Why Religion Is Here to Stay
Religion was actually the most interesting chapter of the book that I wrote. And that was because I started out with a premise that as we can live longer and healthier and get further away from death, then maybe we’ll become less religious. And that idea was based on the fact that a big part of religion is based on the afterlife. So if we get further and further away from the afterlife, maybe we won’t be so interested in religion anymore.
And it turned out that that’s not exactly the case. As we’ve doubled life expectancy from 43 years to around 80 years today, the world has not become less religious. In fact, it has stayed relatively even. 90 percent of the world essentially is religious. And that surprised me. And so I talked with a number of scholars of religion and it turns out that perhaps one of the reasons for this surprising fact is that there’s more to religion than the afterlife. The flip side of religion is it helps us understand what the purpose of life is. Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? What is good and what is bad? How should I live my life?
And so you could actually make the case that the longer we live and the longer our lives are, the more guidance we need. And so religion will not wither away as we live longer and healthier lives.
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In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.
- Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
- The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
- Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.
- In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
- This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
- Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
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