Café Scientifique – “Jerusalem: The Making of a Sacred City”

From the Cafe Sci Email –

Presenter: Jodi Magness, Vice President, Archeological Institute of America

It’s rocky, rough – and revered. Situated on a plateau in the Judean Mountains between the Mediterranean and Dead seas, Jerusalem is an unlikely choice for the world’s holiest city. Destroyed multiple times during its storied history, the ancient city has faced innumerable challenges and conflicts beyond its rugged location alone.Yet, it has transformed from a remote, relatively poor town to become the cultural and religious center for the three Abrahamic faiths. Today the city is a hub for religious pilgrims, scientists and historians alike, as people from around the world flock to Jerusalem for its rich religious and archeological roots.

Explore the evolution of Jerusalem from a humble mountain town to a divine destination with Jodi Magness, vice president of the Archeological Institute of America. Join us after the presentation for a free screening of JERUSALEM at 7:00 pm in the Blank IMAX Dome Theater.

About the film –

JERUSALEM features rare aerial footage of the ancient city

Five years in the making, this new National Geographic documentary presents audiences with a rare glimpse into one of the world’s oldest and most beloved cities.   JERUSALEM explores the intersection of science, history and religion in a city that is considered sacred by nearly half the people on Earth. Audiences are given a rare glimpse into the storied city as well as exclusive access to iconic holy sites – including the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee and the mountain fortress of Masada.

Special access is one of the unique aspects of this film. Jerusalem has a longstanding, strict no-fly zone, but filmmakers were granted permission to capture aerial images over the Old City of Jerusalem and throughout the holy land. 

About the presenter –  

Jodi Magness holds a senior endowed chair in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism. From 1992-2002, she was associate/assistant professor of classical and near eastern archaeology in the Departments of Classics and Art History at Tufts University in Medford, Mass.   

She received her B.A. in archaeology and history from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and her Ph.D. in classical archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania. From 1990-1992, Magness was Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in Syro-Palestinian archaeology at the Center for Old World Archaeology and Art at Brown University.

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Exploratory Sunday Meetup!

The weekly meetup, normally held at the Ankeny Old Chicago, has been canceled to accommodate our Solstice Party. As a result we’re taking this opportunity to explore a possible new location! Come joins us in our exploration after some solstice fun!

For lots of menu variety, let’s have Sunday lunch at noon at HyVee. Their salad bar is available, as well as all deli items. And remember they have a bakery. You are not required to buy their Sunday brunch option. Tom and I will be in the booths or tables on your left, by the windows, when you walk into the restaurant area. The acoustics are better there than in the small back room. See you there.

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IAF Book Discussion Group, Session 2016.01

The IAF Book Discussion Group is an ongoing effort to provide interesting intellectual conversations for members of IAF on texts and topics relevant to the Secular perspective.

For this session J will lead our second discussion of ‘Sex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality’ by Darrel Ray.

The reading assignment for this session will cover Section 2 (chapters 8 thru 10), Section 3 (chapters 11 thru 13) and Section 4 to page 206 (chapters 14 thru 18). Be prepared, if possible, to present things from the reading assignment that stood out for you so that we can gain a good cross-section of individual perspectives where the reading is concerned.

You can read a review of the book and an interview with Dr. Ray here.

If you prefer, though, here are a couple of interesting tid-bits from the Patheos article-

“Straight from the first page, this book flows naturally and Dr. Ray’s words come through as the voice of a good friend, explaining what your parents should have when they sat you down for the “big talk.”  This book systematically reveals the dangers of religious sexual programming, and guides you towards releasing these sexual shackles and live an ethical sex life, free from religious sanctions.”

“Darrel’s extensive research on Sex and Secularism, referenced in this book, clearly shows that religion’s stranglehold on sex diminishes the quality of our lives.  If there was one message I took from Sex & God, it’s this: It’s due time to break free from religion’s grasp and embrace a healthy attitude towards sex and sexuality.  The control that religions have had our collective sex lives has lasted far too long and life is short.”

For this session, we will begin soliciting suggestions for what text to read as part of our next series of discussions dealing with Historical Perspectives.

The conference room that has been reserved at Kirkendall Public Library has a maximum capacity of 20 so RSVP early to get a seat. Social time will be available from 6:30 to 7 PM if you want to come and just chat before the discussion begins. We’ll see you there. 🙂

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Meet & Greet: Jason Heap, Executive Director-United Coalition of Reason

Jason Heap, the Executive Director of the United Coalition of Reason will be in Cedar Rapids for a “Meet & Greet” and will give a presentation. Susan Corbett, the National Coordinator, will also be attending. We don’t have all the details yet, more will be posted as plans firm up. We wanted to announce this early so people can mark it on their calendar now. This is a great opportunity!

For those that missed Jase & Susan in W Des Moines August 5th, this is your opportunity to meet the leadership of the United Coalition of Reason and to ask any questions you may have regarding the future of the national movement and how it relates to our Iowa Coalitions. 

Jason’s extensive work and travel overseas in education has put him in contact with people from various religious and cultural backgrounds, which he has used to lead schools and their communities.

His work as an educator for the past ten years has put him positions as a humanist leader. As a teacher of Religious Studies and Philosophy in the United Kingdom, helping students and their families understand that he was a humanist was a challenge by itself but, over time, most people were appreciative that he was able to teach about religion in an objective manner. Jason worked with and counseled students who had “faith questions” of their own and these experiences were traumatic for them, especially if they came from conservative and hyper-religious families that wouldn’t accept their children if they didn’t follow in the tradition. Likewise, managing schools in international contexts helped Jason emphasize and focus on diplomatic relations among people of varying viewpoints. By this means he was able to lead schools toward achievable goals and prevent the process from getting hung up on cultural and religious differences.

Jason has a BA in Philosophy and Theology and minor in music from Howard Payne University, a MDiv in Counselling and Religion from Brite Divinity School–Texas Christian University, an MSt in History and Religion from The University of Oxford, a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education with Qualified Teacher Status from Sheffield Hallam University, and a Doctor of Education from Walden University with specialism in administrator leadership for teaching and learning.

He is an endorsed and certified Humanist chaplain and celebrant and is also currently pursuing his application to become the first Humanist chaplain in the history of the United States Armed Forces.” United CoR website 

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IAF Book Discussion Group, Session 2016.02

The IAF Book Discussion Group is an ongoing effort to provide interesting intellectual conversations for members of IAF on texts and topics relevant to the Secular perspective.

For this session J will lead our final discussion of ‘Sex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality’ by Darrel Ray.

The reading assignment for this session will cover Section 4 (chapters 19 thru 21) and Section 5 (chapters 22 thru 26). Be prepared, if possible, to present things from the reading assignment that stood out for you so that we can gain a good cross-section of individual perspectives where the reading is concerned.

You can read a review of the book and an interview with Dr. Ray here.

If you prefer, though, here are a couple of interesting tid-bits from the Patheos article-

“Straight from the first page, this book flows naturally and Dr. Ray’s words come through as the voice of a good friend, explaining what your parents should have when they sat you down for the “big talk.”  This book systematically reveals the dangers of religious sexual programming, and guides you towards releasing these sexual shackles and live an ethical sex life, free from religious sanctions.”

“Darrel’s extensive research on Sex and Secularism, referenced in this book, clearly shows that religion’s stranglehold on sex diminishes the quality of our lives.  If there was one message I took from Sex & God, it’s this: It’s due time to break free from religion’s grasp and embrace a healthy attitude towards sex and sexuality.  The control that religions have had our collective sex lives has lasted far too long and life is short.”

We will be voting on what text we should read for the next section dealing with Historical Perspectives. Only regular attendees of the book discussions will be allowed to vote.

The conference room that has been reserved at Kirkendall Public Library has a maximum capacity of 20 so RSVP early to get a seat. Social time will be available from 6:30 to 7 PM if you want to come and just chat before the discussion begins. We’ll see you there. 🙂

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IAF Sunday Meetup

This is our regular, weekly, Meetup. Please come and join us for an interesting discussion on a variety of issues.

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IAF Sunday Meetup

This is our regular, weekly, Meetup. Please come and join us for an interesting discussion on a variety of issues.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

IAF Sunday Meetup

This is our regular, weekly, Meetup. Please come and join us for an interesting discussion on a variety of issues.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

IAF Sunday Meetup

This is our regular, weekly, Meetup. Please come and join us for an interesting discussion on a variety of issues.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail