religion

  • The Myth of Religious Violence Paid Member

    Every year in ancient Israel the high priest brought two goats into the Jerusalem temple on the Day of Atonement. He sacrificed one to expiate the sins of the community and then laid his hands on the other, transferring all the people's misdeeds onto its head, and sent the sin-laden animal out of the city, literally placing the blame elsewhere. In this way, Moses explained, “the goat will bear all their faults away with it into a desert place.” In his classic study of religion and violence, René Girard argued that the scapegoat ritual defused rivalries among groups within the community. In a similar way, I believe, modern society has made a scapegoat of faith. More »
  • One Way to Nirvana Paid Member

    This article is the tenth in the Tricycle blog series 10 Misconceptions about Buddhism with scholars Robert E. Buswell Jr. and Donald S. Lopez Jr.  More »
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    The Nones Are Looking for More Paid Member

    In his recent Huffington Post article “How the Nones Are Coming of Age,” Tricycle contributing editor Clark Strand notes a growing disenchantment with the spirituality craze that emerged as Americans turned away from religion in the decades following World War II. “The trend has peaked and people are looking for something more,” Strand recounts a friend telling him. “They don't want to go back to the religion of their parents or grandparents, but they've wised up to the fact that they need something real to replace it, whether you call it a religion or not.” More »
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    The Language of Certainty in New Atheism Paid Member

    While researching for his book The Righteous Mind, social psychologist and professor of business ethics Jonathan Haidt was struck by the prevalence of statements of certainty in New Atheism books. Following his hunch, Haidt ran the three most important New Atheist works—Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, Sam Harris's The End of Faith, and Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell—through a computer program that counts words indicating certainty, like "always," "never," "every," and "undeniable." He checked the results against those from the books of three "wingnuts"—Anne Coulter, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck—as well as those from three books on religion written by scientists who are not considered New Atheists. The results are below. More »
  • Buddhists expelled from Malaysia for praying in Muslim hall Paid Member

    (RNS) The government of Malaysia expelled a group of Singaporean tourists for chanting Buddhist prayers inside an Islamic prayer room where they erected a large Buddhist painting on the wall facing Mecca. The government also revoked the permanent resident visa of the businessman who allowed the Buddhists to pray at his beach resort in Johor state, about 185 miles south of Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Muslim-majority Malaysia. The government’s response is the latest in a series of crackdowns on behavior deemed disrespectful of Islamic traditions and beliefs. A Malaysian human rights group, Lawyers for Liberty, protested the action. More »
  • Robert Bellah, Sociologist of Religion, Dies at 86 Paid Member

    Preeminent sociologist of religion and Tricycle contributor Robert N. Bellah has passed away after complications following a minor surgery. He was 86. Bellah had most recently served as the Elliot Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, at the University of California at Berkeley. Through his teaching and writing throughout his post there, his ideas spread far beyond the academy to greatly impact our understanding of religion and spirituality in the culture at large. In 2000, he received the National Humanities Medal from President Bill Clinton in recognition of his accomplishments. More »