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Open Source Religion

Open to Revisions. "Some religious entrepreneurs have adopted an 'open source' model, where rituals and doctrines can be rewritten as easily as computer code."
posted by homunculus on Jun 11, 2009 - 54 comments

Turning one's back on Buddha

At 14 months, Spanish infant Osel Hita Torres was brought by his parents to Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama decreed him to be the reincarnation of the recently deceased Lama Yeshe. Torres became Lama Tenzin Osel Rinpoche, and spent most of his life growing up in a gilded cage in the Tibetan exile capital, venerated as a living deity and isolated from the corrupting influences of the world. But then he escaped. [more inside]
posted by acb on Jun 1, 2009 - 66 comments

Holy Knapsacks

Christian Privilege: Breaking a Sacred Taboo discusses the dominance of Christianity in America, including a privilege checklist, and a longer standalone list was previously linked. More writing focuses on secular college campuses. In American jurisprudence, such as in the case of Sheri Klouda, fired as a language instructor from a Baptist seminary when a new president decided she should not be teaching men, religious freedom often supersedes other rights. Moving away from the specific case of Christianity, some articles from a British secularist viewpoint criticize the special consideration given to religious views and practices. When the last article was reprinted by Kolkata newspaper The Statesman, there were riots and the editor was arrested under a law against "deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings."
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim on May 31, 2009 - 148 comments

Medieval and early modern liturgical books

Graduel à l'usage de Saint-Dié digitizes a French gradual (choir music for the Mass) created in the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century. For more information about what's what, see the handy definitions offered by the British Library or Celebrating the Liturgy's Books. [more inside]
posted by thomas j wise on May 27, 2009 - 5 comments

Hijabistas

Chances are, if you live in a cosmopolitan urban centre, you'll have noticed how young muslimahs are growing ever more adventurous in their fashion choices. But taking the veil is no simple matter: the aspiring hijabi will need tips on how to tie her headscarf, as well as ideas on how to stay covered up and stylish all year round. Modesty is clearly no barrier to urban cool, as Elenany's see-them-want-them graphic-print dresses prove, although this year, certain trends are off limits. (previously)
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth on May 23, 2009 - 95 comments

O! Mesopotamia!

Rev. George Whitefield, an 18th century preacher much admired by Benjamin Franklin, was an astonishing orator. According to a contemporary source, he "could make his audiences weep or tremble merely by varying his pronunciation of the word Mesopotamia. Garrick once said, 'I would give a hundred guineas if I could only say 'O!' like Mr. Whitefield.'"
posted by lolichka on May 18, 2009 - 32 comments

Zoroastrianism...

The Parsis of India: Their Photo Collection, a brief History and more. [more inside]
posted by hadjiboy on May 18, 2009 - 13 comments

"Greetings from Idiot America"

Charles Pierce, author of the 2005 essay "Greetings from Idiot America" decrying the rise of faith-based anti-intellectualism, has expanded his rant into a full length book: Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free. (via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 12, 2009 - 65 comments

A Moment in Time

AronRa has done some really nice YouTube vids on science (previously). In this latest vlog An Archaeological Moment in Time, he take(s) a look at how different societies are advancing at different rates on the same date in the distant past.
posted by nola on May 11, 2009 - 10 comments

No critical thought allowed!

James Corbett, a California high-school educator of twenty years, has been found guilty of violating the establishment clause of the first amendment. The lawsuit (PDF) was brought to a U.S. District Court on December 12th, 2007 by student Chad Farnan and his parents with the aid of the legal group 'Advocates for Faith and Freedom' against Corbett and the Capistrano Unified School District as a result of comments made which were critical of Christianity. During the sixteen month legal battle, hundreds of students in support of the teacher demonstrated outside the school while the Farnan family appealed to opinion outlets like 'The O'Reilly Factor'. [more inside]
posted by cgomez on May 1, 2009 - 122 comments

Torture and Religion

The PEW survey recently released; summarised by Andrew Sullivan reveals that evangelicals are most likely to approve of torture.
This survey coincides with Harpers May edition lead article ( presently behind a subscription firewall) extracted here. The article is by Jeff Sharlet - (previously: How the Christian right is reimagining U.S. history). The two are not unrelated. The division of the world into God's people and Satan's people enabled the Bush Administration to support the most devilish behavior imaginable, all in the name of righteousness, as shown by General Boykin then Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence.
posted by adamvasco on May 1, 2009 - 181 comments

Jesus registered my hotrod

"Jesus is to be mass-produced, imprinted on metal, given a reflective coat and sold for money." The Florida Senate is considering a bill to put Jesus Christ on a license plate. Governor Charlie ("No H.") Crist has come out in support of the bill (or at least in support of not vetoing it). [video]
posted by dersins on Apr 28, 2009 - 151 comments

Demographics & Depression

I have heard many explanations of the housing crisis, but First Things, A Journal of Religion, Culture, and Public Life had one that I had never heard: America’s housing market collapsed because conservatives lost the culture wars even back while they were prevailing in electoral politics. A number of observers have pointed to household formation as a key driver in the current and future housing markets, but no one else I have run across writes things like "the world is poorer now because the present generation did not bother to rear a new generation".
posted by Adamchik on Apr 28, 2009 - 49 comments

The Adaptive Value of Human Institutions:* Building a Better (Secular) 'Religion'

Keynes & Marx thought "that productivity would grow sufficiently to allow our needs to be met with very little labour," and that humankind's biggest preoccupation in the future would be leading lives of comfortable (or comparative) leisure. Obviously, that has not yet come to pass. But why?** Yochai Benkler (previously), for one, is working on it... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 25, 2009 - 37 comments

Culture & Barbarism

Metaphysics in a Time of Terrorism. (via)
posted by Dumsnill on Apr 17, 2009 - 39 comments

Islam, modernity and democracy

Is the west thwarting Arab plans for reform? Few Muslims now invest much hope in the democratic western powers (essentially the US, Britain and France) that back the rulers who oppress them, even if, against the odds, they still admire “western” values, science and culture. There is no endemic or intrinsic conflict between Christians and Muslims. Rather, the root of the problem is that a majority of Muslims is convinced that the west – interested only in a stability based on regional strongmen, the security of Israel and cheap oil – is engaged in a war against Islam and is bent on denying them the freedoms it claims for itself. That is why it is so self-defeating to collude in tyranny as ostensibly a lesser evil than political Islam. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 14, 2009 - 32 comments

Saving Sin City

Two Christian ministries, Hookers for Jesus and JC's Girls aim to "save" Las Vegas sex workers from their professions by introducing them to Christianity. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 14, 2009 - 35 comments

Humannequins

Last night Joss Whedon received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism at Harvard, taking the opportunity to talk about religion and education (somewhat rough video), as well as taking questions about Dollhouse, his probably-soon-to-be-cancelled not-all-to-be-shown show. I wonder how these guys are doing.
posted by Artw on Apr 11, 2009 - 107 comments

God, Memes and Steel

Jared Diamond on the Evolution of Religions. (SLYT)
posted by Artw on Apr 8, 2009 - 46 comments

Jesus who?

The End of Christian America. The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points in the past two decades. How that statistic explains who we are now—and what, as a nation, we are about to become.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Apr 4, 2009 - 223 comments

SpaceTime TV: Free Videos on Heaps of Topics

SpaceTimeTV collects and lets you watch all the best educational videos online from full length documentaries (such as the 50 minute long Is There Life on Mars) to short video clips such as this one on glaciers and global warming. There are hundreds of videos on topics including history, space, technology, and nature.
posted by Effigy2000 on Mar 31, 2009 - 6 comments

Philosophia Islamica

Meet the Islamic Philosophers. Arabic philosophy sought to reconcile the science and empiricism of Aristotle, the metaphysics of Neoplatonism, and the revelations of the Holy Qur'an. From the first thoughts of Abū Yūsuf Yaʻqūb ibn Isḥāq al-Kindī, to the 20,000 pages of Abū 'l-Walīd Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Rushd, the influence of these Muslim polymaths profoundly shaped Western thought. [more inside]
posted by ageispolis on Mar 31, 2009 - 12 comments

Chartres, virtually

Chartres: Cathedral of Notre-Dame offers photographs, diagrams, antique prints, and maps of Chartres Cathedral. And that's not the only virtual Chartres site: there's a tour courtesy of San Jose SU and a more elaborate tour (requires Quicktime) offered by the Art History department at Ithaca College. Among other things, Great Buildings features some 3D models (additional, albeit free, software required to view). Speaking of virtual experiences, you can walk the Chartres labyrinth (see here for a more technical description). And don't forget video, including this National Geographic short on the cathedral's architecture; you can also listen to the bells.
posted by thomas j wise on Mar 22, 2009 - 11 comments

When Atheists Attack

The days when America’s leading intellectuals contained a strong cadre of serious Christians are over. There is no Thomas Merton in our day; no Reinhold Niebuhr, Walker Percy or Flannery O’Connor. In the arguments spawned by the new atheist wave, the Christian respondents have been underwhelming.

American Religious Identification Survey, 2008
posted by leotrotsky on Mar 15, 2009 - 166 comments

Here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere!

How Science Fiction Found Religion
posted by shoesfullofdust on Mar 13, 2009 - 72 comments

Rings of the Lord.

Bell Choir [more inside]
posted by Mblue on Mar 13, 2009 - 21 comments

Narendra Modi

India’s New Face. "Meet Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat and the brightest star in the Hindu-chauvinist Bharatiya Janata Party. Under Modi, Gujarat has become an economic dynamo. But he also presided over India’s worst communal riots in decades, a 2002 slaughter that left almost 2,000 Muslims dead. Exploiting the insecurities and tensions stoked by India’s opening to the world, Modi has turned his state into a stronghold of Hindu extremism, shredding Gandhi’s vision of secular coexistence in the process. One day, he could be governing the world’s largest democracy." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Mar 11, 2009 - 12 comments

Pareidolia 2008

And finally tonight, Jesus...
posted by finite on Mar 9, 2009 - 81 comments

The Jade Calendar

A Visitor's Guide to Hell - A translation of the Chinese version of what happens to the human soul after death [with some illustrations]. [more inside]
posted by tellurian on Feb 26, 2009 - 34 comments

Tibetan Buddhism in China

Buddhism's allure is fading for many young Tibetans. At the same time, growing numbers of middle-class ethnic Han Chinese are turning to Tibetan Buddhism. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Feb 22, 2009 - 34 comments

Beyond Platitudes

Thought For The World is an alternative to the BBC's much mocked Thought For The Day. [more inside]
posted by ninebelow on Feb 12, 2009 - 4 comments

Sweaters of enlightenment

The cult of fashion; the fashion of cults.
posted by fiercecupcake on Feb 11, 2009 - 41 comments

Gays: Vibrating Gatekeepers to Another World

"You take the gatekeeper and you confuse his mind. You threaten him and you throw him in the middle of nowhere. Then nobody knows where the gate is. As soon as you lose the whereabouts of the gate, then you have a culture going downhill. What keeps a village together is a handful of "gays and lesbians," as they call them in the modern world. In my village, lesbians are called witches, and gay men are known as the gatekeepers." The Dagara people of Burkina Faso. [more inside]
posted by pinothefrog on Feb 10, 2009 - 49 comments

Let's Talk about Sex (Ed).

Let's Talk About Sex. Challenging the convention that Americans are reluctant to have sexual health issues taught in school, the surveys show that most parents, along with educators and students themselves, would expand sexual education courses and curriculum. In the meantime, some churches are offering their own curriculum, based on guidelines developed by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.
posted by lunit on Feb 3, 2009 - 29 comments

Humanism

The Virtues of Godlessness. "It is not the most religious nations in our world today, but rather the most secular, that have been able to create the most civil, just, safe, equitable, humane, and prosperous societies."
posted by plexi on Feb 1, 2009 - 108 comments

The compatibility of science and religion

Seeing and Believing: The never-ending attempt to reconcile science and religion, and why it is doomed to fail. [Via Pharyngula]
posted by homunculus on Jan 27, 2009 - 134 comments

RaDaK

The manuscripts of David Kaufmann, Jewish scholar extraordinaire. Wonderful illuminations, inventive typography and even a little bit of naughtiness.
posted by tellurian on Jan 21, 2009 - 8 comments

A nation of nonbelievers

"The government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian Religion." ~ George Washington / "I do not find in Christianity one redeeming feature." ~ Thomas Jefferson / "The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my religion." ~ Abraham Lincoln / "A just government has no need for the clergy or the church." ~ James Madison / "I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end... where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice." ~ John F. Kennedy / "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers." ~ Barack Obama
posted by 0bvious on Jan 20, 2009 - 270 comments

The Depraved of India

India--the country of the Taj Mehal--known for it's love. But wait, there's more sadly, a lot more.
posted by hadjiboy on Jan 16, 2009 - 22 comments

Religious takes on the global financial crisis

The Dalai Lama blames the financial crisis on a decline in spirituality. Hindus blame it on greed. Saudi Grand Mufti, Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, blames the crisis on ignoring God's rules. Jewish scholars say we could have avoided a crisis by following Talmudic traditions. Pope Benedict sees the global financial system as "self-centred, short-sighted and lacking in concern for the destitute." Is it right to pray for the economy? (a Christian perspective). A Malaysian conference brings together Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Taoists, and Sikhs to discuss the crisis.
posted by desjardins on Jan 14, 2009 - 93 comments

Jesus: Not Just Some Chickified Dude

Who knew Calvinism was so Indie-Rock?
posted by Parallax.Error on Jan 11, 2009 - 143 comments

The End of the World Cult

The End of the World Cult is a 2007 documentary about the Lord Our Righteousness Church, aka the Strong City Cult, as they count down the days before the end of the world on October 31st 2007. The film features unusually good access and especially focuses on the creepy sexual relationship cult leader Wayne Bent has with his mostly female followers. If you watch the film and are hankering after justice, you'll be pleased to know that yesterday Bent was sentenced to eighteen years prison for sexual relations with minors. Oh, he also has a blog.
posted by dydecker on Jan 1, 2009 - 38 comments

Polly Toynbee

My Christmas message? There's probably no God.
posted by chuckdarwin on Dec 28, 2008 - 165 comments

Won't Somebody Think of the Children?

Lies We Tell Kids
posted by Navelgazer on Dec 24, 2008 - 157 comments

The lotus-cross

When Jesus met Buddha. "Something remarkable happened when evangelists for two great religions crossed paths more than 1,000 years ago: they got along." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Dec 19, 2008 - 51 comments

I know you are, but what am I?

The town of Shawano, WI claims a local group with a history of controversy called the Samanta Roy Institute of Science & Technology (SIST) profiled in this WSAW TV investigative series (part 1, part 2, part 3 & part 4) is a murderous cult that tried to hire a hitman to assassinate 60 prominent citizens including the mayor, city administrator, city treasurer, city attorney, police chief, judges, investigators & fire commissioners. SIST returns the favor & claims it's the mayor who's running a cult (part 1, part 2 & more), calling her the Minister of Propaganda. As a CBS investigative team found out, things are tense in this sleepy town. The FBI says it's keeping an eye on the situation.
posted by scalefree on Dec 18, 2008 - 28 comments

Islam and Evolution

Bracing for Islamic Creationism (PDF). "To avoid a vast rejection of evolution in the Muslim world, scientists can present the theory as the bedrock of biology and can stress its practical applications." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Dec 17, 2008 - 47 comments

The Subversion of the EPA

Smoke and Mirrors: The Subversion of the EPA. "This four-part series details how the Bush administration weakened the EPA. It installed a pliant agency chief, Stephen L. Johnson. Under him, the EPA created pro-industry regulations later thrown out by the courts. It promoted a flawed voluntary program to fight climate change. It bypassed air pollution recommendations from its own scientists to satisfy the White House." [Via Reality Base]
posted by homunculus on Dec 11, 2008 - 19 comments

Daily Dose.

Concise, bite-size summaries of the wisdom of the BBC's pure and godly Platitude of the Day presenters. With original text and speech.
posted by gman on Dec 5, 2008 - 12 comments

Guruphiliac

Revealing Self-Aggrandizement and Superstition in Self-Realization since 2005
posted by Roach on Dec 4, 2008 - 21 comments

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