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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,”…

LINSANITY IN NEW YORK

LINSANITY IN NEW YORK

By Louis A. Ruprecht Jr., Georgia State University….
Enter David Brooks who, in a column drafted after the Knicks’ VaLINtine victory, curiously referred to “the Jeremy Lin Problem”. Brooks refers to “a religious person in professional sports” as an “anomaly,” which seems rather odd to anyone who has witnessed the prayer circles before and after most professional football games, or the finger-to-the-sky salute after most home runs in baseball, but let that lie. It is the reasons Brooks finds the marriage of religion and sport “anomalous” that are worthy of consideration. For Brooks, there is an inescapable moral tension between what he calls “the ethos of sport” and “the ethos of faith.”

Sacred and the Strange: The Good Samaritan in Context

Sacred and the Strange: The Good Samaritan in Context

By Kate Daley-Bailey….
The Parable of the Good Samaritan (the Gospel of Luke 10:25-37) is probably one of the best- known parables from the Christian New Testament. In the U.S. the phrase ‘good Samaritan’ is commonly understood to describe someone who has gone out of their way to help another. This phrase has been thoroughly secularized and one need not be a Christian to know its meaning. You voluntarily carry your elderly neighbor’s groceries… you are a ‘good Samaritan.’ You clean up someone else’s litter on the side walk… you are a ‘good Samaritan.’

A Further Note on Cronus and Chronos

A Further Note on Cronus and Chronos

By Louis A. Ruprecht, Jr., Georgia State University…..
I recently published a piece at “Religion Dispatches” about the Roman winter festival called Saturnalia. A commentator noted that I had inadvertently confused (or rather, conflated) two very different divinities in that piece: namely, the Greek figures of Cronus and Chronos. I was grateful for the opportunity this provided to say what I should have said then with a bit more care and clarity, and the detail of these reflections seems perfectly suited to the non-at-all nerdy audience at “Religion Nerd.” So here goes. Greek and Roman religions were religions without canonical scriptures; their mythology is notoriously complex and, to modern eyes, often contradictory.

The “Business” of Being Christian: The Ethics of Usury

The “Business” of Being Christian: The Ethics of Usury

By Kate Daley-Bailey….
For thousands of years, the Christian Church has identified “usury” as a sin… however various theologians and scholars living within these thousands of years disagreed over exactly what “usury” was and was not. A brief exploration of the term “usury” (and its multiple manifestations) may lead us to a better understanding of what was actually being prohibited by various religious communities, especially Christian ones.

TROY DAVIS, AFTER

TROY DAVIS, AFTER

By Louis A. Ruprecht Jr., Georgia State University…..
At the same time that the US Supreme Court issued a second stay of execution in one week in the state of Texas, it permitted the execution of Troy Davis to go forward in the state of Georgia. And at 11:08pm on Wednesday, September 21st, some four hours after his scheduled 7:00pm execution time, Troy Davis was indeed killed by a state-administered lethal injection. The range of emotions and the swirl of debates generated by this confusing juxtaposition are layered and complex: a white Army recruiter accused of rape and murder is spared, at least for now, while a black man accused of killing a police officer is not. Both men insisted on their innocence throughout their circuit of appeals.

A Christian Nation or a Nation of Christians?

A Christian Nation or a Nation of Christians?

Can America be called a “Christian nation”? The argument that our founding fathers were all Christian is questionable, to say the least. Thomas Jefferson, for instance, is thought by most modern day religious scholars and historians to have subscribed to the schools of Deism and Unitarianism as opposed to Christianity in particular. Benjamin Franklin described himself as a Deist and expressly rejected Christian dogma, although he did briefly belong to a Presbyterian church. In a letter written just one month before he died, Franklin expressed that although he respected the system of morals preached by Jesus, he had “some doubts as to his divinity.”

Freethinking in the words of CJ Werleman

Freethinking in the words of CJ Werleman

By Michel-Camille Bordeau….
CJ: Absolutely the Bible is a dangerous book if you do what God commands you to do. For example, if my daughter says, “God damn it!” I’m to take her to the edge of the town and bash her brains out with large rocks. If I wish to sell my daughter into sexual slavery, not only does the Bible not say there’s anything wrong with that, it gives commercial terms and conditions for doing such a thing. When we look at places like tribal Pakistan, for example, there they routinely execute people for blasphemy, a victimless crime. Now, are they barbaric, evil people? No they’re not. In fact, according to biblical law, of which the Koran is based, they’re more pious and pleasing to God than those who ignore that command. When people become cognizant of these kinds of issues, people realize this ancient book has no relevancy in today’s times.

The Most Important Discovery in the History of Archaeology

The Most Important Discovery in the History of Archaeology

By Joe Fernander, Religion Nerd….
Have you ever walked around a group of people and caught wind of their conversation? If you’re like most people, you have. Walking through a crowd of students at Georgia State University makes this activity all the more interesting. In one walk around campus you might hear stories of sex, betrayal, money and interestingly enough – Jesus. Today alone I was able to catch seven conversations that were clearly about Jesus and the Bible (not including the street evangelist or Gideon’s). It seems that no matter what religious tradition or worldview you follow, Jesus proves to be of some importance to your life; after all you do live in the year 2010 A.D.

While 'His Purtiness' Bleeds on the Wall, Humanity Watches Your Back

While ‘His Purtiness’ Bleeds on the Wall, Humanity Watches Your Back

By Michel-Camille Bordeau…..
I’ve never been entirely satisfied with radical views that reject the possibility that a higher entity ‘exists’ (stick with me, this is still a freethinking argument, I haven’t lost it… yet). Complete denial of such an important cultural creation as God is no less problematic than blind devotion to it. ‘How about God as a fig Newton of our imagination?’ My kid would ask. I couldn’t blame him: how about God as a re-presented, fictionalized entity?

Of Eggs and Bunnies…

Of Eggs and Bunnies…

By Lady Arsinoe
Can you feel the change? There is a fresh sparkle in the air. The world is being reborn! Life is returning! Flowers are popping up everywhere. Animals are nesting and preparing for the next generation. You may even have a tickle in your tummy that you can’t really explain, that leaves you excited for the new day. Everywhere, signs of rebirth and renewal can be found. Trees are putting on new leaves. Birds are singing. Life is Good!

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.

Jesus in Space

Jesus in Space

By Mary Valle, Killing the Buddha….
Kolob? The very word gave me a little spine tingle. I was pre-thrilled by what I was about to find out. Anytime I feel like I’m cracking a case or chasing down the facts, even if it is just Googling something that someone told me to Google, I get a tiny rush of All The President’s Men excitement and imagine that soon I will be meeting shadowy figures in parking garages and running for my life, chicly, in a trench and heels.

This Muslim says, give me that ol' time Judaism

This Muslim says, give me that ol’ time Judaism

By Hesham A. Hassaballa….
These reflections should come as a surprise to no one: As a Muslim, I worship the God of Abraham, the very same God who was worshiped and honored in the Temple in Jerusalem. As a Muslim, I honor and revere the prophet Moses, Aaron, and all the other Hebrew prophets.

Also, my holy scripture speaks with honor and reverence about King David and Solomon. The Quran says: “We believe in God, and in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, and that which has been bestowed upon Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and their descendants, and that which has been vouchsafed to Moses and Jesus; and that which has been vouchsafed to all the [other] prophets by their Sustainer: we make no distinction between any of them. And it is unto Him that we surrender ourselves.” (2:136