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It’s 2018. Here Are Six Scientific Mysteries We Still Haven’t Solved

Humans have made a staggering amount of scientific and technological progress over the past century. We’ve created technology that has transformed our society; scientific advances have helped us answer fundamental questions about who we are and the world that we inhabit. And, yet, mysteries persist. https://futurism.com/2018-unsolved-scientific-mysteries/

We Should All Be Ashamed That Horoscopes Are Thriving Online

As print newspapers die out, maybe you held out some hope that the ubiquitous horoscope columns would have died out along with them. Unfortunately, they’re still as popular as ever online. Amanda Hess of the New York Times notes that you can still find astrology columns on “every cool-girl online brand.” Why? Because people click on them. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2018/01/02/we-should-all-be-ashamed-that-horoscopes-are-thriving-online/

From Trump’s Evangelicals to Witches to Roy Moore: How Religion Shaped 2017

When it comes to religious issues in America, 2017 has been remarkable. Donald Trump, one of the most counterintuitively evangelical-backed presidential candidates in history, winning the white evangelical vote 4-1 despite being a twice-divorced, foul-mouthed billionaire New Yorker who’s bragged about his ability to sexually accost women and has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women. https://www.vox.com/2017-in-review/2017/12/29/16821690/2017-religion-trump-evangelicals-roy-moore-witches

In Trump Era, What Does It Mean to Be an ‘Evangelical’?

For many Christian conservatives, the term ‘evangelical’ is now more of a political identifier than a doctrinal one – which has led some high-profile religious leaders to question or even abandon the term. https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2017/1228/In-Trump-era-what-does-it-mean-to-be-an-Evangelical

Pope on 2018: Forget Life’s “Useless Baggage”

Pope Francis on Monday recommended jettisoning life’s “useless baggage” in 2018, including what he called “empty chatter” and banal consumerism, and focusing instead on building a peaceful and welcoming world, particularly for refugees and migrants. http://religionnews.com/2018/01/01/pope-on-2018-forget-lifes-useless-baggage-work-for-peace/

New Estimates Show U.S. Muslim Population Continues to Grow

Recent political debates over Muslim immigration and related issues have prompted many people to ask how many Muslims actually live in the United States. But coming up with an answer is not easy, in part because the U.S. Census Bureau does not ask questions about religion, meaning there is no official government count of the U.S. Muslim population. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/01/03/new-estimates-show-u-s-muslim-population-continues-to-grow/

Sexuality, Race, and Gender: 3 Explosive Insights About America’s 100 Largest Churches

Last October, evangelicalism was rocked by the launch of ChurchClarity.org, an organization that reports churches’ LGBTQ+ policies and rates congregations based on their level of clarity. The website angered Christians on both sides of the issue. http://religionnews.com/2017/12/29/sexuality-race-and-gender-3-explosive-insights-about-americas-100-largest-churches/

FEMA Broadens Churches’ Access to Disaster Funds

Less than four months after President Donald Trump suggested churches should be able to receive federal disaster relief funds, officials have changed federal policies to make it easier for religious institutions to qualify for such aid. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/03/churches-disaster-funds-fema-religion-establishment-321202

Michele Bachmann Is Asking God Whether She Should Run for Al Franken’s Senate Seat

Former Minnesota congresswoman and current “pastor to the United Nations” Michele Bachmann joined End Times prepper pastor Jim Bakker for a series of television programs that aired last week, during which she revealed that she is currently considering making a run for the U.S. Senate seat that is set to be vacated by Al Franken. http://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/michele-bachmann-is-asking-god-whether-she-should-run-for-al-frankens-senate-seat/

Debunking Phrenology with 21st Century Methods

Modern neuroscience has been accused of being a ‘new phrenology’, but now researchers have conducted a modern evaluation of phrenological claims using neuroscience methods. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/2018/01/07/debunking-phrenology-21st-century/#.WlPBLjdG3Dd

Evangelical Christians Must Pay for Trading Faith for Power, Morality Lost Forever

White Evangelical Christians en masse and other Christians voting for the likes of Donald Trump and Roy Moore have done irreparable damage to their faith. They now have absolutely no moral authority outside the cult they have become. Associate editor of The Marginalia Review of Books uses scripture and logic to destroy their rationale for supporting deviancy. https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/12/31/1728828/-Evangelical-Christians-must-pay-for-trading-faith-for-power-morality-lost-forever

Republican ‘Pro-Life’ Congressman Slept with Patients and Paid for Their Abortions: ‘God Has Forgiven Me’

When GOP congressman Scott DesJarlais (TN) was a doctor, he had sexual relationships with his patients. Despite being a “pro-life” advocate, he pressured women in his life to have abortions, including his ex-wife, who had two abortions while they were together. https://www.nova-magazine.net/republican-pro-life-congressman-slept-patients-paid-abortions/

Egypt Could Make Atheism Illegal Amid Harsh Crackdown on Nonbelievers

Blasphemy is already illegal in Egypt, and people are frequently arrested for insulting or defaming religion under the country’s strict laws. The newly proposed rule would make it illegal for people not to believe in God, even if they don’t talk about it. http://www.newsweek.com/egypt-atheism-illegal-crackdown-non-believers-religion-islam-772471

Salaam Shalom: Muslim and Jewish Women Start a Movement to Thwart Religious Bigotry

The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom is the only national group of Muslim and Jewish women in the United States committed to building trust and respect through the development of relationships with one another. http://religionnews.com/2018/01/05/salaam-shalom-muslim-and-jewish-women-start-a-movement-to-thwart-religious-bigotry/

The Return of “Traditional” Astrology

I guess this is a theme recently – the return of previous pseudosciences that had been fading into the background. If you type “astrology” into the search window on this blog you get exactly two articles specifically about this topic in the last 10 years. https://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/the-return-of-traditional-astrology/#more-10505

I Was a Skeptic of Mindfulness … Until I Tried to Make My Case

It sounded simple — you sit, you concentrate on your breathing, and you try to find some solace in the modern world. My therapist told me that meditation could make me feel better and that it had been shown to change the physiology of the brain. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/i-was-a-meditation-skeptic-until-i-tried-to-make-my-case/

Reimagining Religion 2018: New Stories, New Communities

January 26, 2018 • USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism – https://reimaginingreligion2018.sched.com