As The Vatican, the American Public and Republican Christians remain divided on Ted Kennedy’s “State of Grace” and “very Catholic Funeral”, US scholars debate new ways to communicate with, or ex-communicate, God. Soul’s Code highlights the great divide!
Where Americans disagree: “Kennedy funeral rings with hope, Twitter with vitriol”
Edward Moore Kennedy wrote to the Pope: “I’ve never failed to believe”
In recent years Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens have been grouped under the banner “the new atheists”, a contemporary atheistic stab at debunking God’s existence and religious faith. The new atheists certainly have theistic opponents, yet another, even smaller, group has entered the fray; call them the new non-theist anti-atheists. Terry Eagleton’s new book Faith, Reason and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate takes a decidedly non-theological stance in critiquing the new atheists, who, Eagleton argues, have little to no background in theology and each fails to understand the political nature of religion (due to their own fundamentalist atheism). A marxist critiquing atheists writing about religion is ironic in the extreme.
The word “liturgy” literally means “work of the people”; how about work for the brain? Andrew Newberg’s new book, ”How God Changes Your Brain”, argues that actions often deemed “religious” have beneficial mental effects. Theological speculation, meditative prayer, and performing elaborite rites can boost brain power according to Newberg, making spiritual practice an educational experience. In an age where rote memorization of prayers, thinking theologically at an early age, and greater involvement in liturgical rites are not popular in the US, Newberg’s findings may changes the minds of religious educators and parents.
Alon Nir, an Israeli university student from Tel Aviv, has made tweeting God a possibility. Prayers can be sent to Nir, printed on paper, and devoutly placed in crevices in the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Nir keeps the prayers confidential and removes the obstacle of distance for those unable to travel to Jerusalem and deliver the prayers in person. Though Nir is not asked to pray on behalf of those tweeting, he does play an intercessory role in bring the prayers to God in Judaism’s holiest site.
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