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Power Up: Turn Off the Cell Phone

…plugged-in lifestyle doesn’t really get at the heart of the issue. I think the Amish, of all people, have it right. It’s not so much about what you as an individual are doing or not doing, as the effect technology has on the community: Why not make life easier and just put [a phone] in the house? “What would that lead to?” another Amish man asked me. “We don’t want to be the kind of people who will interrupt a conversation at home to answer a tel…

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Sacred Texting: When Religious Writ Gets Wired

…ability of cell phones to be used for impure activities, some Jewish cell-phone users have requested so-called “kosher” phones. The idea is to offer conservative Jews a phone that is free of “corrupting influences” of the sort that are already avoided by ultra-orthodox Jews through a ban on television and some radio. Reuters reported in February 2008 that Bezeq Israel Telecom launched a new “kosher” landline phone service, which will block calls…

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Religious Affiliation, ‘Mankind’: India’s Anti-Corruption Activist Leads Second Freedom Struggle

…good move. When I got to the lobby another something told me to dig out my phone and check it for messages. Sure enough, I had one from an unfamiliar number. A woman’s voice said Bedi was still sleeping, exhausted from the previous day’s overseas flight, and needed to reschedule our interview for that afternoon. I called the number back, convinced the opportunity was lost. “I’m here at the hotel now, but I’m booked solid this afternoon—” “Hold on,…

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Where Polls and Surveys Fall Short: A Conversation with Robert Wuthnow on “Inventing American Religion”

…s pretty much it. Evangelical leaders themselves didn’t believe the Gallup numbers were right, and [they thought that] the best way to combat those Gallup numbers was to ask Gallup to do another survey. And so in 1978, Christianity Today, a leading periodical for evangelicals, paid Gallup to do a big survey and in addition to just asking the born-again question, they asked questions about belief in the Bible, belief in Jesus, and intent on convert…

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Pence’s Religious Freedom Policy Made ‘LGBQ’ Hoosiers Sick—Literally

…bisexual or “unsure” of their sexual orientation. Researchers compared the number of “unhealthy days” reported by residents of each state, using the CDC definition of “the total number of days in the past 30 that people reported that their physical and mental heath were not good,” according to the press release announcing the study’s findings. The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System does include a question that allows participants to identi…

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Record Number of Stealth Creationism Bills Introduced in 2011

The National Center for Science Education has tracked a record-setting number of nine anti-evolution bills introduced in state legislatures since Jan. 1. The latest is Texas’ HB 2454, which would prohibit an institution of higher learning from “discrimination related to research related into intelligent design.” “PROHIBITION OF DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RESEARCH RELATED TO INTELLIGENT DESIGN. An institution of higher education may not discriminate…

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Busy Days For ‘eBay of Prophecy’

…rning the end of the world.” In addition to Rapture Ready Wallpaper, and a number of ads for books (Coincidences in the Bible and in Biblical Hebrewby Haim Shore), a very scary graphic novel (Armageddon Now: World War III), videos (“Rapture—End Times”), and dating aids (“Meet Christian Singles”—obviously something that should be done sooner than later), RaptureReady.com’s front page features a slew of bad-news articles with headlines that almost m…

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Why David Brooks Doesn’t Get the Outrage Over AIG

…ist facing the bewildering array of current economic problems stick to the numbers or engage in psychological analysis? We could do worse than break down the current cast of characters based on that question and that approach. Greenspan was a number cruncher, Brooks observed, and unfortunately for him, human psychology caught up with him in the “housing bubble.” The current debate over Timothy Geithner is being conducted in similar terms. No one d…

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Six Overlooked Gems from the Future of World Religions Report

…3.2 million new adherents and “folk religions” (these tend to be small in number and tied to a particular people group or tribe) are likely to see gains of 2.6 million during the same time period. Such numbers are miniscule compared to the projected 61.5 million expected to switch into the “unaffiliated” category by 2050, nevertheless the 197% projected growth rate should turn more than a few heads. Something is causing people to be attracted to…

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How an 1843 Revelation on Polygamy Poses a Serious Challenge to Modern Mormonism

…s Smith’s belief in the importance of the doctrine, as well as the growing number of people initiated into the order. And though the prophet tried to stop the rumors from spreading, an increasing number of prominent figures outraged by the alleged practice were dedicated to root out the truth. Among those trying to expose the practice and its participants were Joseph’s brother, Hyrum, as well as his wife, Emma. Then, in May of 1843, in a radical r…

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