Newswise – Some fans of Star Wars, including fans of the newestentry, “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,” consider watchingthese films to be a religious experience. Two religionprofessors at different universities have studied the roleof religion in science fiction and say that movies like theStar Wars series can be more powerful than the Bible orother religious texts.

Tom Martin, who teaches at Susquehanna University inPennsylvania, sees the Star Wars religious themes as aclassic example of good versus evil. He says, “The Star Warsseries deals with the fundamental struggles of good againstevil, which is a deeply religious theme that carries over toall parts of life.”
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Anthropologists are studying twins to find out how muchgenes influence our belief in God. Because the families wegrow up in and the schools we attend (especially religiousschools) have a big influence on our future beliefs,identifying our “God Genes” is easier to do when we’reolder. Researcher Laura Koenig says, “Behavioral geneticistswant to find out what part of that difference is due togenes and what part is due to environmental effects.”
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Tom Anderson writes in the Independent that 666 is NOT the”number of the beast”?that’s actually 616. A newlydiscovered fragment of the book of Revelation, from theoldest copy of the New Testament that’s ever been found, hasbeen deciphered, and theologian David Parker says the numberwas mistakenly translated as 666.

666 is an example of the Hebrew habit of assigning numbersto people’s names. Revelation, instead of being a prophecyof future events, was actually a book written in code, so asnot to get the writers in trouble with the Roman censors.616 (formerly 666) refers to the Emperor Caligula, not tothe “antichrist.”
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Newswise – Will the next pope allow women to become priests? Probablynot, since conservative Cardinal Ratzinger has been voted inas Pope Benedict XVI. An Associated Press poll found that60% percent of U.S. Catholics think women should beordained, and U.S. religious studies professor A. Raab saysthere are signs that the Catholic Church may be headed thatway.

“It is my conviction that women priests will not beofficially permitted in the Catholic Church until there arewomen priests,” Raab states. “In other words, Catholic womenmust be seen in a priestly role, in particular celebratingthe Eucharist, in order to be approved and ordained as priests.”
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