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Whence Altruism?

A new study suggests that humanity's sense of fair play and kindness towards strangers is determined by culture, not genetics. Speculation: the finding may be directly related to the rise of religion in human history, as well as more complex economies. (Via). [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 22, 2010 - 49 comments

Pray with me, while I pretend to pray.

[pdf] Clergymen in the closet -- not because they are gay; because they don't believe in God. Here's a followup.
posted by grumblebee on Mar 20, 2010 - 162 comments

“You’re going to hell, and it bothers me,” Grisham responds. “What bothers me is you’re going to hell.”

Over the last few days, a fair bit of attention on the web has been focused on Repent Amarillo MySpace YouTube, an organization dedicated to converting Amarillo, TX to the organization's particular brand of Christianity. Their tactics include "Spiritual Warfare" and witnessing, but also appear to involve harassing people who they believe to be sinners. They've even got a map of sinful places in Amarillo, including gay bars, Masonic lodges, rival churches, and other religions' places of worship. But not everybody is all that amused; blogs and websites have started springing up in response.
posted by Pope Guilty on Mar 3, 2010 - 139 comments

Catholic Charities Denies Health Benefits To Spouses

I am writing to you to inform you of an important change to our group health care benefit plan that will take effect on March 2, 2010 due to a change in the law of the District of Columbia. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Mar 3, 2010 - 163 comments

Judaism is a science fiction religion

Why there is no Jewish Narnia. [more inside]
posted by valkyryn on Mar 3, 2010 - 136 comments

The Lessons of Gobekli Tepe

Laying bare the gratuitous assumptions of the patriarchal historical narrative. A weblog entry from the Aristasian Empire, of which a history and some kinnies [NSFW]. • Gobekli Tepe [previously] • Aristasia [previously]
posted by tellurian on Feb 24, 2010 - 31 comments

A+++ WOULD PRAY AGAIN

ChurchRater - like Yelp!, but for churches.
posted by jtron on Feb 22, 2010 - 33 comments

Christianity 2.0 - The Emergence Movement

A new view of Christian belief that views the acceptance, environmentalism, social justice and world peace as the embodiment of the Kingdom of God. [more inside]
posted by empty vessel on Feb 10, 2010 - 252 comments

The Evolutionary Origins of Religion

Ilkka Pyysiäinen and Marc Hauser have a new paper in the journal "Trends in Cognitive Sciences". The origins of religion : evolved adaptation or by-product? (via) [more inside]
posted by lholladay on Feb 10, 2010 - 28 comments

Breakfast destruction

Daily life of the jihadis: rants, the usual aggressive posturing, murderous threats, and dreams of paradise. Also, problems with frying eggs.
posted by four panels on Jan 28, 2010 - 9 comments

"Ahhh!" "No, not 'Ahhh!'"

Stewart Lee's Special Parable, The Story of The Prodigal Son, and more irreligious fun from the Sunday Heroes: Woman of sinful life, Ian, The Last Supper, Judas, Thomas.
posted by Artw on Jan 21, 2010 - 25 comments

Scholar of vodou on the tragedy in Haiti

An excellent response to Pat Robertson. "This Vodou priest is not speaking about divine retribution, as has Pat Robertson. God is not punishing us for disobedience. Erol is speaking about a giant natural rebalancing act, a reaction against human dealings with the ecosystem."
posted by fullofragerie on Jan 15, 2010 - 148 comments

21st Century Interfaith Pioneer

The Interfaith Youth Core was started in 1998 by a group led by Rhodes Scholar Eboo Patel. Propelled by his experience growing up as a Muslim in the United States, and encouraged by the Dalai Lama, Patel seeded an organization dedicated promoting global pluralism. His story is detailed in his acclaimed autobiography, Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation. He keeps a blog at the Washington Post, and is a fellow at the Ashoka Foundation.
posted by Roach on Dec 29, 2009 - 4 comments

Jewish Exorcisms

“We got a bit excited because we realized that people have collected lots of dybbuk stories, but our fragment describes a real event, where you see how they come together and pray in order to exorcise the ghost from a widow,” [more inside]
posted by ServSci on Dec 21, 2009 - 11 comments

Religion à la Carte – Threat or Menace?*

A major survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that most Americans have a non-dogmatic approach to faith. A strong majority of those who are affiliated with a religion, including majorities of nearly every religious tradition, do not believe their religion is the only way to salvation. And almost the same number believes that there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their religion. The survey finds that constant movement characterizes the American religious marketplace, as every major religious group is simultaneously gaining and losing adherents. (.pdf of full report (268 pages) or watch the video of Pew Forum Director Luis Lugo giving an overview of the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey and talking about some of its key findings.) [more inside]
posted by ServSci on Dec 11, 2009 - 37 comments

Has the Supreme Court Become Too Catholic

Has the Supreme Court become too Catholic?
posted by jefficator on Dec 10, 2009 - 123 comments

"The truth about cave men."

Dr Kent Hovind (seen here previously) claims to hold a doctorate, but both he and its awarding institution (Patriot Bible University) have refused to publish his dissertation in any form. The WikiLeaks site has obtained a scanned copy; highlights include "the truth about cave men", the co-existence of humans and dinosaurs, and a null reference list.
posted by gene_machine on Dec 10, 2009 - 101 comments

The Diaspora in Big Sky Country

In Montana, a rabbi is an unusual sight. So when a Hasidic one walked into the State Capitol last December, with his long beard, black hat and long black coat, a police officer grabbed his bomb-sniffing German shepherd and went to ask the exotic visitor a few questions. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 7, 2009 - 45 comments

Bulgarian Days

Happy Bear's Day, a Saint Day on the Bulgarian Festival Calendar. [more inside]
posted by tellurian on Nov 29, 2009 - 7 comments

Kotel everybody?

A women's prayer group was expelled from the area of Jerusalem's Western Wall on Wednesday for wearing tallitot and reading from the Torah, in violation of an Israeli Supreme Court ruling that restricts these activities to men in the area directly in front of the wall. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the majority of non-Orthodox rabbinical students are female, with the Reform movement being the most female-dominated, leaving some communities struggling to revitalize men's participation in the religion.
posted by albrecht on Nov 20, 2009 - 51 comments

...Their tastes may not be the same

On Thursday, the 12th of November, Karen Armstrong (previously & previously) unveiled her Charter for Compassion. The charter is the product of her Feb 2008 TED prize wish to “restore the Golden Rule as the central global religious doctrine.” The project began with a “unique web-based decision making platform”, allowing “thousands of people from over 100 countries added their voice to the writing of the Charter.” These contributions were then given to the Council of Conscience for the construction of the final charter. Previous attempts at the promotion of a "global ethic" grounded in the Golden Rule have been largely, globally, ignored. Some people dislike the idea of blurring the differences between religions, some have problems with the Golden Rule itself. [more inside]
posted by ServSci on Nov 17, 2009 - 56 comments

For those who believe, no proof is necessary.

Does John of God really heal the sick? Or is it just carnival tricks? John of God aka João Teixeira de Faria is a farmer who has been healing people close to his ranch in Brazil for close to 50 years by chanelling the energy of medical spirits. Sometimes he uses visible surgery and sometimes he uses invisible surgery.
posted by pick_the_flowers on Nov 5, 2009 - 37 comments

Environmental Discrimination?

Tim Nicholson, a UK former executive, believes he was fired for his environmental views. He has sued his former employer for discrimination on grounds of the Employment Equality act, which states that employees may not be discriminated against for religious or philosophical beliefs. His former employers argue that his views were political, and thus do not fall under the act. [more inside]
posted by mccarty.tim on Nov 3, 2009 - 28 comments

Losing my Religion

Deconversion 2.0. A series of Youtube videos detailing the author's separation from his faith. His diction, with...pauses, is a little odd to get used to but worth getting around.
posted by notsnot on Nov 1, 2009 - 37 comments

The Surprisingly Accurately Named Thirty Years War

The Thirty Years War is a website covers that ginormous kerfuffle that consumed Europe in the first half of the 17th Century from the Second Defenestration of Prague to the Peace of Westphalia. It has a handy map with a place locator which will help you tell your Schweidnitz from your Schweinfurt. Here are some other maps, The Religious Situation in Central Europe about 1618, Principal Seats of War, 1618-1660 and Europe in 1648 - Peace of Westphalia.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 29, 2009 - 55 comments

Making it easier to swim the Tiber

The Vatican announced today that it would create a new structure that would allow former Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church while preserving elements of Anglican spirituality and liturgy. [more inside]
posted by Bulgaroktonos on Oct 20, 2009 - 105 comments

52 Weeks, 52 Religions

"For 35 years, I attended the same religion. When I left, I realized I didn't know the first thing about what other faiths believe. So I decided to find out the only way I know how: Go ask. For 52 weeks, I'm setting out to visit 52 different religions. Christian to Muslim, Buddhist to atheist, I'm going to attend their services, discuss faith with their leaders, and bring it all back to you." (via)
posted by sabira on Oct 18, 2009 - 85 comments

Jesus Jehovavich

Welcome to the charming world of Vissarion: the Siberian, vegan, reincarnation of Christ, who also happens to be a Polygamist. When he lost his job as a traffic cop in 1991, Sergei Torop changed his name to Vissarion and began spreading his message about how to attain moral perfection, drive out negative energy, and survive the coming Apocalypse. Today the Community of Vassarion in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia numbers around 10,000, while a further 50,000 follow his teachings in the world beyond. [more inside]
posted by Secret Life of Gravy on Oct 16, 2009 - 28 comments

14 who bucked "the Cowboy Way"

The airing of the upcoming PBS documentary Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons, will bring new attention to a protest event against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that raised important questions about free speech, the rights of student athletes, and the state of the Civil Rights Movement in the Mormon Church. On October 17, 1969, 14 football players at the University of Wyoming were suspended for threatening to wear black armbands onto the field in an upcoming game against Brigham Young University. The squad members, who were known as the "Black 14," were protesting the the Mormon Church's exclusion of people of African descent from the priesthood. [more inside]
posted by liketitanic on Oct 15, 2009 - 37 comments

For I will consider my cat Jeoffry

Poet Robert Pinsky presents an appreciation (and reading) of the most famous section of Christopher Smart's "Jubilate Agno" (1759-1763) -- the (epic) fragment devoted to the spiritual consideration of the institutionalized Smart's sole constant companion for the years of his confinement: Jeoffry (his cat). [more inside]
posted by kittens for breakfast on Oct 8, 2009 - 19 comments

Can you find Satan?

"This may truly be the most important new painting of the twenty first century." The McNaughton Fine Art Company presents "One Nation Under God" [cache], an... interesting take on American history in a nifty zoom interface. Artist John McNaughton, who calls himself "the only living artist in the world today" to practice the Barbizon School of French Impressionism, has an extensive body of less opinionated work for you to admire. Interview. Character list.
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 6, 2009 - 305 comments

Because Even the Bible Has a Well-Known Liberal Bias

The Conservative Bible Project. Rod Dreher of Belief.net offers further analysis of a budding new Wiki project to rewrite the Holy Bible to eliminate what some young conservatives apparently now view as liberal bias in the scriptures (via Harpers).
posted by saulgoodman on Oct 5, 2009 - 304 comments

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid

Is mysticism overtaking science in sci-fi? Does Every SF Show Need Jesus Now?
posted by Artw on Oct 1, 2009 - 121 comments

Rifqa Speaks (NSFW)

Rifqa Bary, the Ohio teen who ran away from her Muslim parents because she believed they would kill her for converting to Christianity, has appeared on a weekly anti-Islam conference call hosted by the National Day of Prayer Task Force (headed by the wife of Focus on the Family's James Dobson, Lou Engle of The Call & Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council). Rifqa, who is in custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families and was not authorized to be on the call, shared some of her story and then launched into an extended passionate prayer. DCF officials are investigating how she came to be on the call.
posted by scalefree on Oct 1, 2009 - 46 comments

Harvey Cox Says Atheism Won't Last. Here's Why You Should Care What Harvey Cox Thinks...

Harvey Cox, one of the foremost American theologians of the twentieth century, recently retired from Harvard, where he held the oldest tenured professorship in the nation. You've seen him discussed here before for more bovine pursuits. But more importantly, he has argued that atheism is a passing fad; his new book contends it emerges in response to factors that will change the face of faith in the coming generation. Why should you care about an old theologian's last hurrah? His prior predictions have been right.
posted by jefficator on Sep 28, 2009 - 265 comments

Premanand will not recant

Basava Premanand, rationalist and founder of The Indian Skeptic, is dying. [more inside]
posted by vanar sena on Sep 28, 2009 - 17 comments

Utopian Communes in the British Isles

Utopia Britannica is a collection of stories and a gazetter about utopian communes in the British Isles from the 14th Century up until the end of World War II. There are some incredible tales in here, such as 'Free Love' in 19th Century Somerset, St. Kilda, Death of an Island Republic, Percy Bysshe Shelley's attempted communes, Augustus John, the King of Bohemia and many more.
posted by Kattullus on Sep 25, 2009 - 10 comments

Long live The New flesh!

"All of which is a long way of saying that, to construct a new church of anatomical horror and to do so out of stone, as Al-Mehdari seems to be suggesting, is a fascinating idea. " - Body Baroque
posted by Artw on Sep 23, 2009 - 24 comments

Biblical GraphJam

Clarence Larkin's famous Biblical Wall Charts - previously on Metafilter, but with that link defunct and this one providing excellent scans, it seems worth re-posting. Quality of parent site not guaranteed. Some highlights of Larkin's fanciful, technical illustrations of the ages of man and biblical prophecy: Rightly dividing the word of truth, The six days of re-creation, The world's seven great crises.
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Sep 17, 2009 - 29 comments

Since when does Hollywood shy away from controversy?

The Producer Cites Religious Controversy. The Director points to a recessionary trend against "serious" movies. A new film about Charles Darwin's life ("Creation") is reportedly having difficulty finding a US distributor. ( Creation: IMDB / Official Site / Trailer / Spoiler-laden review from Roger Ebert / LA Times review // Darwin: Previously on MeFi).
posted by zarq on Sep 13, 2009 - 70 comments

Hindu festivals

The Big Picture: Recent Hindu festivals and rituals. "Many Hindus throughout India recently celebrated Ganesha Chaturthi, a 10-day festival celebrating the birth of Ganesh, their supreme god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. Hinduism, the predominant religion in India, is rich with traditional festivals and rituals, celebrated in many ways and locations around the world. Collected here are a few photographs from recent Hindu festivals and of Hindu devotees worshipping and practicing ritual ceremonies in India, England, Nepal and Indonesia."
posted by homunculus on Sep 9, 2009 - 25 comments

Stuff Christian Culture Likes

Stuff Christian Culture Likes - A preacher's daughter marries another preacher's son and offers an insider's perspective about youth leaders, tips and hawks, sexual jewelry, hot wives, drama teams, video games, Jumbotrons, coffee, graphic design, typography and more.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 31, 2009 - 197 comments

as a thief in the night

You've committed your life to Jesus. You know you're saved. But when the Rapture comes what's to become of your loving pets who are left behind?
Eternal Earth-Bound Pets takes that burden off your mind.
posted by plexi on Aug 25, 2009 - 82 comments

Prayer, deliberation, time, and more prayer. This was a long time coming.

Do you know what the Lutherans are doing this week? The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is talking about sex at their bi-annual assembly and they decided that blessings on gay marriage and the rosterering of leaders in same-gender relationships are A OK. [more inside]
posted by Stynxno on Aug 21, 2009 - 111 comments

All in all it's just another brick in the wall

British Department of Health releases LR Hubbard Docs The British government has released documents compiled to expose Scientology's founder as a fraud. [more inside]
posted by HotPants on Aug 9, 2009 - 79 comments

Play God in the bedroom.

NSFW: Genesis, a high concept line of sex toys, one for each of the days of Creation. (via, previously)
posted by yiftach on Aug 4, 2009 - 34 comments

Kind of a biggie

Some late night fun with Mr. Deity- Mr. Deity Episode 1: Mr. Deity and the Evil Mr. Deity Episode 2: Mr. Deity and the Really Big Favor Mr. Deity Episode 3: Mr. Deity and The Light Mr. Deity Episode 4: Mr. Deity and the Messages
posted by nola on Aug 3, 2009 - 18 comments

10 KICK-ASS MOVIE PREACHERS

In the name of the Smith and Wesson and Glock.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jul 31, 2009 - 24 comments

Happy Science, and the Potential Joining of Church and State in Japan

Kōfuku-no-Kagaku (幸福の科学), also called Happy Science, is a relatively new religious and spiritual movement, founded in Japan in October 1986. The organization is gaining ground world-wide, with the international headquarter office in central Tokyo, 6 local temples located in London, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seoul and Taiwan, and an additional 37 local offices around the world. The group's leader, Master Ryuho Okawa, has is not limiting the scope of the movement to politics, and in May 2009 the Happiness Realization Party was formed, with over 300 HRP candidates running for the coming general election. To provide background on the religion and political movement, here is a little investigation of Happy Science by MeFi's own shii [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 28, 2009 - 32 comments

Get your schadenfreude here

Recently, there have been a host of websites that delight in exposing the inanity and stupidity of our society. There is the granddaddy, Overheard in New York, which recounts silly conversations heard in the Big Apple, as well as a host of similar sites. There are now a variety of such websites, dedicated to different aspects of our society. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jul 28, 2009 - 51 comments

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