Tag Archives | Religion

Furious Fridays: The Redemption of Sisyphus, or: Why Most (All?) of our Beliefs are Religious in Nature

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“Black Icarus”
Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Because here’s something else that’s weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship—be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles—is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.

–David Foster Wallace

 

1. IN WHICH MR. FURIOUS BEGINS THE ESSAY WITH AN ANECDOTE THAT SEEMS TO HAVE LITTLE TO DO WITH THE TRUE TOPIC AT HAND

I used to believe that the old Greek myth that best represented how I experienced life was that of Icarus. That my failings in life were the result of my aiming too high.… Read the rest

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Church of England vanquishes Satan: References to Devil removed from services to make them ‘accessible’

Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

They’re using half measures, as usual. And now they also think that casual dress and priests looking like slobs will garner more respect. They’re still insisting on preaching dualism and dividing society. It’s either they discard Satan from their preaching or they embrace the Biblical scripture and the vital presence of the Satanic in their religion. All they’re doing is alienating people and not satisfying people who would welcome changes. Christian Politics, as usual.

John Bingham via the National Post:

The Book of Revelation speaks of the Devil being vanquished and cast into a pit of fire and brimstone at the end of the world.

Yesterday, however, the Church of England consigned Satan to a decidedly less dramatic fate – being quietly designated as an optional extra.

Instead of requiring an apocalyptic battle between the forces of good and evil, the move was approved with a polite show of hands at the General Synod, the Church’s decision-making body, which has been meeting in Westminster.

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Can the Satanic Temple Save America?

SatanWantsYou.jpg

Yes, we know the Satanic Temple and the Church of Satan are not the same. Great poster though…

Some satanic click-bait from Daily Beast, which claims “America’s new Satanists are less about animal sacrifice and more into ‘Paradise Lost’—and they may be our best hope for saving religious freedoms”:

It’s 1 a.m., and I’m waiting for a Satanic ritual to start at a loft in Detroit. It’s dark, natch, and smoky, ditto, crammed with people dressed in black. Most of them are young and goth-ish. There are upside-down crosses aplenty, pounding dance music, a porn room and a surprisingly good hors d’oeuvres table—freshly baked Madeleines and gorgeous fruit, on platters grouped around a massive ice-sculpture replica of Brancusi’s Princess X, a statue that’s either a penis and testicles or a woman gazing into a mirror, depending on your point of view.

At this Satanic Temple party, the ritual is finally starting.

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Could virtual reality change religion — and terrorize children?

Phil Whitehouse (CC BY 2.0)

Phil Whitehouse (CC BY 2.0)

Via Nathaniel Mott at Pando Daily:

Worship usually requires a large building with uncomfortable seating and the holy text of that particular religion’s choice. But a reverend in Florida believes virtual reality could be used to help other worshippers, such as those who live in remote areas or are otherwise unable to attend church and participate in prayer.

Here’s what Rev. Christopher Benek of the First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale said in an interview with Hypergrid Business last week:

Personally, I think that as technology like Oculus Rift becomes more developed, immersive, and available to the general public, we may soon be able to easily develop virtual worship and Christian education experiences. This would be a great asset to the church universal, as it will enable the infirm, homebound, and potentially even the poor to participate from afar regardless of their personal mobility or lack of affordable transportation …

Benek’s points about virtual worship don’t actually require virtual reality.

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Why I Drifted Away from the Atheist Movement

Mikko Luntiala (CC BY 2.0)

Mikko Luntiala (CC BY 2.0)

I used to be a militant atheist. Here’s why I’m not anymore:

I’m loath to use the A word because the most vocal and visible proponents of atheism have strayed far away from promoting reason, tolerance and secular values and into promoting misogyny, xenophobia and far-right politics.

But for at least a couple years, from sometime in 2006 until sometime in 2009, I was a militant atheist, dashing off dozens of blog posts condemning religious thought for promoting murder and mutilation. I thought we, the atheists of the world, were railing against injustice and speaking truth to power.

Atheism felt just and true and important. But no longer. What happened?

Atheism as Justification for Xenophobia

Over time I sensed that for far too many people in the movement, atheism was if not a front then at least a rationalization for xenophobia or racism or both.

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[5am Film Series] The Brain Hack

What if all visions and hallucinations of “God” are simply a result of brain malfunctions? Is God merely a neurological construct?

In The Brain Hack, a computer science student enlists a student filmmaker to document his attempts to trigger religious hallucinations with hypno induced temporal epilepsy.

This is probably one of the best short films that I’ve showcased on here. It’s amazingly shot and packs a lot of plot and detail into 20 minutes while then topping off with a somewhat expected self-referential ending. Some of the tech dialogue became corny, but overall the film works and it’s definitely worth the 20 minutes to watch.

The Brain Hack – Short Film from Joe White on Vimeo.

For the full ‘Brain Hack’ experience, visit the website: thebrainhack.com
Follow us at facebook.com/thebrainhack
And listen to the soundtrack: itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-brain-hack-ep/id963432873

WINNER – Best Short – Best Music – Best Actor – The British Horror Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION – London Sci-Fi Film Festival, Boston Science Fiction Film Festival, Big Apple Film Festival, LA Indie Film Fest, Minneapolis Underground Film Festival, Miami International Science Fiction Film Festival, British Shorts Berlin.… Read the rest

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What Is Ritual?

Ecstatic ritual of Khlysts ("radeniye")

Ecstatic ritual of Khlysts (“radeniye”)

Via Sarah Perry at Ribbonfarm

Sarah Perry  is a resident blogger visiting us from her home turf at The View from Hell.

If we should inquire for the essence of “government,” for example, one man might tell us it was authority, another submission, another police, another an army, another an assembly, another a system of laws; yet all the while it would be true that no concrete government can exist without all these things, one of which is more important at one moment and others at another. The man who knows governments most completely is he who troubles himself least about a definition which shall give their essence. Enjoying an intimate acquaintance with all their particularities in turn, he would naturally regard an abstract conception in which these were unified as a thing more misleading than enlightening. And why may not religion be a conception equally complex?

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Atheist Richard Dawkins Condemns Chapel Hill Shootings Of Three Muslim Students

Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were found dead on Tuesday

Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were found dead on Tuesday

Sara C. Nelson writes at the Huffington Post UK:

Prominent atheist Richard Dawkins has publicly condemned the murders of three Muslim students after a furious row over the suspected anti-religion motive for the killings.

A separate storm has erupted over the lack of media coverage of the tragedy after the bodies of Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were discovered on Tuesday afternoon in a suburban neighbourhood on North Carolina, USA. Unconfirmed reports claim they were shot dead “execution style”.

Rumoured atheist Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, was arrested and has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder.

On Wednesday Dawkins tweeted: “How could any decent person NOT condemn the vile murder of three young US Muslims in Chapel Hill?”

Dawkins’s comment came after posts circulated online suggested Hicks was an atheist who had allegedly written: “When it comes to insults, your religion started this, not me.

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President Obama “Throws Christians Under the Bus” at National Prayer Breakfast

800px-President_Barack_Obama

President Obama is currently facing backlash for “throwing Christians under the bus” at yesterday’s National Prayer Breakfast. In the past few weeks, many have chastised his avoidance of using the phrase “radical Islam.” But, instead of appeasing his critics, Obama decided to take things in a different direction.

At the breakfast, Obama gave a speech in which he not only avoided using the term “Radical Islam,” he reminded us that atrocities have also been committed in the name of Christ:

So how do we, as people of faith, reconcile these realities — the profound good, the strength, the tenacity, the compassion and love that can flow from all of our faiths, operating alongside those who seek to hijack religious [sic] for their own murderous ends?

Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.

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New Gods: Should We Banish Faith Forever? [Debate]

234 - New Gods
Evidence and reason are supposedly the basis of our beliefs. Yet religion continues to flourish, and new gods conquer even the most rational minds. Is unjustified, groundless belief an essential part of human nature? Or can we banish faith forever?

The Panel: American anthropologist Scott Atran, Cambridge philosopher Simon Blackburn and humanist Pavan Dhaliwal examine the foundations of thought.

(Find more debates like this at IAI TV)

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