in socio-political systems informed by different religions?...
posted by bokononito on Dec 2, 2002 - 6 comments

Into The Gnostic

Out of the mist of the beginning of our era there looms a pageant of mythical figures whose vast, superhuman contours might people the walls of another Sistine Chapel. Their countenances and gestures, the roles in which they are cast, the drama which they enact, would yield images different from the biblical ones on which the imagination of the beholder was reared, yet strangely familiar to him and disturbingly moving. The stage would be the same, the theme as transcending: the creation of the world, the destiny of man, fall and redemption, the first and the last things. But how much more numerous would be the cast, how much more bizarre the symbolism, how much more extravagant the emotions!
                                                                                                        Hans Jonas

Into the Gnostic.

Of magicians, miracle workers, saints and sinners of early Christianities and other mystery religions--including but not limited to Valentinus, Simon Magus, Mithras, Marcion, Manicheans, Mandeans, the Winged Hermes, the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary, among many other Apocrypha and Pseudepigraphica, the Cathars and Apollonious of Tyana. Not to mention Philip K. Dick.
posted by y2karl on Nov 30, 2002 - 11 comments

A Remainder of Fear

If you have sex before marriage, you will die. Why is fear so often used to promote an agenda?
posted by The Jesse Helms on Nov 25, 2002 - 37 comments

Jonestown

Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple. Was it a religion, a revolutionary social movement, a cult, or a combination of them all?
posted by semmi on Nov 23, 2002 - 5 comments

Beauty kills?

Muslim rioters force cancellation of Miss World beauty contest: Lagos not favourite in race for Mr.Gay Africa comp.
posted by dash_slot- on Nov 22, 2002 - 34 comments

Mount Athos, The Holy Mountain

Mount Athos is the center of Eastern Orthodox Monasticism. It's located in the northeast of Greece and is an amazing place. If you're a man and planning a pilgrimage, make sure to read this first. And if you're a woman planning a pilgrimage, make sure to read this first. [more inside]
posted by soundofsuburbia on Nov 20, 2002 - 15 comments

What Would Jesus Drive?

The National Religious Partnership for the Environment is preparing a grass roots campaign linking fuel economy to morality. The group includes members from the Catholic, Jewish and Evangelical faiths.

Why is this important? With BIG religion vs BIG Oil, where does this leave the Republicans?
posted by CrazyJub on Nov 19, 2002 - 21 comments

Plane Living

The JetSet Society What if the passengers on any given plane actually lived there? One guy's musings, with sections on the Economy, Love and Death, and of course, Religion.
posted by amberglow on Nov 18, 2002 - 2 comments

Gods and alternate religions

God of the Month Club - unsure of your belief system yet yearn for some spirituality? Why limit yourself to one - sample a different God or Goddess every month. Learn about the belief and worship systems surrounding White Buffalo Woman, the Horned God, Green Men, Morpheus, Hecate, Vulcan, Freya or the ever-popular Venus, just to name a few.
posted by madamjujujive on Nov 17, 2002 - 22 comments

swastika

The Swastika, Swastika links, and a complete index.
posted by hama7 on Nov 17, 2002 - 64 comments

100 Questions and Answers About Arab Americans.

100 Questions and Answers About Arab Americans. While researching the Middle East conflict, I happened upon this journalist's guide from the Detroit Free Press containing background on Arab-American culture, language, and religion. Many of the questions are simplistic (some might even say moronic) and the answers obvious, but I found I learned a thing or two.
posted by VelvetHellvis on Nov 12, 2002 - 21 comments

"if you like God in government, get ready for the Rapture"

"if you like God in government, get ready for the Rapture" a word from bill moyers via drudge on the party now in control of the US government - and a word from garrison kiellor on one of its newest members complete text here. anyone else uneasy with the direction the county seems to be headed?
posted by specialk420 on Nov 11, 2002 - 66 comments

Ossuary was genuine, inscription was faked

Ossuary was genuine, inscription was faked Lots of excitement when this ossuary with inscription found and thought to be a direct link back to Jesus...alas, not what it seemed.
posted by Postroad on Nov 6, 2002 - 30 comments

Science and Religion

The Paradox of God, the Bible, and Religion have fascinated humans since the dawn of civilization. What are your favorite web pages and books on the intersection of science and religion? Do you feel that the human concept of God evolves through time? Is science displacing God? And what about miracles? Are miracles possible?
posted by Morphic on Nov 3, 2002 - 69 comments

Sup, G?

Sup, G? The Five Percent Nation: A splinter group from the Nation of Islam, they have contributed quite a bit to the hip-hop scene -- and to the English language. Phrases like "Break it down", "word", and even "peace" (as a form of salutation) can be traced back to their teachings. The Wu-tang Clan and Digable Planets are among the artists greatly influenced by the unique, sometimes inspiring, and often unsettling, worldview of this religion. It ain't all smiles und sunshine, but whatever you think of it, one thing's for sure: This is one fit and fecund memeplex.
posted by condour75 on Nov 2, 2002 - 28 comments

Apocalypse Cow!

Apocalypse Cow! In the most bizarre collaboration between the American Christian Right and ultraorthodox Jewish Zionists in Israel, Pentecostal minister and Georgia cattle farmer Clyde Lott has collaborated with the Temple Mount Institute of Jerusalem to breed a red heifer suitable for purifying the foundation of a rebuilt version of Solomon's Temple, which ultraorthodox Jews hope will lead to the coming of the Messiah. The problem is that the proposed site for the rebuilt temple is on the same site as the al-Aqsa mosque, the holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina. Some Zionist extremists in Israel have attempted to "solve" this problem by plotting to blow up the mosque, which doesn't exactly promote peace in the Middle East. And to think all of this could have been started by a cow that looks like it should have belonged in "the Horse of a Different Color" sequence in the Wizard of Oz!
posted by jonp72 on Oct 30, 2002 - 45 comments

Boy Scouts tell Atheist Eagle Scout he has one week to declare his belief or get out. On membership applications, Boy Scouts and adult leaders must say they recognize some higher power, not necessarily religious. "Mother Nature would be acceptable," said Brad Farmer, the Scout executive of the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts. Hmmmm...
posted by quirked on Oct 30, 2002 - 45 comments

Religion! What Is It Good For?

Religion! What Is It Good For? Absolutely nothing? Perhaps not. Michael Prowse, a lifelong atheist (and Financial Times columnist even!) had this to say in an article for Prospect:
"Having accepted that meanings are always contestable, I have found myself more able to focus on what religious people do, and less on what they say. Are they "better" people than the irreligious? Of course not. Are they better people than they would be were they not religious? Probably, and this is what counts for me.".
Meanwhile, another atheist, Jared Diamond, writing (brilliantly, as the author of Guns, Germs and Steel always does) in the current New York Review of Books, addresses religion in a (let us say) more scientific way and, though more sceptical, leaves a similar question mark hanging. So, in a nutshell: can there be something in (or about) religion for atheists too?
posted by MiguelCardoso on Oct 29, 2002 - 142 comments

The Guardian isn't so good

The Guardian isn't so good at letting you link to their articles anymore. But if you use this link then click on "printable version" you might get to the site I want you to link to. My title being: If you're Jewish and American its hard to know whose side your on these days.
posted by donfactor on Oct 28, 2002 - 20 comments

"God's boys on both sides of the Atlantic"

"God's boys on both sides of the Atlantic" It began back in February. Now, 6 letters, 350+ intellectuals later, the great debate rages on, though apparently and regrettably now censored in Saudi Arabia. Pity.
posted by Voyageman on Oct 27, 2002 - 11 comments

"Religions potentially offer practical, social, and motivational benefits to their adherents.

"Religions potentially offer practical, social, and motivational benefits to their adherents. But religions differ among themselves in the degree to which they motivate their adherents to have children, to rear those children to become productive members of society, and to convert or kill believers in competing religions. Those religions that are more successful in these respects will tend to spread, and gain and retain adherents, at the expense of other religions." So says Jared Diamond in his review of David Sloan Wilson's book, Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society, which views religion from an evolutionary perspective. Another writer interested in the evolution of religions is Toby Lester, who examines how present-day religious movements are "mutating with Darwinian restlessness."
posted by homunculus on Oct 23, 2002 - 5 comments

Philosophy or religion? Some people like it, some hate it, some have even annotated it. But however you choose to define it, The Book of Heresies is an interesting approach to the idea of disorganized religion in the modern world.
posted by nick.a on Oct 14, 2002 - 19 comments

Hail Mary, full of....

Hail Mary, full of.... um.... what was that, again? The only Pope many of us have known, John Paul II, has decided that a millenium is long enough to change a prayer. Odd that two millenia are not enough to revisit female and married priests.
posted by dwivian on Oct 14, 2002 - 39 comments

How NOT to Start an Ancient Religion

How NOT to Start an Ancient Religion Not so much a DIY guide for time-travellers as "a list of 16 factors to be considered -- places where Christianity 'did the wrong thing' in order to be a successful religion." Hopefully thought provoking...
posted by agentfresh on Oct 11, 2002 - 22 comments

Loaves and Fishes.

Loaves and Fishes. Neatly tucked in amongst guitar stores and honky tonks, these folks are serving up the Bread of Life in Downtown Nashville.
posted by mikrophon on Oct 11, 2002 - 7 comments

Think you know your gods? Most people know that the Greek god of war was Ares, and probably would know that the Roman god of war was Mars, but how many know the Norse, Aztec, Celtic, Hindu, Egyptian or Chinese gods of war?
posted by nick.a on Oct 9, 2002 - 15 comments

'I am who I am'

'I am who I am' A Florida man wanted to legally change his name to "God" but a judge denied his request. So he took a passage from the Bible where Moses asks God who he is and hears "I am who I am or I will be who I will be" I'm suprised that a government official would be protecting a religion-based request. Is there anything you shouldn't be allowed to change your name to?
posted by stevis on Oct 8, 2002 - 87 comments

The Gospel According to Harry Potter.

The Gospel According to Harry Potter. Connie Neal thinks that she sees "glimmers of the Gospel" in the Harry Potter books. Not the most interesting attempt to counter the occult hysteria surrounding this book, but sure to stir up some hilarious controversy just the same.
posted by mikrophon on Oct 8, 2002 - 19 comments

Reliquaries

Reliquaries are containers built to hold objects of special religious significance, such as the foot of a saint, or the skull of a king. The art of European reliquary making reached it's zenith in the Middle Ages when craftsman created fantastic objets d'art for cathedrals and monasteries in the form of caskets, bodily appendages, and freestanding holders built to visually display occasionally gruesome bits of the venerated individual. The layperson had access to reliquaries as well, typically in the form of small lead crosses worn around the neck, containing pieces of bone or one of the ubiquitous fragments of the True Cross. Reliquaries are not unique to the Christianity, but can also be found in Buddhist and Islamic tradition.
posted by MrBaliHai on Oct 6, 2002 - 27 comments

Falwell calls THE Mohammed a terrorist.

Falwell calls THE Mohammed a terrorist. But it's not the first time he's offered this sick, and truly twisted opinion. On his site we find this gem. How long will it take for his people to give up, and step back to let the snipers have a better shot?
posted by Dome-O-Rama on Oct 4, 2002 - 48 comments

A restaurant's advertisement runs during a special on gay weddings, which causes a christian conservative group to mention said restaurant in a story on their web site, which might alienate some of the restaurant's patrons. So the restaurant tells the AP that the advertisement was not meant for that programming, and that the restaurant only supports "non-controversial" programming, which brings the ire of an even bigger minority group. Applebee's just can't seem to win when it comes to courting the non-mainstream market.
posted by benjh on Oct 3, 2002 - 24 comments

High school Satanism club prompts parental outrage

High school Satanism club prompts parental outrage some kids in a high school start a club called Satanist Thought Society. As expected, everybody gets offended, especially the Christian Society. It can be argued, though, that the the Satanist Society has as much right to exist as the Christian Society. Is this just a 1st ammendment issue or is there a moral question to be thought out? (via Camworld)
posted by falameufilho on Oct 2, 2002 - 100 comments

Mother Teresa "cures" cancer, on her way to sainthood.

Mother Teresa "cures" cancer, on her way to sainthood. Clearly cancer sufferers need only to pray to Mother Terresa to cure cancer! This story forces us to deal with the most crucial of questions-- why is religion so goofy?
posted by xmutex on Oct 1, 2002 - 120 comments

A bill is currently being pushed through Congress that will give health care providers, including those that are federally funded, the right to refuse to perform abortions or administer contraceptive medication for personal moral reasons. Next week: firefighters allowed to let houses burn down because they hate the color of the curtains.
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Sep 25, 2002 - 72 comments

"I asked who was playing. A Moroccan group, said the cabbie. He told me its name. Did I want to know what it was singing? Certainly. It was a plea to Israel from the Arab people. The chorus was, 'We have the same father. Why do you treat us this way?' Who might the father be? I asked. 'Ibrahim,' he said. 'The song is called Ismail and Isaac,' after his sons."
posted by artifex on Sep 24, 2002 - 8 comments

Nawal El Saadawi

Nawal El Saadawi seems to think that for any type of fundamentalist religion women are like canaries in the coal mine for the dangers to follow. Female genital mutilation would certainly seem to be a pretty good pointer to get out of the mine, if you ask me. She points out the hypocrisy of the "post-modern veil" and politicians who criticize the Moslem notion of propiety without acknowledging the West's notions of female attire is similarly veiled. I'll grant her that. But, I'd rather wear some smart eyeliner than a head full of burka. I wonder if the propensity of Western couples to have the man drive is anything like the Saudi propensity to disallow women from driving, only with a Western middle class less restrictive enforcement policy? Do the spinsters in Saudi Arabia have sex? And how? And with whom? Why are sexual minorities in 26 Middle Eastern Countries outlawed? What are the reproductive & sensual habits of the Islamist Fundamentalist?
posted by filchyboy on Sep 24, 2002 - 51 comments

The Rapture Index

The Rapture Index This rather bizarre site is the Dow Jones of the end of the world. From the site, "You could say the Rapture index is a Dow Jones Industrial Average of end time activity, but I think it would be better if you viewed it as prophetic speedometer. The higher the number, the faster we're moving towards the occurrence of pre-tribulation rapture. " Whacked...
posted by Coop on Sep 20, 2002 - 23 comments

When patriotism wasn't religious

When patriotism wasn't religious (nytimes) Last night in front of the Texas Capitol in Austin, the 9/11 memorial vigil featured singing of The Lord's Prayer; a Baptist reverend who talked mostly of caution against the "Islamic government of Sudan" and "Islamic mobs" who attacked Christians and Jews in Pakistan; and a Catholic bishop who addressed "our God" over 100 times. Am I wrong to think this amount of religiosity was inappropriate in front of a mixed public crowd at the statehouse? How can we be free when church and state are so intertwined?
posted by skyboy on Sep 12, 2002 - 122 comments

HE answers some queries

HE answers some queries A short list ( though more than 10 ) of modern commandments (via boing boing)
posted by johnny7 on Sep 12, 2002 - 33 comments

105 unconscious children temporarily buried alive in the name of religion.

105 unconscious children temporarily buried alive in the name of religion. In a horrible ritual witnessed by an Indian government official, who quit his position shortly afterward, children were worked until exhausted, wrapped in cloth, and then buried for one entire minute. Sometimes it feels like that we will never shake off the need for ancient tradition, myth, and groundless faith, but there is a bright side. There are more non-religious people now than ever. As the information age expands, education becomes more accessible and may be the most important factor in determining how religious one is. Unsurprisingly, a follow-up article on the mass-burial quotes, "Inquiries also revealed that no educational programme had been introduced anywhere near Perayur in the last six years."
posted by skallas on Sep 6, 2002 - 93 comments

It's amazing how good religion is at mobilizing people to do awful, murderous things. There is this dark side to it, and anyone who loves religious experience, including me, better begin to own there

It's amazing how good religion is at mobilizing people to do awful, murderous things. There is this dark side to it, and anyone who loves religious experience, including me, better begin to own there - a profound admission - in very well produced piece about 9/11 -
posted by specialk420 on Sep 5, 2002 - 3 comments

If you missed the very powerful Frontline "Faith and Doubt" on the spiritual implications of 9/11, check out the PBS site with the full script and interviews with priests, rabbis, an Islamic scholar, a professor of Middle East studies, an English professor, a British novelist, a psychoanalyst, and the photographer who documented Ground Zero for the City of New York..
posted by semmi on Sep 5, 2002 - 10 comments

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels ~ (en EspaƱol) ~ opened today. The $195 million cathedral was designed by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo and is one foot longer than Saint Patrick's Cathedral. [more inside]
posted by mr_crash_davis on Sep 2, 2002 - 32 comments

"Nothing so sharply distinguishes philosophers and Kabbalists as their attitude toward the problem of evil and the demonic."

"Nothing so sharply distinguishes philosophers and Kabbalists as their attitude toward the problem of evil and the demonic." A widely informative study of the historical background and on the mythic passions of the great Kabbalah scholar Gershom Scholen by a writer I much enjoy, Cynthia Ozick. (zip up Miguel, my uncle Zen sent this as a contribution to your Sacks)
posted by semmi on Aug 30, 2002 - 17 comments

Yoga in the classroom? EGADS! That reeks of religious implications, say parents in Aspen, Colorado. "For some families, the chanting that accompanies a selection of yoga techniques creates a challenge for separation of church and state." Aspen Elementary says the pilot program "was proposed as a way to help kids cope with their return to school. Rowdy tots could be calmed and readied for class work after recess using a series of relaxing breathing and stretching techniques."
posted by msacheson on Aug 28, 2002 - 66 comments

Australian government refuses to recognize Jedi

Australian government refuses to recognize Jedi as an official religion, despite the fact that 70,000 people listed it on their census forms.
posted by swift on Aug 27, 2002 - 33 comments

US Catholics soften their position on Jews.

US Catholics soften their position on Jews. Of course, there's no mention of the Vatican approving of this. It certainly blows a hole in the "Christ is the only way to God" line that the church has always taken.
posted by Fenriss on Aug 13, 2002 - 57 comments

Serial killer blog.

Serial killer blog. Well not really. More of a religious rant than true crime novel, but the case of the Son of Sam murders has been reviewed for the possibility of a second suspect. An article in Fortean Times may have opened the floodgates, but I am unable to find an online source. Did anybody else see this story?
posted by destro on Aug 12, 2002 - 8 comments

"When Shiva holds the center of the stage, the role of the personalized Brahman is colored with death and destruction. Shiva's stern asceticism casts a blight over the fields of rebirth. His presence negates and transcends the kaleidoscope of sufferings and joys. Nevertheless, he bestows wisdom and peace and is not only terrible but profoundly benign. Shiva's nature at once transcends and includes all the polarities of the living world." "Shiva opens his third eye only in anger, and the offender is burnt to cinders.
posted by sudama on Aug 10, 2002 - 26 comments

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