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Religion, Lately: Doing Halloween Biblically, Ghosts v. Religion,  and Cannabis for Shiva

Religion, Lately: Doing Halloween Biblically, Ghosts v. Religion, and Cannabis for Shiva

By Kenny Smith…This year’s Halloween’s top-ten Biblically themed costumes? Pharaoh, Naughty Nun, Priest with Enormous Erection (cleverly packaged as “Keeping Up The Faith”), and of course Zombie Nuns (said to be marked down 20%!). What do practicing witches actually think about Halloween? Some hate it. Some love it. In Mumbai, Wiccans used the holiday Samhain (also on October 31) as an occasion for casting protective spells for the benefit of women in India. And while many continue to lump Wiccans. Pagans, and Satanists together, Real Housewives of Beverley Hills’ Carlton Gebbia stakes out a religious identity not reducible to any of these exactly: “I’m Celtic, which is my ancestry. And I practice witchcraft. My grandmother was a Pagan… There’s no one defined answer.”

Religion Lately: Early Nativity Wars, Jedi and Sith Marry & Which Religion Is The Most Fun?

Religion Lately: Early Nativity Wars, Jedi and Sith Marry & Which Religion Is The Most Fun?

By Kenny Smith, Emory University….
As we approach the end of the year holidays, Public Display Wars are already begun, with one Virginia county offering public space to the first ten groups/persons to apply. An interesting solution. The result? As one frustrated blogger writes, “Christmas displays gone mad”: a traditional nativity scene, a sign calling Christian figures “myths” another advertising for the American Atheist League, a cryptic holiday display of the “Tree of Knowledge,” a letter dictated Jesus himself submitted by a local resident, a crucified Santa Claus, and two signs from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

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.

Religion, Lately: Christmas, Hanukkah,Yule, and Kwanzaa

Religion, Lately: Christmas, Hanukkah,Yule, and Kwanzaa

By Kenny Smith and Heather Abraham….
In Loudon, Virginia, nativity wars seem to have given way to Star Wars. In Loudon’s public space, where “traditional Christian symbols have been joined by displays of symbols from the Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faiths,” this holiday season ten different displays are on view: “a Christmas tree, a manger scene, five atheist displays, and a mannequin arrangement featuring ‘the chosen one,’ Luke Skywalker, from the Star Wars films.

The Apple: From the Judgment of Paris to the Twilight Series

The Apple: From the Judgment of Paris to the Twilight Series

Today, the apple, although not specifically mentioned in Genesis, is believed by many to be the ‘forbidden fruit’ from the mythic Garden of Eden. The image of Eve’s eating and presenting Adam with an apple was introduced during the Renaissance period as many Renaissance artists incorporated Greek mythological imagery into their biblical works of art. The golden apples of immortality from the Garden of Hesperides or the apple from the Judgment of Paris were, most probably, the apple myths that Renaissance artists embraced, reimagined, and incorporated into Old Testament narratives.

The Good News of Star Visitors, Part I

The Good News of Star Visitors, Part I

By Kenny Smith….
The Star Visitor races who have commented on the concept of God… uniformly affirm that they, too accept the reality of what Earthlings call God. However, the God they affirm is not the anthropomorphic or patriarchal figure of many Earth religions, but more of a Supreme Source – a transcendent matrix of Consciousness, which underlies everything, and is that which gives essence and specificity to everything, which in turn is a partial manifestation of the Supreme Source. In more experiential terms, the Star Visitors have taken experiencers [those with have had first-hand contact with ETs] and shown them God. The experiencers typically described being in the presence of intense, overwhelmingly brilliant light from which emanates incredibly intense love, such that the experiencer feels lost in the infinite love.