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William James: Once Born and Twice Born People -
"However this doesn't mean that twice borns are unhappy. The reason is that their attitude often leads to a crisis, experienced as clinical depression, in a desire to understand the meaning of life. But the incompatibility of their desire for making sense of things and their pessimism demands a resolution if they are to love life again. And it is this demand that can lead to rebirth"
"As for the happy life, James said it consists of four main ingredients. First, we must choose to view the world as positive even though life contains sorrow and pain. Second, we must take risks by acting from the demands of our hearts. Third, we must act as if we are free and life is meaningful even though we can't be sure of either. Finally, we should remember that a crisis of meaning often leads to the happiest life."
(This article was reprinted in the online magazine of the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies, May 28, 2016.)
William-James  religion  philosophy  happiness  psychology 
2 days ago by pierredv
Letters reveal Mother Teresa's doubt about faith
" A book of letters written by Mother Teresa of Calcutta reveals for the first time that she was deeply tormented about her faith and suffered periods of doubt about God."
Reuters  religion  faith  doubt  crisis 
4 days ago by pierredv
The Complex Relationship Between Religion and Purpose - Gallup poll 2007
"Regardless of whether they affiliate themselves with a religion, more than 8 in 10 respondents across 84 countries say their lives have an important meaning or purpose"
Gallup  surveys  polls  opinion  meaning  purpose  religion 
11 days ago by pierredv
Is religion good or bad for humanity? Epic analysis delivers an answer - Harvey Whitehouse | New Scientist issue 3224, April 2019
"A scientific review of 10,000 years of history is finally revealing the unexpected truth behind religion's role in human civilisation"

"Another popular hypothesis is that cooperation in complex societies is intimately connected with the invention of “Big Gods”: deities who demand that their moral code be observed by all, and who have supernatural powers of surveillance and enforcement. Most of today’s world religions have these moralising gods, but they are rare in small-scale societies, where supernatural beings tend to care only whether people discharge their obligations to the spirit world."

"Other researchers, including me, have examined the role that sacred rituals might have as social glue."

"Instead of helping foster cooperation as societies expanded, Big Gods appeared only after a society had passed a threshold in complexity corresponding to a population of around a million people. . . . The most parsimonious explanation is that something other than Big Gods allowed societies to grow."

"Piecing all this together, here is what we think happened. As societies grew by means of agricultural innovation, the infrequent, traumatic rituals that had kept people together as small foraging bands gave way to frequent, painless ones. These early doctrinal religions helped unite larger, heterogeneous populations just enough to overcome the free-riding problem and ensure compliance with new forms of governance. However, in doing so they rendered them vulnerable to a new problem: power-hungry rulers. These were the despotic god-kings who presided over archaic states. Granted the divine right to command vast populations, they exploited it to raise militias and priesthoods, shoring up their power through practices we nowadays regard as cruel, such as human sacrifice and slavery. But archaic states rarely grew beyond 100,000 people because they, in turn, became internally unstable and therefore less defensible against invasion.
"The societies that expanded to a million or more were those that found a new way to build cooperation – Big Gods. They demoted their rulers to the status of mortals, laid the seeds of democracy and the rule of law, and fostered a more egalitarian distribution of rights and obligations. To our modern eyes, “bad” religions gave way to “good” ones. In reality, religions were always “good” in the sense that they promoted cooperation. What changed was that societies began valuing social justice above deference to authority. In other words, they changed their ideas about what constituted “good” cooperative behaviours to ones that more closely align with our modern agenda."
NewScientist  religion  culture  rituals  gods 
5 weeks ago by pierredv
Only a God Can Save Us
Via Pasulka, American Cosmic

Martin Heidegger, "Nur noch ein Gott kann uns retten," Der Spiegel 30 (Mai, 1976): 193-219. Trans. by W. Richardson as "Only a God Can Save Us" in Heidegger: The Man and the Thinker (1981), ed. T. Sheehan, pp. 45-67.

" SPIEGEL: Fine. Now the question naturally arises: Can the individual man in any way still influence this web of fateful circumstance? Or, indeed, can philosophy influence it? Or can both together influence it, insofar as philosophy guides the individual, or several individuals, to a determined action?

Heidegger: If I may answer briefly, and perhaps clumsily, but after long reflection: philosophy will be unable to effect any immediate change in the current state of the world. This is true not only of philosophy but of all purely human reflection and endeavor. Only a god can save us. The only possibility available to us is that by thinknig and poetizing we prepare a readiness for the appearance of a god, or for the absence of a god in [our] decline, insofar as in view of the absent god we are in a state of decline.27"

"27. In all probability, Heidegger is not using the word "god" here in any personal sense but in the sense that he gives to the word (often in the expression, "god or the gods") in his interpretations of Hölderlin, i.e., as the concrete manifestation of Being as "the Holy." "
philosophy  Heidegger  religion  DerSpiegel 
6 weeks ago by pierredv
Learning the ‘Science of Feelings’: Religious Training in Eastern Christian Monasticism: Ethnos: Vol 77, No 2

In Eastern Christianity novitiate is a period of learning to experience the presence of God in one's life and the world. Novices follow the hesychast prayer, a mystical tradition that leads them to an experiential knowledge of God. In this paper, I argue that novitiate should be regarded as a complex learning process involving specific assemblages of contextual, cognitive, body-sensory and emotional aspects. By educating their attention and emotion novices learn to see beyond and within reality and thus discover the potentiality of people and things ‘in the likeness of God’. Religious transmission happens not only through embodied practice and the active acquisition of religious knowledge but, more importantly, through the work of the imagination. Novices' orientation towards the transcendent requires an expansion of the imaginative capacities beyond their ‘routine’ functioning. Imagination could be thus seen as a key cognitive capacity through which they learn to experience God.
religion  feelings  emotion  training 
10 weeks ago by pierredv
A Secular Age - Wikipedia
Via Roberto Calasso, The Unnameable Present, p. 44

"In recent years, secularism has become an important topic in the humanities and social sciences. Although there continue to be important disagreements among scholars, many begin with the premise that secularism is not simply the absence of religion, but rather an intellectual and political category that itself needs to be understood as a historical construction. In this book, Taylor looks at the change in Western society from a condition in which it is almost impossible not to believe in God, to one in which believing in God is simply one option of many. "
Wikipedia  culture  religion  society 
may 2019 by pierredv
Biodiversity thrives in Ethiopia’s church forests - Nature, Jan 2019
"Ecologists are working with the nation’s Tewahedo churches to preserve these pockets of lush, wild habitat. "

Lovely full-screen photos
NatureJournal  Ethiopia  forestry  ecology  conservation  photography  religion  churches 
january 2019 by pierredv
The Market as God: Harvey Cox: 9780674659681: Books
"The Market has deified itself, according to Harvey Cox’s brilliant exegesis. And all of the world’s problems―widening inequality, a rapidly warming planet, the injustices of global poverty―are consequently harder to solve. Only by tracing how the Market reached its “divine” status can we hope to restore it to its proper place as servant of humanity.

The Market as God captures how our world has fallen in thrall to the business theology of supply and demand. According to its acolytes, the Market is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. It knows the value of everything, and determines the outcome of every transaction; it can raise nations and ruin households, and nothing escapes its reductionist commodification. The Market comes complete with its own doctrines, prophets, and evangelical zeal to convert the world to its way of life. Cox brings that theology out of the shadows, demonstrating that the way the world economy operates is neither natural nor inevitable but shaped by a global system of values and symbols that can be best understood as a religion.

Drawing on biblical sources, economists and financial experts, prehistoric religions, Greek mythology, historical patterns, and the work of natural and social scientists, Cox points to many parallels between the development of Christianity and the Market economy. At various times in history, both have garnered enormous wealth and displayed pompous behavior. Both have experienced the corruption of power. However, what the religious have learned over the millennia, sometimes at great cost, still eludes the Market faithful: humility."
Amazon  books  theology  religion  markets 
january 2019 by pierredv
The Market as God - The Atlantic, Harvey Cox, Mar 1999
"The lexicon of The Wall Street Journal and the business sections of Time and Newsweek turned out to bear a striking resemblance to Genesis, the Epistle to the Romans, and Saint Augustine's City of God. Behind descriptions of market reforms, monetary policy, and the convolutions of the Dow, I gradually made out the pieces of a grand narrative about the inner meaning of human history, why things had gone wrong, and how to put them right. Theologians call these myths of origin, legends of the fall, and doctrines of sin and redemption. But here they were again, and in only thin disguise..."

"there lies embedded in the business pages an entire theology, which is comparable in scope if not in profundity to that of Thomas Aquinas or Karl Barth"

"Since the earliest stages of human history, of course, there have been bazaars, rialtos, and trading posts—all markets. But The Market was never God, because there were other centers of value and meaning, other "gods." The Market operated within a plethora of other institutions that restrained it. As Karl Polanyi has demonstrated in his classic work The Great Transformation, only in the past two centuries has The Market risen above these demigods and chthonic spirits to become today's First Cause. "

"Today The Market's fickle will is clarified by daily reports from Wall Street and other sensory organs of finance. Thus we can learn on a day-to-day basis that The Market is "apprehensive," "relieved," "nervous," or even at times "jubilant.""

"I am beginning to think that for all the religions of the world, however they may differ from one another, the religion of The Market has become the most formidable rival, the more so because it is rarely recognized as a religion. "
theAtlantic  religion  markets  mythology  business  theology 
january 2019 by pierredv
Economic shocks and clinging - Michael Strain & Stan Veuger, AEI, Jan 2019

During his first campaign for president, Barack Obama was criticized when he argued that residents of towns with poor local labor markets “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustration.” We test empirically whether this is the case by examining the effect on social attitudes, as measured in the General Social Survey, of a local labor market’s exposure to import competition brought about by “the China shock,” from 1990 to 2007. We find that the economic effects of globalization do indeed change the attitudes of whites towards immigrants, minorities, religion and guns. More specifically, we find evidence of significant hardening of existing attitudes — that is, the impact of these import shocks appears concentrated in the tails of the distribution over attitudes.
AEI  economics  politics  culture  immigration  gun-control  Trade  globalization  religion 
january 2019 by pierredv
The Legend of Pope Joan - Footnoting History, Sep 2018
Fantastic commentary at the end about why conspiracy theories occur

"One of the most famous stories about the medieval papacy is that, supposedly sometime in the 9th or 11th century, there was a woman named Joan who disguised herself as a man and became Pope John. While it might sound like a modern, anti-Catholic creation, this story was actually invented in the Middle Ages. In this episode, Nathan returns to the realm of medieval conspiracy theories to talk about the medieval origins and development of the myth of Joan, as well as the social role of conspiracy theory."
FootnotingHistory  history  podcasts  conspiracy-theories  religion  MiddleAges 
october 2018 by pierredv
Online Extra: How the Smuckers Stick Together - Bloomberg
"Q: So, whatever the particular denomination, there's a real feeling that religion is an important binding force?

"Exactly. It wasn't the same one though each generation. Each generation changed, but it was still the values that religion provides."

"our strategy is to own icon brands in North America, and there are some really neat brands that we currently own. Look at that cadre of brands -- Smucker's, Jif, Crisco, Hungry Jack, Pillsbury, Martha White -- I mean these are all great, well-known family brands. So we want to be known as a company that manages brands well."

"Richard: Some people believe that the constituent that they need to serve is the shareholder. And we believe that we actually have basically six constituents, five of which we serve very well, [and that will] take care of the shareholder. The first constituent is the consumer. We have to know what the consumer wants and take care of that need. We have to take care of our customers -- the retailers. The third constituent is our employees. The fourth constituent we believe is our suppliers: We have to have good, healthy suppliers. And the fifth constituent would be communities, where we have plants. Basically, if we take care of those five constituents, the sixth constituent, which is the shareholder, will automatically be taken care of.

Q: It's the backwards point of view from that of Wall Street."
Bloomberg  stories  profile  business  religion  strategy  interviews 
february 2018 by pierredv
Wokeness and Myth on Campus - The New Atlantis Jan 2018
"The problem lies in a failure to grasp the true nature of the students’ position. If we are going to understand that position, we will need to draw on intellectual sources quite other than those typically invoked. What is required of us is the study of myth — and not in any pejorative or dismissive sense, but in the sense of an ineradicable element of human consciousness."

Polish philosopher Leszek Kołakowski's "technological core is analytical, sequential, and empirical. Another way to put this is to say that what belongs to the technological core is what we find to hand: whatever occupies the lifeworld we share, and is therefore subject to our manipulation and control, and to debates about what it is and what might be done with it. To this core belong instrumental and discursive reason, including all the sciences and most forms of philosophy — everything that reckons with the possible uses of human power to shape ourselves and our environment. The technological core undergirds and produces the phenomena we typically refer to as technological.

The “mythical core” of civilization, by contrast, describes that aspect of our experience “not revealed by scientific questions and beliefs.” It encompasses the “nonempirical unconditioned reality” of our experience, that which is not amenable to confirmation or disconfirmation."

"... as Kołakowski contends, the technological core and the mythical core will always come into regular and profound conflict with each other: “The futility of this clash would not in the end be so burdensome were it not that both points of view, incapable of synthesis and eternally in conflict, are after all present in [every one] of us, although in varying degrees of vitality. They have to coexist and yet they cannot coexist.”"
NewAtlantis  myth  politics  religion  technology  *  academia  education 
january 2018 by pierredv
Neil MacGregor on living with gods - Transcendental meditation, The Economist, Nov 2017
"As the exhibition and the radio series both proclaim, religion has generally been an activity, not a set of true-or-false propositions, and above all a collective activity in which the tribe or nation finds meaning."

About Neil MacGregor show and podcast "Living with Gods"
TheEconomist  religion  quotes 
january 2018 by pierredv
Amid Evangelical decline, growing split between young Christians and church elders -, Nov 2017
"... there are signs that many of the same trends that decimated mainline Protestantism over the past few decades are now at work among evangelical denominations as well. According to a massive study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) released in September, the number of white evangelical Protestants fell from about 23 percent of the US population in 2006 to 17 percent in 2016."

"For Andrew Walker, the current “post-Christian” state of American culture has posed a serious challenge to the faithful. For a variety of reasons, fewer and fewer Americans now have a grasp of the fundamentals of orthodox, biblical teachings, ... he notes, too, the dramatic rise of the so-called “nones,” especially among the young, who may believe in God, but have begun to refuse to identify with a particular religious group."

"Perhaps more than anything else, conservative Christians ... have had to confront the shock of the country’s evolving sexual mores."

“They grew up in a nominal Christian culture, where it’s no longer of a cultural or social benefit to identify as a Christian,” he says. “To add to that is, there’s often not only no social prestige to gain, there’s also social prestige to lose, if you say you are a Christian in our society.”

Yet narratives of danger and decline also help to motivate the faithful, notes Glenn Bracey, professor of sociology at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. “White Evangelicals often describe themselves as culturally embattled, and that perspective often increases members’ commitment to their organizations and politics.”

"Yet precisely because of such efforts [to reassert the fundamentals of Christian orthodoxy and ratchet up their political efforts], younger conservative Christians like Chelsie Maynard have been conflicted about their religious identities, and many say they no longer want to be associated with the evangelical demographic."

"Some Evangelicals have called for another retreat from society... The Christian thinker Rod Dreher has proposed a “Benedict Option,” suggesting that Christians forgo politics and adopt a kind of monastic shield from society."

"For many Evangelicals, the Nashville Statement was simply an affirmation of Christianity’s historic moral teachings and a pastoral document to guide the faithful. But critics noted that the statement went beyond condemning homosexuality and transgender identity: It also condemned those who affirm them."
CSMonitor  religion  politics  US  * 
january 2018 by pierredv
Awesome awe: The emotion that gives us superpowers | New Scientist issue 3136, 29 Jul 2017
Dacher Keltner and Jonathan Haidt "described awe as the feeling we get when confronted with something vast, that transcends our frame of reference and that we struggle to understand. It’s an emotion that combines amazement with an edge of fear. Wonder, by contrast, is more intellectual – a cognitive state in which you are trying to understand the mysterious."

"... van Elk presented functional MRI scans showing that awe quiets activity in the default mode network, which includes parts of the frontal lobes and cortex, and is thought to relate to the sense of self."

“Awe produces a vanishing self,” says Keltner. “The voice in your head, self-interest, self-consciousness, disappears. Here’s an emotion that knocks out a really important part of our identity.” As a result, he says, we feel more connected to bigger collectives and groups.

"Instead, Keltner believes that awe predates religion by millions of years. Evolution-related ideas are tough to back up, but he argues that responding to powerful forces in nature and in society through group bonding would have had survival value. ... It’s an instinct that has been co-opted for political ends throughout history, for example in grandiose structures from the pyramids of Egypt to St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, or even Trump Tower. "

"Awe also seems to help us break habitual patterns of thinking. The Arizona team discovered that after experiencing awe, people were better able to remember the details of a short story."

"Through brain scanning, he and others have found that psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin and LSD reduce activity in the default mode network – just as awe does. In addition, boundaries between normally segregated bits of the brain temporarily break down, boosting creativity."
NewScientist  psychology  religion  emotion  feeling  awe  meditation 
december 2017 by pierredv
Editor’s Journal | Issues in Science and Technology, Dec 2017
"But if stories are especially good at making sense of the ambiguities and contradictions of the human condition, where and what are the stories that can communicate a more complex and even fruitful relationship between science and religion?
Several of them are in this edition of Issues."
Issues-in-Science-and-Technology  science  religion  stories 
december 2017 by pierredv
Ge'ez Revisited | College of Arts and Sciences - University of Washington
Ge’ez dates back to at least the second century and belongs to the only part of Africa that was never colonized by a European power, a fact that Zafer points out in class. He also emphasizes the language’s formative impact on Christianity and Islam. “The field of early Islamic studies has always been oriented towards Europe and Western Asia, which are seen as the cradle of Jewish and Christian thought," says Zafer. "Africa is never seen as part of the equation. But east African Judaism and Christianity had just as much, if not more, of a formative impact on early Islam. The fact that a lot of Christological vocabulary in the Quran is in Ge’ez tells us that the Christianity that the earliest Muslims encountered was an African Christianity.” 
language  UW  religion 
may 2017 by pierredv
neo polytheist: Household Shrine and Ritual
"Over three and a half years after I first set up my household shrine a few things have changed ..."
religion  rituals  shrine  altar 
march 2017 by pierredv
Religion for the Nonreligious - Wait But Why
via Linda Chan?
"The goal of personal growth should be to gain that deathbed clarity while your life is still happening so you can actually do something about it."
life  religion  philosophy  WaitButWhy 
september 2016 by pierredv
The mysterious Islamic movement quietly sweeping the Middle East - 7 December 2015
"An ultraconservative Muslim order that preaches nonmilitancy is gaining followers across the region. Does Dawah represent an antidote to Islamic State or another threat to the West?"
Islam  CSMonitor  religion  Dawah  Tabligh 
january 2016 by pierredv
Radicalisation: A mental health issue, not a religious one - New Scientist 8 April 2015
Opinion essay by Kamaldeep Bhui "Research in the US following the 9/11 attacks suggested that having sympathies for terrorist acts and violent protest is a sign that people are susceptible to future radicalising influences. We ... assessed these kinds of sympathies in men and women of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin living in the UK. We found that these views were uncommon – they were held by just 2.5 per cent of our sample – and were unrelated to poverty, political engagement, or experience of discrimination and adversity. However, we did find a correlation between extremist sympathies and being young, in full-time education, relative social isolation, and having a tendency towards depressive symptoms. In contrast, we found that being born outside the UK, general ill health or having large social networks were all associated with moderate views. We also found that women were as likely as men to hold extreme sympathies, although the association with depression was stronger in men."
NewScientist  radicalization  mentalhealth  religion  psychology  depression 
august 2015 by pierredv
Why God Will Not Die - Jack Miles, The Atlantic, 17 Nov 2014
"In my 20s, I was a sucker for such stuff. Worse, I was painfully slow to notice my own posing. Only after the passage of some time and the small, salutary shock of having my wallet stolen did I examine these three professions of secular faith and realize, with an inward blush, that what I had wanted was simply closure, a way to stop thinking about questions whose answers were beyond my reach." - "Science keeps revealing how much we don't, perhaps can't, know. Yet humans seek closure, which should make religious pluralists of us all." - "Ignorance was a great human breakthrough, perhaps the greatest of all, for until our prehistoric but anatomically modern ancestors could tell the difference between ignorance and knowledge, how could they know they knew anything? "
philosophy  religion  belief  god  essays  **  theAtlantic  ignorance 
march 2015 by pierredv
How science made an honest man of God – Dallas G Denery II – Aeon
"Until the Scientific Revolution, God’s power included a licence to deceive. How did science make an honest man of Him?"
lying  religion  science  god  moral-philosophy  philosophy  *  AeonMagazine  essays 
march 2015 by pierredv
Has Holy Communion got harder to swallow? – Benjamin Dueholm – Aeon
-- Piece about symbolism of Holy Communion, with reflections on ritual -- "As a universally and often fervently practised rite, it acted like a radioactive tracer in the body of Christianity. The marvellous creativity, diversity, poetry and neurosis of its forms and interpretations map out the whole interior of Christian life." -- "A ritual acts on us in a way that is deeper than words, deeper even than conscious thought." -- "Whatever else one wishes to claim for this ritual, it is a communing with the dead. Every religious ritual is. It’s a way of putting on a self we can never be, of identifying with people otherwise lost to us, of inhabiting a past we can probably never understand. That might be the last radical lunge of this shrunken supper in a life that is starved for, if not love, then at least for connection."
religion  catholicism  Benjamin-Dueholm  AeonMagazine  christianity  ritual 
march 2015 by pierredv
The double life of Hasidic atheists - Aeon Magazine
-- Solomon is one of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of men and women whose encounters with evolution, science, new atheism and biblical criticism have led them to the conclusion that there is no God, and yet whose social, economic and familial connections to the ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic communities prevent them from giving up the rituals of faith -- As long as ultra-Orthodox communities continue to marry people off at such young ages, doubters will remain stuck, Solomon contends. ‘Religion has survived a lot of major challenges,’ he said, and the recent turn towards fundamentalism within ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities is just that – a coping mechanism to weed out the non-conformists. ‘The radicalisation of ultra-Orthodox Judaism is a sign of its success, not its failure.’ But Moishe believes that the phenomenon of atheism is deeply entrenched in the Orthodox way of life. ‘Everybody’s faking,’ he insisted. ‘I think it’s all going to come crashing down. I say 20 years.’ --
religion  atheism  Judaism  AeonMagazine 
march 2015 by pierredv
Using NYC Taxi Data to identify Muslim taxi drivers » The Interdisciplinary Internet Institute
"Remember that NYC Taxi data set that allowed you to see who visited a gentlemen’s clubs and which celebrity took a taxi where? Reddit user uluman now seems to have found a way to distinguish Muslim taxi drivers from the set" by looking at gaps at prayer times
privacy  datamining  surveillance  religion 
january 2015 by pierredv
25Sep14: Multiverse me: Should I care about my other selves? New Scientist #2988
Very well written discussion of moral-philosophical implications of multiple universes, quoting Tegmark and Deutsch
NewScientist  cosmology  quantum-mechanics  philosophy  physics  religion  morality  parallel.universes  multiverse  probability  risk  *  ethics 
november 2014 by pierredv
Ecstatic epilepsy: How seizures can be bliss - health - 24 January 2014 - New Scientist
Researchers: Fabienne Picard, Bud Craig, Anil Seth, Richard Davidson Categories of feelings in ecstatic epilepsy 1. heightened self-awareness 2. physical well-being 3. intense positive emotions "Picard's patients reported feelings of certainty – the sense that all is right with the world – which would seem to fit with a theory that the anterior insula is involved in predicting the way the body is going to feel in the next instant.. . ." "people like Dostoevsky have also recorded the strange sense that time is slowing down during their seizures. This might reflect the way the insula samples our senses. Craig argues that the anterior insula usually combines interoceptive, exteroceptive and emotional states to create a discrete "global emotional moment" every 125 milliseconds or so" Link to meditation: "Davidson [et al.] found that the deeper the meditative state, the greater the activity in the anterior insula."
Dostoevsky  epilepsy  meditation  bliss  time  interoception  brain-insula  brain-anteriorInsula  feeling  religion 
june 2014 by pierredv
The Slow Track to Happiness - Foreign Policy Mar 2014
"Spending more time praying, it seems, leads Muslims to make decisions that result in slower economic growth -- but greater happiness."
Foreign  Policy  religion  happiness  Islam  ramadan 
march 2014 by pierredv
Science through Buddhist Eyes - The New Atlantis
Consciously and unconsciously, a new, modernized Buddhism began to take shape, one adapted to and by Western ways of thought. A trend called “Buddhist modernism” arose, aimed at reinterpreting Buddhism as a system of thought rather than a religion. Early leaders of this movement embraced mainly those elements of Buddhism that seemed to address the Western problems they were after, while rejecting elements that could not be made consonant with cherished notions like individualism and progressivism. But while some of the aims, methods, and attitudes of Buddhism and modern science may appear similar, at the most fundamental level they are quite different. A Buddhist meditation teaching goes: “small doubt, small awakening; big doubt, big awakening; no doubt, no awakening.” Buddhism is meant eventually to dismantle itself. So we might better advance the discussion not by highlighting where Buddhism and science see eye-to-eye, but precisely where they do not, perhaps forcing each to c
buddhism  christianity  religion  meditation  quote  ex  New  Atlantis 
november 2013 by pierredv
Do get mad: The upside of anger - life - 14 February 2013 - New Scientist
Excerpts: ...nobody is arguing that anger can't be enormously destructive, nevertheless the idea that it is also sometimes beneficial is steadily gaining ground... Jennifer Lerner... gathered information on the emotions and attitudes of almost 1000 American adults and teenagers just nine days after the attacks, with follow-up studies in subsequent years... Lerner discovered that people made angry rather than fearful by a stressful situation have a lower biological response, in terms of blood pressure and levels of stress hormones ... when you're in a situation that is maddening, and your anger is justified, the emotion isn't necessarily bad for you. There is also evidence that political and business leaders who get angry rather than sad in response to a scandal are granted higher status ... - as long as they are male Ernest Harburg: "The idea of inhibiting your anger all the time, which is promoted by religions and pacifists, is simply not a healthy thought"
religion  anger  NewScientist  health  emotion  fear 
october 2013 by pierredv
Who's filling America's church pews -
"In Puritan New England, Protestant and Catholic churches are declining while evangelical and Pentecostal groups are rising. Why the nation's most secular region may hint at the future of religion." "•Between 2000 and 2010, the Catholic church has lost 28 percent of its members in New Hampshire and 33 percent in Maine. It has closed at least 69 parishes (25 percent) in greater Boston. •Over the same period, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) established 118 new churches in northern New England, according to the 2010 Religion Census. About 50 of them inhabit buildings once owned by mainline churches."
CSMonitor  trends  culture  USA  religion 
december 2012 by pierredv
Pew's religion survey reveals a secular shift away from the religious right | Sarah Posner | Comment is free |
"According to Pew, there are now as many people who identify themselves as 'none' in religious affiliation as identify as 'evangelical'."
Pew  religion  theguardian  usa 
october 2012 by pierredv
Sometimes science must give way to religion : Nature News & Comment
"Science advocates have been keen to claim that the Higgs discovery is important for everyone. Yet in practical terms, the Higgs is an incomprehensible abstraction, a partial solution to an extraordinarily rarified and perhaps always-incomplete intellectual puzzle. By contrast, the Angkor temples demonstrate how religion can offer an authentic personal encounter with the unknown. At Angkor, the genius of a long-vanished civilization, expressed across the centuries through its monuments, allows visitors to connect with things that lie beyond their knowing in a way that no journalistic or popular scientific account of the Higgs boson can. Put another way, if, in a thousand years, someone visited the ruins of the Large Hadron Collider, where the Higgs experiment was conducted, it is doubtful that they would get from the relics of the detectors and super­conducting magnets a sense of the subatomic world that its scientists say it revealed."
opinion  Angkor  physics  particle-physics  religion  philosophy  NatureJournal 
august 2012 by pierredv
In a France suspicious of religion, evangelicalism's message strikes a chord -
In fact, French scholars say, evangelicalism is likely the fastest-growing religion in France – defying all stereotypes about Europe’s most secular nation.
culture  evangelicalism  CSMonitor  france  religion 
august 2012 by pierredv
U.S. News - Catholic nuns group 'stunned' by Vatican scolding for 'radical feminist' ideas
"A prominent U.S. Catholic nuns group said it was "stunned" that the Vatican reprimanded it for spending too much time on poverty and social justice concerns and not enough on abortion and gay marriage.
In a stinging report on Wednesday, the Vatican said the Leadership Conference of Women Religious had been "silent on the right to life" and had failed to make the "Biblical view of family life and human sexuality" a central plank in its agenda. It accused the group of promoting "certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.""
religion  politics  Vatican  feminism  catholicism  x:msnbc  via:kevinschofield 
april 2012 by pierredv
Religiously active people more likely to engage in civic life, Pew study finds - Dec 2011
Pew Report “Some analysts have been concerned that those who have active spiritual lives might not be as engaged with the secular world,” notes report author Jim Jansen on the website. “We see the opposite. Those who are religiously active are more likely to participate in all kinds of groups and more likely to feel good about their communities. Those who are active in religious groups seem to be joiners. They also are active users of technology,” he adds.
Pew  CSMonitor  religion  politics  culture  civics 
december 2011 by pierredv
Computer Determines If Torah Is Mosaic … or a mosaic - Miller-McCune
"A computer analysis of the text of the first five books of the Bible determines at least two hands working on the scrolls." "The use of statistical analysis to determine authorship dates back to 1964, when Frederick Mosteller and David Wallace tackled the problem of who wrote each of a dozen disputed Federalist papers. After analyzing the frequency of 265 “function” words (such as “and” “of” and “the”), they cast their vote for James Madison (as opposed to Alexander Hamilton), a verdict that has since been affirmed by other researchers. Computer-assisted studies of Shakespeare’s writings date back to the late 1960s and word-frequency analysis since have been applied to poetry, song lyrics and other literature."
texts  religion  Miller-McCune  statistics 
november 2011 by pierredv
Belief in God Boils Down to a Gut Feeling - Yahoo! News
Intuitive (vs. reasoning) people more likely to believe in god
religion  belief  via:JohnHelm 
october 2011 by pierredv
Jesus Daily Keeps Leading Facebook Page Engagement
Jesus Daily holds on tightly as Facebook's unrelenting interactive leader.
trends  religion  via:gmsv  facebook  *  socialmedia  statistics 
september 2011 by pierredv
Braco Returns to Miami
Metta in action - how belief works - amusingly similar to what people say about Goenka, and what he says about "knowing people from before" by implication previous lives
Must be a strong proclivity in brain function to do this
One-ness, spirituality
"You remember it"
"... When he came out, I felt this intense love, like I knew him from a long, long time ago"
"There's no dogma, which I really appreciate"
religion  spirituality  metta 
june 2011 by pierredv
Religious studies: The good god guide | The Economist
Tag: "Tentatively, scientists are asking: exactly what is religion, and what is it for?" Nicholas Baumard's work on "just deserts" Also frequency vs. unpleasantness of religious rituals (chart)
religion  research  TheEconomist  ritual 
may 2011 by pierredv
Religion is irrational, but so is atheism - opinion by Jonathan Lanman - 28 March 2011 - New Scientist
strap: "Why are some people religious and others atheists? Do we really know what we mean by atheism? Jonathan Lanman thinks he has found a very paradoxical clue" His definitions: "non-theism": lack of belief in the existence of supernatural agents "strong atheism": the moral opposition to religious beliefs and values Argues that threat levels promote religious beliefs, including strong atheism: "Strong atheism is not the absence of an in-group ideology but the defence of one: modern secularism."
psychology  religion  NewScientist  opinion 
april 2011 by pierredv
Whistle-blowing witch grounded by TSA - Business - U.S. business -
"Wiccan is fired after complaint about casting spells — and after she complained about lax security at the airport "
employment  religion  via:peterhaynes 
march 2011 by pierredv
Purification by pain: The masochism tango | The Economist
"Religion got it right: pain seems to assuage guilt" "Guilt, then, seems to behave in the laboratory as theologians have long claimed it should. It has a powerful effect on willingness to tolerate pain. And it can be assuaged by such pain. Atonement hurts. But it seems to work"
religion  pain  guilt  economist 
february 2011 by pierredv
Close Encounters of the Buddhist Kind - An FP Photo Essay | Foreign Policy
"An exclusive look inside a booming multibillion-dollar, evangelical, global Thai cult. "
buddhism  Thailand  religion  megachurches  photography  Foreign  Policy 
january 2011 by pierredv
Among the Evangelicals - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
decent bibliography of American evangelicism - though I couldn't discern much of a point at first skim
religion  evangelicalism  christianity  via:ald 
january 2011 by pierredv
Vatican scientists urge support for engineered crops - environment - 30 November 2010 - New Scientist
"In a statement condemning opposition to GM crops in rich countries as unjustified, a group of scientists including leading members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences is demanding a relaxation of "excessive, unscientific regulations" for approving GM crops, saying that these prevent development of crops for the "public good"."
agriculture  religion  science  botany  GMO  NewScientist  poverty 
december 2010 by pierredv
The Evolution Polling Numbers Have *Nudged* A Little | The Intersection | Discover Magazine
" it’s starting to look like there’s some slight movement. The young Earthers are now at just 40 %; they’d been as high as 47 % at various points in the 1990s. Meanwhile, the non-guided evolution camp has gone up to 16 % (from as low as 9 % in the 1990s)"
evolution  belief  religion  polling  Gallup  via:gmsv 
december 2010 by pierredv Four Spiritualities: Expressions of Self, Expression of Spirit (9780891060833): Peter T. Richardson: Books
Via Dor Deasy
"Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as a tool for determining personality types, the author demonstrates in his first section that different individuals have different spiritual needs. Richardson applies these insights in his second section as he proceeds to explore, through illustrations from sources as diverse as the Bhagavad Gita and Mother Teresa, the similarities among various world religions. The author points to four spiritual paths (the Journey of Unity, the Journey of Devotion, the Journey of Works and the Journey of Harmony) that are universally present in the world's religious traditions.
religion  spirituality  psychology  books 
december 2010 by pierredv
Beyond God and atheism: Why I am a 'possibilian' - opinion - 27 September 2010 - New Scientist - David Eagleman
"When it comes to the big questions, why should we have to either deny God or believe? Surely good science doesn't so restrict us, says David Eagleman" Great quotes, posted to
religion  science  philosophy  NewScientist  ***  quotations 
october 2010 by pierredv
Why I no longer believe religion is a virus of the mind | Sue Blackmore | Comment is free |
Susan Blackmore: "Are religions viruses of the mind? I would have replied with an unequivocal "yes" until a few days ago when some shocking data suggested I am wrong." She now seems to have come around to the idea that religions are adaptive - more kids, better socialization, etc.
religion  **  evolution 
september 2010 by pierredv
Deepak Chopra's God 2.0 | Big Questions Online - Michael Shermer
wonderful phrase, ascribed to Murray Gell-Mann: "quantum flapdoodle"
religion  science  atheism  opinion 
august 2010 by pierredv
Congregations Gone Wild - - Op-Ed Contributor
The trend towards consumer-driven religion "The pastoral vocation is to help people grow spiritually, resist their lowest impulses and adopt higher, more compassionate ways. But churchgoers increasingly want pastors to soothe and entertain them."
religion  opinion  NYTimes 
august 2010 by pierredv
The imperfect universe: Goodbye, theory of everything - opinion - 10 May 2010 - New Scientist
Tagline: The quest for an ultimate theory is driven by the same urges as religion – we should stop searching for nature's hidden code, says Marcelo Gleiser Suggests that the fruitless search for GUTs is analogous to religion: "fundamentally misguided? Could belief in a physical theory that unifies the secrets of the material world - a "hidden code" of nature - be the scientific equivalent of the religious belief in oneness held by the billions who go to churches, mosques and synagogues every day?"
religion  cosmology  science  **  NewScientist 
july 2010 by pierredv
Widespread Support for Banning Full Islamic Veil in Western Europe - Pew Research Center
strong majorities in favor in France, Germany, but strong opposition in US
x:pew  opinion  religion 
july 2010 by pierredv
Mexican Saints - National Geographic Magazine
"The emotional pressures, the tensions of living in a time of crisis lead people to look for symbolic figures that can help them face danger," says José Luis González, a professor at Mexico's National School of Anthropology and History who specializes in popular religions. Among the helper figures are Afro-Cuban deities that have recently found their way to new shores and outlaws that have been transformed into miracle workers, like a mythical bandit from northern Mexico called Jesús Malverde. There are even saints from the New Testament repurposed for achieving not salvation but success. In this expanding spiritual universe, the worship of a skeleton dressed in long robes and carrying a scythe—La Santa Muerte—is possibly the fastest growing and, at first glance at least, the most extravagant of the new cults. "If you look at it from the point of view of a country that over the last ten years has become dangerously familiar with death," González says, "you can see that this skeleton is
mexico  culture  religion  x:nationalgeographic 
may 2010 by pierredv
Epiphenom: The hypnotic power of charismatic religion
"Just telling a pentecostalists that someone has healing powers makes them think that they are highly charismatic. What's more, they didn't feel God's presence in the prayers read by the person they were told was a non-Christian."
belief  religion  psychology  experiment 
april 2010 by pierredv
The Believer - Interview with David Simon by Nick Hornby, August 1st, 2007 | Issue forty-six
Compares the Greek gods with postmodern institutions.Quote:
"The Wire is a Greek tragedy in which the postmodern institutions are the Olympian forces. It’s the police department, or the drug economy, or the political structures, or the school administration, or the macroeconomic forces that are throwing the lightning bolts and hitting people in the ass for no decent reason."

Ref via Helen Morales in Omnibus No. 57, Jan 2009, "Classical mythology contorted". She introduces the Simon quote by saying, "Do we have an equivalent, then, to the gods in ancient myth?"
She comments after the quote, "A sobering thought, but perhaps a realistic one, that life is a rigged game and that we are controlled by institutions, much as the ancient Greeks imagined they were controlled by the gods..."
religion  television  greek  mythology  ***  culture  interviews  Greek-mythology 
april 2010 by pierredv
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