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Questions in the Religion & Philosophy category.
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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

February 27

A typology of joyful pursuits?
I'm looking for resources to help better understand the different types of activities that bring people joy and meaning. [more inside]
posted by figgy_finicky at 8:47 AM - 9 answers

February 25

How can I convince Mormon missionaries to stop visiting my house?
Is there anything (excepting ridiculous things like opening the door naked) that I can do to get blacklisted by Mormom missionaries? [more inside]
posted by Saminal at 3:57 PM - 57 answers

February 19

Agnostic prayers, polytheistic prayers, and meditation chants.
I am an agnostic that really likes the calming effect of prayer, but am totally not interested in the monotheism or taking organized religion very seriously in general. Do you have prayer advice for me, and what sort of agnostic or polytheistic prayers (or meditative practices) do you take part in? Resources and recommendations are welcomed! [more inside]
posted by Hawk V at 8:15 AM - 20 answers

February 18

Which edition of Paradise Lost is best for a beginner?
Which edition of Paradise Lost is best for a beginner? I'm reading the poem for the first time, and for own entertainment / education rather than as a class assignment. Any recommendations as to the best edition for someone new to the poem? Or just your own favorite? Thanks.
posted by typer126 at 5:26 PM - 6 answers

Chicago Churches
I am looking for a church in Chicago - one that meets a few particular requirements. [more inside]
posted by Ruby Me at 3:38 PM - 6 answers

February 17

A Bit Nietzche but I'm Hoping for an Answer, Locke, Stock and Barrel.
So, I've been trying to hash out my philosophic and intangible beliefs and I realized that the only thing I really, truly connect with in a belief sense is Nothing, the dark. To be clear, I don't mean this melodramatically, I simply mean this in the sense that I find the fact that when I close my eyes at night that the idea that, as Roger Ebert put it, "I was perfectly content before I was born" comes to mind. That there is more that does not exist in this world than does. From John Locke (blank slate ideas) to Nietzche and religion, can you good people point me very broadly in the direction of thoughts on the nothing that surrounds us? Thanks!
posted by sendai sleep master at 11:28 AM - 15 answers

February 16

Un-Christlike behavior by U.S. conservatives?
I'm looking to collect as many specific examples as I can, of instances in which specific Republican/conservative behaviors and/or political moves have directly contradicted the teachings of Christ. Some specific examples within. [more inside]
posted by jbickers at 3:18 PM - 21 answers

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