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Questions in the Religion & Philosophy category.
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May 2

General advice for non-Muslim woman attending a Muslim burial?
Should I, a non-Muslim woman, wear a hijab to a Muslim burial? What else do I need to know to avoid offending anyone there? [more inside]
posted by Tarumba at 11:46 AM - 13 answers

May 1

Things to reflect on during your birthday
I'm turning 22 soon, and it’s been one hell of a year. Birthdays have always been a good time for me to reflect on things. Any suggestions on things to reflect on, questions to think about, or ways to plan for the year ahead?
posted by markbao at 3:43 PM - 13 answers

How can I practice gratitude while recognizing and fighting injustice?
I'm trying to practice gratitude, release old grudges and generally be a happier person. However, I find that a lot of the advice like 'don't compare yourself to others,' 'count your blessings,' 'assume that others have good intentions,' ... doesn't address the fact that some people DON'T have good intentions, workplaces are often sexist and racist, and privilege means some people automatically have an easier time of it. How can I be content with what I have while still working for a better world? [more inside]
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 12:41 PM - 35 answers

April 21

Looking for a film about Easter for a small child
Small child paid more attention than expected at our Easter services and is now retelling us with gusto how Mary nailed Jesus to the wood and then he melted (death as understood by her from Raymond Brigg's The Snowman) and then woke up again. Only with a lot more details and blood. The story is quite mixed up in her mind because she's pieced it together from icons and gospel passages and questions we've answered. We're matter-of-fact about death etc in our household, and she's very interested in emotional narratives, so this is fascinating and confusing her. The children's bibles we have elide over the actual details of the crucifixion, and while I can and have read her the actual accounts, they're a struggle for her to follow the language. Is there a film or animation out there that includes the crucifixion and resurrection but doesn't revel in the gore like Mel Gibson, or reduce it to singing vegetables?
posted by viggorlijah at 7:29 PM - 10 answers

April 18

"...when we stop suffering like animals and start suffering like men"
I've been on the hunt for the original of a quote that seems to have become a leftist proverb. The quote is paraphrased in the following way: [Communism/Socialism/Utopia/Freedom] will be when we stop suffering like animals and start suffering like human beings. Does this ring a bell for anyone? [more inside]
posted by gerryblog at 12:53 PM - 2 answers

April 13

How did you decide between Catholicism and Protestantism?
If you converted from Catholicism to a Protestant denomination (or vice versa), what swayed you? [more inside]
posted by sunnychef88 at 7:15 PM - 13 answers

Have you ever built a labyrinth?
I feel a call to build a labyrinth. I might be able to do this in a public space (think college campus, or residence). What tips or guidance do you have about materials, plans, or the like?
posted by Riverine at 5:40 PM - 17 answers

April 10

I had a "mystical" experience. I'm not sure how to process it.
The other evening I was hanging around my apartment eating dinner. At some point after I finished eating, and for several hours afterwards until I went to sleep, I experienced a state of mind I can only describe as "mystical", or perhaps hyper-awareness. Whatever it was, it was so different from anything I can remember experiencing that it threw me completely off balance and I'm still trying to figure out what happened. Looking for insight from others who may have had a similar experience. Details inside. [more inside]
posted by anonymous at 9:52 AM - 39 answers

April 5

Examples of applied critical theory
I'm looking for examples of critical theory being successfully used to bring about progressive social change. Is there a particular legal, policy or social reform that can be clearly ascribed to the influence of critical theory (or any of its offshoots, such as queer theory or postcolonial theory)? I can think of many examples of activists who are influenced by theory and its concepts -- from queerness to performativity to the panopticon -- but is there any clear evidence of campaigns influenced by theory having tangible impact on lived social conditions, beyond merely "awareness raising" or "reshaping the discourse".
posted by dontjumplarry at 5:32 PM - 13 answers

March 28

Theory about Internet and judging personal probabilities already exist?
I have an original pet theory I came up with a long time ago involving the Internet and how people judge probability. It probably would fall into the anthropological, sociological or psychological fields. I'm not intending to make this post to discuss the theory itself as a sort of "let's b.s. back and forth about my idea" kind of thing. Reason I'm posting is because I'd like to know if this theory already exists or is an application of something broader that already exists. Maybe it's a theory being applied onto the communications medium of the Internet of some older theory in one of the above field(s) of study, or maybe it's a piecemeal construction of a few theories spliced together. Anyway, enough babbling, actual theory after the cut. [more inside]
posted by WCityMike at 3:37 PM - 7 answers

March 27

Is designer Terry Heckler Jewish?
I know this sounds strange, but I'm working on an article about Jewish logo designers, and I haven't been able to determine if Terry Heckler (responsible for the original Starbucks logo) is Jewish. Any mefites out there know him personally (or been to a seder with him?), who could answer the question for me? Thanks!
posted by ericbop at 3:22 PM - 7 answers

What are your favorite 'deep thinking' blogs, websites, and resources?
What are your favorite 'deep thinking' blogs, websites, and resources? e.g. Less Wrong (on rationality), Farnam Street (learning from what others have already figured out), Raptitude (on getting better at being human), Ribbonfarm (experiments in refactored perception), Cal Newport (study/learning techniques), etc. [more inside]
posted by markbao at 3:22 PM - 9 answers

March 23

passover seder resources for interfaith families
So I'm hosting a seder! The twist: I am not Jewish. Where do I begin? [more inside]
posted by yarly at 1:23 PM - 7 answers

March 18

Navigable audio version of the Christian Bible
I'd love to have an audio version of the Christian Bible that allows you to pick a specific chapter or specific verses and listen to them -- ideally in a recorded voice, not not a text-to-speech generator. I have a Kindle version of the Bible that I really like -- it's easy to navigate to a specific chapter and verse through the Kindle table of contents and menus. It's an NRSV translation from Harper Bibles. Are there any audio versions of the Bible that have similar functionality?
posted by OrangeDisk at 7:40 PM - 4 answers

March 17

Historical Religious Books
I just finished reading Zealot, by Reza Aslan, and I found it to be a fascinating book. I'm looking for similar books! [more inside]
posted by graventy at 6:59 AM - 12 answers

March 16

identify this religion?
I saw about ten people in NYC on the A train this weekend who claimed to be the "true Jews." One of them told me that their beliefs include: (1) no conversion is accepted and (2) the people I'm used to thinking of as Jews are actually a Turkic tribe that tried to convert in the 8th century A.D. (but see (1) of course). Notably, all of them were extremely large black men (one of them had to duck to get off the train) wearing dark robes, headbands and head cloths, and carrying shoulder-height wooden sticks wrapped in black tape. Their shirts and headbands had hexagonal stars on them, and one of them had a few letters of Hebrew written on his head cloth. They were having this free-wheeling discussion from which I recognized several references to events in the Old Testament. Weirdly enough, the guy sitting next to me told me they were actually some kind of Muslim, although I don't know how much I trust that guy's opinion. Does anyone know what religion these people were from?
posted by d. z. wang at 8:45 AM - 14 answers

March 13

Morality, ethics, and right action.
It's been a long time since my philosophy courses in college, and none of the ones I took had a focus on ethics. In the back of my mind I've been wondering if anyone has explored whether there is a disconnect between morality + ethics on the one hand and right action on the other. (Right action is meant in the plain language sense--I don't recall if it's a term of the art or not, but I suspect it is.) [more inside]
posted by jsturgill at 9:01 AM - 10 answers

March 12

I want to learn about the history of Zen.
Alan Watts, in some of his lectures, tells stories of the experiences of Zen teachers and their students- a sort of mystic, mythic history from ages past. Are there books of these sorts of legends? [more inside]
posted by drd at 9:29 PM - 9 answers

March 11

Alternative Bar Mitzvah?
Kid BlahLaLa's getting to be around bar mitzvah age and I want to know what alternative, newfangled options there are out there. Is there any kind of modern bar mitzvah movement happening? Alternative bar mitzvahs? Hipster bar mitzvahs? [more inside]
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:52 AM - 22 answers

March 4

An Inspiring Mantra to Start My Morning?
Do you have a poem, quotation, or mantra you read each morning that puts things in perspective, and inspires you? I'm looking for one to help with motivation when waking up each morning. So far no luck. [more inside]
posted by ratherbethedevil at 7:30 PM - 20 answers

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