This Week in Religion 2017-10-08

by | October 8, 2017


Scott Douglas Jacobsen

“More than one in five countries has an official state religion, with the majority being Muslim states, and a further 20% of countries have a preferred or favoured religion.

A slim majority (53%) of counties has no official or preferred religion, and 10 (5%) are hostile to religion, according to a report by the Washington-based Pew Research Center.

Most of the 43 countries with state religions are in the Middle East and North”


“”Will God survive science?” asks the author of the blockbuster “The Da Vinci Code” and other philosophical-religious thrillers during a recent interview. “All the gods of our past have fallen. So the question now is: Are we naive to think the gods of today won’t suffer the same fate?”

His new novel is “Origin,” already a chart-topper on, and for Brown fans a familiar blend of travelogue, history, conspiracies and whodunit, with asides on everything from the poetry of William Blake to the rise and fall of fascism in Spain.

Brown protagonist Robert Langdon, a Harvard symbologist, is in Spain and back in danger. A former student, Edmond Kirsch, has been assassinated just as he’s ready to unveil a scientific-technological breakthrough that he promises will bring about the downfall of Western religion and revolutionize how people think of life and death. Langdon, with the help of a prince’s wayward lover and a voice of artificial intelligence named Winston, attempts to find out what Kirsch had planned.”


“The ‘Mission of Delhi Police’ charter highlights the need for the force to discharge its duty with ‘integrity, common sense and sound judgment’ and to act ‘without fear, or favour or prejudice’. The station house officer (SHO) and a few of his colleagues forgot these objectives when they hosted controversial ‘godwoman’ Radhe Maa at a police station in east Delhi on September 28. A photograph of the ‘godwoman’ — who has been accused in at least two cases, including one of dowry harassment — sitting on the SHO’s chair, along with a video of policemen singing songs/ bhajans with her soon went viral on social media.

It is shocking and shameful that the pending criminal cases against Radhe Maa — recently, a Mumbai court rejected her application to drop her name from the dowry harassment case — did not deter the policemen from allowing her to sit on the SHO’s chair.”


“You know how it is. A newswriter comes across a really interesting item and sets it aside for a serious second look.

Then the pile of other goodies continues to grow and said item disappears amid the clutter on your desk. Weeks or months go by, you force yourself to clean up, and there it is. At this particular weblog, the GetReligionistas like to talk about finding things in their “Guilt Files.” Well, we all have them.

In just such a cleanup, The Religion Guy unearthed three set-aside articles about U.S. culture with solid story potential for fellow writers on the beat:

One more time, “Nones” explained: Writing last January 23 for the scholarly, Richard Flory of the University of Southern California culled current research for the five chief factors behind the recent rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans (“Nones”)”


“A Missouri woman who is an adherent of the Satanic Temple won a victory in court last week in her quest to show that state abortion law violates her religious beliefs.

The Western District Court of Appeals ruled in her favor Tuesday, writing that her constitutional challenge — rare for its basis in religion — presented “a contested matter of right that involves fair doubt and reasonable room for disagreement.”

The woman, identified as Mary Doe in court documents, argued that her religion does not adhere to the idea that life begins at conception, and, because of that, the prerequisites for an abortion in Missouri are unconstitutionally violating her freedom of religion protected by the First Amendment.”


What is freedom of religion? It is not actually or directly freedom to think or not think religious stuff — not to the extent that one can, or chooses to, keep one’s thoughts secret. Rather, it is the right to display or to refuse to display religiosity.

If you have freedom of religion, as I think everyone should — and if we all have the right to our own lives and well-being, as I think we should — then as long as you’re not hurting anyone else, you have the right to hold various things sacred: books, statues, symbols, buildings, trees, whatever. And everyone else has the right not to hold those things sacred.

In Saudi Arabia, if you do not act as if you hold certain objects and words and behaviors sacred, your life is in jeopardy.”


“IF I ASKED you what comes to mind when you hear the word “blasphemy”, what would you say? Would you think of comical scenes from Life of Brian? Or of places where religious oppression is rife?

Would you even be aware that in Ireland blasphemy is a crime that could cost you up to €25,000? If not, you’re probably about to hear a lot more about our blasphemy law. In 2018, we may be voting on repealing it.”


Category: Features Tags: , , , ,

About Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere. You can contact Scott via email, his website, or Twitter.

One thought on “This Week in Religion 2017-10-08

  1. Tim Underwood

    “scientific-technological breakthrough that he promises will bring about the downfall of Western religion”

    It’s probably worth the admission to find out how science finally trumps mythology. This won’t be very convincing, I’m sure.

    What should trump Christian Mythology is the proof that the Roman Emperors (the pagan ones) oversaw the writing of the Gospel stories. See ‘Creating Christ’ by James Valliant.


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