Religion

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Guessing Game: Anton LaVey, Nietzsche, or Ayn Rand?

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All the hails belong to today’s birthday boy, pop culture icon of evil and Satanist Anton LaVey. The eccentric Church of Satan founder constructed his organization based on principles of individualism, egoism, and atheism — a few traits he shares in common with abyss-ful philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and creator of Objectivism, the evil-obsessed (and just plain evil, to many) Ayn Rand. In fact, LaVey once said: “My religion is just Ayn Rand’s philosophy with ceremony and ritual added.” Sometimes it’s hard to tell the three wearers of black apart when judging by their words — which is why we decided to have a little fun with the deeply cynical trio (we can already hear Rand protesting that term from beyond the grave) with a guessing game. Who said it: Anton LaVey, Nietzsche, or Ayn Rand?
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Why Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law Isn’t Just Morally Wrong — It’s Bad Law

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There’s been an ongoing controversy over Indiana’s adoption of a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), largely because of the potential it grants for the discrimination against LGBT people on religious grounds. This week, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook penned an op-ed for the Washington Post wherein he argued that the laws “go against very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.” He’s right on both counts, but the first is one that warrants exploring further, because the RFRA in all its incarnations isn’t just a bad law — it’s a fundamentally ill-conceived one.
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Torres. (photo by Shawn Brackbill/courtesy of Partisan Records)

“Healing Is Fun for Me”: Torres on Her Raw New Album and Why SXSW Is Still Worth It for Artists

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AUSTIN, TX: Mackenzie Scott is having a moment, in more ways than one. When I meet up with the 24-year-old indie-rock singer-songwriter known as Torres outside a cafe called Cenote on Austin’s east side on Friday, the second to last day of SXSW, she’s just had to beg the employees working a private event to let her use their bathroom so she can have the decency of vomiting in private. “I haven’t been sleeping or resting or eating like I normally do when I’m at home, so I think it just took a toll on my body,” she says.
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Still image from "Going Clear"

Sundance Docs ‘Going Clear’ and ‘Prophet’s Prey’ Ask: Religion or Cult?

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PARK CITY, UT: Late in Prophet’s Prey, Amy Berg’s provocative
and powerful documentary case against FLDS church head Warren Jeffs, author Jon Krakauer says this about the church’s continued dedication to a man who is clearly a monster: “It speaks to something disturbing about human nature. Once you believe something, it’s very, very difficult to give that up completely.” That simple yet undeniable truth lies at the center of not only Prophet’s Prey but Going Clear, Alex Gibney’s already controversial look at the history and methodology of the Church of Scientology. Both films use extensive documentation, buried tapes, and testimony from departed members to paint portraits of organizations that would call themselves one thing (church), while most sensible people would call them another (cult).
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22 Cultural Icons on Spirituality

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The icons we admire in the pop culture sphere are often quiet about their religious and spiritual lives, determined to keep one piece of themselves away from prying eyes. But every now and then, these cultural icons open up to us about their deepest beliefs. After learning about a lecture series on Buddhism by Jorge Luis Borges on Open Culture, we decided to get metaphysical. Here’s what our culture’s most talented and keen have to say about their inner lives — stances on the spiritual, religious views, and more.
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Your Holiday Helping of Home Cooked Food (and Sex Robots): Links You Need To See

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Calories are not the first thing on my mind during the holidays—but maybe they should be. The “average” amount of calories the “average” person should eat daily is approximately 2000; younger people should eat more than older people, and men typically need more calories than women. At The New York Times‘ blog The Upshot, Claire Cain Miller, David Leonhardt, and other writers put together the multimedia story “What 2000 Calories Looks Like” to give you a better idea of just how much you’re consuming every day. To be honest, Shake Shack isn’t as bad as I thought.
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35 Susan Sontag Quotes on Art, Writing, and Life

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Susan Sontag’s prose style captivated readers, and her assertive critical stance never failed to invite controversy. This month marks the tenth anniversary of the author’s passing, and the documentary Regarding Susan Sontag airs on HBO tonight. In honor of both occasions, we revisited her journals and books to find some of Sontag’s most thought-provoking quotes on everything from relationships and art to war and pop… Read More