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Religion News Report

Religion News Report - Mar. 9, 2000 (Vol. 4, Issue 176) - 2/2

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« Part 1

=== Bob Jones University
26. Interracial dating? Get a note from Mom

=== Jehovah's Witnesses
27. Jehovah's Witnesses considering lawsuit over blood transfusion
28. Two principles in conflict over blood transfusions
29. Patients must be informed before donating organs

=== Mormonism
30. LDS prophet's book targets mainstream readers

=== Islam
31. While some overcome Islamic law, others are bound by it

=== Other
32. Cultists heed experts' warning, to abandon tunnels by mid-year
33. Cultists Shoot LASU Student
34. Religious Group Under Scrutiny
35. Ethnic Russian Religious Sect Seeks Swedish Asylum
36. Chopra Defeats Sex Harassment Suit
37. Vegetarian Antichrist is 'walking among us'
38. 'Devil' talk loses pastor TV slot
39. Mass Hysteria Causes School's Temporary Closure
40. Sikh Wins Discrimination Suit

=== Death Penalty
41. Court Voids Death Sentence After Jury Heard Bible References

=== Science
42. Evolution-creation debate grows louder with Kansas controversy

=== Noted
43. Why the X-Files is becoming our new religion
44. fromUSAlive.com Launches New Program to Explore the Mind and Spirit
45. Power of the Kabbalah


=== Bob Jones University

26. Interracial dating? Get a note from Mom
San Diego Union-Tribune/AP, Mar. 8, 2000
http://www.uniontrib.com/news/uniontrib/wed/index.html
Students who want to take advantage of Bob Jones University's decision to
drop its ban on interracial dating will need a note from their parents.
(...)

Parents must send a letter to the dean of men or women approving the
relationship before the school will allow it, Jones said. He said at the
chapel service that most people view interracial marriage as an unwise
decision.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Jehovah's Witnesses

27. Jehovah's Witnesses considering lawsuit over blood transfusion
The Examiner (Ireland), Mar. 4, 2000
http://ted.examiner.ie/archives/2000/March/4/current/ipage_59.htm
Jehovah's Witnesses are considering suing the State on behalf of the parents
of a child who was given a life saving blood transfusion against their
wishes.

National co ordinator for the religious group, Arthur Matthews, said they
were disturbed at the decision to put the boy in temporary State custody so
surgeons could operate on injuries he sustained in an accident.
(...)

Superintent Michael McGarry of Waterford Garda Station last night said his
staff understood from doctors the child's life was in danger without a
transfusion.

''We invoked the Act in good faith within the law and are delighted the child
is making a good recovery. ''It was never our intention to offend anyone,'' he
said.

This is the first time Section 12 of the Act has been invoked under these
circumstances. Members of the Jehovah's Witnesses believe the move sets a
dangerous precedent for all families.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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* Information about this case can also be found at the site of

Associated Jehovah's Witnesses for Reform on Blood (AJWRB)
http://www.AJWRB.org


28. Two principles in conflict over blood transfusions
Irish Times (Ireland), Mar. 3, 2000
http://scripts.ireland.com/search/highlight.plx?
TextRes=transfusion&Path=/newspaper/
ireland/2000/0303/hom16.htm
(...) It is from this that the Jehovah's Witnesses derive their belief that
blood transfusions are wrong. Legally, their decision to do so can bring
into conflict two fundamental principles: the right to life and the right to
freedom of religious expression.

Where an adult is concerned, the conflict is less sharp, though it is still
difficult for the authorities in that a decision to refuse a blood
transfusion in instances could be construed as suicide, which is illegal.

However, where a child is in a life-threatening situation, and its parents
decide for it in accordance with their beliefs, the conflict becomes acute.

The complexity of that conflict was commented on by Mr Donncha O'Connell,
director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, last night.

He said ''the difficulty of balancing religious freedom with the right to
life is complicated by capacity and consent questions when the right to life
in question is that of a child.

''While it may be perfectly acceptable for an adult, in pursuance of
religious beliefs, to choose to forgo medical intervention, even if this
results in death, it is altogether more problematic if that choice is made on
behalf of a child.

''How can it be said that a child is exercising religious freedom when the
choice of a child's religion [if any] is typically made by a parent?

''If that choice entails a threat to the life of the child, intervention by a
third party is not as objectionable as it might be in another context.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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29. Patients must be informed before donating organs
Irish Times (Ireland), Mar. 4, 2000
http://scripts.ireland.com/search/highlight.plx?
TextRes=transfusion&Path=/newspaper/newsfeatures
/2000/0304/neafea14.htm
Patient consent - or the absence of it - is at the heart of the organ
retention controversy and this week's South Eastern Health Board action to
allow a child to have a blood transfusion, writes Muiris Houston, Medical
Correspondent
(...)

Consent is the legal expression of autonomy. A person has the right to offer
or refuse consent to a treatment or procedure. Set against this there has
been the historical scope given to medical practitioners to judge the amount
of information needed to enable the patient to give valid consent.

As we move from an age of paternalistic healthcare to one of shared
decision-making with the patient, the patient is now seen as a consumer.
(...)

There are many exceptions to the normal rules of consent. One such exception
occurred this week when the parents of a seriously injured child refused on
religious grounds to give consent for blood transfusion as part of surgical
treatment. The treating doctors immediately informed the gardai, who invoked
their powers under Section 12 of the Child Care Act.

The child subsequently received the full range of medical treatment required
for his condition, but without the specific consent of his parents. The local
health board effectively became his legal guardians for the purpose of
granting consent to life-saving treatment.

Consent for treating a child can legally be given by either a parent or
guardian. This does not absolve a doctor of the duty to explain treatment to
a minor in full. In Britain, minors may give valid consent if they fully
understand the nature and consequences of the proposed medical intervention.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Mormonism

30. LDS prophet's book targets mainstream readers
Deseret News, mar. 6, 2000
http://www.deseretnews.com/dn/print/1,1442,155008119,00.html?
The pope has been on the best-seller lists. So has the Dalai Lama - twice.
Now they're joined by LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, whose new
book, ''Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our
Hearts and Homes,'' made USA Today's list after one week in stores.

The book, published by Times Books and billed as a blueprint for recovering
traditional values, is not President Hinckley's first. But it is his first
brought to market by a non-LDS publisher and aimed at non-LDS readers.
(...)

According to the trade magazine Publishers Weekly, religious book sales led
the industry in growth in 1998, with annual sales up by 18.6 percent while
No. 2 travel increased by 4.6 percent.

''This is being very much talked about in the industry,'' said Phyllis
Tickle, the magazine's contributing editor for religion. ''It's forcing
commercial bookstores to open religious sections where they didn't have them
before,'' Tickle said.
(...)

At a Barnes and Noble store in Salt Lake City, for example, two dozen books
have been pulled off the shelves and stacked on a table labeled
''Spirituality,'' a broad category that includes everything from vampires to
Feng Shui to ''Meditation for Dummies.''

But the big draws are right at eye level: the pope's '''An Invitation to
Joy,'' Deepak Chopra's ''How to Know God,'' and three books by Neale Donald
Walsch
, the author of ''Conversations With God.''
(...)

President Hinckley's book, with a foreword by journalist Mike Wallace and
back blurbs by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., and former federal drug czar
William Bennett, fits the mold.

There is no mention of LDS theology, even though President Hinckley is
considered a prophet by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints. And Ben Franklin plays more prominently than Brigham Young.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Islam

31. While some overcome Islamic law, others are bound by it
Star-Tribune, Mar. 5, 2000
http://www.startribune.com/stOnLine/cgi-bin/article?
thisSlug=HOUS05date=05-Mar-2000
Mohamed Hadi, a fundamentalist Muslim, had a serious dilemma: He desperately
wanted to buy a house, but he also wanted the house to be halal, or favorable
in the eyes of God.

His prayers were answered by Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota, which offers
the state's only alternative to home financing that doesn't violate an
Islamic law against paying interest.
(...)

Many practicing Muslims earn too much money to qualify for Habitat's strict
income guidelines, so they are forced to remain in rental housing, deal with
private lenders who charge interest on mortgages or compromise their
religious beliefs.
(...)

Some Orthodox Jews, some Christians and members of other faiths also frown on
interest, said Steve Seidel, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of
Minnesota, a Christian organization founded upon that principle.
(...)

Minnesota's Muslim population has doubled over the past five years, thanks in
part to the influx of many African Muslims.
(...)

Many of North America's estimated 6 million Muslims are grappling with the
issue of paying mortgage interest, said Ibrahim Hooper, communications
director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group
based in Washington, D.C.

''It's a difficult situation for Muslims,'' Hooper said. ''People say, 'You
can rent instead.' But rent also is based on interest. The landlord charges
enough money in rent to make money to pay a mortgage. It's very difficult for
us to get away from interest in this society.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Other

32. Cultists heed experts' warning, to abandon tunnels by mid-year
The Philippine Star (Philippines), Mar. 6, 2000
http://www.philstar.com/datedata/e06_mar6/gen16.htm
No ''ring of fire'' came, but earthquakes and landslides might, and they
better leave, government experts warned them.

Now, cultists here led by octogenarian Seferino Quinte, apprised of the
potential disasters, vowed to leave by mid-year the tunnels they have dug up
to save themselves from the doomsday they imagined the new millennium would
bring.

In a dialogue last Friday, a team of experts from the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology
and Seismology (Phivolcs) finally convinced Quinte's group to abandon the 51
tunnels they have carved out of the old man's four-hectare hilly property
here since two years ago.

Quinte assured the government experts and local authorities that his family
and followers would return to their homes by July. About 50 families, from
the original 160, remain at the site.

Quinte's grandson Nelson, the cult's secretary and spokesman, opposed,
however, the old man's decision, saying they should vacate the place if no
doomsday signs occur on Good Friday, the entire month of May, June 24, Dec.
24-25 and up to Jan. 1, 2001.
(...)

Quinte had predicted that a ''ring of fire'' would occur with the dawning of
the new millennium. But no such catastrophe occurred, instead diseases
hounded the cultists, killing at least three persons, including Quinte's own
grandson.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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33. Cultists Shoot LASU Student
Africa News Service/P.M. News (Lagos), Mar. 7, 2000
http://www.africanews.org/west/nigeria/stories/20000307/20000307_feat8.html
The quiet atmosphere at the Lagos State University, (LASU) Ojo was this
morning shattered when about 7 men suspected to be secret cult members
invaded the campus and shot a female student, injuring her seriously.

Three of the suspected cultists were said to have been arrested by the
students who thereafter handed them over to the police at Ojo Police Station.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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34. Religious Group Under Scrutiny
Albuquerque Journal/AP, Mar. 6, 2000
http://www.abqjournal.com/news/1impact03-06-00.htm
School district officials plan to take a closer look at religious groups that
want to rent school space for events. Superintendent Veronica Garcia said
she plans to make sure groups follow school conduct codes that preach
tolerance before allowing them to rent space.

The Santa Fe school district made the announcement after a parent called the
American Civil Liberties Union on Friday to complain that an international
evangelical group was spreading its message on public school campuses.

The group, Impact World Tour, travels the world promoting its Christian
message -- part of which is to avoid certain religious groups that it does
not consider Christian. A group spokesman said Impact doesn't consider
Mormons or Unitarians to be Christians.
(...)

School board policy allows public facilities to be rented to religious
groups. However, if the groups promote intolerance of certain groups, the
district could say they are in violation of the public schools Code of
Conduct.
(...)

Derek Vaksdal, director of Impact, said the evangelical group does not
misrepresent itself and does not talk about religion during daytime events in
the schools. He also said the group does not view Mormons or Unitarians as
Christian and therefore encourages students to avoid those churches.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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* Unitarian Universalism is a pluralistic, cafeteria religion, and can
therefore not be Christian.

"Across the vast expanse of American religion, Unitarianism is as far
removed from mainstream Christian orthodoxy as Iceland is from the
equator."
- A quest for truth: Unitarian Universalists appeal to seekers,

Mormonism is a pseudo-Christian religion. Theologically, it is a cult of
Christianity



35. Ethnic Russian Religious Sect Seeks Swedish Asylum
Russia Today/Reuters, Mar. 7, 2000
http://www.russiatoday.com/news.php3?id=140973
More than 100 ethnic Russians belonging to a religious sect were being
questioned on Tuesday by Swedish immigration officials after they landed in
Malmo from the Polish port of Swinoujscie.

The 40 adults and 68 children originally from Lithuania, Latvia, Georgia and
Azerbaijan, are seeking asylum in Sweden, but officials here said they were
likely to be sent back to Poland.
(...)

The group belongs to a small Protestant breakaway sect which numbers only 150
people.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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36. Chopra Defeats Sex Harassment Suit
APBnews/AP, Mar. 7, 2000
http://www.apbnews.com/media/celebnews/2000/03/07/chopraverdict0307_01.html
Spiritual guru Deepak Chopra has been vindicated by a court system that just
weeks ago he denounced as corrupt.

After deliberating for 10 minutes, a jury unanimously rejected a lawsuit by
one of Chopra's former co-workers that claimed she was fired because she
accused Chopra of sexual harassment.
(...)

In a previous lawsuit, a different jury rejected Chopra's claim that former
co-worker Joyce Weaver tried to blackmail him over an alleged tryst with a
prostitute. The unanimous verdict was a major blow to Chopra, who immediately
accused the San Diego judicial system of being corrupt.

''Maybe it is my karma to dismantle the corruption in the San Diego judicial
system,'' Chopra said at the time. ''God has chosen me for this role.''
(...)

A court hearing is scheduled March 15 to discuss whether the previous verdict
against Chopra should be thrown out, Flynn said. Chopra's attorneys allege
that Murphy was biased against them, based on his comment about DiMare.

The main issues of the previous case -- the prostitute's story and the
alleged blackmail -- were missing from the current lawsuit. Instead, the
two-week trial focused almost entirely on arcane matters of workplace law.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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37. Vegetarian Antichrist is 'walking among us'
The Times (England), Mar. 6, 2000
http://www.the-times.co.uk/news/pages/tim/2000/03/06/timfgneur01004.html?999
The leading conservative contender to succeed the Pope yesterday said that
the ''Antichrist'' was already on Earth in the guise of a prominent
philanthropist whose concern for human rights and the environment and
advocacy of ecumenicism masks his real aim: the destruction of Christianity
and ''the death of God''.

Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, 71, the Archbishop of Bologna, said the Antichrist
was not the beast with seven heads described in the Book of Revelation but a
''fascinating personality'' whose outward charm and plausibility had deceived
his enemies. Cardinal Biffi said the Antichrist espoused vegetarianism,
pacifism, environmentalism and animal rights.

He also identified the Antichrist as an expert on the Bible who nonetheless
promotes ''vague and fashionable spiritual values'' rather than the
Scriptures.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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38. 'Devil' talk loses pastor TV slot
The New Zealand Herald, Mar. 6, 2000
http://www.herald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?
storyID=123800&thesection=news&thesubsection=general
Television New Zealand has pulled the plug on a controversial evangelist who
preaches that having female political leaders is a sign of the devil.

Following its decision yesterday to pull Pakuranga evangelist Brian Tamaki's
scheduled 6.50 am Saturday slot, TVNZ has promised a review of information
standards.
(...)

The Churches Broadcasting Commission chairman, Ray Oppenheim, a Lower Hutt
Anglican vicar, said there was a big difference between Mr Tamaki's
infomercial-type broadcast and quality religious broadcasting.
(...)

''One of the functions of government is to encourage a range of religious and
ethical views, not to encourage something that's damning and insulting to
other people's beliefs.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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39. Mass Hysteria Causes School's Temporary Closure
Africa News/PANA, Mar. 8, 2000
http://www.africanews.org/south/botswana/stories/
20000308/20000308_feat1.html
A secondary school in Botswana whose students have been suffering from a
mysterious mental disorder, diagnosed as hysteria, was finally closed Tuesday
after consultations between education officials and parents.
(...)

The problem has affected 94 students in the school alone and spread to
primary schools in Gumare. There are reports that even residents of the area
are being affected by the disease which is characterised by uncontrolled and
unprovoked laughter, screaming, crying and talking. Other symptoms are
refusal to eat, talk and strange and violent behaviour.

Affected students have caused injuries to their teachers and themselves
besides destroying school property.
(...)

Meanwhile, a side-show in the strange sag was introduced when some villagers
claimed in meetings with education officials that the problem was caused by
witchcraft.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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40. Sikh Wins Discrimination Suit
MSNBC/AP, Mar. 6, 2000
http://www.msnbc.com/local/WNCN/70796.asp
Major Singh agreed to an out-of-court settlement with Weck Closure Systems in
Research Triangle Park and Adecco Temporary Services, the firm that found him
the job.

According to Sikh teachings, hair is a gift from God and should not be cut,
but kept tidy and treated with respect. Sikh men wear their long hair in a
bun tucked under a turban. Their beards often are knotted, as is Singh's,
tightly against their necks.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Death Penalty

41. Court Voids Death Sentence After Jury Heard Bible References
Law News Network, Mar. 7, 2000
http://www.lawnewsnetwork.com/stories/A17977-2000Mar6.html
(...) Hornsby quoted several Old and New Testament passages about bloodshed
or the taking of a life to make his arguments about the use of punishment as
deterrence.

Clayton Superior Court Judge Deborah C. Benefield erred in letting Hornsby
''urge the jury to follow the religious mandates of the Bible rather than
Georgia law,'' wrote Presiding Justice Norman S. Fletcher for the court.
(...)

''It's a sad day when a jury cannot be reminded of the importance of the
Bible and its teachings,'' says Hornsby, now a civil lawyer with Alembik,
Fine & Callner. Deciding to impose the death penalty is a moral decision, he
adds, and the Bible is ''the greatest moral compass'' the world has ever
known.
(...)

But one of Carruthers' attorneys, John A. Beall IV of Jonesboro's Melnick &
Beall, says the court is taking seriously ''its duty to protect individuals
charged with the death penalty from appeals to undue passion and prejudice''
being made to the jury. ''This is another case where the prosecution may have
pushed the envelope,'' says Beall, who handled the appeal with William Sander
Callahan of Atlanta.
(...)

The problem with biblical references, Fletcher wrote, is they ''inject the
often irrelevant and inflammatory issue of religion into the sentencing
process and improperly appeal to the religious beliefs of jurors in their
decision on whether a person should live or die.''

While fleeting oratorical references to religious texts during arguments are
acceptable, those are distinct from references ''that urge that the teachings
of a particular religion command the imposition of the death penalty,''
Fletcher wrote.

''In contrast to biblical law, Georgia law gives the jury the discretion to
recommend life imprisonment or death,'' he added.

The court has previously specifically disapproved of prosecutors quoting
Bible verses to support the death penalty, Fletcher wrote, adding that
''Despite this disapproval and repeated admonitions, prosecutors have
continued to quote the Bible and urge its teachings and trial courts have
continued to permit the arguments.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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* If the likes of Mr. Hornsby are consistent, they'd likely be working
overtime killing, say, stubborn and rebellious sons as well:

(Deuteronomy 21:18-21 NNAS) "If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son
who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he
will not even listen to them, {19} then his father and mother shall seize
him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his
home town. {20} "They shall say to the elders of his city, 'This son of
ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and
a drunkard.' {21} "Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death;
so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of
it and fear.

Such a mass slaughter would certain puzzle the people of Israel.



=== Science

42. Evolution-creation debate grows louder with Kansas controversy
CNN, Mar. 8, 2000
http://www.cnn.com/2000/US/03/08/creationism.vs.evolution/index.html
(...) Scientists condemned last summer's decision by the Kansas Board of
Education making evolutionary theory optional in the state's science
education standards. But creationists considered it a victory.
(...)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1987 that states cannot teach creationism.
Since then, some creationists have turned to attacking evolution's validity.

Board member John Bacon said the action taken by his Kansas colleagues puts
both positions on an equal footing. ''Rather than mandate one theory over
another,'' he said, ''we took both off and said, 'Just let the scientific
evidence speak for itself and let the students make up their own minds.'''
(...)

But critics of the new standards worry that some schools won't include those
subjects because they no longer will be covered on standardized tests given
to Kansas students.

While the Kansas controversy has drawn most recent attention, the creationist
position seems to have wide support nationwide.

A CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll found that 68 percent of those surveyed favored
teaching creationism along with evolution in public schools; 40 percent
favored dropping evolution altogether and teaching children only the biblical
version of creation.

The findings, though, are not necessarily a trend. Developments from around
the United States following the Kansas decision in August show varying
approaches to creationist-evolutionist controversy and how it should be
addressed in classrooms:
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Noted

43. Why the X-Files is becoming our new religion
Ottawa Citizen Online (Canada), Mar. 5, 2000
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/national/000306/3706306.html
[Cafeteria Religion]
(...) More than an entertaining television show created by Canadian Chris
Carter seven years ago, The X-Files represents the state of beliefs and
spirituality at the millennium, according to a U.S. religion and culture
scholar.

The hordes of TV viewers that have followed FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana
Scully in their pursuit of paranormal activities and ''the truth out there''
illustrate a new kind of believer, says Daniel Noel.

''People watching want to believe there is proof and don't accept the
skeptical side,'' says Mr. Noel, a professor of liberal studies in religion
and culture at Norwich University's Vermont College in Montpelier, Vermont.
(...)

Unlike the ''believing in'' nature of traditional religions, millennial
spirituality insists on a process of ''believing'' that something exists,
which ''may work for science, but doesn't work so well for spirituality,''
says Mr. Noel, who delivered a lecture on the topic at the University of
Ottawa on Friday.

(His host, the department of classics and religious studies, has created a
new curriculum focus area on religion and culture.)

Mr. Noel says that although this new form of belief has reached its apex, its
origins date back to the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago. ''Reformers
wanted a kind of validity that science was offering for their spiritual sense
of the world,'' Mr. Noel says.
(...)

What has emerged, suggests Mr. Noel, is a ''hybrid spirituality where people
are believing the unbelievable'' and the truth is not what it used to be, he
explains. The ''rising tide of irrationalism'' has spawned a millennial
''reductio-ad-absurdum'' spirituality revealed in many different ways.

Advertisements for the fictional Blair Witch Project movie promote ''newly
discovered footage.''

When NBC aired a made-for-TV film last November about a Y2K-related computer
disaster, the network posted a disclaimer warning viewers the film was not a
factual account.
(...)

A recent TV ad for Purina Dog Chow shows a Labrador retriever doing a triple
somersault in the air and then bouncing a tennis ball on its paw. The
commercial ends with the line: ''Incredible dog chow, incredible dogs.''

As Mr. Noel says, ''You can't believe this, but you're seeing it. The visual
media of turn-of-the-millennium popular culture are having a special effect
on belief.''

He says TV shows dealing with the bizarre and paranormal have reflected a
millennial yearning to settle unresolved questions.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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44. fromUSAlive.com Launches New Program to Explore the Mind and Spirit
Yahoo/Entertainment Wire, Mar. 7, 2000 (Press Release)
http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/000307/pa_fromusa_1.html
The fromUSAlive.com Internet TV Network officially premiered Science and the
Outer Streams today, a show that examines unusual phenomena and the spiritual
realm. The program is on-demand, so each of the weekly episodes is accessible
to the viewer at any time by clicking on http://www.fromUSAlive.com/outer.

Andy Nesky, the host of the show, is the president of the Theosophical
Society in Pittsburgh, PA, and has twice been elected Master of the Masonic
Lodge. I think we have a really unique idea here, a way to combine
demographics people have never seen before,'' Mr. Nesky said. Esoteric
studies, mysticism, spirituality, psychology and speculative science speak to
almost everyone. The only challenge up to now has been how to combine them.''
(...)

Discussion on Science and the Outer Streams focuses on topics such as
religion, parapsychology, psychic activity, feng shui, artificial
intelligence and mysticism. Past guests have included a Native American
Wisdom Keeper, a Wiccan teacher, a student of Jungian analysis and an expert
on labyrinths.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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45. Power of the Kabbalah
Philadelphia Daily News, Mar. 6, 2000
http://www.phillynews.com/daily_news/2000/Mar/06/features/KABB06.htm
What the Beatles did for transcendental meditation in the 1960s, Madonna,
Elizabeth Taylor and Courtney Love may be doing for the study of the Kabbalah
- the mystical tradition that lies at the root of Jewish practice.

Christians, skeptics, even atheists have found benefit from these Jewish
teachings, according to Rabbi Yehuda Shemtov, of suburban Philadelphia.
Shemtov has put together a national Jewish seminar that offers an
introduction to the broad range of mystical texts that were passed down
verbally for thousands of years, and at one time considered to be a knowledge
too powerful for ordinary people to receive.

Shemtov's program, called ''Inward Bound,'' is a 41/2-hour course that
includes group study and discussion, meditation, guided visualizations and
interactive exercises.

More than 1,000 people across the country have gone through the course since
Shemtov started it about four years ago. That's not a lot of people, but it's
important to limit class size in order to keep it interactive, he says.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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