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Religion, Lately: Pagan Prides, Occupy Judaism, Atheist Missionaries, and Evangelical Apathy

Religion, Lately: Pagan Prides, Occupy Judaism, Atheist Missionaries, and Evangelical Apathy

By Kenny Smith

With the Autumn equinox behind us, Wiccan and Pagan communities look to Pagan Pride.In Pennsylvania, a distinctive approach features crystals, pre-Christian deities, and “a cauldron in which to boil children,” poking fun at popular misconceptions. Similar efforts, sans cauldrons, are ongoing in communities across the U.S.“Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” newest cast-member, Carlton Gebbia, comes out of the broom closet, discussing publicly her practice of Wicca.

Religion, Lately: Hell House Outreach, Tough Times for Russian Anti-Gay Pastafarians, Autumnal Equinox

Religion, Lately: Hell House Outreach, Tough Times for Russian Anti-Gay Pastafarians, Autumnal Equinox

By Kenny Smith…..As the 2013 Halloween season approaches, churches all across the U.S. are preparing “Hell Houses,” “Judgment Houses,” and Rapture Walks.” In need of a Hell House starter kit? There likewise seems to be a forthcoming film taking up basic Hell House theme: all the stuff young people like to do is demonic. While it’s hardly surprising that 77% of evangelicals are said to believe that “we are currently living in the end-times,” some 41% of American adults are also said to express this opinion.

Freethinking in the Words of Matthew Alper

Freethinking in the Words of Matthew Alper

By Michel-Camille Bordeau….
If, like yours truly, you’ve been closely following the new wave of freethinkers, if you’ve helped Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Bart Ehrman, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens and many others become bestselling authors, you might remember Matthew Alper, author of The ‘God’ Part of the Brain: A Scientific Interpretation of Human Spirituality and God. You might even recall the original cover of the 1996 self-published edition of his seminal work. Although The “God” Part of the Brain continues to pad Sourcebooks’ pocketbook; although it has been adopted by about 50 college professors; and, although, fifteen years after the initial release, Matthew Alper still receives hundreds of e-mails from students and professors worldwide, I still think it should get more attention. It should get Religion Nerd’s reader’s attention. Here’s why.

The Lusty Month of May

The Lusty Month of May

By Lady Arsinoe….
Beltane is the time of year when Wiccans celebrate the union of the God and the Goddess within the metaphor of a wedding. We celebrate the Masculine Activating Principle coming together with the Feminine Generating Principle, bonded together to bring forth life. Plus, we are a fun-loving bunch, and what can be more fun than frolicking in the woods all night a’ conjuring summer in? When boiled down to its basic components, Beltane is all about fertility and the blessings fertility brings. The obvious fact is fertility is all about sex. It’s difficult to bring about the next generation without it! Plant sex drifts on the breeze and fills the gutters and clogs our noses. Plant sex becomes the fruits and vegetables we eat as the summer progresses. The birds and bunnies are at it, too.

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.

Grilling Glee: A Divided Duet

Grilling Glee: A Divided Duet

Glee club member Finn makes a grilled cheese sandwich and sees the face of Jesus in it. Not sure if praying to Jesus works like a Genie, he prays that three wishes be granted — for the his high school football team to win a game, for his girlfriend and Glee club colleague Rachel to allow him to touch her breasts, and to be restored to the position of quarterback on the team. After the first of these prayers is realized, he requests that the Glee club sing songs praising Jesus, which concerns Rachel, who is Jewish. Kurt, another member of the Glee club, faces a personal crisis as his father suffers a heart attack…..