Researchers from Columbia University set out to examine a particularly interesting connection-the brain’s thickness and it’s potential relationship to religious belief. What did they discover? Researchers determined that thicker brains could be tied to higher levels of religious belief.
— Science World Report
Secular Arvind Kejriwal thanks god for AAP ‘miracle’
Delhi’s new Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has always been wedded to secular values, on Saturday thanked gods of India’s four major religions – Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhism – for the “miracle” that brought him and his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to power.
— Zee News
Tibetan Monk Karma Tsewang Detained By China Along With 16 Supporters
The writer, Tsering Woeser, said that rights lawyer Tang Tianhao confirmed the detention of Karma Tsewang, a popular monk in Nangqian county in western Qinghai province. Aside from preaching Tibetan Buddhism, the monk is known for his work on disaster relief, environmental protection and teaching youth the Tibetan language. Tsering Woeser said Karma Tsewang was taken away by police Dec. 6 while traveling on business in the city of Chengdu. She said the monk was taken to Chamdo prefecture, where he has been detained since.
— Huffington Post
Blogging, Tweeting, and Instagramming in the Image of God
Andrew Byers, a chaplain and PhD student at the University of Durham, is trying to reorient the conversation. “If God creates and uses media,” he writes, “then there is a theological logic instructive for how we produce and use media technology today.” This, the central claim of Byers’s new book TheoMedia: The Media of God and the Digital Age (Wipf & Stock), is what makes the book such a valuable contribution to the burgeoning conversation about Christian faith and digital media.
— Christianity Today
Eastern religion has its share of abuse too
Midway through 1968, a disillusioned and angry John Lennon could be found inside the Beatles’ London offices channelling his frustration by scratching the lyrics to a new song into a piece of wood. Lennon had recently returned from an ashram in India, where he and the other members of the Fab Four received instruction in transcendental meditation from a giggling Hindu guru named Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Lennon had stormed from the ashram in disgust, convinced the Maharishi had morphed from guru to groper in his behaviour towards a number of young Western women, including actor Mia Farrow. The Beatle’s wood-carved words became the basis for the song Sexy Sadie, the title being Lennon’s litigation-proof pseudonym for the allegedly randy rishi of Rishikesh, whose covert lechery had, in his estimation, ”made a fool of everyone”.
— Brisbane Times
Is All religion bad? An Ethical Dissection
People disagree on ethics — and for very good reasons. To clear up the disagreement, the wrong move is to try and figure out the “right” ethical theory — arguing endlessly about the truth of your system and the foibles of others. Instead, understanding how our minds work may reveal far more useful information.
Religion as a Product of Psychotropic Drug Use
The notion that hallucinogenic drugs played a significant part in the development of religion has been extensively discussed, particularly since the middle of the twentieth century. Various ideas of this type have been collected into what has become known as the entheogen theory. The word entheogen is a neologism coined in 1979 by a group of ethnobotanists (those that study the relationship between people and plants). The literal meaning of entheogen is “that which causes God to be within an individual” and might be considered as a more accurate and academic term for popular terms such as hallucinogen or psychedelic drug. By the term entheogen we understand the use of psychoactive substances for religious or spiritual reasons rather than for purely recreational purposes.
— The Atlantic
Listen to R.E.M.’s isolated vocal track for “Losing My Religion”
As a youngster, I assumed R.E.M.’s 1991 single “Losing My Religion” was about just that: a lapse in faith. Perhaps it was some Freudian obsession based on my parents’ own religious turmoil (Mom’s an excommunicated Irish Catholic, dad’s an atheist Jew), or one too many viewings of the icon-heavy music video. But even after later reading Michael Stipe’s claims of it being just another ”classic obsession pop song” ala The Police’s “Every Breath You Take”, I wasn’t entirely sold he hadn’t experienced some spiritual crisis. Now, via a strange twist of fate (or divine being, perhaps?), I understand the song in a totally new light thanks to the isolated vocal track.
— Consequence of Sound