Religion & Spirituality
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Salman Rushdie's other novels include Midnight's Children , Shame and Luka and the Fire of Life . Syrie Moskowitz / Random House The recent violence sparked by the film Innocence of Muslims recalls a very different controversy from more than 20 years ago:
Members of the Taliban. Photographs: Majid Saeedi/Getty Images Of all the militant groups waging insurgencies in the Muslim world, the Afghan Taliban movement is the only one that has experience of forming a national government.
These questions animate “The Storytelling Animal,” a jaunty, insightful new book by Jonathan Gottschall, who draws from disparate corners of history and science to celebrate our compulsion to storify everything around us. There are several surprises about stories. The first is that we spend a great deal of time in fictional worlds, whether in daydreams, novels, confabulations or life narratives. When all is tallied up, the decades we spend in the realm of fantasy outstrip the time we spend in the real world. As Gottschall puts it, “Neverland is our evolutionary niche, our special habitat.” A second surprise: The dominant themes of story aren’t what we might assume them to be.
Nor is spirituality a word you associate nowadays with the Salzburg Festival , a once-modest summer presentation of classical music and theater founded in 1920 by the playwright Hugo von Hofmannsthal, the composer Richard Strauss and others, now grown huge and proud. A product of the economic and cultural despair at the fall of the Hapsburg empire, it is now the summer home of the vaunted Vienna Philharmonic ; it’s famous for lavish productions and notorious for some of the highest ticket prices anywhere. But last weekend the festival, with a week added to the front of its calendar, embarked on a 10-day Spiritual Overture. And in doing so, the festival, which has become something of a bellwether since Gerard Mortier shook it up in the 1990s after decades of elegant sameness under the conductor Herbert von Karajan, seems to have caught a wave of spirituality that is surging through the world of classical music (or, given the years of advance planning involved, helped instigate it).
By Dan Gilgoff , CNN.com Religion Editor Houston, Texas (CNN) – In many ways, 29-year-old Rishi Bhutada is a traditional Hindu, not so different from his Indian-born parents. An officer at his dad’s pipefitting company, Texas-born Bhutada had an arranged marriage in India three years ago and then brought his wife back to his hometown, where they recently welcomed a son. Bhutada is a strict vegetarian and avoids alcohol, as do many observant Hindus. Complete coverage: Defining America
Third-graders at Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School in Encinitas, Calif., perform chair pose with instructor Kristen McCloskey last month. Kyla Calvert for NPR
In 1901 and 1902 William James gave a series of lectures that became The Varieties of Religious Experience , notable because he was "the first to recognize that pathological mental abnormality lies at the heart of much religious experience." But that didn't lead James to write it off: <img alt="Blob" class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d83451c45669e20176167514a5970c" src="http://sullydish.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/6a00d83451c45669e20176167514a5970c-300wi.jpg?
The historic Mormon Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City.
But the last half-century has seen this ancient subject pulled down from its academic perch and into courtrooms, laboratories, real-world questions about moral responsibility, and even popular culture. (It forms the plot of such contemporary movies as “Minority Report” and “The Adjustment Bureau.”) Over the last few decades, procedures for measuring, imaging and analyzing mental processes have grown in number and subtlety. During this same period, books for the general reader about the brain and its functions, consciousness and will, thought and reasoning have proliferated.
An anti-religious (and specifically, anti-Catholic) webcomic is making the rounds on the Internet right now. It’s part of a webcomic called The Oatmeal, and is called “ How to suck at your religion. ” I have to warn anyone clicking that link that it’s really offensive: profane, lewd, and blasphemous, all at once. Honestly, if you don’t have some reason to read it, just go ahead and skip it (and this whole post). Whatever your religious views, this webcomic simply doesn’t enrich the discourse, or advance the debate in any positive or meaningful way. You would think that something this over-the-top would cause even non-religious people to balk at posting it on their Facebook feeds as indicative of their own views. Apparently not.
Teresa MacBain walks her dog, Gracie, at a park near her Tallahassee, Fla., home. After a lifetime in the church, MacBain came out as an atheist at an American Atheists' convention in Bethesda, Md. Colin Hackley for NPR This is the first in a series of stories on losing faith.
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This is Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five (current) Terence, in reading your books I was struck with how closely your DMT experiments paralleled my own. I wasn't surprised by the confirmation, as you might guess. I considered myself a serious DMT explorer between 1967-69.
Separation of church and what? Currier & Ives/Library of Congress
Once he starts preaching his own revelation, Carlton Pearson's church falls apart. After all, when there's no Hell (as the logic goes), you don't really need to believe in Jesus to be saved from it. What follows are the swift departures of his pastors, and an exodus from his congregation—which quickly dwindled to a few hundred people.