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The Best Articles of the Year: Religion
What God does to your brain
The controversial science of neurotheology aims to find the answer to an age-old question: why do we believe? When neuroscientist Andrew Newberg scanned the brain of “Kevin”, a staunch atheist, while he was meditating, he made a fascinating discovery.
The Dark Knight of the Soul
For some, meditation has become more curse than cure. Willoughby Britton wants to know why. Set back on quiet College Hill in Providence, Rhode Island, sits a dignified, four story, 19th-century house that belongs to Dr. Willoughby Britton. Inside, it is warm, spacious, and organized.
Taming the Mind
Dan Harris is a co-anchor of Nightline and the weekend edition of Good Morning America on ABC News. He has reported from all over the world, covering wars in Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine, and Iraq, and producing investigative reports in Haiti, Cambodia, and the Congo.
Between Godliness and Godlessness
ALMOST midway through Sam Harris’s new book, “Waking Up,” he paints a scene that will shock many of his fans, who know him as one of the country’s most prominent and articulate atheists. He describes a walk in Jesus’ footsteps, and the way he was touched by it.
Pope Francis: The Times They Are A-Changin'
Nearly every Wednesday in Rome, the faithful and the curious gather in St. Peter's Square for a general audience with the pope. Since the election of the former Jorge Mario Bergoglio last March, attendance at papal events has tripled to 6.6 million.
Beyond true and false
Western philosophers have not, on the whole, regarded Buddhist thought with much enthusiasm. As a colleague once said to me: ‘It’s all just mysticism.’ This attitude is due, in part, to ignorance. But it is also due to incomprehension.
Nick Spencer begins his spirited history of atheism with a fairy tale. Once upon a time, people lived in ignorant superstition, offering sacrifices to monsters in the sky.
Sinners in the Hands
Andy and Patty Grove never planned to settle outside of Texas. Their roots in the state reach back many generations.
The Destruction of Mecca
WHEN Malcolm X visited Mecca in 1964, he was enchanted. He found the city “as ancient as time itself,” and wrote that the partly constructed extension to the Sacred Mosque “will surpass the architectural beauty of India’s Taj Mahal.”
Why Hollywood Thinks Atheism Is Bad for Business
After Matthew McConaughey took the stage to accept his Best Actor award at the Oscars on Sunday, he began his speech by thanking God, praising the deity for giving him “opportunities that I know are not of my hand or of any other human hand.
The God decision
Ever since I read Richard Dawkins’s book The God Delusion (2006), one thing has stayed with me above all the fiery polemics.
Why Aren’t More Americans Atheists?
Many expressed surprise recently when, in one of its periodic surveys of Americans’ views of other faiths, the Pew Research Center found that atheists fare poorly—fully 40 percent of those polled described their views toward atheists as “cold.
Scientology’s Vanished Queen
After the wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige disappeared from public view, in 2007, those who asked questions were stonewalled, or worse. Now interviews with former insiders provide a grim picture of Shelly Miscavige’s youth, marriage, and fall from grace—and an assessment of her fate.
Religion's sinister fairy tale: Extremists, the religious right, Reza Aslan and the fight for reason
Not long ago, I gave an interview in which I said that my biggest problem with so-called New Atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins is that they give atheism a bad name.
Zionism and Israel’s War with Hamas in Gaza
My great-grandfather’s brother, Michael Adler, was a distinguished rabbi who in 1916 compiled the “Prayer Book for Jewish Sailors and Soldiers” at the front during World War I. As “chaplain,” he toured battlefields administering last rites.
Not believing in God isn't always based on reasoned arguments—and that's okay. Religious beliefs are remarkably various. But sometimes it can seem that there is only one way to be an atheist: asserting, on the basis of reasoned argument, that belief in God is irrational.
The destructive myth about religion that Americans disproportionately believe
The U.S. is the last remaining highly developed country that hasn't abandoned this problematic belief This article originally appeared on AlterNet. This week, Pew Research Center published the results of a survey conducted among 40,080 people in 40 countries between 2011 and 2013.
Bill Maher Isn’t the Only One Who Misunderstands Religion
BILL MAHER’s recent rant against Islam has set off a fierce debate about the problem of religious violence, particularly when it comes to Islam. Mr.