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]
A law has come into force in France which makes it an offence for a Muslim woman to conceal her face behind a veil when in public. [more inside]
Dare 2 Share Ministries offers profiles and tips on how to "share your faith" with fourteen different types of friends a teen Christian might have, such as Andy the Atheist, Marty the Mormon, Jenna the Jew, Sid the Satanist, Mo the Muslim and Willow the Wiccan. If none of those strategies work, they also offer articles on how to "use the buzz in current teen culture to initiate God-talk with your friends" by "sharing your faith" through Indiana Jones, Halo 3, Brokeback Mountain, Kung Fu Panda and The X Files.
Jon Stewart hosts a three part debate with Mike Huckabee about religion, society, and policy. [more inside]
A 2nd day of riots in Afghanistan over Rev. Terry Jones's trial and execution-by-burning of a Quran leaves a total death total of 20, with at least 80 injuries, including 7 UN aid workers. Thousands participated in the riots across the country. "I don't think we should be blaming any Afghan. We should be blaming the person who produced the news — the one who burned the Quran," stated the top U.N. envoy in Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura. Others defend Jones's right to free speech. (previously)
Who Goes to Hell? An editorial response (by Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, posted on Foxnews.com) to the controversy of Chad Holtz, a Methodist Church pastor in North Carolina, having been fired for questioning whether hell exists.
Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris Debate Rabbis David Wolpe and Shavit Artson on the existence of an afterlife (video) [more inside]
Nice Jewish Girl is an unmarried orthodox Jew. She started a blog six years ago. She wrote about being Shomer Negiah (not allowing herself physical contact with men other than relatives or a husband) and being a woman in her mid-thirties that has never kissed a man. Over the run of the blog, she decided to stop being Shomer Negiah while still looking for an Orthodox husband, kissed a man, and then broke up with him. For the last three years, she has been silent. Recently, she has returned to discuss the effect of Jewish law on her view of sex.
Deacon Dodge has a couple of posts (here and here) about religion, freedom and democracy amid the turmoil of Egypt. [more inside]
How "just another homework assignment" (slyt) can (maybe even without the creator's knowledge) easily explain an analogy first coined by the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) "Russell's Teapot" (wiki)
Barely into the new year on Khalil Hamda street in Alexandria Egypt: "A devastating New Year’s Day terrorist bombing at a Coptic church in Egypt that killed 21 people was the latest in a spate of violent assaults against the Middle East’s vulnerable Christian communities. The car bomb explosion also injured 79 people just after midnight Saturday as worshipers were leaving a New Year’s Mass at the Saints Church in east Alexandria, Egyptian officials said." The Egyptian people responded. [more inside]
Ted Chiang is perhaps the finest author in contemporary science fiction -- and the most rarefied. A technical writer by trade and a graduate of the distinguished Clarion Writers Workshop, Chiang has published only twelve short stories in the last twenty years, one dozen masterpieces of the genre whose insightful, precise, often poetic language confronts fundamental ideas -- intelligence, consciousness, the nature of God -- and thrusts them into a dazzling new light. Click inside for a complete listing of Chiang's work, with links to online reprints or audio recordings where available, as well as a collection of one-on-one interviews, links to his nonfiction essays, and a few other related sites and articles. [more inside]
Everybody knows TVTropes is the best and most time-killing-est way to learn about the clichés and archetypes that permeate modern media. But dear reader, there is so much more. Enter Useful Notes. Originally created as a place for tropers to pool factual information as a writing aid, the subsite has quietly grown into a small wiki of its own -- a compendium of crowdsourced wisdom on a staggering array of topics, all written in the site's signature brand of lighthearted snark. Though it reads like an irreverent and informal Wikipedia, its articles act as genuinely useful primers to complex and obscure topics alike, all in service of the project's five goals: "To debunk common media stereotypes; to help you understand some media better; to educate, inform and sometimes entertain; to promote peace and understanding (maybe); and... to facilitate world domination." Sounds about right. Click inside for bountiful highlights... if you dare. [more inside]
Atheist Camille Paglia slams atheist Christopher Hitchens for not doing his research and suggests we should value the bible like literature.
Forming (NSFW - cartoon nudity) is a webcomic by Jesse Moynihan (NSFW) that tells the history of the evolution of man via the machinations of various alien entities whose familiar names (and unfamiliar stories) have been recorded in various religions throughout time. [more inside]
Papal gymnastics. Just your typical day at the Vatican. Topless muscle-bound gymnasts perform for the Pope, appreciative cardinals and waving nuns. Make your own jokes.
"We’re just Christians who think the political and Christian right-wing have their priorities wrong."
The Christian left is a term originating in the United States, used to describe a spectrum of left-wing Christian political and social movements which largely embraces social justice. "We will not be profiled or pigeonholed and we will not ‘Be Quiet.’ We’re Christians. We’re Liberals. Please get used to it. Thank you."
A look at how fatwas are issued, and how Iranian authorities were able to change the classification of caviar from haram (forbidden for Muslims to eat) to halal (permissible for Muslims to eat) in order to retake the caviar industry from the Soviets. [PDF]
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is a self-described holy rascal, with an often sarcastic twitter feed. His blog, Beyond Religion, has covered a wide variety of issues, both spiritual and political, from descriptions of God, the relationship between religion and science, the reality of Christian law, and the role of women in Israel. In today's post, he defines and defends the role of myth in religion: “Myth” is not the same as “falsehood.” Myth is a narrative structure used to convey some of the deepest truths we humans can glean. Myths are not believed in but unpacked and lived."
Lucio Bubacco is a master of the stunningly beautiful art of lampworked Venetian glass. His large freestanding work covers themes such as devils and mythology, Carnival, divine history, and sexual transgression [Potentially NSFW].* [more inside]
Advent Conspiracy begins today. In its 4th year, the movement continues to urge Christians to spend less money on Christmas gifts, and asks the question "What if Christmas became a world-changing event again?" Videos here and here. (Youtube)
In tonight's semi-annual Munk Debate in Toronto, Tony Blair and Christoper Hitchens square off over the topic "Is religion a force for good in the world?" For those who couldn't get tickets, you can watch a live webstream (PPV, $5) of the debate this evening, starting at 7pm EST.
A Mountain I'm Willing To Die On A letter of a mother to her child about religion, love, and acceptance of who you are.
In 1885, Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje took rare sepia-tinted photographs and sound recordings of Mecca. The exhibition will be on display at The Empty Quarter Gallery in Dubai.
"A pious, peaceful man, York had fought his country's enemy only after great deliberation and had to be convinced that war was sometimes necessary."1 On this day let us remember Sergeant York.
1 Celluloid Soldiers: The Warner Bros. Campaign Against Nazism By Michael E. Birdwell.
1 Celluloid Soldiers: The Warner Bros. Campaign Against Nazism By Michael E. Birdwell.
Fossil Angels - written by Alan Moore in December 2002 to appear in KAOS #15, which never appeared. Published here for the first time.
The Dalai Lama on changing minds only through compassion and respect. He spent several days at Stanford recently, and this session focuses on the neuroscience of compassion. Watch it in full here.
Yantra tattooing is a traditional Thai, Khmer, Lao and Burmese practice using beautiful and intricately designed yantras for good luck, fortune, strength and protection. [more inside]
Two examinations of the Tanna island prophet known as John Frum. Both with very unusual points of view. God is American parts 1, 2, 3, & 4, and Nate DiMeo's Memory Palace podcast. [more inside]
Ask the atheist "Have a question for an atheist? Ever wonder what atheists think about morality, faith, science, etc.? How do atheists live their lives without a god? How do they know right from wrong? Are they just angry at god? Do they really NOT believe?" [more inside]
The trick is to give without looking to receive - to give of yourself to your family, your friends, your community, and the world community with love. The King of Rock and Soul Solomon Burke, Archbishop of the House of God For All People and member of the Hall of Fame died on a plane (2) after arriving in Amsterdam. [more inside]
"IN THE COURTYARD OF THE BELOVED is a visual and aural portrait of Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah, a Sufi shrine in New Delhi, India. Made from over 18,000 still images and ambient sounds recorded on-site, rapid-fire bursts of kaleidoscopic imagery assemble into fractured collages where a moment expands outwards and then converges back into itself, fleshing out a three-dimensional rendering of place."
Following a question posed by the Washington Post last week about religion and the Tea Party, Religion Nerd takes issue with one columnist's opinion.
In a survey of Americans' religious knowledge conducted by the Pew Research Center, atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons scored higher than evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions, leading the surveyors to conclude that "large numbers of Americans are uninformed about the tenets, practices, history and leading figures of major faith traditions – including their own."
David Bazan was the lead singer for a band called Pedro the Lion, who were big on the Christian rock circuit. A few years ago, Bazan began questioning his faith, and ultimately left Christianity. He has found understanding from his fans.
For millions of addicts around the world, Alcoholics Anonymous's basic text - informally known as the Big Book - is the Bible. And as they're about to find out, the Bible was edited. After being hidden away for nearly 70 years and then auctioned twice, the original manuscript by AA co-founder Bill Wilson is about to become public for the first time next week, complete with edits by Wilson-picked commenters that reveal a profound debate in 1939 about how overtly to talk about God.
Just in time for Banned Books Week, the Bridwell Library at SMU presents "Heresy and Error": The Ecclesiastical Censorship of Books, 1400-1800.
New evidence of religion's reproductive, cooperative, and personal benefits militates against the belief that religion is a "virus of the mind." [more inside]
In a five part series he wrote a few years ago, blogger J. Brad Hicks breaks down how, in the mid-1960s, the Republican party made a conscious decision to rebrand themselves as the party of Christians, and in doing so, how they had to shift the ideology of the churches to what he calls a "false gospel". [more inside]
As reported on NPR's All Tech Considered ("Tech" and "Religion"?) on 9/13. "In a world where Google has put every bit of information at our fingertips, some people are now demanding less information when they surf the Internet" by using religion-based search engines. And folks are worried that Goohoo results might be biased? (SNPRL - Single Nat'l Public Radio Link) [more inside]
On Tor.com, Mefi'sown Patrick Garcon (smoke) is writing lively essays on Victorian fantasy illustration, from the Pre-Raphaelites to Orientalism. [via mefi projects]
Oahspe is what might have resulted if L. Ron Hubbard took so much ketamine he time-phased into 1882. The product of an automatic-writing ex-prospector dentist, the 900-page tome includes submerged continents, bizarre dictionaries, and plenty of space travel. [more inside]
Bull-Killer, Sun Lord. "Foreign religions grew rapidly in the 1st-century A.D. Roman Empire, including worship of Jesus Christ, the Egyptian goddess Isis, and an eastern sun god, Mithras."
With the passing of Executive Order 13505, Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells, in 2009 President Obama expanded federal funding and rescinded George W. Bush's policies that eliminated most federal funding and restricted human embryonic stem cell research to the use of existing, contaminated cell lines. On Monday, federal judge Royce C. Lamberth blocked this new order after protestations from James L. Sherley, a former scientist with the Boston Biomedical Research Institute, and Theresa Deisher, who operates the Ave Maria Biotechnology Company, which aims to do "pro-life" therapeutic research without the "taint of embryonic or electively aborted fetal materials". [more inside]
"This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions, or favor one over another."
"On September 11, 2001, thousands of first responders heroically rushed to the scene and saved tens of thousands of lives. More than 400 of those first responders did not make it out alive. In rushing into those burning buildings, not one of them asked 'What God do you pray to?' 'What beliefs do you hold?'"New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has recently defended the planned Cordoba Initiative Islamic Community Center and Mosque to be built near Ground Zero against critics. Yesterday, after the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to allow the demolition of a building that would be replaced by the center, Mr. Bloomberg gave a speech on Governor's Island (the location seems to have been deliberately chosen) in which he eloquently defended religious freedom. (YT: Video) (Previously on MeFi)
Andrew Kosorok, a sculpture professor, has embarked on a project to create 100 glass sculptures inspired by the 99 Names of Allah. [more inside]