Could Empathy Encourage Hyperactive Authority Detection?

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Misplaced Faith? an interview with Professor Luke Galen, inspires some interesting speculations that I’ll offer in response. First, the mention of gender differences in the context of individual differences in the “sensus divinitatis” and agency detection is potentially important.
Cognitive Approaches
hyperactive agency detection
Luke Galen
Nick Stauner

Unwitchers and Witchcraft Discourse as Social Control: In Response to Mirjam Mencej

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In a recent interview with the Religious Studies Project, Mirjam Mencej, PhD, Professor of Folklore Studies and Comparative Mythology at the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Ljubljana speaks about her ethnographic research and findings which are presented in her 2017 publication
Mirjam Mencej
new age
Patricia 'Iolana
unwitching
Witchcraft

Teaching Religion: A Response to Douglas Brooks

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In his classroom, there is a clear divide between scholar and practitioner, between religious studies and religious practice. Obviously, [Brooks] is an example of how those two worlds comingle. But he is also committed to further advancing the study of religion as a secular discipline – in the same way that one studies history, psychology, sociology, and the like.
academic study of religion
Douglas R Brooks
teaching
William Chavez

Studying Tantra from the Inside and Out

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In this interview on ‘Studying Tantra from the Inside and Out’, Douglas R Brooks allows the listener an insight into his own personal and academic development, and an account of how various factors led him to the study of South Indian Shrividya Shakta Tantrism. There are many interesting elements to consider therein,...
Douglas R Brooks
insider/outsider
Sammy Bishop
Tantra
Yoga

Paths to Sexual Ethics

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Paths need not be linear nor our place on them stagnant, rather we can draw from the past and draw it into the present moment, revisiting and revising as we ask new questions in enduring, and uniting, struggles over ethics in sexuality and beyond.
Elisabeth Becker
Ethics
gender
Islam
Kecia Ali
Sexual Ethics
Sexuality

The Religious and Political Landscape in Peru: A Historic and Cautionary Tale

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I can’t help but see the parallels between the Peruvian religious and political history which Fonseca outlines in his interview and the events currently taking place in the United States where religion and politics are more intricately entwined than ever before by a minority Far-Right Conservative Christian movement and its dominant media presence. This intriguing parallel makes Fonseca’s interview timely and important as history repeats itself.
Olivia Singer
Patricia 'Iolana
Peru
religion and politics

Reliability and Religion: A response to Misplaced Faith?

Claiming that social deficit increases religious belief is also hard without presupposing that some belief was already there. Compensating lack of social interactions by interacting with an invisible, divine, being is easier if the individual already has some prior belief. Without it, jumping to beliefs in invisible beings seems a long jump.
Cognitive Approaches
cognitive science of religion
Hans van Eyghen
Luke Galen
misattributed agency

Higher Education in the Digital Age In response to Simmons and Altman

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The Religious Studies Project in the UK and State of Formation in the US stand out as two exemplary religious studies projects, often, as with these two, in collaboration with other universities, (as opposed to individual departments or programmes) that utilise social media daily to reach and interact with their intended audience.
digital age
Education
graduate education
Interdisciplinarity
Patricia 'Iolana
Social Media

Psychology and religious studies: Towards greater understanding

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Extensive research has been conducted by psychologists, and continues to be conducted, exploring beliefs, values and perceptions. However, despite being a central part of the lives of so many people, religion and spirituality continues to be a fringe concern for many psychologists - perhaps because they are frequently perceived as being unscientific.
Christopher Harding
James Murphy
psy-diciplines
Psychoanalysis
Spirituality

Framing, Observing, and Exhibiting Yoga: A Response to Bruce Sullivan

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One link between yogic practice and museums may come from viewing yogis, yoga teachers, and yoga promoters as performing work comparable to museums in the nearly century and a half history of modern yoga’s global spread. As museums curate, exhibit, frame, spotlight, and annotate their works to an anticipated audience, yoga has similarly been consciously displayed and promoted. Modern yoga’s history can be emplotted through the way it has exhibited itself.
Bruce Sullivan
Museums
Phillip Deslippe
Sacred
Secular
Yoga

Taking humour seriously: a response to Elisha McIntyre

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Using humour to understand in-group dynamics is especially important in this case since McIntyre’s case studies (LDS and evangelicals) are tight-knit communities that can see themselves as set apart from the rest of the world. As such, their in-group solidarity is particularly important for understanding how they construct their popular culture, which in turn supports their religious worlds. McIntyre makes an astute observation that in-group religious comedy is similar to popular music within these subcultures.
Comedy
David Feltmate
Elisha McIntyre
Humour
Humour Studies
Religious humour

Theologies That Cannot Be: A Response to the RSP Interview with Dr. Caroline Blyth

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Every discipline has both power and responsibility to contribute to the dismantling of the Patriarchy by declaring its valorization of avarice, egotism, and violence to be wrong. The particular duty and power of religious studies and theology, is to point out that that valorization is hypocritical—that the culture of Patriarchy is itself inimical to the values of the sacred social order from which it claims its authority and for which it claims to offer protection
Caroline Blyth
gender
Race MoChridhe
Rukmini Callimachi
Theology of rape

Modern Yoga: A Response to Bruce Sullivan on Yoga in Museums

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The most evocative question raised in the podcast’s conversation is whether yoga and art have something in common—a sort of contemplative aspect—that can help us understand something fundamental about the nature of the sacred. Sullivan is certainly correct in pointing out that art is not meant to be contemplated for its own sake in pre-modern India any more than in pre-modern Europe.
Anya P. Foxen
Bruce Sullivan
Iyengar
metaphysical religion
Museums
Yoga

Against Freedom: A Response to Finbarr Curtis

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Finbarr Curtis’s recent book, The Production of American Religious Freedom (2016), defies easy categorization. Melding social theory, interpretive biography, revisionist intellectual history, literary analysis, film analysis, and the study of discourse and rhetoric, the book issues a much needed social constructionist inquiry into the largely taken-for-granted concept of “freedom”
Finbarr Curtis
religion and film
Religious freedom
Secular
Travis Cooper

Down the Rabbit Hole of Artificial Intelligence

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The things that make us uncomfortable about the interaction is what is sometimes referred to as “the uncanny valley.” Most often this applies to robots who are supposed to look human, but can’t quite pull it off. But it seems appropriate to this interaction as well. You reach the uncanny valley when you get close to “almost human” in looks or interactions.
AI
artificial intelligence
beth singler
Randall Reed
transhumanism