Alternative Faiths

Afro-Cuban drums, Muslim prayers, Buddhist mantras: Religious diversity blooms in once-atheist Cuba

By Luis Andres Henao — May 17, 2024
HAVANA (AP) — Today, diverse beliefs can be found mixed together on altars in homes, with the Virgin Mary sharing space with a ceramic Buddha and a warrior spirit from the Afro-Cuban faith.
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How the anime Demon Slayer films are driving ‘pop religion’ in Japan

By Bruce Winkelman — May 14, 2024
(Sightings) — The recent anime film both draws inspiration from Japanese religions and functions as a source of inspiration for religious practices.

Shunned for centuries, Vodou grows powerful as Haitians seek solace from unrelenting gang violence

By DÁnica Coto — May 10, 2024
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Shunned publicly by politicians and intellectuals for centuries, Vodou is transforming into a more powerful and accepted religion across Haiti, where its believers were once persecuted.

Michigan man accused of making explosives to target Satanic Temple in Massachusetts

By Associated Press — May 9, 2024
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Luke Terpstra was charged in western Michigan with two felonies: transportation of an explosive and possession of an unregistered explosive.

Taylor Swift’s ‘TTPD’: Religious imagery for a spiritually syncretic era

By Kathryn Post and Madeline Macrae — April 23, 2024
(RNS) — ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ speaks of good Samaritans and Jehovah’s Witnesses, altar sacrifices and prophecies. 

Katie Pruitt continues to probe life as a ‘recovering Catholic’ on new album

By Aleja Hertzler-McCain — April 3, 2024
(RNS) — ‘Mantras,’ Pruitt’s sophomore album, explores the fraught nature of leaving one’s childhood religion.

For the Maya, solar eclipses were a sign of heavenly clashes − and their astronomers kept sophisticated records to predict them

By Kimberly H. Breuer — April 3, 2024
(The Conversation) — The skies and the gods were inseparable in Maya culture. Astronomers kept careful track of events like eclipses in order to perform the renewal ceremonies to continue the world’s cycles of rebirth.

New York inmates are suing to watch the solar eclipse after state orders prisons locked down

By Philip Marcelo — April 3, 2024
NEW YORK (AP) — The suit filed Friday in federal court in upstate New York argues that the April 8 lockdown violates inmates' constitutional rights to practice their faiths by preventing them from taking part in a religiously significant event.

African spiritualities are attracting Black Americans as a source of pride and identity

By Fiona André — March 21, 2024
(RNS) — Ancestral veneration, Haitian Vodou, Brazilian Candomblé, Cuban Santería and Ifá have gained attention among Black adults, who see it as an occasion to reconnect with their heritage and celebrate their Blackness.

Virgin of Charity unites all Cubans — Catholics, Santeria followers, exiled and back on the island

By Luis Andres Henao and Giovanna Dell'orto — March 14, 2024
EL COBRE, Cuba (AP) — The cult of the Virgin of Charity became part of Cuban nationalism in late 19th century.

‘Interspiritual’ former pastor talks faith beyond church in new book

By Kathryn Post — February 29, 2024
(RNS) — Felicia Murrell’s ‘And: The Restorative Power of Love in an Either/Or World,’ is an invitation to explore an untethered spirituality where God doesn’t belong to any one institution.

Brazilian evangelical Christians disrupt pre-Lenten partying with ‘Gospel Carnival’

By Eduardo Campos Lima — February 19, 2024
SÃO PAOLO (RNS) — Once content to avoid Carnival's excesses, evangelicals, who make up about 30% of Brazil's population, have a new strategy, working to short-circuit the festival with displays of Christian faith.

What is Lunar New Year and how is it celebrated?

By Deepa Bharath — February 8, 2024
Lunar New Year begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends 15 days later on the first full moon
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