Kimberly Winston, Religion News Service

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Constructing Religious Worlds With Minecraft

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Some Minecraft users even “build” their own religious icons. Using blocky “skins” — Minecraft lingo for a character — they create Jesuses, popes, priests, rabbis, angels, and more to populate Minecraft worlds everywhere.

Republican Candidate in Hot Water After Tweeting List of ‘Jews’

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“I see you have me on this list,” New York magazine and HuffPost writer Yashar Ali tweeted. “I’m not Jewish…I’m a practicing Roman Catholic. But I’m in some pretty good company on this list…so feel free to say I’m Jewish.”

What Drives People to Snake-Handling Churches?

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They also routinely drink poison — strychnine is the usual cocktail — and apply flames to their hands or feet to show the power of God.

Four Faiths, Four Perspectives: A Year in, How Trump's Presidency Galvanized People into Action

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“I really feel like activism is a form of sharing that love that God has given you,” she said. “Realizing that this world is made for all of us is something that’s transcending, and we have to inspire each other.”

Texas Church to Be Demolished, Like Other Mass Killing Sites Before It

The playground at the site of a shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

“I have said sometimes there is a fierceness for survivors who say, ‘We have survived this and we have a faith that survives even in the face of something like this,'” Walsh said. “It is a reclaiming and it is a marking of a place as not just a place of death, not just a place of loss, but of life.”

Jehovah’s Witness Detained in Tajikistan for Objecting to Military Service

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The right of Jehovah’s Witnesses to adhere to their faith’s rejection of military service — they believe their allegiance is to God alone — is recognized in the U.S. and other Western countries. But Tajikistan has no law concerning conscientious objectors.

New Film on Mark Twain Highlights His Religious Doubts

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“I have a religion — but you will call it blasphemy,” he wrote in a letter in 1865. “It is that there is a God for the rich man but none for the poor … Perhaps your religion will sustain you, will feed you — I place no dependence in mine. Our religions are alike, though, in one respect — neither can make a man happy when he is out of luck.”

Sermon on the Strip: ‘Where Is God?’

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“We always know we need God,” he said, walking back and forth by an elevated slender podium, a microphone headset catching his every word. “But if there ever was a week when we really know we need God, this has been that week.”

Seven days ago — though most people here said it felt much longer — Stephen Paddock shot hundreds of people from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel before shooting himself. Fifty-eight people were killed — most of them tourists — and almost 500 were wounded.

‘The Cake Case:’ Freedom of Religion or Freedom to Discriminate?

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All eyes should be on Justice Anthony Kennedy. At 81, Kennedy is the longest-serving, second oldest justice on the court and is a conservative — except when he’s not.

Kennedy has sided with the court’s more liberal justices on several landmark cases, as he did in Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 decision that made same-sex marriage the law of the land. But he also sided with the conservative judges in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, a ruling that the Christian-owned chain of craft stores could deny contraception coverage.

Will the World End on Saturday?

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Who can forget Harold Camping, the Christian radio media mogul who picked two dates in 2011, hit the airwaves, put up billboards, solicited money — and nada. He joined some rather famous names — Edgar Cayce, Sun Myung Moon, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson [at least twice, but before he had access to the White House], and John Hagee among them — of failed futurists. Heck, Sir Isaac Newton himself, great astronomer and mathematician, bet that Jesus would return in the year 2000.