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Curated by Kenneth Weene
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My failed mission to find God -- and what I found instead: A TED Talk worth hearing. 

My failed mission to find God -- and what I found instead: A TED Talk worth hearing.  | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Anjali Kumar went looking for God and ended up finding something else entirely. In an uplifting, funny talk about our shared humanity, she takes us on a spiritual pilgrimage to meet witches in New York, a shaman in Peru, an infamous "healer" in Brazil and others, sharing an important lesson: what binds us together is far stronger than what separates us, and our differences are not insurmountable.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Perhaps the most moving and meaningful discussion religion and trying to find god I've heard in a long time. Not surprising that it is given by somebody who was raised as a Jain and sent to a Catholic school. Why not surprisingly, because she had to find out what it all really meant. 
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How the World Is Marking the 500th Birthday of Protestantism

How the World Is Marking the 500th Birthday of Protestantism | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Many will mark the 500th anniversary of Oct. 31, 1517, when Martin Luther started a revolution by posting his complaints about the Church.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
How to celebrate the accomplishment of Martin Luther in bringing about the reformation. Somehow dressing up as him for Halloween really works because when you scrape back all the levels, Luther's greatest accomplishment was to free people to live. If it is through God's grace that we are save and through our faith in that divine love, then we don't have to constantly wear the hair shirt of piety and we can revel in our capacity to play. Is happiness not the best of prayer, for it rejoices in itself? 

It may have only taken five hundred years to reach this point, but at least the Reformation war within Christianity has reached a livable peace. At that rate, how many years will it take before Islam and Christianity will again live in peace? Maybe, if we all just forgot religion and started trying to be happy, that would be closer to God's plan, assuming there is a god with a plan. 

Do you believe in such a creator? If so, do you believe he has one true religion which must be followed? Does that religion celebrate one of the best things to come out of the Reformation, the notion that all people should be able to read?

Which brings up the real message here, the one about visiting http://www.kennethweene.com and reading. Reading isn't just fundamental, it is fun and divine.
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Kill and let kill: The debate surrounding religious rules for slaughtering animals | The Economist

Kill and let kill: The debate surrounding religious rules for slaughtering animals | The Economist | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
THERE are some religious-freedom arguments where even the time-honoured principle of “live and let live” fails to provide democracies with any easy answers. One such dispute concerns animal slaughter.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I have no desire to attack any religion, but I have even less desire to kill animals without thought of their suffering. As a carnivore, I won't make believe that killing animals is still killing, but I would prefer they not suffer. In an idea world, they would be given a sedative that wouldn't have any effect on the human consumers (or other animals) of their flesh and remains. However, lacking that miracle, I think that religious leaders have to find ways to accept stunning. At least, some Muslim clerics have moved in that direction. For orthodox Jews, sadly there has been no such movement. 
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Religious freedom: It’s a core American principle, and it doesn’t mean what right-wingers want it to mean

Religious freedom: It’s a core American principle, and it doesn’t mean what right-wingers want it to mean | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Although the latter-day GOP has tried to pervert this critical idea, it's not about selling cakes to gay couples
Kenneth Weene's insight:
When America became a nation of religious freedom, there was good reason for the fledgling nation to feel proud of its position. This essay reminds us of just what that freedom meant and on what it was built. You may also want to read my related essay on what changed during the Eisenhower years, a change much ballyhooed later under Reagan. http://www.kennethweene.com/right-to-heaven ;
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John Kasich bashes Harry Potter: Ohio governor thinks it’s “weird” that Daniel Radcliffe is an atheist

John Kasich bashes Harry Potter: Ohio governor thinks it’s “weird” that Daniel Radcliffe is an atheist | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
With no prompting, the onetime "moderate" GOP contender criticizes Daniel Radcliffe for not believing in God
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While this vignette does demonstrate Mr. Kasich's religiosity—something I can respect in his life— it also demonstrates that he really has little understanding of people or of how the world works. More to the point, I would guess in a referendum for popularity more people would vote for Daniel Radcliffe than  Kasich and many more would vote for Harry Potter. 
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Muslims Go to Catholic Mass Across France to Show Solidarity

Muslims Go to Catholic Mass Across France to Show Solidarity | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
In a gesture of solidarity following the gruesome killing of a French priest, Muslims attended Catholic Mass in churches and cathedrals
Kenneth Weene's insight:
In these times of terrorism and hate, it is good to see that there are so many decent people who want peace. Kudos to these Muslim men and women and to the Catholic Churches and congregations that welcomed them throughout France. Difference can bring out the worst in people, but it can also be celebrated by the best of people. 
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Will Egypt stop listing religion on official IDs?

Will Egypt stop listing religion on official IDs? | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The draft bill to remove the religion field from national IDs and official documents sparked a debate among Egyptians, with some supporting the decision as it would eliminate discrimination and others arguing that it would further entrench sectarian tension.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
A small forward step towards inclusion in a predominantly Muslim country. Will it be enacted? Will it change the relationship between Muslim and Coptic Egyptians for the better? Who can say, but it is a small step forward. 
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Jordan Hartley's curator insight, April 6, 2017 1:17 PM
This article correlates with chp.10 religion of AP Human Geography. My opinion on having your religion on official IDs is wrong, I may be biased in this subject because I have the freedom of religion. I believe people should be able to identify or not to identify with a religion and shouldn't be forced to make a decisions.
Elizabeth Goodno's curator insight, April 7, 2017 9:53 AM
This article relates to what we learned in class because it is about different religions, specifically in Egypt. My opinion on this article is that it seems like a good idea to stop putting religion onto ID's. I have never really thought about this before but I feel like it could help Egypt with discrimination.
Lucas Olive's curator insight, April 10, 2017 10:26 PM
This article relates to what we have been learning in class because it talks about the arguements on how we should percieve language and if it should change how we think of other people. My opinion on this is that religion should not affect the way we look at each other, we're all free to believe in who or what we want.
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Goodbye to the Queen of Jesus TV, Jan Crouch

Goodbye to the Queen of Jesus TV, Jan Crouch | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Raising a mutilated chicken from the dead at 12 years old was just the beginning for Jan Crouch, who would go on to a life of luxury and power thanks to televangelism.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
This is a story that is both terribly sad and incredibly amusing. I share it for the latter and certainly not as a testament of faith, except perhaps my undying belief in B.T. Barnum's assessment of the American intelligence  and in chickens. By the way, if you love chickens, you really should read "Broody New Englander." 
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God Is a Question, Not an Answer

God Is a Question, Not an Answer | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
How can atheists and believers stop acting like enemy combatants in a spiritual or intellectual war?
Kenneth Weene's insight:
What could be better on an Easter Sunday than to ask not only if there is a god but also how we should think about that go's existence. Here is a great essay that will help both believers and atheists to frame their views. 
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OPINION: A Norse temple for the 21st century

OPINION: A Norse temple for the 21st century | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
What’s behind the resurgence of neo-pagan religions?
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I love this. It is certainly time for us to re-invent the religious experience. Meanwhile, I shall drink my mead and worship nature as she unfolds. 

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Woman allowed to wear spaghetti strainer on her head in Mass. license photo - The Boston Globe

Woman allowed to wear spaghetti strainer on her head in Mass. license photo - The Boston Globe | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A woman who identifies herself as a Pastafarian has succeeded in her bid to wear a colander on her head in her driver’s license photo.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Darn, I forgot to include the bolognese in my satiric piece on religion in The Write Room Blog.

Check my piece out  at http://www.thewriteroomblog.com

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Lamb of God ‘doesn’t want to take away the sins of the world’ | NewsBiscuit

Lamb of God ‘doesn’t want to take away the sins of the world’ | NewsBiscuit | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Colin, a six-month-old Merino lamb at a farm in Norfolk who was recently named by the Almighty creator of Heaven and Earth as the latest in a series of beasts whose sacrifice will somehow blot out every awful thing humanity has done since the last time, has questioned the logic of the system. He has also joined with other ovines in calling for a review of the working relationship between the two species. 'OK, so we're not the brightest, I get that. Nine hours eating grass and eight hours ruminating every day doesn't leave you a lot of time for abstract thought,' said Colin, 'but even I managed to work out what the role involves. No thanks. Find another dumb animal to symbolise things for a change. How about squirrels? They're thick as pigshit.' 'And while I'm on, we're grateful you exterminated the wolves, really we are, but this is getting a bit one-sided now. You take our coats to make sweaters, you nick our mothers' milk to turn into cheese, you even seem to want to put our dung on your crops for some reason. And what the hell happened to all my mates from springtime?'
Kenneth Weene's insight:

It may not be Easter, but it is time for this great piece of satire.

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Church of England demand God’s right to prolong suffering | NewsBiscuit

Church of England demand God’s right to prolong suffering | NewsBiscuit | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has spoken out on behalf of the increasingly impotent God, on a difficult issue that has arisen from His regretful decision to give mankind free will, rather than just His own perfect will. Fortunately for God, the Archbishop Welby has the kind of power and influence over the affairs of man that He could only dream of, as well as having a very fancy outfit with lots of gold bits, a massive hat and a crooked stick which shows just what a terrifically wise man he really is.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Those who, in the name of God, refuse the dying the right to end their suffering, represent a religious view that God does not want man to gain mastery over his world. For my part, that such mastery and understanding is the task that God has given us.

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Greece prepares to do away with compulsory sharia in Western Thrace

Greece prepares to do away with compulsory sharia in Western Thrace | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
AS PART of a passionate campaign to solve an apparently non-existent problem, American state legislatures have been presented, over the past decade, with at least 120 bills that sought to outlaw the practice of sharia, the Islamic legal system, and 15 of them have been enacted.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I love the vagaries of history. How did this small section of Greece fall under the sway of sharia? Well, that's a long story, goes back to the early nineteen twenties. But is it reasonable to have that anomaly continue in a modern EU country? Certainly not when even the Muslim country next door, Turkey, has done away with it. But, the sisters of the dead man want their share of his inheritance. After all, that's what the sharia rule is, so they went to court, yes the regular court, to force his widow to pony up. 

Meanwhile, realistically and especially in the area of marriage—as if marriage and realistic can go together—many people all over the world opt to give religious authorities a say in their lives. In some places, like Chechnya, there is a movement to increase the role of the religious courts. And, in the US, let's not forget the Roy Moores who want to make the bible the basis of our law. 

Some stories are just, well good for the soul or at least for the little grey cells. Exercise yours and tell me what you think the proper role of religion is in regulating lives. 
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Amid Evangelical decline, growing split between young Christians and church elders

Amid Evangelical decline, growing split between young Christians and church elders | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Many young evangelicals are no longer identifying with that religious movement and that the biggest reason for that change is the growing belief in the rights of women and the dignity of LBGT persons.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
There is a great article from the Christian Science Monitor about the decline of evangelical membership in America. Here's the link to it: https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2017/1010/Amid-Evangelical-decline-growing-split-between-young-Christians-and-church-elders?

I think it is important that many young evangelicals are no longer identifying with that religious movement and that the biggest reason for that change is the growing belief in the rights of women and the dignity of LBGT persons. 

However, let us not be fooled by this change. There is an intense group of Americans who identify with the End Times, those who believe that we must prepare the earth for the Second Coming. It is those who hold the current administration in thrall. While they look to the evangelical community for support and use issues such as equal rights as bait to get the support of conservative Christians of an evangelical stripe, it is the hardcore Reconstuctionists and Dispensationalists who are the true threat to America. 


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Planned Parenthood's brilliant new ad features an unexpected supporter: Donald Trump.

Planned Parenthood's brilliant new ad features an unexpected supporter: Donald Trump. | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Millions of women rely on Planned Parenthood for lifesaving care.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
What everybody is ignoring is not whether programs like Planned Parenthood's wellness services are good or whether Meals on Wheels is good. Clearly they are good. Nobody is saying women should die of cancer or old people of hunger. What they are saying is that the federal government is not the proper way to fund and provide such services. 

Let me be clear about my view: These are proper areas for federal involvement. We are one nation, not simply a federation of independent units. There are two reasons for that change. One, we no longer stay in one place and our personal connections are national. Don't understand what I mean? Visit Florida and ask people where they came from, or Arizona. Ask them where the headquarters of the business for which they work(ed) is located. Ask them where their closes relatives live. You get the picture. Second, there was the Civil War and its aftermath. Read my piece on the 14th Amendment; it might help clarify what I mean. ( http://www.kennethweene.com/what-does-the-fourteenth-amendment-ancho

If we are one nation, then clearly social policy should be national, especially when there is great variation in how those policies would be carried out by the various states. While we can, for example, leave automobile registration and operation to the states because there is wide agreement about the basic rules, we cannot leave healthcare to those fifty entities since that would leave some groups without care or alternatively with the option of moving and then burdening other states. Imagine if you will a migration similar to the movement of Okies to California during the 1920s but rather than those in need of jobs but of the sick looking for help. 

Why is there a call for the de-federalization of such programs? Is it about government inefficiency and waste. Perhaps in small degree. However, what many Americans don't understand is that we have a religious movement underway in our country. Reconstructionist Christianity preaches among other things that social policy should be at the Parish level and perhaps carried out at the county level. It is that religious group that pushes most strongly to reduce federalism except in the area of the military. It may seem strange to think that it is Christians who are pushing to limit help to the sick and the hungry, but we've seen lots of religious movements in this country that have distorted the teachings of compassion and love. You the Reconstructionists such caring by a central government is worse than allowing people to suffer and die because they believe that such centralized government is antithetical to the will of God. 

I guess for those of us who are humanists, if there is a god to consider, that divinity is reflected in just such communal concern. 
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Pilgrims seeking miracles flock to ancient grave of Iraqi poet

Pilgrims seeking miracles flock to ancient grave of Iraqi poet | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Many archaeological sites in Iraq are turning into holy shrines, as Iraqis report the occurrence of miracles and other holy acts.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
When the real world oppresses and terrifies, where are we to turn? Surely the heavens will send miracles to save us. Surely the wali who sits at the foot of god will intercede. Or, perhaps, we just look for little bits of good fortune to grab hold as the drowning man uses his last strength to reach for the bit of straw. You decide what's true, I will simply enjoy the poetry that is life.
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Inside Spain’s Right-Wing Rebel Catholic Cult

Inside Spain’s Right-Wing Rebel Catholic Cult | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The ex-pontiff says his crypto-Fascist church (which made Franco a saint) was only ever intended, really, to bring its leaders sex and money.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Now this is the stuff of great novels; but wait, it's not fiction. I love a good conspiracy story, and this is a great one. Most of all I love the idea that people are so incredibly gullible. Hey, sex and money from followers; that's the way to be nuts. 
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World's largest Yazidi temple under construction in Armenia

World's largest Yazidi temple under construction in Armenia | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The new complex will also feature a museum and seminary, designed as a symbol of resilience for the persecuted worshippers
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I love the human will, the determination to pursue what we believe in the face of all of reality's challenges. Here we see that determination in both its greatness and its madness. The Yazidi are shrinking in number; they are under horrible attack by ISIS in Iraq, they have faced, by their count, 72 genocides. What better to do than build a temple. At least they've picked a place where people know about the horror of genocide. 
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Is ‘The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ a fake? - The Boston Globe

Is ‘The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ a fake? - The Boston Globe | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A Harvard professor who rocked the musty world devoted to studying early Christianity when she presented a tiny swatch of papyrus that referred to Jesus as married now concedes the fragment is probably a forgery.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I remember posting about this when Dr. King originally released her study. I thought then and still think that it made sense for a charismatic young rabbi to have a significant other. While celibacy was practiced by many Essenes, it was not required. However, the practice was generally to have very long engagements, three years typically. So my guess is that Jesus did have a special someone in his life. Was it Mary from Magdalene or somebody else? That of course we don't know. The simple reality is that we know very little of this man's life, only the legends that centered on a short time, about three years if we believe the gospel of John who references three passovers. At any rate, I for one, do not begrudge him a bit of honey to go with his oil.
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Women are fleeing the church, and it’s not hard to understand why

Women are fleeing the church, and it’s not hard to understand why | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
New Pew Research Center data offer further evidence that conservatism is chasing women from organized religion
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Clearly women are becoming better educated and less involved in church life. They are expecting more respect and accepting less inequality. Part of that trend has to be a greater insistence on their right to make personal choices without either the state or a church telling them what to do. Even as many women oppose abortion, they are hopefully also recognizing that is the right of each woman to decide that for herself. Certainly, they don't want to be told that they and their daughters are inferior or have less of a place in the public realm or its universities, government offices, or corporations. 
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Here's What Pope Francis Wants You to Give Up for Lent This Year

Here's What Pope Francis Wants You to Give Up for Lent This Year | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
No need to throw out the chocolate, booze, and carbs. Pope Francis has a different idea for Catholics' Lenten fasting this year.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

As a non-Catholic, I must admit I'm constantly impressed by this man's understanding of the human condition. In the battle between the darkness of self-service and the light of concern for the greater good, he offers a bright candle to light our way. 

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A story about God

A story about God | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it

“Worthless!” The trumpeting blast of Jehovah’s voice set the bowls of manna jumping. Waves of mead swished from goblets. Two unsuspecting seraphim were knocked from their precarious perches atop great golden harps.

In the aftermath, quiet reigned in the massive hall. Every saintly and angelic eye was turned towards the All Mighty.

Finally, His trembling son asked, “What’s wrong, Dad?”

Kenneth Weene's insight:

Laughter is god's way of praying to us.

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Alpha—Omega: An Irreverence - a story by Kenneth Weene

Alpha—Omega: An Irreverence - a story by Kenneth Weene | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it

If you enjoy this irreverent look at god, enter the giveaway for a copy of "Broody New Englander" or of "Sweet and Sour." Reading enriches the soul and free books are good for the purse.

Kenneth Weene's insight:

I hope you enjoy this piece, which was written with great appreciation of the toes on which it might step. God must love humor, he gave us religion.

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Pope Francis Says Kim Davis Refusal To Issue Marriage Licenses Is 'A Right'

Pope Francis Says Kim Davis Refusal To Issue Marriage Licenses Is 'A Right' | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Pope Francis has defended his words of consolation to U.S. bishops over the priest sex abuse scandal but says — for the first time — that those who covered up for abusers are guilty of wrongdoing.

In a wide-ranging press conference en route to Rome from his first-ever visit to the United States, Francis also declared conscience objection a "human right," explained his love affair with American nuns and discussed his own star-power, which was fully on display during
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The sweet part is that this pope recognizes the individual as the true locus of religion rather than the institution. The sour side is that he didn't recognize that the individual right is set within the institutional framework. I respect Kim Davis's right to not issue marriage licenses to gay couples, but I don't recognize that right for a county clerk sworn to uphold the law. I might also recognize the right of an individual to choose to place the protection of a sex abuser above the right of the child to have his/her suffering addressed, but not the right of a cardinal of the church to protect an individual priest who has by such abuse violated the church's trust. Interestingly, the pope didn't recognize the right of individuals to use birth control, one area where there is no institutional framework. So on three issues, I think the pope had his miter up his a.., but he's still a decent guy and in my non-Catholic opinion way better than his predecessor.

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