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One Religion coming up. Would you like God with that?

Varieties of irreligious experience - modern believers "may not accept the idea of God as an actually existing entity, so arguments for atheism will not disturb them"
posted by Gyan on Sep 16, 2011 - 932 comments

We Have Graphs

The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”
While the FBI's monitoring of Muslims and infiltration of mosques in the United States is nothing new, this is the first time I've seen any of documents they use to train some of their agents. [more inside]
posted by gman on Sep 15, 2011 - 81 comments

Eternity

"That shy mysterious poet Arthur Stace
Whose work was just one single mighty word
Walked in the utmost depths of time and space
And there his word was spoken and he heard
ETERNITY, ETERNITY, it banged him like a bell
Dulcet from heaven sounding, sombre from hell."
- Douglas Stewart
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Sep 11, 2011 - 4 comments

"We become like gods to those who come after us."

In March, indie game designer Jason Rohrer (previously) created a video game, called Chain World, intended to evoke feelings of the sacred and spiritual. The game gains its aura from its uniqueness: there is only one copy, and an individual can only play it once. Then, Chain World ended up on eBay, and everything changed. [more inside]
posted by a sourceless light on Sep 9, 2011 - 63 comments

"In other words, Judah Maccabee, his father, and his brothers, are like the heroes of every Mel Gibson movie."

Mel Gibson and Joe Eszterhas have announced their latest, Warner Bros.-backed epic: a film about 'legendary Jewish warrior' Judah Maccabee. American Jewish leaders are plotzing. Rumors about a Maccabee movie were raised in 2004, but nothing ever came of them. Back then, at Christopher Hitchens' direction, Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic met with Gibson to (sorta, but not really) talk him out of it. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 9, 2011 - 134 comments

In the beginning, there was no advertising

In a regular spot on the show called The Pitch, ABC Television’s The Gruen Transfer (previously) this week asked two ad agencies to come up with a pitch for why religion should be banned. Here are the pitches in SYTL format.
posted by the noob on Sep 8, 2011 - 49 comments

Markov Bible

Markov Bible
posted by Pants! on Sep 1, 2011 - 35 comments

"Everyone has pain. It's your job to find it."

Start a home business, get rich quick, win financial freedom! If you watch late-night TV, you've heard it all before. But what's the story behind these slick pitchmen and their dubious schemes? Enter The Salty Droid, your ornery metal guide to the corrupt underworld of scam-marketing scum. This charmingly acerbic bot (owned and operated by mild-mannered Chicago dog-lover Jason Michael Jones [inter-view, long talk + transcript]) is a valiant crusader against the vile con-men who bankrupt the elderly and the desperate with beautiful lies. Exposed so far: A shadowy "Syndicate" of frauduct-pushing personality cults polluting the media with blogspam and woo-woo talking points. Boiler rooms in the Utah desert where telemarketers farm credit from easy targets with cunning, probing scripts [PDF]. Powerful politicians bought wholesale. Believers left to die in fraudulent new-age vision quests. It's a soul-crushing beat, enough to make one feel like a regular catcher-bot in the digital rye. But somebody's got to do it -- preferably someone with plasma nunchucks and titanium skin.
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 31, 2011 - 47 comments

The Gospel of You

O Sister, What Art Thou - Kathryn Lofton on the Religion of Oprah.
posted by joannemullen on Aug 30, 2011 - 21 comments

Islamophobia

Fear Inc.: The Roots Of the Islamophobia Network In America.
posted by homunculus on Aug 28, 2011 - 87 comments

An Asterisk of a Different Kind

Ralph Branca's story now manages to combine baseball, tragedy, genealogy, Judaism and the Nazis
posted by xowie on Aug 15, 2011 - 14 comments

Outsider's View of Mormon Archaeology

Prof. Michael Coe, an expert on the Maya, discusses the challenges facing Mormon archaeologists investigating the historical truth of the Book of Mormon. [more inside]
posted by Ideefixe on Aug 12, 2011 - 192 comments

They’re more open-minded, but here’s the thing: They’re no less faithful.

More educated tend to be more religious, by some measures.
posted by selfmedicating on Aug 11, 2011 - 75 comments

30 Mosques. 30 States. 30 Days.

30 Mosques in 30 Days, 2011 [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 7, 2011 - 22 comments

"I suppose people can go through an entire lifetime without questioning God and a religion that they were born into"

A few months ago, The New Statemen asked a number of public figures "why they believe in god." Last week, they asked a number of public figures "to explain why they don't."
posted by bardic on Jul 31, 2011 - 194 comments

But what does God think?

How Christian is Terrence Malick's Tree Of Life? [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Jul 31, 2011 - 88 comments

BusinessWeek on the Rapture Market

Times are tough, but one market is doing well: The Rapture. You've got your usual seeds and survival packs and first aid kits, but do you have your Rapture erotica for those long, lonely nights in the bunker? What about an iPhone app so you know when the Rapture occurs? How about informational and inspiring movies? And for those looking to break into the market, BusinessWeek gathers some helpful tips, such as "never give a date for your endtime prophecy."
posted by Ghostride The Whip on Jul 31, 2011 - 35 comments

God's Own Warden

Burl Cain, the warden of Angola, Louisiana's largest prison, uses religion to control and subdue the prison population.
posted by reenum on Jul 26, 2011 - 47 comments

Irish stew. Papal hide the pickle.

Irish PM condemns Vatican interference in sex abuse cases. Enda Kenny, the new Taoiseach of Ireland, has scathingly criticized the Vatican, citing the Cloyne Report and a recently-leaked Vatican letter intended to prevent sex abuse cases from going public, despite their public policy of reporting all abuse claims to the authorities. (Similar claims of the Vatican not reporting recent child abuse cases have also been made in the US.) Ireland's Minister for Justice has cited an extensive list of The Church's failures to comply with their policies, and is supporting legislation to make it a crime not to report child abuse claims. The Vatican's envoy was asked to report to Parliament and explain The Church's position on this matter quickly, with the implied threat that they might be forced to testify. Today, the Church, citing "surprise and disappointment at certain excessive reactions" has recalled their envoy. "(This) should be interpreted as an expression of the desire of the Holy See for serious and effective collaboration with the (Irish) Government."
posted by markkraft on Jul 25, 2011 - 297 comments

Rick Perry's Army of God

"If they simply professed unusual beliefs, movement leaders wouldn’t be remarkable. But what makes the New Apostolic Reformation movement so potent is its growing fascination with infiltrating politics and government. The new prophets and apostles believe Christians—certain Christians—are destined to not just take 'dominion' over government, but stealthily climb to the commanding heights of what they term the 'Seven Mountains' of society, including the media and the arts and entertainment world. They believe they’re intended to lord over it all. As a first step, they’re leading an 'army of God' to commandeer civilian government. In Rick Perry, they may have found their vessel. And the interest appears to be mutual." Previously. Via.
posted by brundlefly on Jul 14, 2011 - 136 comments

When the King Saved God

"A culture that does not possess this common store of image and allegory will be a perilously thin one. To seek restlessly to update it or make it “relevant” is to miss the point, like yearning for a hip-hop Shakespeare." -Christopher Hitchens stands up for the King James Bible
posted by beisny on Jul 14, 2011 - 70 comments

Debate in Toronto over presence of religion (and sexism?) in public schools

Debate in Toronto over presence of religion (and sexism?) in public schools Toronto's Valley Park Middle School exposes flaws of religious accommodation? A photo from the Toronto Star of Muslim Middle school student's praying during school sets off Canadian news journalists and religous groups. [more inside]
posted by devonia on Jul 11, 2011 - 121 comments

WARNING: Please check in with a heterosexual “accountability buddy” before reading this article

How I Went Undercover at Bachmann's Clinic: Truth Wins Out (or TWO) activist John Becker took a hidden camera with him to five therapy sessions at a Christian counseling center run by Marcus Bachmann. Meanwhile, QUEERTY debates whether making fun of Mr. Bachmann's own decidedly "gay-sounding" voice (and theoretical repressed-gay tendencies) is fair game, or whether it counts as homophobic bullying.
posted by hermitosis on Jul 11, 2011 - 137 comments

"Freedom is a good thing"

Sam and Bethany Torode published a book in 2002 called Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Conception, a book that captured the growing movement among conservative Protestant Christians toward the use of natural family planning. In 2006, the Torodes' announced their perspective had changed slightly (Archive.org capture of full statement). In 2009, the Torodes divorced. Bethany is now writing candidly about her life as a single mother with 4 children on her blog, In Full Bloom. Sam recently published a novel called The Dirty Parts of the Bible.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Jul 10, 2011 - 130 comments

What is the title of this post?

92 years young, the delightful Raymond Smullyan is a mathematician, logician, magician, concert pianist, and Taoist philosopher - who also pioneered retrograde chess problems.
posted by Trurl on Jun 26, 2011 - 22 comments

Grape Fields to The Game

The Madness of Cesar Chavez
posted by telstar on Jun 18, 2011 - 44 comments

The Victims

Going Straight: My Ex-Gay Friend Also: Living the Good Lie: Therapists Who Help People Stay in the Closet. (Both links NYT, via)
posted by zarq on Jun 17, 2011 - 90 comments

Progressive Press

Religion Dispatches: progressive, LGBT-and-atheist friendly, interfaith, non-academic journalism on faith and religious culture. Also of note: Good magazine has limited print distribution but a rich website.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jun 16, 2011 - 10 comments

"God is just what happens when humanity is connected"

The Internet Is My ReligionJim Gilliam gives a moving ten-minute speech at the Personal Democracy Forum on surviving cancer, faith, activism, interconnectedness and the internet. [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jun 8, 2011 - 11 comments

The Ghost of Gulliver's Kingdom

Kamikuishiki was a village in the Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan that gained unwanted international attention in 1995 as a key location for Aum Shinrikyo, the religious cult behind a number of acts of violence, including the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway. To change the nature of attention given to the picturesque village, a new attraction was built on the former site of the cult complex: Gulliver's Kingdom, a mixed up theme park with a Scandinavian town, a petting zoo, a French puppet theater to tell the story of Gulliver, and a 45 meter version of Gulliver himself, pinned to the ground. The park was opened in 1997, but Niigata Chuo Bank was facing serious problems two years later, collapsing "under the weight of nonperforming loans." The theme park's owners were the largest borrowers from the bank, and the park closed in 2001. The park was finally purchased in 2002 in the 3rd auction attempt. In 2006, Kamikuishiki disappeared, divided and the parts merged into neighboring municipalities. The next year, Gulliver's Kingdom was demolished, leaving behind photos (new and old), and memories.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 6, 2011 - 4 comments

The Cartoon Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything

Larry Gonick is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe (later The Cartoon History of the Modern World), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn-by-way-of-Pogo chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment, and (yes!) Sex. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention, assorted math comics (previously), the Muse magazine mainstay Kokopelli & Co. (featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"), and more. See also these lengthy interview snippets, linked previously. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 6, 2011 - 29 comments

The ladder of no opportunity.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, built on or close to Golgotha, has a very interesting administrative structure, formalised in an 1852 Ottoman Status Quo edict. Illustrative of the bureaucratic strictures on management of the church is this ladder, immovably stuck on an upstairs window. But wait, did somebody move it? via
posted by wilful on Jun 1, 2011 - 56 comments

Zenobia's Choice

Baptizing Dead Quakers. One woman's perspective on a family struggle over genealogy, proxy baptism, and discerning the best interests of those long gone.
posted by Apropos of Something on Jun 1, 2011 - 316 comments

It's all in the brain.

Religious Experiences Shrink Part of the Brain. Scientific American analyses a study which links life-changing religious experiences, like being born again, with atrophy in the hippocampus. The study, “Religious factors and hippocampal atrophy in late life,” by Amy Owen and colleagues at Duke University, 'is a surprising result, given that many prior studies have shown religion to have potentially beneficial effects on brain function, anxiety, and depression.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Jun 1, 2011 - 76 comments

The Third Eagle of the Apocalypse

Phallic Symbols at Denver International Airport. Many of the paintings and sculptures at DIA contain hidden images of paganism... On previous videos I have pointed out that this is actually the figure of a naked woman, and the crotch is formed by a bird form. But right opposite the woman is a penguin...
posted by KokuRyu on May 31, 2011 - 114 comments

The man in the middle, Or, The Truth About the Muslim Plot Against Pea Soup

A bridge builder, a student of how societies hold together; an advocate of dialogue. Standing against polarized and simplistic styles of thought. Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor is Canada's best known and most widely read contemporary thinker. In books like Sources of the Self and A Secular Age, he has attempted to define the unique character of the modern age. He maps the fault-lines in our modern identity, and points to both the pitfalls and the promise of our condition. Learn about his life, history, upbringing, and... ideas. Now available, CBC IDEAS in five one-hour parts: the malaise of modernity (this special program has the same title as the 1991 Massey Lecture of the same name, but is not the same [MP3's, get them now, they will go away, and then you can only stream them]). One, Two, Three, Four, Five. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on May 20, 2011 - 4 comments

Final Films

Armageddon, final Orbit [more inside]
posted by Mblue on May 20, 2011 - 151 comments

Juju Apple, Voodoo Apple

Looks like FOX News called it -- UK neuroscientists now suggest that the brains of Apple devotees are stimulated by Apple imagery in the same way that the brains of religious people are stimulated by religious imagery.
posted by hermitosis on May 19, 2011 - 162 comments

New Reliquaries

Artist Al Farrow uses ammunition, parts from firearms, and selected other materials to build miniature churches, synagogues, and mosques.
posted by gman on May 9, 2011 - 11 comments

I Scheme with Genie

Ahmadinejad allies charged with sorcery. Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being "magicians" and invoking djinns (spirits). Increasingly, there is a rift between the President and his Supreme Leader.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on May 7, 2011 - 142 comments

The Wonder of God in Nature

Die Wunder Gottes in der Natur (1744) illustrates astronomical, meteorological, geological, spiritual, and psychological visions, based on the work of 16th century Alsatian encyclopedist Conrad Lycosthenes.

The cover and title page.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on May 5, 2011 - 7 comments

'These children don’t recognize the flags of their home countries, but they can all sing "Jesus Loves Me."'

The Evangelical Adoption Crusade [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 28, 2011 - 137 comments

Westminster Abbey

How is abbey formed?
How is abbey formed?
How girl get regnant?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Apr 27, 2011 - 256 comments

Photographic Immortality

The Burns Archive is a collection of over 700,000 historical photographs that document disturbing subject matter: obsolete medical practices and experiments, death, disease, disasters, crime, revolutions, riots and war. Newsweek posted a select gallery this past October, as well as a video interview and walk-through with curator and collector Dr. Stanley B. Burns, a New York opthalmologist. (Via) (Content at links may be disturbing to some.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 26, 2011 - 15 comments

No Marriage Until Gay Marriage Is Legal

The Douglass Blvd. Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky has voted to stop signing marriage licenses until gay marriage is legalized by the state.
posted by reenum on Apr 25, 2011 - 87 comments

The Philanthropist "Godman"

"For the progress of humanity, work alone is not adequate, but the work should be associated with love, compassion, right conduct, truthfulness and sympathy. Without the above qualities, selfless service cannot be performed."
On Sunday morning, Indian guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba passed away. He leaves behind a massive empire, several million mourning devotees worldwide, an extensive religious philosophy, a great deal of controversy and a legacy of large-scale philanthropic projects in India, including free hospitals and mobile medical facilities, a free university and schools, and other efforts which included supplying clean water to hundreds of rural villages. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 25, 2011 - 41 comments

Before sharks swam in formaldehyde, there was Piss Christ

Andres Serrano (some NSWF images) has made controversial art for decades, with his piece Piss Christ causing controversy shortly after it was created in 1987. In 1989, the photograph initiated outrage against the National Endowment for the Arts because of "anti-Christian bigotry". Then the piece was physically attacked two times in one weekend, when it was first shown in the National Gallery of Victoria in 1997. In December 2010, the Collection Lambert museum of contemporary art in Avignon, France opened a show called "I Believe in Miracles" that includes pieces of minimal art, conceptual art and land art, and includes Piss Christ. The photograph had been shown in France before without disturbance, and had been shown without incident in Collection Lambert for four months, but around 1,000 protesters marched to the museum on Saturday, and on Sunday vandals succeeded in attacking the picture, breaking the plexiglass shield and slashing the photograph. The museum is open again, and the damaged work is still on display. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 19, 2011 - 143 comments

Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, Amen

File-Sharers Await Official Recognition of New Religion
* All knowledge to all
* The search for knowledge is sacred
* The circulation of knowledge is sacred
* The act of copying is sacred.


Too religious for you? Then try the remix manifesto.
posted by telstar on Apr 16, 2011 - 59 comments

"I was 100 percent deceived. One hundred percent."

The Truth About Race, Religion, And The Honor Code At BYU. Deadspin has released an exposé on Brigham Young University's Honor Code, which prohibits students from having sex or drinking alcohol. The article accuses the University of selectively punishing minority (and especially African American) athletes who violate the Code. Co-authored by Darron Smith, a former BYU instructor. Responses from former BYU students at Religion Dispatches, the Deseret News and the Provo Daily Herald. (Previously) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 14, 2011 - 133 comments

Senator James Inhofe

A released FAA investigation describes how in October last year, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) deliberately landed his plane on a closed runway, and then caused the plane to "hop" over terrified construction workers and their vehicles. More recently, Senator Inhofe has taken to the Senate floor in praise of his friend (and friend of C Street), deposed Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo. [Previously, previously]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Apr 13, 2011 - 81 comments

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