Posts Tagged: ‘religion’

On June 21, 2013, Britain unveiled a new ‘blue plaque’ historical marker commemorating the block where Doreen Valiente resided before she died in 1999. The ceremony falling on the summer solstice was intentional and significant since Valiente is considered the “mother of modern witchcraft,” and the summer solstice coincides with the Wiccan celebration of Litha. […]

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I caught the documentary “Kumaré” on Netflix last night and found it overall a fascinating look at gurus and spiritual leaders.

See, the whole gimmick at first sounds like a Sacha Baron Cohen bit: American filmmaker Vikram Gandhi recreates himself as a fake Indian guru and begins to amass a following in Phoenix, AZ. While the film does have a little fun with the concept, it eventually morphs into something bigger.

Vikram’s essentially making it all up as he goes along, but he finds himself doing actual good in his followers’ lives. He realizes the relationships he forged as the fictitious Sri Kumaré are deeper and more genuine than most of his real-life bonds.

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“There’s Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoist alchemy and sorcery. We take what we want and leave the rest… Just like your salad bar.”

That’s a quote from Egg Shen (Victor Wong) in John Carpenter’s “Big Trouble in Little China,” a film that mixes exploitation cinema, kung-fu, political commentary and cosmology all into one big stew . It’s one of my favorite flicks, so it tends to worm its way into my daily thoughts one way or another — and recently I’ve been thinking about religion and spirituality…

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Imagine a half million corpses — mostly women — piled high on a pyre.

Imagine an age of social turmoil, spiritual crisis and technological revolution.

Imagine an age in which children as young as seven were executed for the crime of demonic copulation.

It’s difficult to put ourselves in the shoes of our 15th century predecessors. Witchcraft trials and witch persecutions have become a part of our shared mythology and history, but what truly went on during those centuries of brutal torture and death?

In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I look at some compelling theories to why so many men, children and especially women suffered at the hands of superstitious religious persecution.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson is probably the last person to suggest NASA falsify the threat of alien invasion to play on humanity’s fears. I also doubt he’d suggest that the space agency exploit America’s religious conservative movement with “proof” that said aliens are governed by demons.

But just for the sake of argument, let’s you and I go there.

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A cursory glance around modern American culture with an alien eye will yield all manner of weirdness. All of those billboards and Big Boy restaurant statutes, taken out without context, are quite bizarre. Should we suddenly vanish from this mortal coil as a culture, what would later archaeologists make of the Jack in the Box guy?

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Is there a God? Did some unimaginable divine hand set the course of human events or does it all boil down to a genetic mandate of propagation? Do you lay your offerings before the strict, atheistic machinations of science or at the feet of a patriarchal deity? I think a lot of us would opt for a third answer, a middle path of open-mindedness between the extremes of religious fundamentalism and strict atheism — and that’s why the concept of possibilianism is so attractive.

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This came in from a visitor via email – How does cremation work? If you watched Avatar there is that brief scene where Jake’s brother’s body is cremated. Is that how it really works?

One of the best videos ever produced on the modern cremation process can be found here…

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Why would a person spend $1,000 for an Apple laptop when he or she can get more features for $500 by buying a laptop from HP, Dell, Asus, etc? To an Apple loyalist, I imagine this is a silly question. But to anyone else, it makes little sense. Case in point is the iPad, as […]

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Yesterday I blogged about Vatican astronomer Guy J. Consolmagno’s thoughts on the relationship between science and religion — and the conflict that sometimes emerges there. I thought the planetary scientists turned Jesuit brother presented a very positive, thought-provoking view on the matter. But in the interest of providing another take less rooted in Western monotheism, I thought we’d turn to Varadaraja V. Raman.

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