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Belief in Hell Makes Life on Earth More Miserable

Study investigates beliefs across 63 countries

(Newser) - Believers in hell—or just those who think about it—may find themselves less satisfied with life on Earth, a new study suggests. In the study published in PLOS One , researchers in British Columbia investigated data from 63 countries, both on a national scale and an individual one. They compared... More »

What Coots Was Thinking When He Held That Snake

Dead pastor wasn't under the impression he was safe

(Newser) - If your reaction to the death of the snake-handling Kentucky pastor killed by one of his own snakes on Saturday was "he must have been delusional," WBIR digs into why the exact opposite is, in one way, the case. It spoke with a range of religion professors about... More »

The Most Religious State Is Once Again...

...Mississippi, while Vermont holds on to its title, too

(Newser) - A new Gallup survey looking at religiousness in the US could have essentially just rerun its previous findings on the subject. Mississippi is once again the most religious state in the union, with 61% of residents falling into the "very religious" category—defined by Gallup as those who say... More »

How a Cult-Like Church Changed a Texas Town

The Church of Wells digs in against frustrated locals

(Newser) - Andy and Patty Groves were dying to see their daughter again. Distraught over her grandfather's death, Catherine Groves joined a cult-like church in the tiny town of Wells, Texas. So her parents drove to Wells, where Catherine, now a docile believer, would only meet them in a shotgun shack... More »

Pol: Gay Marriage Will Bring 'Biblical Disasters' to UK

David Silvester suspended for writing anti-gay letter

(Newser) - A British far-right party has suspended a local councilman who blamed recent severe flooding on the government's legalization of gay marriage. David Silvester of the United Kingdom Independence Party had written a letter to the Henley Standard claiming he'd warned Prime Minister David Cameron the legislation would result... More »

Bitter Split Riles Atheist Church

New York non-believers break off from London group

(Newser) - Atheist-church leaders in New York have bitterly broken away from their central church in London, creating what may be the first schism in modern organized atheism, CNN reports. Late last year, Lee Moore and two other members of The Sunday Assembly's franchise in New York broke off and created... More »

Why King Tut's Penis Was Buried Erect: Expert

Embalmers made Tutankhamun look like Osiris, egyptologist says

(Newser) - King Tutankhamun was mummified with his heart carved out, covered in black liquids, his penis kept erect—but why? Egyptologist Salima Ikram has an answer: that Tut was buried to resemble the underworld god Osiris as a way of battling a religious revolution that was gaining momentum in Egypt, LiveScience... More »

Duck Dynasty Guy Should Learn From Pope Francis

EJ Dionne argues that religious people should be less convinced they have the answers

(Newser) - Phil Robertson is convinced the word of God justifies his controversial comments about homosexuality. Rev. Frank Schaefer is convinced that performing gay weddings was an expression of Christian love. "If any given religion and its holy writings can be used to support diametrically opposed conclusions about how to live... More »

The Latest Diet Trend Comes From ...God

The "Daniel Fast" involves sticking to fruits, veggies, whole grains

(Newser) - Most of America's most obese metropolitan areas are in the Bible belt, and a study points to a higher risk of future obesity among church-going young people. But Christians may also have an advantage in reaching their dietary goals—one that comes straight from heaven. "I probably couldn’... More »

Buddha's Birthday Wrong by 200 Years: Experts

Archaeologists date timber shrine to the 6th century BC

(Newser) - Buddha may have achieved enlightenment two centuries earlier than experts believe—if an ancient timber shrine can be taken at face value, AFP reports. A team of archaeologists, digging under the temple considered to be Buddha's birthplace, discovered a wooden shrine that dates to the 6th century BC. Problem... More »

French Bishops: Lord's Prayer Is 'Blasphemous'

Will be updated with new translation

(Newser) - France's Catholics have been using a potentially blasphemous version of the Lord's Prayer for almost 50 years, the country's bishops have decided. For 17 years, linguistic and theological experts have been arguing over a translation, introduced in 1966, of the line "And lead us not into... More »

Mormon Women Protest All-Male Priesthood

But study shows majority of LDS women oppose female ordination

(Newser) - Some 130 women gathered outside the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City yesterday, after being rejected from a meeting for the faith's all-male priesthood, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. The women, members of the Ordain Women movement in the LDS Church, tried to buy tickets to the event, but... More »

American Jews Losing Their Religion

22% now consider themselves non-religious Jews

(Newser) - America has by far the world's largest Jewish population of any country save Israel, but the proportion of them who consider themselves non-religious Jews has surged to 22%, according to a new poll. Around two-thirds of those interviewed did not belong to a synagogue and a third had a... More »

Woman Says God Told Her to 'Feed the Strippers'

Creates 'Strip Church' ministry

(Newser) - People have claimed to have heard God instruct them to do all sorts of things over the years, but this is probably a first: "I felt the Lord say to me, ‘Go feed the strippers,'" Erin Stevens tells Fox News . The calling came to Stevens, a... More »

Religious Family Abandons US ... Act of God Sends It Right Back

Sailed away to avoid gov't control

(Newser) - Fed up with what they saw as government interference in religion, an Arizona family decided to abandon America, get on a boat, and "see where God led us." Turns out, God led them ... right back to the US. Make of that what you will. The family, Hannah Gastonguay,... More »

Judge: Yoga Not a Threat to Church-State Separation

He sides with San Diego County district, says yoga not always religious

(Newser) - San Diego County parents are just going to have to live with their kids being taught yoga in school , thanks to a Superior Court judge's ruling yesterday. The California parents were suing the Encinitas Union School District to stop the practice, arguing that yoga is inherently religious and thus... More »

Ailing GOP Needs a Religious Reformer

Modernizing party can't forget its base: Michael Gerson

(Newser) - The Republican Party might win the odd national vote in the coming years, but it needs a long-term prescription: Eventually, "there won’t be enough white and gray voters to win national elections," writes Michael Gerson in the Washington Post . But as the party seeks to reform, it... More »

GOP Reps: God Told Us to Keep Boehner as Speaker

He narrowly survived January vote after caucus members prayed over it

(Newser) - In the first days of the year, some House Republicans launched an attempt to ditch John Boehner as speaker—but he survived a vote after a number of colleagues said they'd spent the night praying, and God told them to let Boehner keep the job, notes the Washington Post... More »

Suit: Yoga in Schools Violates Church-State Rule

Parents in California district sue to stop program

(Newser) - Yes, this lawsuit is taking place in Southern California. In Encinitas, to be exact, where parents have sued to stop the school district from having kids perform yoga as part of gym class, reports NBC San Diego . The parents are worried that yoga has too many religious connotations from the... More »

Lawmaker Comes Out as Atheist During House Prayer

Arizona Rep. Juan Mendez encourages colleagues not to bow heads

(Newser) - The Arizona House and Senate typically convene with a prayer, which members take turns delivering. But Democratic Rep. Juan Mendez did something unusual yesterday: He took the opportunity to announce that he's an atheist (he referenced his "secular humanist tradition") and encourage other members not to bow... More »

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