Tag: National Public Radio

A Social-Psychological Theory of Religion

So…, just why are people religious? It’s not a question everyone asks, since many scholars today are more concerned with what it means (often to the participants themselves) to be religious. But there are those in the academy today who, like those who helped to establish the study of religion in the late 19th century, are interested in explaining the historical (even evolutionary) cause of religion or its contemporary function. Often, though, they are found outside Religious Studies, in other […]

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Outlawed Violation of Human Rights or Protected Religious Practice?

Given the prominence of debates over classification in my classes I’m always on the look-out for a good e.g., something useful in getting us thinking about the interests driving classification systems and their practical effects — and, perhaps, illustrating how naming something as religion plays a role in all this. […]

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“The Craziest Thing I’ve Ever Seen”

Over on social media the other day, I came across the following tweet, posted at NPR’s site. These turkeys trying to give this cat its 10th life pic.twitter.com/VBM7t4MZYr — J… (@TheReal_JDavis) March 2, 2017 My comment, used above as this post’s opening pic, wasn’t completely sarcastic. […]

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It May Be Simpler Than You Think

I saw the above tweet yesterday, which prompted me to mull over why we generally think that the role of religion is such a complicated thing to study. It occurred to me that it is complicated (i) if you fail to recognize that there’s been trained scholars of religion out there for well over 100 years who have lots to say on these matters but also (ii) if we buy local accounts of it being some ethereal thing that mysteriously […]

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“All of the evil that he represents for me…”

Seeing cheering crowds in Miami, first thing this morning as I checked my phone for overnight news, celebrating Fidel Castro’s death, made me think a little about our disdain when there were rumors of people cheering after the twin towers collapsed (Trump routinely cited this early in his campaign); when is death — or better, whose death — worth cheering, I wondered? But as the morning wore on and more news came out, my attention shifted to an issue that […]

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Applying Skills Outside the Classroom

In some of our courses faculty in the department focus on the problem of definition in the study of religion — what counts as a religion (more importantly, for whom) and what are the practical implications of distinguishing a this from a that. They also often talk about the broad relevance of the skills that students acquire in the Humanities. So I had all this in mind while listening to a story on National Public Radio this morning, on making […]

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Changing Minds by Changing Situations

https://twitter.com/elnathan/status/561822765402324994 You surely can’t have missed news on the current (and worsening) outbreak of measles in the US. Apart from providing us with an opportunity to mull over the self-interested inconsistencies in our coverage of, and responses to, various health crises that affect others throughout the world (as so nicely evidenced by the Tweet above) and while also allowing us an insight into how individualism can function (whereby it is made clear by some that their right to protect their […]

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“What’s this argument about?”

Yesterday we posted about a current US Supreme Court case concerning a local ordinance in Gilbert, Arizona, that curtails displaying certain signs (in the case before the court, a church sign) but not others — a case that, on first glance, might seem rather uninteresting but which, if you look again, turns out to involve principles that many would see as being at the very heart of a liberal democracy. […]

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