religion

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If you were dreaming up a new religion, maybe you wouldn't include the idea of hell. But in traditional forms of Christianity, even as they evolve, hell seems almost grandfathered in. They can't quit hell. Or can they? A 2013 Harris poll found that while 74 percent of U.S. adults believe in God, and 68 percent believe in heaven, only 58 percent believe in the devil and in hell, down four percentage points from 2005. Still, 58 percent! That seems like a lot.

American Enterprise Institute

A Muslim women's advocate critical of Islam has brought her message to Yale University, where she was warmly greeted by her audience, and by protests days earlier. 

The state’s four Roman Catholic Bishops are urging Massachusetts voters to repeal the state’s casino law.

A federal judge on Wednesday finalized a ruling that strikes down part of Utah's ban on polygamy.

The case is high profile partly because the suit was brought forth by the Brown family, the stars of the TLC show Sister Wives. It's also important because as it works its way through the appeals process, it has the potential to become a landmark.

There is a new spiritual leader for the 220,000 Roman Catholics in western Massachusetts.

   56 year old Mitchell Thomas Rozanski was installed as the 9th bishop of the Springfield diocese during a nearly 2-and-a-half hour service Tuesday. The 900 seat St. Michael’s Cathedral, the mother church of the diocese in downtown Springfield was nearly filled to capacity.

It will be a big day Tuesday for the 220,000 Roman Catholics in western Massachusetts, as a new bishop takes over the Springfield Diocese.   

    In a ceremony filled with ancient symbols and rituals Mitchell Thomas Rozanski will be installed as the new bishop Tuesday at St. Michael’s Cathedral, the mother church of the diocese in downtown Springfield.

    " I am grateful to God for the call to ministry, for the call to priesthood and then this call to be the ninth Bishop of Springfield," Rozanski said Monday.

Gags9999 / Flickr Creative Commons

If you were dreaming up a new religion, maybe you wouldn't include the idea of hell. But in traditional forms of Christianity, even as they evolve, hell seems almost grandfathered in. They can't quit hell. Or can they? A 2013 Harris poll found that while 74% of U.S. adults believe in God, and 68% believe in heaven, only 58% believe in the devil and in hell, down 4 percentage points from 2005. Still, 58%! That seems like a lot.

The Church of England voted Monday to ordain women as bishops.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the church's spiritual leader, said before the vote that the public would find it "almost incomprehensible" if the church's General Synod did not approve the change.

A similar proposal was narrowly defeated in 2012. A revised proposal had been put to a vote and approved in 43 of the church's 44 dioceses, according to the BBC.

Extremist Sunni group ISIS has announced a plan to rule the territory it has carved out of Iraq and Syria in recent months, in a declaration that touches on public services, salaries and compensation for damages from the violence.

The plan was unveiled as Iraq's central Shiite government tries to retake the city of Tikrit, in its first major operation against the insurgents.

lucky336/iStock / Thinkstock

Researchers at the University of Connecticut find that employers are less likely to respond to a job application if a resume mentions an applicant’s religion.

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

Last week, the Obama administration announced historic regulations to limit carbon dioxide emissions. Policies to address climate change have been a tough sell among some Republicans on Capitol Hill, but also in many Christian congregations around the country.

Mstyslav Chernov/unframe.com / Creative Commons

Dan Brown does a lot of complicated historical research for his novels like The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol. Sometimes, a simple raw number just jumps out at him, and onto the page.

"A couple years ago," he told me on WNPR's Where We Live, "I heard a statistic that just sort of floored me: In the last 80 years, the population on the planet Earth has tripled. I thought, 'That can't be right.'"

Three out of four Americans believe the Bible is the word of God, according to a new Gallup poll; some say the literal word, others that a supreme being inspired the text. But an increasing number also view the book as simply a collection of fables, legends and history.

Revelation

Jun 3, 2014
Bureau of Land Management / Creative Commons

His T-shirt says, “I am God”.
I think - My lucky day!
I’ll run over,
shake his hand,
ask for an autograph.
I might never have this chance again.

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

Following the recent mass killing in California, faith leaders in Connecticut gathered on Monday to call on gun manufacturers to take steps aimed at reducing gun violence. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Author Dan Brown has written some of the biggest blockbuster books, from The Da Vinci Code to his latest book, Inferno. He’s coming to Hartford next month to talk with John Dankosky at the Bushnell. This hour, he joins us for a preview of that conversation.

Asylum Hill Congregational Church

Long a welcoming haven for jazz, Asylum Hill Congregational Church embraces Duke Ellington’s sacred music Sunday, May 18, at 4:00 pm as it presents "The Best of the Duke Ellington Sacred Concerts" with full-scale, soulful re-creations blessed with four mighty choirs singing, a powerhouse jazz band swinging, and a tap dancer tapping in the historic Hartford church’s majestic sanctuary.

Harvard University Extension School's Cultural Studies Club has ignited a maelstrom of criticism over its plans to reenact a black mass on Monday.

The university and the Catholic Church have condemned it, but the club says the Satanic mass is simply for educational purposes.

The AP reports:

The group that took more than 200 girls from a Nigerian school last month released what it says is a video of the girls, along with demands that the government release militants from prison. The group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, says the video shows around 130 of the girls.

In the undated video released Monday, a crowd of girls is seen outdoors, arranged as if for a class photo. They are wearing the full-length hijab; some portions of the footage show them praying.

Creative Commons

To whom might one compare Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints? Reading the new book by Alex Beam, I found myself thinking about Bill Clinton. 

Unknown Painter / Wikimedia Commons

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is the religious version of recession food. Since the end of the Civil War, the Mormon membership numbers have grown every single year, and quite often they've grown at an astonishing pace.  In the late 1970's and 80's, they added members at a rate of 5-6% a year. Today, their worldwide membership is around 15 million. 

Daniel Novta / Flickr Creative Commons

We cover a lot of ground on this hour's Scramble. We begin with the editor of Salon.com in a conversation about a story that dominated the headlines this weekend, the racist remarks attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling.

Dave Daley sees Sterling and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy as part of a pattern. I don't. Not exactly, anyway. Dave also talks about Thomas Piketty, the first rock star economist in, well, a really long time.

America is less religious than ever before. The number of Americans who reported no religious affiliation has been growing rapidly, doubling since 1990. That kind of rapid change matches another societal trend — growth in Internet use. The percentage of Americans who say they used the Internet went from nearly zero in 1990 to 87 percent this year.

The New York Police Department said Tuesday it would disband a special unit charged with detecting possible terrorist threats by carrying out secret surveillance of Muslim groups.

The squad that conducted the surveillance, known as the Demographics Unit, was formed in 2003. It brought the NYPD under fire from community groups and activists who accused the force of abusing civil rights and profiling.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said his administration has promised "a police force that keeps our city safe, but that is also respectful and fair.

After speaking to a crowd that was estimated at 100,000 people Sunday, Pope Francis moved through the audience in his popemobile — and then delighted some of those in attendance by getting out of the vehicle and posing for photos with them.

Francis posed for photos several times during his circuit through St. Peter's Square, where throngs of the faithful had gathered to hear him speak on Palm Sunday.

"After the ceremony, the pope hopped onto his popemobile and moved through the crowd, often getting off to pose for selfies with young people," NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Scientists say the papyrus that mentions a wife of Jesus is not a forgery. Stephen Colbert will take over when Letterman leaves. I'm not saying the two things are connected, but maybe our weekly culture roundtable The Nose will find a common thread.

It might seem like a small thing - the departure of Stephen Colbert from his late night role in which he depicts a strutting, preening, right-wing media star. In the last analysis, who cares who takes over the Letterman show?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Thomas Moore was, for 13 years, a Servite monk. In 1992, he burst onto the national scene with "Care of the Soul", which combined the psychotherapeutic of Jung and James Hillman with ancient and contemporary religious and spiritual ideas. It was number 1 on the New York Times best seller list, and stayed on the list for a year.

Moore's central premise is that part of ourselves cannot be fully nourished through purely rational modern thought. We have needs that cannot be met by science and social theory. His new book is kind of a toolkit for people who have that sense - that they need something they're not getting. They may not be comfortable sitting in a pew to get it, so can they make it themselves?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The original Carl Sagan "Cosmos" was at least  partly a response to the Cold War. Its message: "We're such little specks, can we embrace our common destiny and get along?"

You could look at the movie "Noah" and the remake of "Cosmos" as two manifestations of an odd phenomenon. 

One leader whose popularity around the world has been eclipsed by the other met for the first time Thursday when President Obama visited Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Obama, who has seen his approval numbers decline since he took office in 2009, met for about 50 minutes with the pope, who has become one of the world's most popular leaders since becoming leader of the Roman Catholic Church a year ago.

Chion Wolf

Teresa of Avila very unambiguously reported hearing voices. She's a saint. John Forbes Nash heard voices. He won a Nobel prize. Robert Schumann heard voices that spurred him to write great music.

Philip K. Dick was guided by one inner voice, specifically female, that he would hear for much of his life. He probably holds the record for most film adaptations for words written of any author ever.

Mahatma Gandhi described a voice he could hear; not a metaphorical inner conversation, but a voice.

I could go on. Hearing voices is not that unusual. 

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