Do Any Dogs Go To Heaven? If So, Why?

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In recent articles, we’ve discussed well-known neuroscientist Christof Koch’s Integrated Information Theory (IIT) of consciousness which, as he acknowledges, takes a panpsychist (everything is conscious to some degree) approach to the mind. He has explained his reasoning at MIT Press Reader: Materialists must see human consciousness as an illusion — but then whose illusion is … Read more

Saudi Arabia bans foreigners from hajj over Covid concerns

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Saudi Arabia has announced that this year’s hajj pilgrimage will be limited to 60,000 vaccinated people from within the kingdom because of the coronavirus pandemic. The kingdom ran a reduced pilgrimage last year, but still allowed a small number of people to take part in the annual event. A statement on the state-run Saudi Press … Read more

A Catholic prime minister in No 10 is a watershed moment | Catherine Pepinster

a-catholic-prime-minister-in-no-10-is-a-watershed-moment-|-catherine-pepinster

There’s a quip that both Boris Johnson and David Cameron have used – one that shows they are aware of the pitfalls of signing up to a specific religion in secular Britain while also wanting to keep co-religionists on side. Both have said that their Christian faith is a bit like the signal for Magic … Read more

‘Unique problem’: Catholic bishops split over Biden’s support for abortion rights

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At some point this weekend, Joe Biden will take his place in a line of people approaching the altar of a Catholic church to receive communion. The US president, a devout Catholic whose speeches regularly include biblical references and who carries a rosary that belonged to his late son, attends Mass every weekend – in … Read more

Buddhist monastery in Scotland calls for firearms exclusion zone

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When the gunfire starts it is like a thunderclap, the monks and nuns explain, and the sound reverberates up the valley. During the game shooting season, it is not unusual for avian casualties to land within the grounds of Samye Ling, the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple in western Europe. Tame ducks who have sought refuge … Read more

Riz Ahmed calls for urgent change in ‘toxic portrayals’ of Muslims on screen

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Riz Ahmed has announced a new initiative to combat the “problem of Muslim misrepresentation” on screen, saying: “The Islamophobia industry is one that measures its cost in blood.” In a passionate speech addressed to the film industry, posted on social media and YouTube, the Sound of Metal star described his own difficult experiences, including aggressive … Read more

‘Australians are very sceptical’: Michael Kirby warns against ‘excessive protection’ of religious freedoms

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The former high court justice Michael Kirby has warned against the “excessive protection” of religious freedom that could diminish the rights of non-believers and minorities, as a report reveals 70% of Australians say religion is not personally important to them. In an interview with Guardian Australia before the release of new Rationalist Society research charting … Read more

Navalny backers see cautionary tale in Russian raids on Jehovah’s Witnesses

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The decision by a Moscow court to declare Alexei Navalny’s nationwide political organisation as “extremist” adds the group to a list associated with terrorist organisations such as al-Qaida and Islamic State. But for a guide to how Russia could treat Navalny’s supporters, a better example is the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a non-violent religious group that has … Read more

China’s Uyghurs living in a ‘dystopian hellscape’, says Amnesty report

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Amnesty International has collected new evidence of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region of China, which it says has become a “dystopian hellscape” for hundreds of thousands of Muslims subjected to mass internment and torture. The human rights organisation has collected more than 50 new accounts from Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic … Read more

C of E bishop backs prosecution of those who defy ‘gay conversion’ ban

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Faith leaders should face prosecution if they fail to comply with the government’s promised ban on so-called gay conversion practices, a senior bishop in the Church of England has said. David Walker, the bishop of Manchester, told the Guardian: “Where activity has harmed someone, the person who has caused the harm should face prosecution.” That … Read more