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Mary Magdalene and Female Authority in the Early Church

Mary Magdalene and Female Authority in the Early Church

By Kate Daley-Bailey….
Abraham’s article awoke anew many concerns I have had with the Catholic Church’s’ ardent fear of the possibility of allowing women into positions of authority in the church. As Abraham so astutely pointed out, the linking of female ordination and sexual abuse of children is startling. Is the Catholic Church launching a preemptive strike against what they fear will be a renewed interest in allowing women into the priesthood? This overreaction led me to investigate the origin of the Church’s fear of women in leadership roles.

In Realm of Religion, Women Lose Out

In Realm of Religion, Women Lose Out

By Nilanjana S. Roy, New York Times….
“Religion is assumed to be the domain of men, and women do not have much role in it,” the Indian feminist writer and publisher Urvashi Butalia said in an interview. “But women generally do not have the right to question religion — this is something men hold on to tightly, and it’s not only in Islam. Look at all those so-called honor killings in India — all of them under the guise of religious sanction and tradition.”
Last week, the blasphemy laws claimed a prominent victim. The governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, was assassinated by one of his bodyguards. Mr. Taseer’s assassin was showered with rose petals by crowds who approved of his act. Mr. Taseer had drawn much criticism in Pakistan for his defense of Ms. Bibi and his demand for changes to the blasphemy law.

Way Beyond Atheism: God Does Not (Not) Exist

Way Beyond Atheism: God Does Not (Not) Exist

By Paul Wallace, Religion Dispatches….
What is at issue here is, Dawkins refuses to examine the ground on which he stands: science itself. That is, Dawkins may change his mind about evolution, but nothing will change his mind about science. He will never question—in a serious way—the sufficiency of science as a guide to truth. Perhaps he thinks the success of science makes it a self-evident choice when it comes to grounding his worldview; what he does not and will not consider is the very real possibility that science is so successful precisely because it is so limited. To reject this possibility out-of-hand is nothing but intellectual laziness. Dawkins is dogmatically rigid and fixed in place. He is a fundamentalist.

The Presbyterian-Jewish Divide that Need Never Be

The Presbyterian-Jewish Divide that Need Never Be

By Joshua Stanton, Huffington Post….
I still profoundly admire Wiesenthal and the Wiesenthal Center. But I worry that a recent op-ed written by two of its leaders, Rabbi Marvin Hier and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, goes against the very pursuit of justice that the center so firmly embraces. Entitled “Presbyterians Against Israel: Liberal Protestants are engaging in historical revisionism concerning Jews and the Holy Land,” its strong suit is certainly not understatement. But by labeling an entire Christian denomination “anti-Israel,” it may prove far more damaging.

Christmas ad: Baby Jesus ‘sonogram’ — halo and all

Christmas ad: Baby Jesus ‘sonogram’ — halo and all

USA Today, Faith and Reason
Want to refocus attention on Christ this Christmas? A British group is taking the novel approach of promoting nativity scene like no other — turning a sonogram-like image into a icon-like poster by portraying Jesus as a fetus with a halo, in Mary’s womb.

Well, at least it’s a baby image… whose

For Catholics, Interest in Exorcism Is Revived

For Catholics, Interest in Exorcism Is Revived

By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times
Exorcism is as old as Christianity itself. The New Testament has accounts of Jesus casting out demons, and it is cited in the Catholic Church’s catechism. But it is now far more popular in Europe, Africa and Latin America than in the United States. Most exorcisms are not as dramatic as the bloody scenes in films. The ritual is based on a prayer in which the priest invokes the name of Jesus. The priest also uses holy water and a cross, and can alter the prayer depending on the reaction he gets from the possessed person, said Matt Baglio, a journalist in Rome who wrote the book “The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist” (Doubleday, 2009).

Seeing the Lord’s Prayer in a New Light

Seeing the Lord’s Prayer in a New Light

By Mitchell Landsberg, Los Angeles Times
Crossan calls the Lord’s Prayer “a prayer from the heart of Judaism on the lips of Christianity for the conscience of the world.” To understand it, he said, it is necessary to comprehend the culture in which it was written, that of 1st century Judaism. The prayer appears in the New Testament twice, in slightly different forms: In Matthew 6:9-13, and in Luke, 11:2-4. In both cases, it is delivered by Jesus, which helps explain the revered status it holds.

The Burning Bush They’ll Buy, but Not ESP or Alien Abduction

The Burning Bush They’ll Buy, but Not ESP or Alien Abduction

By Mark Oppenheimer, New York Times
Practically anything goes at the American Academy of Religion’s annual conference, where scholars of dozens of religions convene annually to debate, relate and on occasion mate. Conversation ranges from the Talmud to tantra, from Platonism to Satanism. This year, from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 in Atlanta, nearly 5,000 people attended panels including “Seeking New Meanings of God and Dao” and “Madness, Smallpox, and Death in Tibet.”

Conservative Belgian Archbishop in Eye of Storm

Conservative Belgian Archbishop in Eye of Storm

By Robert Wielaard, Associated Press via USA Today
BRUSSELS — He calls AIDS a form of “justice” for homosexuals and wants retired pedophile priests to go unpunished. He says women who have an abortion will be greeted in the afterlife by their unborn child crying “Momma!” Archbishop Andre Leonard, 70, was plucked from a sleepy Belgian citadel-town by Pope Benedict XVI in January to energize the country’s Roman Catholic faithful and reverse 30 years of liberalism. The appointment was in line with Benedict’s policy of putting tradition-minded and conservative bishops in important dioceses.

The Role of Happiness in the World Religions

The Role of Happiness in the World Religions

By April L. Bogle, Huffington Post
It’s hard to deny that His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet and the world’s most famous Buddhist, is the also world’s foremost expert on happiness. He clearly states in writings that seeking happiness is the very purpose of life, and he’s dedicated his life to learning how to be happy and sharing this knowledge with others. But what about other major religious traditions? Is happiness a good thing, or bad? To be sought in this life, or the next?

Just War and Post War Justice

Just War and Post War Justice

The just war tradition is the centuries-old gold standard for morally evaluating war. Most Christian denominations subscribe to this ethical framework, even as they are more and more commending nonviolence as a viable alternative. Just war reasoning also rests behind much of the modern international laws of war. Over time, this tradition has come to consist of several criteria—though the lists vary depending on the source—to be used to evaluate morally when and how war may be justly embarked upon and conducted. A war is considered just if these criteria are adhered to and satisfied.

The Religion of the Tea Party: A Cautionary Tale to Scholars

The Religion of the Tea Party: A Cautionary Tale to Scholars

By James Dennis LoRusso  In the last 18 months, the political landscape in the United States has undergone seismic shifts.  The ever-widening ideological chasm between progressive and conservative renders constructive dialogue problematic at best, and no phenomenon better symbolizes this dilemma for both sides of the political spectrum than the Tea Party.  On the right, […]

Mary: A Bridge Between Islam and Christianity

Mary: A Bridge Between Islam and Christianity

In this atmosphere of tension, it may be prudent to attempt to find common ground between these two clashing Abrahamic traditions. Christianity and Islam are in some ways, intimately connected; sharing many sacred stories, devotion to one god, ethical standards, and scriptural figures. Illuminating commonalities between these two mega religions, whose adherents make up almost fifty percent of the world’s population, may be the first step in building an understanding and hopefully, a bridge between the two.

The Inanity of the current "Islam" Debate

The Inanity of the current “Islam” Debate

One of the reasons why the debate is so skewed is that Americans suffer from an intense form of religious illiteracy, and that is dangerous. As Prothero demonstrates in his earlier book Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and Doesn’t , is that most Americans don’t even know the tenets of their own faith. And if we’re going to put an end to the misinformation, it’s going to take those of us who are Christians to step up and say no to it. I think that Prothero’s presentation on CNN is something that needs to be heard.