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Links 1 through 10 of 168 by René Walter tagged Religion

Weida is a 63-year-old retiree who lives in the town of Templin. It’s about an hour’s drive outside of Berlin and happens to be Angela Merkel’s hometown. Templin is also where Weida founded the “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster,” in September last year. As one of the leading “Pastafarians” at the church, or non-church more accurately, Weida goes by the alias of “Bruder Spaghettus.”

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The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.

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This is a translation of the editorial from the first Charlie Hebdo published since the Paris attacks. It is reproduced here in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo.

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Here’s an exercise: The next time you see someone talking about algorithms, replace the term with “God” and ask yourself if the sense changes any. Our supposedly algorithmic culture is not a material phenomenon so much as a devotional one, a supplication made to the computers we have allowed to replace gods in our minds, even as we simultaneously claim that science has made us impervious to religion.

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dozens of prayer rugs used by muslims during the various positions of islamic prayer have been deconstructed by moroccan-born artist mounir fatmi.

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In recent months, this sense that the Internet is the key for atheist outreach has started to move from “hunch” to actual, evidence-based theory. Earlier this year, Allen Downey of the Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts examined the spike in people declaring they had no religion that started in the ’90s and found that while there are many factors contributing to it–dropping familial pressure, increased levels of college education–increased Internet usage was likely a huge part of it, accounting for up to 25 percent of the decline in religious belief. While cautioning that correlation does not mean causation, Downey did go on to point out that since so many other factors were controlled for, it’s a safe bet to conclude that the access to varied thought and debate the Internet provides is persuading people to drop their religions.

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Kreuzigung, Hinrichtung, Steinigung, Amputation von Händen… Die Strafen islamischer Fundamentalisten erfüllen uns mit Grausen und Entsetzen. Etwa wenn wir das grausame Vorgehen der Kämpfer der irakischen IS beobachten. Es erscheint uns archaisch und willkürlich. Und wir fragen uns: Sind diese Strafen tatsächlich im Islam erlaubt? Welche Theologen rechtfertigen sie und warum? Für die islamische Welt sind das fundamentale Fragen. So wie die Inquisition für die christliche Welt früher fundamental wichtig war. Nur: Die Inquisition ist seit fast 200 Jahren abgeschafft. Im Islam nehmen fundamentalistische Deutungen der Religion im 21. Jahrhundert aber zu. Wie kann man diesen Prozess aufhalten? Die Antwort entscheidet über Krieg und Frieden.

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Gruselig: „Tarotkarten, Heiledelsteine, Aura Soma: Laut Umfragen ist bei uns jeder Dritte Esoterik gegenüber offen. Das ruft verstärkt ihre Feinde auf den Plan: die Skeptiker - eine Gruppierung, die sich ganz der Ratio verschrieben hat. Die Skeptikerbewegung hat sich den Kampf gegen die Unvernunft und den Schutz leichtgläubiger Verbraucher auf die Fahnen geschrieben und versteht sich als Anwalt der empirischen Wissenschaften. Sie will auf der Basis von rein wissenschaftlichen Fakten informieren. In Deutschland wird die Bewegung durch die Gesellschaft für die Untersuchung von Parawissenschaften vertreten (GWUP). Zu ihrem Hauptgegner hat sich in den letzten Jahren die Alternative Heilmedizin entwickelt.“

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In Tom Stoppard’s 1970 play “Jumpers,” the philosopher hero broods unhappily on the inexorable rise of the atheist: “The tide is running his way, and it is a tide which has turned only once in human history. . . . There is presumably a calendar date—a moment—when the onus of proof passed from the atheist to the believer, when, quite suddenly, the noes had it.” Well, when was that date—when did the noes have it? In 1890? In 1918, after the Great War? In 1966, when Time shocked its readers with a cover that asked whether God was dead? For that matter, do the noes have it?

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Justice Antonin Scalia and Keyser Soze agree: the greatest trick the devil could ever pull is convincing the world he didn’t exist. Fortunately for them, the devil does not seem to be effectively executing this plan. Some 70 percent of Americans, according to a 2007 Gallup Poll, believe in his existence. This personification of evil has implications beyond the supernatural, influencing how we think about what it means for people to be “pure evil.” And as we prepare to playfully celebrate the wicked and depraved on Halloween night, it’s worth pausing to reflect on some of the psychological and behavioral consequences of these beliefs.

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