February 11, 2011

Will Justin Bieber Become a Christian Icon for Tweens?
Justin Bieber’s faith is on display in the new 3-D concert film/documentary Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. Paramount Pictures has screened the movie for faith leaders across the country and distributed spiritual discussion guides—the same tools used to promote The Passion of the Christ and The Blind Side as family-friendly fare. (Piet Levy, Religion News Service)

The Singularity Is Coming—in 2045
Raymond Kurzweil believes that we’re approaching a moment when computers will become intelligent, and not just intelligent but more intelligent than humans. When that happens, humanity—our bodies, our minds, our civilization—will be completely and irreversibly transformed. He believes that this moment is not only inevitable but imminent. According to his calculations, the end of human civilization as we know it is about 35 years away. (Lev Grossman, TIME)

Religion and Science Education in Saudi Arabia
Adding more science classes means scaling back on religion—a direct challenge to the Wahhabi clerics who helped found the kingdom in 1932 and dominate vast parts of society. “The Saudi education system is particularly difficult to reform because it is traditionally one of the main areas where the clerics have influence,” says Jane Kinninmont at the Economist Intelligence Unit. “Asserting technocratic control over education may require a power struggle with the conservative clerics.” (Ulf Laessing and Asma Alsharif, Reuters)

Domestic Violence in Buddhist Bhutan
The government commissioner charged with promoting Gross National Happiness in the tiny Buddhist nation of Bhutan said he was deeply dismayed by a recent study that found a majority of Bhutanese women think their husbands have the right to beat them. Karma Tshiteem, head of Bhutan’s Commission for Gross National Happiness, called the findings “surprising” and “shocking,” and said such attitudes are “totally inconsistent” with Buddhist teachings. (Vishal Arora, Religion News Service)

The Hidden Reality

In The Hidden Reality, Brian Greene’s latest ambitious foray into the great beyond, we venture no closer to mapping the architecture of perceived infinity, in which Earth appears to be merely an inconsequential speck. Yet the bestselling author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos takes us on a new adventure into the possibility that there is not one big uncharted universe, but many. (Todd Wilkinson, The Christian Science Monitor)

Category: Field Notes


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