What Kind of Drug is Religion?

Karl Marx famously observed that religion was the opiate of the masses, meaning that it provided an escape from the harsh realities of life. This may well be true, but looking at the conflicts arising in the Middle East these days, I’m inclined to observe that religion is the amphetamine of the masses. The quote [Read More...]

How To Respect Other Religions

HT Tom Bartley [Read more...]

Lifelong Learning in Religious Studies

My colleague Brent Hege shared on Facebook the sense of trepidation one has as a professor who is not an expert in Shintoism, and finds that one has a student who is Shinto in a course that will include a brief overview of that tradition. I chimed in in a comment and wrote the following: [Read More...]

Help Us Reach Our Goal

I got a kick out of this cartoon. Do you think that the difference between “handful of wackos” and “mainstream religion” is simply the number of people who adhere to it? This is a serious question that scholars of religion sometimes wrestle with. HT Before It’s News [Read more...]

If You Could Only Pick Two Episodes

I will be giving a guest lecture at another university in October, on the subject of Doctor Who and religion. I was asked to pick two episodes that it might be worth watching in between now and my lecture, which might be shown at student events between now and my talk. I have a couple in mind, but [Read More...]

Doctor Who: Deep Breath

Doctor Who is back, and I'm going to be discussing the details of the first episode of the new season, “Deep Breath,” with Peter Capaldi taking over as the Doctor. Spoilers ahead! In the new episode, many things that are familiar to viewers – from a dinosaur in London to Vashtra, Jenny, and Strax – [Read More...]

Generalizing about Religion

Sabio Lantz has shared some insightful comments about the problem of generalization in discussion of religion. There’s an extensive quotation below, but click through to read the entire post. Religions around the world nurture conflict and are used as tools for great suffering and nonsense. But religion can also be used in wonderful ways. It is [Read More...]

Saturday at #GenCon

I spent today at GenCon, and thought I’d share some thoughts and photos. The first thing I went to was a seminar on “Playful Learning in Role Play” led by David Simkins, a professor in the School of Interactive Games and Media at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The session had elements that were inspiring and [Read More...]

All Believers Are Atheists, All Atheists Are Believers

The quote from Mark Russell comes from an article which asks whether the “new atheists” are making old mistakes. The above is just one of several memorable quotes in the article. Another is when Russell writes, “I began to wonder if the New Atheists were combatting fundamentalism by duplicating its mistakes.” Or related interest, approaching [Read More...]

Terasem

A recent online article by Giulo Prisco drew attention to the fact that Octavia Butler’s fictional religion Earthseed (a major focus in her novel Parable of the Talents) has apparently inspired the creation of a real-life religion based on it. This new religion, Terasem, is intended to recall “Earthseed” although the article reflects some confusion [Read More...]

Giving Thanks for Other Religions

I recently came across a blog post which mentioned (unfavorably) the existence of prayers giving thanks for religions other than Christianity in the Book of Common Worship used by the Presbyterian Church USA. Here’s an example (pp.409-410): For World Religions We thank you, God of the universe, that you call all people to worship you [Read More...]


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