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Idol Chatter

The editors of the design magazine I.D. have no beef with intelligent design as a concept. Their annoyance with the debate is based purely on the confusion they felt on hearing their magazine’s title so frequently out of context. Their response, however, is a thoughtful, captivating March/April issue devoted to “Design and Religion: New Forms for Faith.”

Spanning a number of faiths, stories examine material religious culture, from the architectural transformation of a Houston sports arena into Joel Osteen’s megachurch to new household technology that allows Orthodox Jews to finesse Shabbat restrictions—programmable light-switch timers are just the start of it—to art inspired by Icelandic folklore. Designers can’t resist kitsch, so Jack Chick’s evangelical shock-tracts are studied, as are Barnaby Barford’s prank Christmas ceramics. But overall the editors’ degree of seriousness and professionalism, whether they are examining a new mosque in Singapore or showcasing four architects’ mockups of their dream meditation spaces, is itself an uplifting experience.

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