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The Arrival of Extraterrestrials on the American Religious Landscape

The Arrival of Extraterrestrials on the American Religious Landscape

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By Kenny Smith
Writing for Beliefnet.com in an essay enticingly entitled, “Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?,” Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno argues that, although it is commonly assumed that the discovery of extraterrestrial life would signal “the death of religion, most religious people don’t see it that way at all… God created the whole universe. There’s nothing that makes one place more special than another….

Slot Machines as Spiritual Teachers and Supernatural Investment Strategies: When Religion Waxes Magical

Slot Machines as Spiritual Teachers and Supernatural Investment Strategies: When Religion Waxes Magical

Though contemporary scholars tend to be suspicious of such sweeping generalizations, magical beliefs and practices continue to be perceived as set apart from mainstream religion and culture. But might it be the case that magical beliefs and practices are intimately interwoven within mainstream religion and culture? In exploring this possibility, I look beyond church advertisements to two quite popular religious/spiritual teachers, Tolly Burkan (the founder of the American firewalking movement), and Pat Robertson, the founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and its most popular and long-running daily television show, The 700 Club.