RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "New York Times"

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.

Cannabis: The American Sacrament

Cannabis: The American Sacrament

A number of new religious movements have come to see the ritual use of cannabis products as central the religious quest. The Church of the Universe, founded in Ontario, Canada in the late 1960’s, teaches that marijuana provides a vital “calming influence,” helps to focus and “direct [one’s] thoughts without interference from negative forces,” allows for an experience of communion with the natural world, and overall “makes life worth living.”

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.”

The Church of Oprah Winfrey and a Theology of Suffering

The Church of Oprah Winfrey and a Theology of Suffering

By Mark Oppenheimer, New York Times…..
“The Oprah Winfrey Show” ended Wednesday, bringing despair to booksellers who relied on her book club, television programmers who needed her ratings, and religion scholars who for a decade have tried explaining how this child of poverty became the leader of a worldwide cult. They have worked just as hard to define that cult, which is at once Christian and pantheistic, African-American in origin but global in reach. The scholars found conflicting sources of Ms. Winfrey’s spirituality. It began, but definitely does not end, with the black church of her youth. In her 2003 book, “Oprah Winfrey and the Glamour of Misery,” Eva Illouz, a sociologist, quotes Ms. Winfrey as saying: “Since I was three and a half, I’ve been coming up in the church speaking. I did all of the James Weldon Johnson sermons” — Mr. Johnson being the poet whose “God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse” was published in 1927. “I used to do them for churches all over the city of Nashville,” Ms. Winfrey said.

Religion Does Its Worst

Religion Does Its Worst

By Roger Cohen, New York Times….
So Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who organized a Koran burning on March 20, wanted “to stir the pot.” Mission accomplished. Perhaps he’d care to explain himself to the family of Joakim Dungel, a 33-year-old Swede slaughtered at the U.N. mission in Mazar-i-Sharif by Afghans whipped into frenzy through Jones’s folly. On reflection, no, there’s nothing Jones can explain to Dungel’s family, or the other U.N. staffers murdered. Jones is not in the explanation business. He’s a zealot. How else to describe a Christian who interprets his faith not as grounded in love and compassion but as a mission to incite hatred toward Islam?

Goddess Worshipers and Tax Authorities Clash in an Upstate Town

Goddess Worshipers and Tax Authorities Clash in an Upstate Town

By Peter Applebome, New York Times…..
Still, it was the least celestial item that perhaps mattered most. That would be “Discussion of Maetreum of Cybele v. Town of Catskill, N.Y.,” a legal case dating to 2007 after the town first approved and then denied tax-exempt status for the group, which has been certified by the federal government as a tax-exempt religious charity. The goddess may rule the universe, but the lawyers will help decide whether the pagans of Palenville have a future in this historic old town just down the snowy hills from Hunter Mountain.

For End of the World, a French Peak Holds Allure

For End of the World, a French Peak Holds Allure

By MAÏA de la BAUME, New York Times….
Some French and international Web sites devoted to the apocalypse claim that the mountain of Bugarach is a sacred place that will protect them from the end of the world. Some even believe that, on doomsday, they will be spirited away by a group of aliens who live under the mountain. The date in question is when a 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar supposedly comes to a close.

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.

Wisconsin on the Map to Pray With Mary

Wisconsin on the Map to Pray With Mary

By Erik Eckholm, New York Times….
On Dec. 8, after a two-year investigation by theologians who found no evidence of fraud or heresy and a long history of shrine-related conversions, cures and other signs of divine intervention, Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay declared “with moral certainty” that Ms. Brise did indeed have encounters “of a supernatural character” that are “worthy of belief.”

A Tough Season for Believers

A Tough Season for Believers

By Ross Douthat, New York Times…..
But for Christians, this sunny story has a dark side. Religious faith looks more socially beneficial to America than ever, but the institutional Christianity that’s historically generated most of those benefits seems to be gradually losing its appeal. In the last 50 years, the Christian churches have undergone what “American Grace” describes as a shock and two aftershocks. The initial earthquake was the cultural revolution of the 1960s, which undercut religious authority as it did all authority, while dealing a particular blow to Christian sexual ethics. The first aftershock was the rise of religious conservatism, and particularly evangelical faith, as a backlash against the cultural revolution’s excesses.

I Am Biblical Woman, Hear Me Roar?

I Am Biblical Woman, Hear Me Roar?

By Kathryn Joyce, MS Blog….
Although I first encountered biblical womanhood and submission theory in fundamentalist circles—where submission means women submitting a daily itinerary to husbands for approval and not speaking in church—the idea of biblical womanhood as a conservative counteroffensive to feminism is far broader, garnering the support of the 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention in a 1998 resolution. Complementarianism is a code of ethics with rules based on gender inequality.

Who ‘owns’ religious practice?

Who ‘owns’ religious practice?

Brad Bannon, State of Formation
“The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) reaffirms that Yoga, “an inward journey, where you explore your mind, your awareness, your consciousness, your conscience”, is an essential part of Hindu belief and practice. But the science of yoga and the immense benefits its practice affords are for the benefit of all of humanity regardless of personal faith. Hinduism itself is a family of pluralistic doctrines and ways of life that acknowledge the existence of other spiritual and religious traditions. Hinduism, as a non-proselytizing religion, never compels practitioners of yoga to profess allegiance to the faith or convert. Yoga is a means of spiritual attainment for any and all seekers.”

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.”

Church Attack Seen as Strike at Iraq’s Core

Church Attack Seen as Strike at Iraq’s Core

By ANTHONY SHADID, New York Times
Blood still smeared the walls of Our Lady of Salvation Church on Monday. Scraps of flesh remained between the pews. It was the worst massacre of Iraqi Christians since the war began here in 2003.
An Iraqi man mourned the death of his wife, who was among the victims of an attack at Our Lady of Salvation Church. But for survivors, the tragedy went deeper than the toll of the human wreckage: A fusillade of grenades, bullets and suicide vests had unraveled yet another thread of the country’s once eclectic fabric.