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

A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Scientific Study of Religious Phenomena

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Analysing religious affiliation, phenomenon, and experience from a social science approach can reveal far more than a narrow theological or thealogical analysis. Theologians and thealogians appear uninterested in examining religion as an ‘object of interest’ perhaps believing that this perspective denigrates the underlying theological beliefs of the phenomenon being investigated. When, in truth, social science and theology can offer much more when combined into a multidisciplinary approach.
Dorothea Ortmann
Jung
Patricia 'Iolana
religion and science
religion in Peru
science of religion

Science, Religion, and the Tyranny of Authenticity

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Fitting neatly within a complexity thesis tradition, Hameed employs what might be called normativizing nuance. By this I mean that by demonstrating the complexity/messiness of things “on the ground,” one version of a tradition can be delegitimized and/or another version of the tradition can be legitimized. In this sense, “Islam and science/evolution” has a great deal of resemblance to work on “Islam and violence.”
Complexity thesis
Conflict theory
Islam
Neil George
NOMA
religion and science
Salman Hameed

Healing and higher power: a response to Dr Wendy Dossett

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While those that reject the concept of God can never associate the “higher power” with the divine, it is obviously still appropriate to explore whether a metaphysical force might lay behind it power and, if so, what it might be. After all the origins of Alcoholics Anonymous, founded in the late 1930s, are undeniably Christian.
addiction
Alcoholics Anonymous
christianity
Definition
Robin Harragin
Spirituality
Wendy Dossett

Sociology of Religion and Religious Studies: Disciplines, Fields, and the Limits of Dialogue

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As it happens, just two and a half weeks ago, I was in the audience of a panel called ‘Rethinking Theory, Methods, and Data: A Conversation between Religious Studies and Sociology of Religion’ presented at the annual conference of the American Academy of Religion.
AAR
Adam J Powell
American Academy of Religion
paul-francois tremlett
Religious Studies
Sociology of Religion
SOCREL
titus hjelm

No, Secularism is not a World Religion

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Once we acknowledge that the invention of religion as a universal category and its subsequent critique by the forces of secularism took place under a certain Western provenance, why would we continue expanding the scope and reach of the world religion paradigm?
critical religion
Donovan Schaefer
Ideology
Secularism
Tenzan Eaghll
world religions

Radical experiences that can change worlds

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The observation that ideas are not inherently radical, but that the term is a relative one that involves comparisons to social norms, is of critical importance. The value judgments that we ascribe to ideas are not innate to them but are instead reflections of our own beliefs. These beliefs and norms vary between societies and over time within society.
Islam
James Murphy
Matthew Francis
Metakinesis
Radicalisation
tanya luhrmann

Musical Secrets and Mystical Language

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Drone music is often described with terms such as violence, aggression, pain and suffering, but it is these markers of extremity which allow a sense of catharsis, dark spirituality and even healing according to listeners. Drone metal, then, addresses deep issues of importance in rather different musical and conceptual registers to Hoondert’s requiem composers and audiences.
drone music
Evelyn Underhill
M.J.M. Hoondert
metal
Michel De Certeau
Music
Owen Coggins
William James

The Shifting Normal        

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Does the President elect of the United States suffer from such debilitating ideology which Obama, and Alinsky, argued against, or is he, in line with Francis’s argument, someone who has not become radicalised but rather has joined with radicals pragmatically? As much of the ‘main-stream media’ comes to terms with the election of Trump, it appears to be the second option which they are trumping for.
C. Douglas Lummis
Chris Heinhold
Donald Trump
Matthew Francis
Radicalisation
Saul Alinsky

How to solve a problem like World Religions? An interdisciplinary approach.

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Challenging this simplistic conception of religion and its consequences lies at the core of the Critical Religion movement. Schaefer's interview is an invitation to explore how we can do that most effectively. How do we translate critical insights that have significant real world implications into ideas that can easily be transmitted to students and the wider public?
critical religion
Donovan Schaefer
implicit religion
James Murphy
Secularism
world religions

Speaking about Radicalisation in the Public Sphere

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Francis rightly notes, radicalisation and violence are not necessarily linked: people can be what we call radicalised without becoming violent, while many people are violent without being seen as being radicalised. In the general discourse, particularly in the media, all these terms are often seen as somewhat synonymous, which raises the ever important question about the baggage these terms hold, and what is hidden rather than revealed in using them. Are the terms analytically useful? Or do they have some other utility, perhaps in terms of communicating ideas?
Islam
Marc Sageman
Matthew Francis
Paul Michael Hedges
Radicalisation

Living in Limbo

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Thompson, in her interview with the RSP, touched on very interesting points regarding youth, young people’s religiosity, and their exit from the church at teenage years. In this time-limited interview, she gave us a lot of food for thought. In this piece, I would like to discuss her responses in a mixed order while maintaining a proper flow.Thompson begins the interview by talking about youth...
Intergenerationality
Kemal Budak
Naomi Thompson
religious marketplace
sacred canopy
Sociology of Religion
youth culture

Difference or Diversity: Promoting Dialogue of Diversity as Religious Studies Professionals

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Prof. Martin Stringer, now of Swansea University, once again lends his expertise in religious diversity to the Religious Studies Project. In this podcast, Prof. Stringer discusses the changes the discourse of religious diversity. After years of studying in different locations in the U.K. – Birmingham, London, Manchester – Stringer began noticing a pattern in the way people identify.
advocacy
Difference
Diversity
division
Education
Neutrality
Politics
public benefit
religion
status quo

Evangelical Christian Space is Not a Category, It’s a Relationship – But With What?

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On the one hand, many scholars in religious studies rightfully state that much work has been done on religion and space, and, on the other hand, many anthropologists (including myself) still feel confident claiming that there is a dearth of work on this topic. The topic of religion and space has been tackled a couple of times by the Religious Studies Project, with interviews and responses featuring...
anna strhan
anthropology of religion
ethnography
Evangelical Christianity
Ingie Hovland
London
Space
Spatial Analysis

Conference report: “Religious Pluralisation—A Challenge for Modern Societies”

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A conference report for The Religious Studies Project by Ashlee Quosigk, a PhD student at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland on the “Religious Pluralisation—A Challenge for Modern Societies” Conference, which had an important and timely mission to identify innovative research approaches as well as broad political and social scopes of action to address religious plurality.
conference
Discourse
Islam
pluralism
secularisation