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Circumcision in Germany is now illegal

A German court has ruled that male circumcision is "bodily harm" and that a child's right to "physical integrity" trumps parental or religious rights. Jews and Muslims have reacted strongly to the decision, with some going as far to allege anti-Semitism. Intactivists are generally pleased.
posted by mrgrimm on Jun 27, 2012 - 493 comments

IAmAn Ex-Member of the Westboro Baptist Church

"I think my father is a hateful person first. The religious beliefs gave him a forum and permission to be cruel to the world." Nate Phelps, son of Fred Phelps, answers questions about growing up in the Westboro Baptist Church, and his life after leaving it. (Warning: descriptions of domestic violence.) [more inside]
posted by roger ackroyd on Jun 23, 2012 - 70 comments

"It seems ironic saying that, seeing as I've left now, but I still love our culture."

19-year-old Kelly Hofer grew up in a Hutterite colony in Manitoba, and his photography captures his life as a Hutterite. Recently, Kelly left the community to start a new life in Calgary.
posted by Catseye on Jun 18, 2012 - 51 comments

The Stephen King Universe Flow Chart

Gillian James charts the connections in the Stephen King universe* Meanwhile The Guardian is rereading King begining with Carrie and Salems Lot, CNN has discovered The Gospel of Stephen King, and in further Castle Rock news a new movie version of It is being made.
* Not including The Dark Tower
posted by Artw on Jun 11, 2012 - 70 comments

A year later

One year after the apocalypse. What happened to Harold Camping’s followers. [more inside]
posted by skilar on May 27, 2012 - 148 comments

Olivier Messiaen's organ music

The irony in a way is that Messiaen used this great romantic organ for his most modern experiments. For Messiaen, this was a great sort of sonic paintbox, if you like, and he would come here and experiment with the extraordinary sounds that he could conjure out of this amazing instrument. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on May 27, 2012 - 10 comments

Doing God's Work Is Better Than Just Mouthing God's Word

The letter of the day at the Savage Love blog tells a story of cruel abandonment, and provokes an outpouring of love in response.
posted by Ipsifendus on May 18, 2012 - 48 comments

Discobolus and The Thinker

Study shows those who think analytically are less likely to be religious: Why are some people more religious than others? It may come down to whether they rely more heavily on an analytical or intuitive thinking process, at least according to a new study [abstract; supplementary materials] performed at the University of British Columbia and published in the journal “Science.” [more inside]
posted by troll on Apr 27, 2012 - 133 comments

Stanley Fish on religion and science

Stanley Fish takes on the similarities and differences between scientific and religious evidence and gets a barrage of responses, to which he replies. Michael K. declares that “the equivalence between the methodological premises of scientific inquiry and those of religious doctrine is simply false.” I agree, but I do not assert it. Neither do I assert that because there are no “impersonal standards and impartial procedures … all standards and procedures are equivalent” (E.). What I do assert is that with respect to a single demand — the demand that the methodological procedures of an enterprise be tethered to the world of fact in a manner unmediated by assumptions — science and religion are in the same condition of not being able to meet it (as are history, anthropology, political science, sociology, psychology and all the rest).
posted by shivohum on Apr 10, 2012 - 259 comments

Sacred text

Meg Hitchcock creates intricate collages out of individual letters from spiritual and philosophical texts (via).
posted by EvaDestruction on Apr 3, 2012 - 7 comments

An Interview with Yanis Varoufakis

The New Priesthood - "The hapless economist uses the same tools as acclaimed physicists and astronomers. She has trained for years to speak precisely the same language as them, to understand the same advanced mathematics, to deploy most complex statistical methods which are an essential part of the scientific toolbox. It is, understandably, incredibly difficult to accept that her work is a form of higher order superstition; a religion couched in the language of mathematics and statistics. Tragically, this is precisely what it is." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 2, 2012 - 169 comments

Well, I never hated you.

Jake Cole of the film blog Not Just Movies discusses the semi-legendary hour-long debate about Monty Python's Life of Brian on the BBC Four program Friday Night, Saturday Morning. The debate features Pythons John Cleese and Michael Palin on one side and opposite them broadcaster Malcolm Muggeridge and Mervyn Stockwood, the Bishop of Southwark.
posted by shakespeherian on Mar 28, 2012 - 38 comments

The voice of reason... in Washington, DC?!

Organized irreligion! This weekend , Washington, D.C. will be invaded by the voice of reason. A free rally featuring Tim Minchin, Paul Provenza, Richard Dawkins, Eddie Izzard, Adam Savage, James Randi, Bad Religion, and many others, in what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of non-believers in America.
"If we don't organize, we will be the only ones not organized. Religion will be organized. We won't be organized. That means we lose... and they win."
posted by markkraft on Mar 23, 2012 - 489 comments

Andrea Yates, 10 years later

"Andrea Yates' story tracks so many of the themes we talk about all the time today. The role of religion in family life. The cognitive dissonance of so many marriages. Lingering stigmas about mental illness, especially as they relate to postpartum depression. The Yates trial was a big deal 10 years ago — even though it was overshadowed by the fallout from 9/11." The Atlantic looks back at the Andrea Yates case and how she's doing now.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 20, 2012 - 145 comments

Mormonism, Religion, and the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Religion and Presidential Elections: (video from the C-SPAN Video Library) On March 13, 2012, panelists at Boston College discussed Mormonism and the role of religion in the context of the 2012 Republican primaries and American politics generally. The video is about an hour long. Kristine Haglund comments about the discussion on By Common Consent.
posted by The World Famous on Mar 19, 2012 - 39 comments

Cephalophores, the head-carriers

Walking down Zürich's Lindenhofstrasse, you might stop in surprise by a relief depicting two men and a woman, draped in gauzy robes, each one calmly carrying their own severed head. There is no explanatory sign. Don't worry, though: Felix, Regula and Exuperantius are just the city's cephalophoric patron saints. [more inside]
posted by daisyk on Mar 10, 2012 - 16 comments

ISAAAAAC? ISAAAAAC!

Grotesque Body Horror in the Binding of Isaac.
posted by empath on Mar 4, 2012 - 23 comments

"No take-backs."

Are you bothered by the LDS practice of "baptism for the dead"? Well, take heart, because now, All Dead Mormons Are Now Gay.
posted by jbickers on Feb 22, 2012 - 232 comments

Diamanda Galas

Diamanda Galas sings "Gloomy Sunday" [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Feb 18, 2012 - 18 comments

The End of the Christian Right?

Historian Michael Kazin says that we are witnessing the end of the Religious Right's influence in American politics. Peter Montgomery of Alternet says not to declare the Christian Right dead quite yet.
posted by reenum on Feb 14, 2012 - 128 comments

And in this corner, weighing in at 2,000 years, the Catholic Church

After much protestation from religious communities, the Obama administration has compromised on its controversial contraceptive law. Non-profit organizations (such as hospitals) that are affiliated with religious institutions will not be required to provide contraceptives--but insurance companies will. But some Catholics still aren't satisfied.
posted by kethonna on Feb 10, 2012 - 225 comments

The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible

“The words of the 1611 King James Bible ring out today in books, poems, popular songs, speeches, and sermons. But who translated it, and what made this particular translation so influential? Inspired by the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, Manifold Greatness tells the story of one of the most widely read books in the English language, through online content, exhibitions, and more.” Previously on Metafilter: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7.
posted by found missing on Feb 9, 2012 - 8 comments

"The Enemy", wear thin?

"Muslim-American Terrorism in the Decade Since 9/11" (PDF) is a report by Professor Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina, published by the Triangle Center for Terrorism and Homeland Security. The TCFTHS is a collection of experts in the "Research Triangle" of North Carolina, associated with Duke, UNC and NC State and RTI, the independent research institute dedicated to aggregating and marketing the research resources of these three institutions. [more inside]
posted by running order squabble fest on Feb 8, 2012 - 23 comments

Church or Cult?

Inside the creepy and controling world of Seattle's Mars Hill Church, home of "real marriage".
posted by Artw on Feb 2, 2012 - 81 comments

"a killing spree of staggering proportions"

Amnesty International believes that Iran has executed at least 600 people in 2011 in what it calls "a killing spree of staggering proportions". [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jan 22, 2012 - 67 comments

Religions without gods?

Atheism 2.0: Alain de Botton reviews some of the often-overlooked values that religion can have for secular society. [more inside]
posted by Misunderestimated on Jan 18, 2012 - 187 comments

Alan Attraction

Here comes Alan Measles - WW2 hero turned benign dictator turned Godhead. Guru, muse, art critic, raconteur. In his capacity as minor deity he resides in a hand-tooled Louis Vuitton traveling shrine, and embarks on a pilgrimage to Bavaria to make peace with the Germans, in his custom-built personal conveyance. In his entourage are his devoted minion and bodyguard, and some other bloke named Alan. In London this weekend? Pay your respects to Alan's stunt-doubles in the Kenilworth AM1, and purchase Measles memorabilia from the gift shop. [more inside]
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth on Jan 17, 2012 - 3 comments

Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus

Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus || Spoken Word
posted by Blasdelb on Jan 15, 2012 - 85 comments

Aum Shinrikyo fugitive surrenders after 16 years

Makoto Hirata, a senior member of doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo and one of three remaining fugitives from the group, has turned himself in to police after more than sixteen years on the run, leading to questions about the timing of his surrender now, after all these years. While Aum is best known as the group responsible for the deadly sarin-gas attack on Tokyo's subway system that killed 13 people and injured more than 6000, Hirata is wanted on suspicion of taking part in a different crime, the kidnapping and murder of Kiyoshi Kariya, the brother of an ex-Aum member who had left the group. Despite the fact that police stations and koban (police boxes) throughout Japan have prominently displayed wanted posters of the three Aum Shinrikyo fugitives for the past 16 years, Hirata had remained at large and hadn't had plastic surgery, leading to police speculation that he must have been helped by others while on the run.
posted by Umami Dearest on Jan 1, 2012 - 22 comments

Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) is arguably the most influential American Catholic author of the twentieth century. His autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, has sold over one million copies and has been translated into over fifteen languages. He wrote over sixty other books and hundreds of poems and articles on topics ranging from monastic spirituality to civil rights, nonviolence, and the nuclear arms race.
posted by Trurl on Dec 29, 2011 - 8 comments

God, Sex and the Left

"In all other circumstances we praise non-violent activities and when people, for whatever personal reasons, enjoy sexual violence even in a consenting context I think we shouldn't just say “whatever turns you on”. We should say “There's something wrong here”. But people on the left are so terrified of being accused of moralising and therefore of being oppressive that they've abandoned their critical faculties in this area." Clive Hamilton on God, Sex, and the Left (Part 2).
posted by daniel_charms on Dec 26, 2011 - 358 comments

This is not an uplifting post. You have been warned.

Well, to put it simply, The Big plan is the same as the immediate plan: they want you dead. It’s not that they want to kill opposition; they want to kill the opposition, literally. This country ain’t big enough for the both of you, and they have everything to lose. And they have guns. And the media. And all the keys of power. And you want to overthrow them. How do you think they will react to that? Give you cookies? - an on the ground report of what's going on in Egypt now from a blogger turned parliamentary candidate.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 20, 2011 - 37 comments

Test everything; hold fast to what is good.

Fred Clark posts at a blog called "Slacktivist", so he is often referred to by that name. But this left-wing Christian is far from a slacker. His blog is a powerful voice against the usual conservative Christian presence in America, and the best distillation of his strength is his series of posts analyzing the Left Behind novels of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Fred savages these books for their "bad writing and bad theology" but it's not the usual Internet snark; Fred has a larger mission here than just pointing and laughing. He just finished dissecting book two, Tribulation Force, so it's a great time to jump on if you already haven't. (He has promised that after a holiday break, he's going to do the Tribulation Force movie, and then on to book three.) [more inside]
posted by Legomancer on Dec 20, 2011 - 183 comments

Simone Weil

Some lives are exemplary, others not; and of exemplary lives, there are those which invite us to imitate them, and those which we regard from a distance with a mixture of revulsion, pity, and reverence. It is, roughly, the difference between the hero and the saint (if one may use the latter term in an aesthetic, rather than a religious sense). Such a life, absurd in its exaggerations and degree of self-mutilation — like Kleist’s, like Kierkegaard’s — was Simone Weil’s. - Susan Sontag [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Dec 19, 2011 - 8 comments

"Well, that went as well as could be expected..."

An awkward moment in politics. (YouTube) While campaigning in a New Hampshire diner, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spotted local Bob Garon, a regular to the diner, eating his breakfast while wearing a Vietnam veteran's cap. “Vietnam veteran!” Romney greeted Bob, as he slid down onto the diner seat for a little chat. Unfortunately for Mitt, Bob was dining there that morning with his husband, and had to explain to Bob that his husband didn't deserve any of the benefits he fought for, and that the makers of the Constitution held marriage to be between a man and a woman. (Which doesn't really explain Mitt's great-grandfather Miles and his wives Hanna, Caroline, Catherine, Alice, and Emily, but stilll...)
posted by markkraft on Dec 12, 2011 - 168 comments

Battlestar Galatica's ending sucked and that's great

"Here, in my final post on the ending, I present the case that its final hour was the worst ending in the history of science fiction on the screen. This is a condemnation of course, but also praise, because my message is not simply that the ending was poor, but that the show rose so high that it was able to fall so very far." -Brad Templeton's dissection of the modern version of Battlestar Galatica and where it went wrong
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 12, 2011 - 275 comments

It's all in the hand movements

From Sociological Images, here's baby preacher, baby worshipper and baby rapper.
posted by Apropos of Something on Dec 12, 2011 - 10 comments

Ark of the Covenant: 2½-1½-1½ Cubits

Maps of Biblical Prophecy and History. Also Protestant distribution, oil pipelines, Mars, and more.
posted by Winnemac on Dec 10, 2011 - 14 comments

Michael Tolkin's "The Rapture"

(MAJOR SPOILERS EVERYWHERE) [Michael Tolkin's The Rapture] is one of the most radical, infuriating, engrossing, challenging movies I've ever seen. There are people who love it and many who hate it, but few who can remain on the sidelines. ... Movies are often so timid. They try so little, and are content with small achievements. "The Rapture" is an imperfect and sometimes enraging film, but it challenges us with the biggest idea it can think of, the notion that our individual human lives do have actual meaning on the plane of the infinite. - Roger Ebert
posted by Trurl on Dec 8, 2011 - 54 comments

A collaborative genealogy of spirituality.

"Frequencies is an experiment. The experiment is simple: Ask scholars, writers, and artists what they think of when they think of the word spirituality." So began a project that's now 71 entries strong. Every weekday, Frequencies features scholars and artists on such topics as Burning Man, espresso, highways, Philip K. Dick, companion animals, and Dr. Oz. [more inside]
posted by farishta on Dec 8, 2011 - 5 comments

Horror Stories From Tough-Love Teen Homes

Kathryn Joyce looks at unregulated Christian homes for troubled children.
posted by reenum on Dec 8, 2011 - 39 comments

You can't stop Katy Perry

Penn Jillette: An Atheist's Guide to the 2012 Election. [SLYT] Via BigThink, "A knowledge forum featuring the ideas, lessons, stories and advice of leading experts from around the world."
posted by furiousxgeorge on Dec 4, 2011 - 103 comments

Netanyahu Government Suggests Israelis Avoid Marrying American Jews

The Netanyahu government has paid for US TV ads saying US Israelis will never understand what it means to be Israeli, and American Jews will lose their religion
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Nov 30, 2011 - 189 comments

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

Teachings on Right Practice by Shunryu Suzuki, as compiled in Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, read by Peter Coyote: "Posture", "Breathing", "Control", "Mind Weeds", "The Marrow of Zen", "Bowing", "Nothing Special"
posted by Trurl on Nov 8, 2011 - 16 comments

Bully as Victim

A Michigander questions why an anti-bullying legislation became instead a bully protection tool. "On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled state senate passed an anti-bullying bill that manages to protect school bullies instead of those they victimize. It accomplishes this impressive feat by allowing students, teachers, and other school employees to claim that 'a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction' justifies their harassment." [more inside]
posted by TheGoodBlood on Nov 7, 2011 - 137 comments

"I always call you Jesus, you always call me Sonny. This Sonny talking."

"Thirty minutes into the screening, studio executives began leaving the theater to wheel and deal outside."

In the early 1980's, Robert Duvall wrote a movie script about a subject he loved dearly. It languished for 15 years. Then he put five million dollars of his own money down to make it. It was called, The Apostle. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,12, 13.)
posted by timsteil on Nov 6, 2011 - 35 comments

"I felt like I'd been catapulted from one end of the universe to the other"

This weekend marks the time of the Hajj, a core pillar of Islam in which great tides of humanity venture to the ancient city of Mecca to honor God. Predating Mohammed's birth by centuries, the pilgrimage comprises several days of rites, from congregation like snow on Mount Arafat and the ritual stoning of Shaitan to the circling of the sacred Kaaba (the shrouded cubical monolith Muslims pray toward daily) and kissing the Black Stone (colored by the absorption of myriad sins, and believed by some to be a fallen meteorite). While the city has modernized to handle this largest of annual gatherings -- building highway-scale ramps, gaudy skyscrapers for the ultra-rich, and tent cities the size of Seattle -- it remains mysterious, as unbelievers are forbidden from entering its borders. Richard Francis Burton became famous for touring the city in disguise to write a rare travelogue, but contemporary viewers have a more immediate guide: Vice Magazine journalist Suroosh Alvi, who smuggled a minicam into the city to record The Mecca Diaries [alt], a 14-minute documentary of his own Hajj journey. Browse the manual to see what goes into a Hajj trip, or watch the YouTube livestream to see the Grand Mosque crowds in real time.
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 4, 2011 - 31 comments

blood so clear you could read the paper through it.

The Academic Ob/Gyn: Taking Care of the Dying Jehovah’s Witness. The comments are good too.
posted by the young rope-rider on Oct 26, 2011 - 83 comments

How the religious right censored the UK media – Christian Mothers’ Union head appointed as ‘expert’ by David Cameron

How the religious right censored the UK media – Christian Mothers’ Union head appointed as ‘expert’ by David Cameron
posted by nam3d on Oct 14, 2011 - 34 comments

"I give thanks for those who disagree . . . yet know that we are one in Jesus Christ.”

On Saturday, Scott Anderson became the first openly gay person to be ordained as a minister by the Presbyterian Church (USA), the nation's 10th-largest denomination. But the ceremony actually marked his second ordination, after he was forced to step down from the pulpit, under threat of blackmail, 20 years before. At the time, Anderson had donated his pastoral stole to the Shower of Stoles Project, including over 1000 items representing LGBT people of faith barred from the ministry. Saturday's ceremony also marked the first time that a donated object was returned to its owner. [more inside]
posted by Madamina on Oct 10, 2011 - 17 comments

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