Friday, March 10, 2006

This Week in "God"

Assorted stories about {insert appropriate god(s) here} -- or belief in {deity} -- from various sources. And not necessarily presented in chronological order.

Altared Spaces By Joseph Gallivan Issue date: Tue, Mar 7, 200

Enrique Ugalde goes down on one knee and scoops up a precious necklace. It was given to him after he studied with a Huichol peyote shaman from Mexico — not an easy guest list to get on. Ugalde leans in and places it on the top level of his three-tiered altar.

A few minutes before, the altar was an old computer desk he found at the Goodwill bins for $10. First he covered the desk with a cloth he had lying around. Then he added a few glass-cased devotional candles and hid one of his surround-sound speakers underneath it. Sage smoke rises into the folds of the white parachute that covers his ceiling, and he gets to work...

[ Full Story ]

100 Dublin priests accused of abuse since 1940 Owen Bowcott, Ireland correspondent Thursday March 09 2006 The Guardian 350 children in one archdiocese affected. Church may sell property to pay compensation.

The full extent of child abuse scandals threatening the Roman Catholic church in Ireland has emerged in a study by the archdiocese of Dublin which reveals that more than 100 of its priests have faced paedophile accusations since 1940.

[Full Story]

Witches return to German forests Mail&Guardian Online - 10 March 2006 04:40 PM Original Posting May 12, 2005 Walther Rosenberger | Berlin Witches have returned to the German forests, dancing naked in groups under the full moon and calling to their gods. The covens vary in size and in how seriously they take their calling, but the numbers are rising, particularly amongst the young. Their religious ideas are described as "pagan" rather than Satanist, and many of the older practitioners have a history in the environmental movement, where they learnt a passionate love of nature. In some cases this has led on to a belief in the natural powers of the forests. The women are convinced they can work magic. "The witches' scene is experiencing a powerful revival," says Lutheran theologian Hansjoerg Hemminger. He says the covens range from "girlie witches" to the so-called "Wicca" covens. Wicca is an old Anglo-Saxon term for a group of witches. Christian theologians are inclined to see the latter as a manifestation of a new heathen movement. The women tend to be members of associations like the Pagan Federation or the Stone Circle...

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Put religion under the microscope Connected.telegraph Daniel Dennett Filed: March 7, 2006 Like other animals, humans have built-in desires to reproduce and to do pretty much whatever it takes to achieve this goal. But we also have creeds, religions and faith, and the ability to transcend our genetic imperatives. We often find human beings setting aside their personal interests, their health, their chances to have children, and devoting their entire lives to furthering the interests of an idea that has lodged in their brains.
Religious symbols, under a microscope
'People may well have come to love religion independently of any benefits it provides them'
This fact does make us different, but it is itself a biological fact, visible to natural science, and something that requires an explanation from natural science. How did just one species, Homo sapiens, come to have the extraordinary perspective that religions can give to people's lives? My view of the evolution of various features of religion is definitely just a theory or, rather, a family of proto-theories, in need of further development. In a nutshell, this is what it says: religion evolved, but it doesn't have to be good for us in order to evolve. (Tobacco isn't good for us, but it survives just fine.)...

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Neighbors object to Scientologists' offer to buy 1912 building Charlie Goodyear, Chronicle Staff Writer Thursday, March 9, 2006 San Francisco's North Beach, the city's bohemian quarter, has said "no" to chain stores through zoning laws to preserve the quirky, colorful character found in its cafes, clothing shops, bookstores and nightclubs. Now, some merchants and the supervisor whose district includes North Beach are eyeing a new land-use restriction to block a real estate acquisition being considered by the Church of Scientology, whose religious marketing practices strike some as inconsistent with the neighborhood's live-and-let-live ways...

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