Religion

photo of a church
Theresa Schenk / Pixabay

Note: This segment originally aired on Thursday, June 2, 2016.

Whether it's reducing carbon emissions or increasing solar energy, environmentalists see a need for people to change the way they treat the earth in the shadow of climate change. Likewise, some religion leaders see their faith as motivation to care better for the environment.

Book cover of "Magic in Islam"
Michael Muhammad Knight

People of faith will argue that magic and religion are not the same thing; magic is often condemned as dark and unsacred, while religion is characterized as morally sound and pure. In his new book “Magic in Islam” (Tarcher Perigee/2016), Michael Muhammad Knight resists the notion that the two are incompatible.

He argues that through looking at the histories of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, it is clear that the boundary between magic and religion has been blurred time and time again. He looks at examples including the use and interpretation of the Quran, astrology, and mythological figures of multiple religions.

Alex Prolmos / Flickr Creative Commons

The latest numbers from the Pew Research Center show that the number of Americans who say they believe in God has declined in recent years. And millennials are much less likely than older Americans to belong to any religious faith.
 

But despite these trends, psychiatrist and researcher Harold Koenig argues that science shows that religious belief is good for mental and physical health.

Image of Kate Bowler with her son and husband
Kate Bowler

When Kate Bowler was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer last year, she thought, “well, isn’t this ironic?” Bowler is a scholar of the prosperity gospel, the theology that those with the right kind of beliefs will receive God’s grace. As she grapples with her diagnosis, she reflects on life, death, and where faith fits into the picture. She wrote about it in the New York Times, "Death, The Prosperity Gospel, And Me."

Balabhadra (left), Subhadra (center) and Lord Jagannath (right) on display at a temple in Bhubenswar, India.
Krupasindhu Muduli / Wikipedia

Pilgrims flocked to the Hindu temple in Morrisville this weekend to celebrate the installation of three new deities there.

Trilok Pillai of the Hindu Society of North Carolina says about 1,000 people came to honor Lord Jagannath, who is considered by some Hindus to be a form of the protector god Vishnu. Jagannath  was installed with his brother and sister deities, Balahadra and Subhadra.

Pillai says the temple was already well attended, but he expects the new installations will draw more faithful.

www.laurenwinner.net
www.laurenwinner.net

Lauren Winner converted to Christianity in an experience she described as "Girl Meets God," the title of her best-selling memoir.

Since then, Winner has rediscovered her faith more than once; she found spiritual solace through community service after her mother died of cancer, and now says she has reacquainted herself with God by exploring Bible passages that equate God and Jesus with everyday images like food, clothing, and laughter. 

Why I Am A Salafi

Aug 12, 2015
Cover of Michael Muhammad Knight's book 'Why I Am A Salafi'
Michael Muhammad Knight

Michael Muhammad Knight grew up in an Irish-Catholic-working-class family in upstate New York. And as a teenager, he found himself at a unique crossroads: he wanted to either continue writing letters to Charles Manson or devote his time to studying Islam.

He chose the latter, and that decision changed the course of his life. A year later, Knight had converted to Islam and spent two months studying the religion in Pakistan.

Katherine Stewart's book investigates a Bible study club with chapters in thousands of U.S. schools.
PublicAffairs

In 2009, journalist Katherine Stewart heard that something called The Good News Club was coming to her daughter’s public elementary school in Santa Barbara, California.

At first she thought its mission seemed benign, but once she began to look into the organization and how it operated, she felt compelled to dig in further.

Image of the North Carolina Legislative Building in Raleigh, North Carolina
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jmturner

State legislators have made headlines this week.

The House offered support for Governor McCrory’s economic incentives package while Senate leadership proposed their own plan. 

Legislators also offered measures to eliminate religious exemptions for student vaccinations and proposed legislation that would hinder citizens' abilities to fight large developments across the state. And a three-judge panel unanimously sided with Governor McCrory and two former governors in a lawsuit against the legislature on the appointments of three environmental commissions.

Duke Chapel, Duke University, Durham
Dave DeWitt

Campus faith leaders will gather for a panel discussion about sacred space at Duke University this afternoon.

This comes one month after Duke canceled plans to let the Muslim Student Association sound a call to prayer from the Chapel Bell Tower.

When that happened, Chapel Dean Rev. Luke Powery said he would work to keep dialogue open on the issue. Powery says this discussion will be part of a larger series of talks held at the chapel called Bridge Panels.

Abraham is recognized as the father of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Wikimedia Commons/ Web Gallery of Art

Emotions are an important part of religious life for many people. Individuals often describe a feeling or sense of passion during a religious practice even if they cannot name the feeling.  

The academic study of religion and emotion is surging, but scholars are still struggling to find ways to measure and describe this phenomenon. Is emotion biological? Is it cultural? What can the study of emotion in religion tell us about religious intolerance or violence?

Students Richard Phillips and Matthew Bunyi perform the song 'Stand By Me' prior to the call-to-prayer.
Megan Morr / Duke University Photography

Updated Friday 7:00 p.m.:

Hundreds of people stood on Duke University’s campus today in the shadow of a 210-foot Gothic chapel, listening to a wireless speaker that sat on the steps of the entrance.  

Had things gone differently this week the chant would’ve come from the top of the bell tower – not the bottom.

In The Sunday Conversation, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

Allan Edwards is the pastor of Kiski Valley Presbyterian Church in western Pennsylvania, a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America. He's attracted to men, but he considers acting on that attraction a sin. Accordingly, Edwards has chosen not to act on it.

An illustration of the proposed Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral.
O'Brien and Keane

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh will break ground on a new cathedral in January.

The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart is the principal church in the Raleigh diocese which covers the Eastern half of North Carolina.

Raleigh Bishop Michael Burbidge says it's also the second-smallest Catholic cathedral in the United States, after the Cathedral of the nativity in Juneau, Alaska.

Image of Daoud Haroon practicing a first instrument.
Daoud Haroon

Daoud Haroon has lived many lives in his 81 years. He grew up in the jazz clubs of Boston, shining shoes of many of the jazz greats as a young boy, and later playing alongside them as a percussionist and trombonist. He has worked in a wide range of trades from hat making to house painting. 

Image of Sarah Hale, editor of Godey's Lady Book
Wikimedia Commons

    

Many people sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner may hearken back to some version of a story about Pilgrims and Native Americans feasting together. 

President Lyndon Johnson, President-elect Richard Nixon, Rev. Billy Graham and Vice President-elect Spiro Agnew during a prayer at swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol January 20, 1969.
flickr.com/photos/washington_area_spark

Newly released excerpts from H.R. Haldeman’s diary provide new insights into the relationship between Billy Graham and Richard Nixon. 

Audio journals from Nixon’s chief of staff reveal Graham’s firm grasp of political craftsmanship, and Nixon’s reliance on the televangelist for more than spiritual advice.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Carolina Public Press reporter Jon Elliston about the audio journals and what they revealed. 

Amy Laura Hall has organized the Labor Sabbath movement in North Carolina.
hearldsun.org

Some North Carolinians cringe at the phrase ‘labor union.’ 

In the right to work state, some opponents say unions cause harm to private businesses and do not benefit workers. This weekend in churches, synagogues and other holy places some clergy will talk about unions as part of a Labor Sabbath movement.  

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET.

When Jordan Smith got her tab after breakfast at Mary's Gourmet Diner in Winston-Salem, N.C., she was pleasantly surprised to find a 15 percent discount — for "praying in public."

Raleigh Catholic Diocese
The Catholic Diocese of Raleigh

Catholic parishioners in the Raleigh Diocese can expect the ground to be turned on their new cathedral by the end of the year.

Plans have been underway for years to raise $41 million to build a “mother church” for the people of the Raleigh Diocese.

Bishop Michael Burbidge heads the Raleigh Diocese.

“We will build what the people of God let us build, so this was a good faith campaign," said Burbidge.

Bishop Gene Robinson says he and his husband, Mark Andrew, are getting a divorce. The first openly gay Episcopal bishop, Robinson retired last year, a decade after his election alienated many conservative Anglicans.

The pair had been together for 25 years. Robinson disclosed the divorce this weekend, in an email to the Diocese of New Hampshire and in a column for The Daily Beast in which he wrote:

Krista Bremer and her book, My Accidental Jihad
the author

My Accidental Jihad is a book Krista Bremer never imagined that she'd write. Krista is a surfer, she'd  grown up in a secular middle-class California family, dreaming of "a comfortable American life of adventure, romance, and opportunity."

Then she met Ismail. When Krista discovered she was pregnant, the two joined their lives. Ismail seemed to come from another world. He'd been raised in a fishing village in Libya, one of eight children. His parents are illiterate. His family was raised Muslim.

Duke Chapel
Skip Bradley / Flickr/Creative Commons

Duke Chapel is closing to the public May 11, 2015 for a year-long restoration project. The ceiling will be worked on and the original chapel roof will be replaced. Crews will also work to restore the stained-glass windows and woodwork.

A new religious statue in the town of Davidson, N.C., is unlike anything you might see in church.

The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban's Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes.

Jesus is huddled under a blanket with his face and hands obscured; only the crucifixion wounds on his uncovered feet give him away.

The reaction was immediate. Some loved it; some didn't.

Nate Phelps, son of Westboro Barptist Church founder Fred Phelps
Nate Phelps

The pastor of the much-reviled Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps, has died at age 84. Phelps' message became synonymous with hatred. The pastor and his family made it a point to carry signs at funerals saying, “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” They showed up to events with signs that read, “God Hates Fags.”

Nate Phelps is the sixth of Fred’s 13 children. He describes his father as verbally and physically abusive. When he was 18, Nate ran away from home and from religion.

In recent years Nate found himself publicly squaring off with his father and siblings to reverse their legacy of intolerance. He lives in Calgary, Canada, where he has become a public speaker who champions LGBT rights and raises awareness about the connection between extreme religion and child abuse. He is currently writing a book about his life and is the subject of an upcoming documentary. He spoke with Dick Gordon in 2012. The story, "Son of a Bigot," was featured on Salon.com.

Listen to Nate Phelps' conversation with Dick Gordon from 2012:

Here are some highlights of the conversation:

What was your childhood like?

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