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From TED: How do we respect someone's religious beliefs, while also holding religion accountable for the damage those beliefs may cause? Chelsea Shields has a bold answer to this question. "Religions can liberate or subjugate, they can empower or exploit, they can comfort or destroy," she says. "What is taught on the Sabbath leaks into our politics, our health policy, violence around the world."
J. Anderson Thomson, Jr., M.D. (Andy) is a psychiatrist in private practice in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is also a staff psychiatrist at Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of Virginia Student Health Services and the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. Dr. Thomson’s current research interest is in the area of evolutionary psychology and using its principles to understand depression, suicide terrorism, and religious belief.
Karen Armstrong's life was turned around by of all things, a footnote. When this former nun fled the convent and became a scholar of literature at Oxford, she thought she'd put all things theological well behind her. But, as the saying goes, if you want to make God laugh, tell Him, or Her, your plans. She became one of the foremost, and most original, thinkers on religion in our modern world. Her many popular books include studies of Muhammad and Islam, the crusades, the ambitiously titled A History of God and her latest, The Bible. A self-proclaimed "freelance monotheist," Karen Armstrong is now on a mission to bring compassion, the heart of religion, as she sees it, back into modern life.
From Cosmic Variance blog at Discover magazine: Hell is an imaginary place invented by people who think that eternal torture for people they disapprove of would be a good idea. And it’s the rare religion that says “we approve of all good people, whether or not they share our religious beliefs.” Much more commonly, Hell is brought up to scare people away from deviating from a particular religious path.
considered by many to be the father of sociology. He is credited with making sociology a science, and having made it part of the French academic curriculum as "Science Sociale". During his lifetime, Emile Durkheim gave many lectures, and published an impressive number of sociological studies on subjects such as religion, suicide, and all aspects of society.
From Economist.com: Science and religion have often been at loggerheads. Now the former has decided to resolve the problem by trying to explain the existence of the latter
Jonathan Haidt studies morality from every angle he can find. Morality is one of those basic aspects of humanity, like sexuality and eating, that can’t fit into one or two academic fields.