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This Week in World Religion 2018–05–27


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/05/27

“(RNS) — The overwhelming vote in Ireland in favor of allowing access to abortion shows that the pro-life movement needs a new strategy. Trying to preserve anti-abortion laws or trying to reverse the legalization of abortion is simply not working.

In almost every country where abortion has been on the ballot, abortion has won. Rarely have pro-choice laws been reversed. This trend is not going to change. To think otherwise is simply ignoring reality.

The American pro-life movement still holds out hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will reverse Roe v. Wade, but even if that does happen, most Americans will still live in states where abortion is legal. Those who don’t will be able to travel to a state where it is, just as Irish women have long traveled to Britain.

The reality is that most Americans think that abortion should be legal even if they think it is immoral. There is no indication that this thinking will change. In fact, opinion is moving in the opposite direction, thanks to the attitudes of younger generations. The Pew Research Center shows Americans under 50 are more likely than their elders to support abortion in all or most cases. Likewise, in Ireland, younger people voted more strongly to change the law. Time is on the side of the pro-choice movement.

If making abortion illegal is an impossible goal, what should be the pro-life strategy for the foreseeable future?È


“he theory of artificial intelligence will lead to altering the society where machines will make a huge leap of progress and eventually become smarter than human beings. Technology and artificial intelligence are tailored to the life of people from clothing to healthcare. Recently, the theory of artificial intelligence has been weaved into religion. Consider a hypothetical example, in 2040 humans are attending a wedding felicitated by Pastor Asimo at the church of humans and robots. This is kind of a ludicrous situation, but this same scenario is debated over by great minds of theology and technology. Are religion and artificial intelligence compatible?

It is not the first-time humans have worshipped non-human entities. The Sun, the Moon and other natural forces have long been the subject of worship. Also, we see human beings’ own creations: statues, man-made deities and temples have all been built and worshipped. Yet for the first time, creations made by human beings will be able to do more than just stand there mutely. In all the ways, it will be far superior to their creators. An ex-Google executive named Anthony Levandowski has already embarked himself as the leader of a new “religion” called The Way of the Future, which will emphasize on “the realization, acceptance and worship of a godhead based on artificial intelligence developed through computer hardware and software”.

Starting from daily prayer app to robot priest, different faith all over the world has entwined their religious modules along with technology to deliver it to their followers. Say for example devotees of Catholicism can tune into Confession chatbot app to interact in a live two-way conversation. This will help the person confess his innermost secrets without any hesitation.”


“t took me over 30 years to come to this beautiful religion called Islam and I took my time for which I am happy. I explored it from all angles — from the perspective of professors, Islamic scholars to even so many negative articles online about Islam. People have actually put their full research online where they talk only and only ill about Islam. But in the end, I realised that what is right is right even if the world talks ill about it and what is wrong is wrong even if the whole world sides with it.

Since the time I began sharing this diary entry on my first Ramadan, I have been getting a lot of inquiries from non-Muslims who are curious to know what and how did I embrace Islam. A lot of people have been asking about my experience with Islam because some of them have this preconceived notions or rather misconceptions about Islam; some are on the brink of embracing Islam but just have a couple of doubts here and there and some just want to know about why I changed my religion.

I spoke to a couple of them about my conversion and I exchanged ideas, articles and information also about Islam explaining to them what brought me closer to Allah. But I was saddened by some of the online comments where people challenged my beliefs. What I found a bit disturbing was these people were not lost but instead “misguided”.”


“Many may know the fourth of May as “Star Wars Day,” because you can say “May the Fourth Be With You.” But other fans count May 25–the date on which the originalStar Wars: A New Hope was released–as Star Wars Day (officially declared in Los Angeles as “Star Wars Day” in 2007). Many people feel passionately about one over the other, and then there’s me, with my Star Wars Day agnosticism, or maybe universalism: I believe in celebrating Star Wars whenever possible: I got to meet Mark Hamill in late April, I did lots of Star Wars posting on May 4th, and this weekend’s celebration will include a screening of Solo: A Star Wars Story. And next week, I’ll be off to the Scum and Villainy Cantina, a Star Wars-themed bar in Hollywood, for belated Star Wars Day drinks in honor of the franchise.

Practitioners feeling passionately about their interpretations and practices, and sometimes demonizing anyone who deviates from their ideology: sounds like religion to me! In a May 4 piece on, Adam Rogers compared the two camps–May the 4thers and May 25thers–to the Council of Nicea, where Christian leaders debated the nature of the relationship between Jesus and God. He cited the conflict over Star Wars Day, saying “I can’t think of anything more emblematic of a new religion coalescing than an argument about when to put a holiday.” And at the core of this new religion–if that’s what it is–is the concept of The Force, a core monotheistic belief that lends itself to ideological layering by members of various faiths.”


“THE AMERICAN political system, despite its formal separation of church of state, still finds room for a sort of civic religion which lends dignity to military funerals and presidential inaugurations. In Britain, by contrast, a quirky unwritten constitution gives a central place to what might be called royal religion. This reflects the twin role of the monarch as the apex of secular governance and guardian of the Christian faith. That royal faith was on spectacular display on May 19th when an African-American prelate, Michael Curry, dazzled some and perplexed others with an exuberant hymn to love delivered at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

But any constitutional law buff can tell you that royal faith has its sombre moments too. As is argued by a couple of newly published studies by University College London, thought needs to be given now to the ceremonies which will take place when Harry’s father, Prince Charles, eventually succeeds Elizabeth II as head of state. “The ceremonies of accession and coronation help to define not just the monarchy but the nation whom the monarch is there to represent,” one of the reports by UCL’s Constitution Unit says. To put it mildly, that nation has moved on in the last seven decades. The report lists some of the vast social changes that have taken place since Elizabeth II became queen in 1952 and was crowned in 1953. Post-war Britain was class-divided, deferential, militarised (with armed forces of 863,000 compared with under 150,000 today) and, at least formally, devout. Baptisms in the Church of England have declined from 672,000 a year in 1950 to 130,000. In 1956 a third of the British public professed the belief that the Queen had been specially chosen by God.”



In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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