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Woman Marries Jesus, Becomes Consecrated Virgin

Indiana resident isn't a nun, will remain in secular society

(Newser) - Well, it should save on honeymoon airfare, anyway. A 38-year-old Indiana woman married Jesus Christ over the weekend, becoming one of his approximately 3,000 living wives worldwide, CBS News reports. The process is known as becoming a consecrated virgin and is relatively rare within the Catholic Church, with only... More »

Want Good Mental Health? Get Religion

Joining a religious organization has a bigger impact than volunteering or sport

(Newser) - Attending a church, synagogue, or mosque may be better for one's mental health than engaging in sports, furthering one's education, or volunteering. So say researchers at the London School of Economics and Erasmus MC, who studied the effects of these four types of activities on the mental health... More »

Etsy Bans Sale of Spells, Irks Witches, Pagans

Some claim cultural or religious bias

(Newser) - Back in 2012, when eBay banned the sale of spells, potions, and other metaphysical goods, many witches and pagans set up shop with Etsy instead. But they're going to have to shuffle their goods and services yet again, now that Etsy—which went public in April—has quietly banned... More »

Sikh Man Breaks Protocol, Removes Turban to Help Boy

Harman Singh got a surprise of his own after his act of kindness

(Newser) - Harman Singh is a devout Sikh, meaning his turban stays on his head at all times when he's not in the privacy of his own home. But Singh broke religious protocol earlier this month when 5-year-old Daejon Pahia was hit by a car in Auckland, New Zealand. The 22-year-old... More »

Americans Leaving Christianity in Droves

Unaffiliated now number 56M in US behind evangelicals

(Newser) - The nation's Christians are experiencing a steep slide in numbers, according to a new Pew Research Center poll. The survey of 35,000 adults finds the number of those who identify as Christian slid from 78.4% in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014, the New York Times reports.... More »

What Made Us Happy in 1938—and 7 Decades Later

Religion was No. 3 then; it's not anymore

(Newser) - The world used to be a simpler place—and what we said made us happy then isn't what we think makes us happy now. That's the conclusion of a small new study that was a restaging of a previous one. As Science Direct explains, in 1938 an ad... More »

Burma Jails 3 Men Over Facebook Buddha Post

Poster depicted Buddha wearing DJ headphones

(Newser) - A Burmese bar owner and two employees have been sentenced to two and a half years in jail over a Facebook post that promoted a night of cheap drinks. The post, which depicted Buddha wearing DJ headphones, was found in violation of Burma's Religion Act, which bans damaging or... More »

Why Dreams Fuel So Many Religions

And why "hearing voices" may not mean a person is ill

(Newser) - Religions throughout the world—and throughout history—have put dreams at the center of their belief systems, and researchers say there's a good reason for that. We do much of our intense dreaming during REM sleep, when the highly active brain acts almost like it's awake, writes Ross... More »

How Hardship Affects Religious Belief

People living in harsh times embrace high gods, researchers say

(Newser) - Living under harsh conditions like extreme weather or food scarcity? Then you're more likely to believe in powerful, judgmental gods, according to a new study . A group of researchers from various fields reached their conclusion after synthesizing historical data from 583 societies around the world, reports. "... More »

Church, Synagogue, Mosque to Share One 'House'

Berlin project will cater to Christians, Jews, and Muslims

(Newser) - A pastor, a rabbi, and an imam walk onto an empty lot, and ... bury their shoes. Why? Because they plan to build what may be the world's first interfaith facility with separate houses of worship for Christians, Jews, and Muslims, the BBC reports. Dubbed the "House of One,... More »

Company Tried to Force Employees Into 'Onionhead' Religion: Suit

Employees allegedly fired for refusing to participate

(Newser) - What would you do if your employer told you to thank God for your job, say “I love you” to management, and attend meetings to discuss "divine plans"? If you work for New York health care firm United Health Programs of America, you go to the US... More »

What It's Like to Date in a Religion of Just 1M

Conventions, Google chats pave way to marriage

(Newser) - When there are only one million followers of your religion on the planet, it can be a little hard to meet people—especially when that religion requires marrying another Druze if one's children are to be members of the faith. The Arab religion developed about 1,000 years ago,... More »

It's Normal to See Jesus in Your Toast

The brain is hardwired to do it, study finds

(Newser) - Do you see Jesus in your morning toast or the Virgin Mary on a potato chip? Turns out that's perfectly normal, according to a new study by Canadian and Chinese researchers. “Our findings suggest that it's common for people to see non-existent features because human brains are... More »

Student: College Denied Me Entry Over Religion

Brandon Jenkins says community college discriminated against him

(Newser) - A prospective student at a community college in Baltimore says his outspoken religious beliefs ruined his application—so he's suing the school and its president, Opposing Views reports. Brandon Jenkins interviewed for the Community College of Baltimore County's radiation therapy program, and was asked, "What is the... More »

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 »

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