Religion, Lately: Interview with a Jedi, Biblical Neuroscience, Mormon Women

By Kenny Smith…While notions of “religion” are deployed in a rather simplistic manner, Fox News offers an otherwise thoughtful interview with a Jedi teacher and a journalist who “spent a weekend” with them. Is it a religion, a philosophy, a way of life? You decide.

In a more typical manner, Fox hosted an angry debate concerning recent atheist billboards and whether religion or non-religion are “irrational.” Elsewhere in atheistdom, free Bible apps (such as YouVersion) are used to disprove the Bible’s legitimacy: “Reading the full story with all its contradictions and violence and sexism, it should make you think, ‘Is this really what I believe in?’”

As the holiday season approaches, America’s shopping malls prepare to serenade stressed out shoppers with “slashing” punk-rock Christmas carols.

Texas A&M University is said to be developing a new undergraduate course that will address “the intersection of religion and science, and it makes no sense at all.” When “discussing evolution of the nervous system, students will also consider the Biblical book of Genesis and other creation stories.”

As of Oct 25, 2013, the American Air Force Academy shortened its oath–“We will not lie, steal, or cheat, or tolerate anyone among us who does”–with “so help me God” now considered optional.

At Utah Valley University, students have initiated a “Pagan Club.” The first rule of Pagan Club? Explain what you actually believe and do so to people who have no idea whatsoever but believe they understand you anyway. Looking for a quick rundown of the top-ten Wiccan basics? Read here.

If in Great Britain Paganism “is the fastest growing religion,” in Australia it’s said to be Hinduism. Speaking of Britain, the Archbishop of Canterbury issued a holiday greeting to Hindus worldwide celebrating Diwali. Not sure what this holiday is? Read TIME’s brief write-up.

In Israel, the Knesset considers legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

In Mexico, “Why Islam” looks to build bridges to Spanish-speaking cultures.

And as one recent interview suggests, even devout Jains can be “spiritual but not religious” in contemporary America!

What’s new in the Mormon religious world? A new website intended to challenge the ways in which women have been trained to think about their own bodies: Mormon Women




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