RSSAuthor Archive for religionnerd

Our primary focus is to inform readers about current religious issues and the religious diversity that we encounter in our daily lives. Remember one person’s absurdity is another’s religion! It is not our intention to promote any one religion or belief system nor to be disrespectful of any religious tradition. My name is Heather Abraham Sagisman and I am a religion addict or as my husband Teo calls me, the Religion Nerd. I am obsessed with religion and everything about religion. It doesn’t matter which religion, I find them all fascinating and have spent most of my life reading about religion, observing various religions in practice, and eventually attended Georgia State University for formal training in religious studies. After earning both a BA and MA in Religious Studies (comparative religion), I find that I am still hungry for more—this blog is an extension of my magnificent obsession. Professional Memberships: American Academy of Religion, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Religion News Writers Association.

Loki's Playground: The Hijacking of Religion Nerd

Loki’s Playground: The Hijacking of Religion Nerd

By Heather Abraham…..Religion Nerd had been hijacked. I reacted to the news with indignation but I could not help but wonder—Who and Why? I quickly dismissed monetary gain as a motive as there are no financial transactions associated with the site. Was it possible that Religion Nerd was pilfered in an act of revenge for a post found theologically offensive?
I found the anonymity of my “enemy” disconcerting. The who became more important than the why. I needed to assign an identity to the anonymous miscreant. After all, how can one fight an enemy who remains unknown?

Atheist Allowed To Show His Godlessness On License Plate After New Jersey DMV Reverses

Atheist Allowed To Show His Godlessness On License Plate After New Jersey DMV Reverses

By Nick Wing, Huffington Post…..Earlier this month, David Silverman, president of American Atheists, sent in an order for a vanity plate that read “ATHE1ST,” with the number “1” instead of an “I.” “ATHEIST” was reportedly already taken, though the picture above shows Silverman with a retired version of that plate.

Idol Worship

Idol Worship

By Kate Daley-Bailey…..My Religion and Media class is currently weeding its way through the thicket of religion definitions which have overgrown the field of religious studies in the last three hundred years. Some of the definitions we are investigating are not blatantly presented by their creators as definitions per se (these ‘definitions’ may be more accurately labeled as descriptions of what that thinker considers ‘religious’).

The Truth About Religion

The Truth About Religion

By Gary Laderman, Huff Post Religion …..
We have fundamentalist atheists on one side of the spectrum wanting to get rid of religion and all of its toxicity; on the other side are religious fundamentalists looking to purify the world of all the false religions. The rest of us in the middle — Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Nones — are learning to live with the unavoidable fact that multiple religious perspectives and communities must learn to live together if not harmoniously than at least with a minimum amount of respect and toleration.

“The Zombies Are Coming!” An Interview with Kelly J. Baker on the Zombie Apocalypse

“The Zombies Are Coming!” An Interview with Kelly J. Baker on the Zombie Apocalypse

Philip L. Tite and Kelly Baker, Religion Bulletin……Much of the reaction about the Klan and zombies comes from assumptions about what is properly religion, and I’ve already had my say about this in my piece on evidence for the Bulletin for the Study of Religion. Why are some scholars so avidly policing “religion”? What does this tell us about how “religion” is defined and deployed? Resurrected corpses, in this instance, become a problem. When I use zombies as data, it causes discomfort because it suggests that maybe religion is not as familiar or as easily identifiable as we think it is. Maybe, we would have to admit that J.Z. Smith is right about religion being constructed by scholars in every use. Maybe, we would have to note that our interlocutors also construct religion in every utterance of the word.

10 Reasons Superman Is Really Jewish

10 Reasons Superman Is Really Jewish

By Larry Tye, The Jewish Daily Forward….. The alien superbaby was not just a Jew, but also a very special one. Like Moses. Much as the baby prophet was floated in a reed basket by a mother desperate to spare him from an Egyptian Pharaoh’s death warrant, so moments before Kal-El’s planet blew up, his doomed parents tucked him into a spaceship that rocketed him to the safety of Earth. Both babies were rescued by non-Jews and raised in foreign cultures — Moses by Pharaoh’s daughter, Kal-El by Kansas farmers named Kent — and all the adoptive parents quickly learned how exceptional their foundlings were.

DIY Christian Bar Mitzvahs

DIY Christian Bar Mitzvahs

By Brandon Logan……..According to Craig Hill, “there is something on the inside of every person that longs for blessing from parents” and a failure to fulfill this need has led to many of the ills plaguing modern Western society (1). Hill combines this sentiment with a belief that the West is tragically deficient in rite of passage ceremonies. The result is a populace left rudderless, constantly seeking the affirmation that should have been provided to them as they transitioned into adulthood. These individuals fail to develop a sufficient amount of emotional maturity, since for those who fail to receive a “proper release into manhood or womanhood” there remains “in the heart a lingering feeling of childhood.”

Jesus’ Remains: Teaching Multiple Jesi

Jesus’ Remains: Teaching Multiple Jesi

By Kate Daley-Bailey, Religion Bulletin…..Amid all these Jesi (my highly technical term for multiple Jesuses), my hope is to drive home to my students that Jesus, much like the concepts ‘religion’ or ‘the sacred’ or even ‘human’, has become somewhat of an empty signifier, meaning so many things to so many people that invoking his name becomes a rhetorical move to claim ownership over a powerful signifier which, ironically, is no longer grounded in any particular content.

Bieber, Beliebers and Anne Frank

Bieber, Beliebers and Anne Frank

By Gary Laderman, Huff Post Religion…..Imaging Anne Frank as a “Belieber,” taking her out of her horrific and incomprehensible historical circumstances and placing her in the pop world of contemporary entertainment, especially in the fandom surrounding a mediocre teenybopper-cum-serious young adult performer, is a profanation of the worst kind to many critics. She is an icon, a heroic figure who figures so prominently and nobly in the histories and popular imagination associated with the rise of Nazis and the extermination of Jews. For Bieber to “belieb” this about Frank, to even think the thought, is both outrageous and offensive.

Who Bombed the Boston Marathon?

Who Bombed the Boston Marathon?

By MARK JUERGENSMEYER, Religion Dispatches…..Most of the suspicions point towards right-wing extremist Christian Patriot groups. They are exactly the kind of movement that might be attracted to make its mark on a liberal anti-gun crowd on what many have noted is Massachusetts’ Patriots’ Day. The 26-mile course of the marathon was meant to honor the 26 victims of the Newtown school shooting, with a different victim recognized at each mile marker.

Burning Jesus, Mary, and the Prophets

Burning Jesus, Mary, and the Prophets

A “Muslim Gospel,” Khalidi points out, even overflows the pages of the Qur’an: for nearly a thousand years (from the 8th-18th centuries CE), stories and sayings attributed to Isa continued to emerge in Islamic written and oral traditions. While this Jesus is Islamic in tone, a clear Biblical voice is evident. In one of the earliest of these, “Jesus said to his people,”…

How Beer Gave Us Civilization

How Beer Gave Us Civilization

By JEFFREY P. KAHN, New York Times…..Once the effects of these early brews were discovered, the value of beer (as well as wine and other fermented potions) must have become immediately apparent. With the help of the new psychopharmacological brew, humans could quell the angst of defying those herd instincts. Conversations around the campfire, no doubt, took on a new dimension: the painfully shy, their angst suddenly quelled, could now speak their minds. But the alcohol would have had more far-ranging effects, too, reducing the strong herd instincts to maintain a rigid social structure.

A Theological Reflection on Shiva on the Occasion of Mahashivaratri

A Theological Reflection on Shiva on the Occasion of Mahashivaratri

By Dr. Anantanand Rambachan, Huffington Post,,,,On March 10, Hindus around the world will celebrate Shivaratri (The Night of Shiva). I share these theological reflections on the occasion of this sacred festival. For centuries, Hindus have worshiped and described God through the name and form of Shiva. The name Shiva connotes kindness, benevolence and grace. Shiva is also commonly known as Shankara, meaning one who acts unceasingly for the good of all. The many names and forms of God available in the Hindu tradition are not just expressions of India’s religious and cultural diversity.

Religion Lately: Dress Codes, Betting on the Next Pope, Demon Sweaters, and Palestinian-Only Bus Lines

Religion Lately: Dress Codes, Betting on the Next Pope, Demon Sweaters, and Palestinian-Only Bus Lines

By Heather Abraham…..A heads up to all thrift store shoppers—you may need to find a dry cleaner who can remove demons from slightly used clothing. According to Pat Robertson, there is a slight chance that a great find at a thrift store may be home to demonic entities. I wonder? If demons can attach themselves to clothing trough human touch, do we have to worry about demons at the manufacturing level? If so, demon removal may be a great business venture.