Author Archives: Kenny Paul Smith

“New Religious Movements” as an Interpretive Category

Typically, when we think of New Religious Movements (NRMs), our gaze is directed to the relatively small number of traditions that cluster at the fringes of the contemporary religious landscape (e.g., the Church of Scientology, International Raelian Religion, Heaven’s Gate, … Continue reading

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NASA, the Mayan Apocalypse, and the Study of Non-Events

By Matt Sheedy A recent article posted on the Scientific American website entitled, “NASA Crushes 2012 Mayan Apocalypse Claims,” provides a good example of what is wrong with common secular approaches to religion in the public sphere. The article features … Continue reading

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The Potent Instability of Religion & Magic

In November 2007, during one of the worst droughts in Georgia history, then-Governor Sonny Purdue “stepped up to a podium outside the state Capitol… and led a solemn crowd of several hundred people in a prayer for rain on his … Continue reading

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Scholarship From The Road: Social Stuctures and Temple Ornaments

By Deeksha Sivakumar When we do ethnography on the road, we constantly encounter visual evidence that bears upon so much of the theoretical jargon we wrestle with in seminars, be it challenging or reinforcing. Take, for example, the iconic Tamil … Continue reading

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Scholarship From The Road: “Being Someone”

by Deeksha Sivakumar Who would have thought that one of the hardest questions I ask myself every morning during fieldwork is “what to wear?” In order to be remembered or valued in society we all lay somewhere on a spectrum … Continue reading

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Can an Atheist Believe in God?

By Steven Ramey My last post generated an extended exchange with a colleague who has rightly pushed me concerning my disavowal of judging identity claims. My colleague suggested, for example, that someone who believes that Jesus is the Son of … Continue reading

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Commands of the Blood

By Kate Daley-Bailey At the subconscious level, whether in cult or in life, man obeys the commands of the blood, as if in dreams or, according to natural insight, as a happy expression describes this harmony between nature and culture. … Continue reading

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