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

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

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 atheisdom, 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?’”

The Religious Theft of Sacred Culture?

The Religious Theft of Sacred Culture?

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By Kenny Smith…..
In the case of both Jediism and Dudeism, entirely new religious traditions have been created wholesale from the cloth of popular culture. In other cases, key elements are borrowed from popular culture and grafted onto pre-existing religious traditions, resulting in equally innovative and to some degree “new” versions of these traditions, which their critics typically regard as humorous or horrifying.

Religion Lately: Uller Fest, Atheist Religion , & Tim Tebow, Harbinger of Doom?

Religion Lately: Uller Fest, Atheist Religion , & Tim Tebow, Harbinger of Doom?

By Kenny Smith, Emory University….
In Breckenridge, CO., the town council passed a resolution allowing public consumption of alcoholic beverages for “Uller Fest,” a day-long celebration, complete with a bonfire, dedicated to Uller, the Norse god of snow. Despite the positive effects of popular TV series such as Big Love, the Broadway musical “The Book of Mormon,” Jon Huntsman’s and Mitt Romney’s presidential bids, and a national public relations campaign, concerns have grown among Mormons about those who grow up and leave the church, as well as the inability to control information about LDS history (e.g., that Joseph Smith was a polygamist and defended this practice as divinely mandated). Mormons make up approximately 2% of the American population and nearly half feel that they are discriminated against on religious grounds, though are nonetheless optimistic about their future.

Religion Lately: Rise of the New Evangelicals, Star Seed Possibilities, Perfect End-Times Beverage, & The Roof-Top Sex-Preacher

Religion Lately: Rise of the New Evangelicals, Star Seed Possibilities, Perfect End-Times Beverage, & The Roof-Top Sex-Preacher

By Kenny Smith, Emory University….
Imagine Evangelical Christians who reject militarism, consumerism, and cultural triumphalism, in favor of social justice, environmentalism, and religious reconciliation with other faiths. They might represent the coming norm. If so, will these new Evangelicals distance themselves from religion? The future may be a ways off yet, as recent studies of American ministers note one major area of disagreement prevails: not creationism, nor the belief in the literal truth of the Bible, but whether or not the earth is 6,000 years old.

Religion Lately: Islamic Jediism, “Fuck It” Spirituality, Michelle Bachmann’s 2006 End Time Vision, & A Pagan Policeman

Religion Lately: Islamic Jediism, “Fuck It” Spirituality, Michelle Bachmann’s 2006 End Time Vision, & A Pagan Policeman

By Kenny Smith…..
Australians debate the validity of religions based upon popular culture, such as Jediism and Matrixism (based upon the film, The Matrix), and the blending of new and old traditions, such as “Islamic Jediism,” as the 2011 census approaches this August. Also in Australia, The Dali Lama appeared as a surprise judge on the TV cooking show “Masterchef.” Sadly, while quite friendly, the Tibetan spiritual leader proved somewhat of a judicial disappointment, stating: “As a Buddhist monk, it is not right to prefer this or that food.”

Religion Lately: Jedi Saints, Oprah as Anti-Christ Enabler, a Scientology Musical? & Hindu-Pagan Dialogue

Religion Lately: Jedi Saints, Oprah as Anti-Christ Enabler, a Scientology Musical? & Hindu-Pagan Dialogue

By Kenny Smith…..
Recent Star Wars artwork may well resonate with new religious movements that understand and live Star Wars mythology as spiritual truth. Thank you St.Vader? In a recent CNN interview, Bill Maher explains his own philosophy of “Apatheism,” which blends religious apathy and atheism: “I don’t know what happens when you die and I don’t care.” In another instance of blending, the idea of UFOs as extraterrestrial spacecraft seems to have been explicitly combined with the new religious movement known as ECKANKAR (“The Light and Sound of God”). After vandalism to a local church implicated The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (or FSM, whose members are often known as Pastafarians), local FSM members raised $2,600 to repair the damage.

Rise of the Jedi Religion

Rise of the Jedi Religion

Followers of the Jedi religion/philosophy follow the way of the Jedi and live by the Jedi Code. Like all other religions, established or new, Jediism is complex and extremely diverse. Having no central authority, each Jedi organization is independent and therefore has differing philosophical and theological beliefs. For the most part, Jedi organizations are democratic in nature and majority vote is necessary to implement any changes in church structure or doctrine.

Rise of the Jedi

Rise of the Jedi

Did you know that Jediism is the fourth largest religion in the UK? That’s right, adherents to the Jedi religion followed Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism in the 2001 census ranking fourth with 0.79% of the population. The Jedi Knight is not only alive and well in the UK but is also thriving in many other English speaking countries including the United States.