On the Worlds We Conceive Within Ourselves…

Sierra Lawson is an M.A. student in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama; you can visit her website here.

I recently saw an advertisement that featured two lungs, one healthy and another almost unrecognizable as a human organ. This reminded me of a similar comparison at a summer camp I once attended where they showed us a cow’s lung that had supposedly been exposed to a great deal of smoke. While both demonstrations had different end goals, the former to combat second hand smoke and the latter to scare young children into never considering a smoke, they required similar ontological assumptions from their audiences. Chiefly, the assumption that seeing how our actions outside our corpus have effects on inner organs, but also the subsequent assumption that seeing these consequences will galvanize us into healthier habits or, at the very least, aversion to particular substances. Continue reading

The Myth of Universal Standard

hollywood

By Joshua Blackwell
Joshua Blackwell is a junior Biology major from Alabaster, Alabama. Despite his scientific focus, Joshua is also passionate about music, philosophy, and theology. Upon graduating, Joshua hopes to attend medical school.

Over the past many years, we as Americans have become consumed by our culture. Rarely acknowledging the existence of an outside world, we idolize our own celebrities, magazines, fashion, and literature. Designers and authors may find inspiration in the work of others, of course; for the most part, however, attention to other cultures has not generally been forwarded to the average American consumer. This has resulted in a relative American seclusion, which has had profound effects upon our perception and treatment of certain forms of entertainment and style originating outside our own culture. Continue reading

What Does Your Jesus Look Like?

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RNS-HOMELESS-JESUS

By Wesley Davidson
Wesley Davidson is a senior Religious Studies major and Judaic Studies minor from Dothan, Alabama. He plans to continue his study of religion in culture at the graduate level and is currently playing the waiting game after finishing the application process.

A recent story on CNN depicts the controversy over a statue in Davidson, North Carolina. The statue is located outside of Saint Alban’s Episcopal Church, and it renders Jesus Christ as a homeless man lying on a park bench and includes room to sit down beside it. The statue itself has sparked much discussion and debate, and it has caused many to address their own thoughts about who Jesus is. Who is the real Jesus, and what is the best way to represent him?

Continue reading

On Skepticism

doubt

“Maybe those moments of persistence, guidance, motivation, and continuity are actually the moments where religion itself gets constructed. Maybe it’s shape-shifting because it is constantly being rebuilt. But by who? And to what end? These were the questions driving my skepticism.”

Seen Prof. Michael Altman‘s latest blog post on the Religion in American History blog? Read more here