Many thanks to all those of you who have already registered for the upcoming Compass Interdisciplinary Virtual Conference. We’re very excited to see so many delegates from around the world and look forward to a truly global conversation during the conference. Why register? The conference website will be completely free and open to all, but … Continue reading
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NEWS: No “God spot” to be found in the brain
Reuters have reported the recent publication of How God Changes Your Brain. This book takes a neurotheological – ‘the study of the brain’s role in religious belief’- approach to prayer and meditation in an effort to understand the biological processes involved. The writers, Andrew Newburg and Mark Robert Waldman have used brain scans on individuals … Continue reading
NEWS: Report on Violence Against Iraqi Homosexuals Released
Human Rights Watch, a respected organization based out of New York, released a report today stating that hundreds of homosexual men in Iraq have been killed by Muslim Shiite militiamen recently. The exact death toll is unknown, the organization says, because many Iraqi families fear the social stigma associated with reporting the death of a … Continue reading
NEWS: Are Scientists allowed to have Faith?
(Cross-posted in The Philosopher’s Eye) The recent debate about Barack Obama’s nominee Dr. Francis Collins as the next director of the National Institutes of Health highlights a problem that is seldom discussed within philosophy of science. One leading opinion within the philosophy of science seems to be that in order for someone to be a … Continue reading
NEWS: Was L. Ron Hubbard a “charlatan”?
A recent application under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 has enabled The Times to gain access to material relating to the founder of the Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard. Although, the material, held by The National Archives, was not due for complete release until 2019, the Department of Health papers made available relate … Continue reading
NEWS: Visit the Oldest Synagogue in North America
America’s oldest synagogue, the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, opens its new $12 million visitors center today. The center’s curator, David Kleiman, declared that the synagogue is a “living symbol of the concept of religious freedom, separation of church and state. The building and its history are the embodiment of that concept in America.” … Continue reading
NEWS: Update: The Episcopal Church and Gay Rights
Though it has been only a short time since the Episcopal Church’s July convention, where members voted to end the freeze on ordaining openly gay men and lesbians into the institution’s hierarchy (see the original post from July 17 here), church leaders in Minnesota and Los Angeles have already taken advantage of the kinder, gentler … Continue reading
NEWS: The “Dehumanising” Face of Virtual Communities
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols has voiced his concerns with online social networking. He specifically referred to Facebook, MySpace and Bebo, but also included email and text messages, suggesting that they all contribute to the dehumanisation of community. Although all of the above forms of communication are … Continue reading
NEWS: The Church of Shiantology?
Personality cult is perhaps a bit too tame a descriptive for the following young actor Shia LaBeouf has attracted recently. Celebrity worship has become quite literal for a small group of Shia fans who have gotten together and actually declared their adoration a new religion. They call it Shiantology. It has a founding date–February 8, … Continue reading
NEWS: Rev. Ike and the Gospel of Wealth
Right Reverend Dr. Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II, better known as “Rev. Ike,” died earlier this week at the age of 74. Born in 1935, Rev. Ike – an evangelical minister who quickly became an icon of pop-culture – preached over the course of his life a message of prosperity using every available form of media: … Continue reading
NEWS: Fictional Muslim Punk Scene Gains Real Momentum
Recently, an underground Muslim punk rock scene has gained widespread attention as NPR Music shed light on this intriguing movement. Known as “Taqwacore,” this music scene began in 2003 as an imagined community in a novel, The Taqwacores, by Michael Muhammad Knight, an American Muslim convert. Combining the word Arabic word “tawqa,” meaning “God-consciousness,” with … Continue reading
NEWS: “Everybody Welcome”: The Inclusive Church
A new book published by the Church of England proposes to tackle the perennial problem of falling attendance. The book entitled Everybody Welcome suggests that churches are not naturally welcoming environments, and although they attract many first time visitors, they fail to transform this success into an increase in regular worshippers. The Telegraph states that … Continue reading
NEWS: FLDS Sect Clashes with Mexican Drug Cartel
Members of a fundamentalist sect of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) in Colonia Lebaron, Mexico, are under attack. Earlier this month, a local drug cartel abducted and executed a colony leader, Benjamin (Benji) LeBaron. Armed men in police uniforms took LeBaron, 31, from his home on 7 July 2009. They … Continue reading
NEWS: Sotomayor, Catholicism and the U.S. Supreme Court
The U.S. Senate Confirmation Hearings are set to begin July 13, 2009 for Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor. President Barack Obama nominated Sotomayor last month, emphasizing that her personal and professional experience qualify her to be a Supreme Court Justice. Arising from humble beginnings in the Bronx, Puerto Rican Sotomayor graduated from Princeton University and … Continue reading
NEWS: Rival Dalai Lamas in the Future?
Tibetan Buddhists are faced with the unusual possibility that after the death of the current Dalai Lama, the 14th reincarnation, the Chinese government will want to appoint a successor who is different from the successor found by Tibetan religious leaders. The current Dalai Lama proposes that a new process of selection may be introduced, including … Continue reading