#CFP: Encountering the Unexpected

The Religion Graduate Organization invites you to submit paper and panel proposals to the semi-annual Religion Graduate Conference, Encountering the Unexpected: Glitches, (Dis)placements, and Marginalia. This conference actively encourages interdisciplinary discussions about unexpected encounters in the field and in the archives. Specifically, this conference aims to explore surprise occurrences in academic work when ideas, texts, people, and [Read More…]

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Satan’s Ethical Code vs. God’s?

It has been funny to see what atheists have had to say about the Seven Tenets posted online by a Satanic Temple. You can read them below. What is interesting to me is the way these newly-minted tenets of a newly-minted religious group are used as a basis for mockery, saying something like “Look, Satan’s ethical code [Read More…]

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Doctor Who meets David Hume

This delightful video explains David Hume’s view of miracles and why you shouldn’t believe in them, using illustrations from Doctor Who. Fantastic! Of course, as I have pointed out before, this is precisely the point at which Doctor Who sends mixed messages. It regularly expresses disdain for superstition and belief in the supernatural, and yet [Read More…]

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Cana Wedding Gift

The cartoon was shared by Allan Bevere, and seems to clearly be one of the Inherit the Mirth series. The request seems as legitimate as the request for help when wine has run out. But if we lived in a universe where such things happened, where would the cut-off point be, and would it not seem [Read More…]

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The Paranormal Conspiracy

I’m happy to be able to participate in the Patheos Book Club about Timothy Dailey’s book, The Paranormal Conspiracy: The Truth about Ghosts, Aliens and Mysterious Beings. A quote on the front cover describes the book as a mix between Mythbusters and Frank Peretti. In reading the book, I saw plenty of the latter, but [Read More…]

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The Hand on the Mirror

I confess that when I was included in the book club discussing Janis Durham’s book The Hand on the Mirror: A True Story of Life Beyond Death, I was not entirely enthusiastic. I had blogged about books about near-death experiences by Eben Alexander and Mary Neal, and they left me skeptical. I was delighted to [Read More…]

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Atheism Isn’t Skepticism

A recent IO9 article indicated that more people in Britain believe in ghosts and aliens than in God. IO9 also highlighted a science experiment that might offer an explanation of why people see/feel ghosts (which Smithsonian also reported on), talked about spirituality and pseudoscience in science fiction, and shared an infographic of misconceptions which are widespread, [Read More…]

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Supernatural Syriac

I’ve had the TV show Supernatural on my radar as something I should watch at least since 2009, when a student pointed out to me that a Mandaean amulet got a mention on the show. Today I was nearby when someone was watching an episode, and I did a double take when I saw Syriac writing [Read More…]

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Frequency of Miracles

From TheMetaPicture.com via Pinterest Anyone who has looked into this will know that it is incorrect – for as long as there has been photography, there have been photos of allegedly supernatural or paranormal things. Photoshot is just a more convenient tool for the task. But it is interesting to ask why, despite the fact [Read More…]

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Doctor Who: Hide

The latest episode of Doctor Who, “Hide,” illustrates the classic tension in the show between offering scientific explanations for the seemingly supernatural, and positing the reality of the paranormal. Spoilers ahead. The episode presents itself as a ghost story. It has a haunted house, an apparition, and the Doctor and Clara turning up and presenting [Read More…]

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Do You Trust Your Eyes?

It is Christians who are most associated in our time with the notion of believing without seeing. But a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, Obi-Wan Kenobi (who is purported to have been a Jedi and not a Christian) famously said “Your eyes can deceive you – Don’t trust them!” Believing [Read More…]

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