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Religion, Lately: Biblical Immigration, Heavy Metal Church, Cat Stevens v. Yusuf Islam, and the Religious Complexities of the Culture Wars

Religion, Lately: Biblical Immigration, Heavy Metal Church, Cat Stevens v. Yusuf Islam, and the Religious Complexities of the Culture Wars

By Kenny Smith…Evangelicals are, apparently, quite divided on the issue of immigration reform, and read their Bibles accordingly. Some conclude that because Jesus and the Hebrew Prophets consistently speak of our obligation to care for strangers and the poor, a way to citizenship should be opened up for undocumented workers and their families in contemporary America. Others insist that because in within the Hebrew Bible God warns the ancient Israelites about the dangers of importing foreign ways (e.g., the danger of intermarriage), we need “Biblical Immigration”: walls, not ways.

Pat Robertson Claims Low-Carb Diet 'Violates' God's Principles

Pat Robertson Claims Low-Carb Diet ‘Violates’ God’s Principles

Huff Post Religion…..Dieters, beware. That slim-down regimen you’re trying may be going against God’s plan. This week colorful televangelist Pat Robertson took aim at popular low-carb diets like the Atkins Diet and slammed such plans as ultimately unhealthy and as violations of God’s principles. The subject was broached during Monday’s episode of Robertson’s “The 700 Club” program on the Christian Broadcasting Network. The segment included a story about Jimmy Moore, a formerly obese man who was able to lose 180 pounds in one year by cutting out carbohydrates like bread and loading up on proteins and fats, like eggs, cheese, butter, coconut oil and bacon.

Religion Lately: Dress Codes, Betting on the Next Pope, Demon Sweaters, and Palestinian-Only Bus Lines

Religion Lately: Dress Codes, Betting on the Next Pope, Demon Sweaters, and Palestinian-Only Bus Lines

By Heather Abraham…..A heads up to all thrift store shoppers—you may need to find a dry cleaner who can remove demons from slightly used clothing. According to Pat Robertson, there is a slight chance that a great find at a thrift store may be home to demonic entities. I wonder? If demons can attach themselves to clothing trough human touch, do we have to worry about demons at the manufacturing level? If so, demon removal may be a great business venture.

Ten Years After 9/11: Has Religion Driven Us Apart or Drawn Us Together?

Ten Years After 9/11: Has Religion Driven Us Apart or Drawn Us Together?

By Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Huff Post Religion…..
Two religious responses from the days immediately following the attacks of 9/11 demonstrate how religion has been both a divisive and unifying force in America over the last ten years. The first was from Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell who assigned blame for the attacks to God who, they explained, was angry at America because of Gays, Feminists and the ACLU, among others. While fires still smoldered at Ground Zero, Falwell and company were ironically fanning the flames of discord and division by blaming God and liberals instead of religious extremism.

Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

By Miroslav Volf, Huffington Post….
Muslims and Christians can work together to depose dictators and assert the power of the people. We’ve seen it happen on the Tahrir Square in Cairo during the 2011 revolution in Egypt, with devout Muslims and Coptic Christians protesting side by side. But can Muslims and Christians work together to build a democratic society in which rights of all are respected, the rights of minority Coptic Christians no less than the rights of majority Muslims? They can, if they have a common set of fundamental values. But do they? They do, if they, both monotheists, have a common God.

The Problem of Identity

The Problem of Identity

Originating in the Hebrew Bible, The Ten Commandments were later adopted by the other scriptural monotheists in the Abraham tradition: Christianity and Islam. I Am, more than simply a concept of self, imparts a sense of identity. The concept of identity for the Hebrews, early Christians or Muslims may have been more community oriented, with God being the primary holder of individualistic identity, but in the modern post-Enlightenment world, identity has become multiple and individual.

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

This kind of religious language raises some interesting questions about the relationship between religion and what has typically been referred to as “magic.” In the 19th and early 20th centuries, scholars believed that religion and magic represented two quite different forms of human behavior. For George James Frazier, author of The Golden Bough (1890) and still today one of the most familiar names in comparative mythology, religion involved the supplication of divine forces, magic was their compulsion.

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.