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RIL to exit non-veg business as it hurt religious sentiment

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RIL [Reliance Industries Ltd] move to exit the non-vegetarian food business is in deference to the wishes of a large section of consumers, shareholders and investors who had requested Mukesh Ambani to get out of the meat segment as it hurt their religious sentiments. The non-vegetarian foods business, said to be growing at a CAGR of 25-30%, is estimated to comprise 10% of the company’s total retail business and is also a profit-making venture. — SOURCE: The Economic Times

Saudi political activist sentenced to 300 lashes, 4 years in prison, rights group says

A political and human rights activist in Saudi Arabia was sentenced to 300 lashes and four years in prison for defying the king and calling for democracy, a rights group said Sunday. Omar al-Saeed, a member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), was sentenced in the city of Buraidah on Dec. 12 and is the fourth of his group to be imprisoned this year. — SOURCE: NBC News

Is it Hindu to be homophobic?

The problem is not so much with Hinduism as it is with the popular understanding of religion. Religion is seen as anti-sex. Sex is seen as a diversion and distraction from the spiritual path. The Bible tells tales of men like Samson losing divine power when they fall for the sensual charms of women like Delilah. Buddhism visualizes Gautama overpowering the daughters of Mara, demon of desire, in his quest for enlightenment. Puranas inform us of how Shiva opens his third eye to set aflame Kama, god of sensuality. Celibacy has traditionally been associated with holiness. Sex is permitted only within the confines of marriage. Sex for pleasure is seen as dirty, anti-social, even evil. — SOURCE: The Times of India

A more modern form of Zen Buddhism

If I were to describe a more modern form of Zen Buddhism that, nevertheless, remained faithful, above all, to Buddhism it would begin by teaching that Buddhism teaches the absolute is unconditioned whereas the transitory part of life — the life we are involved with — is always conditioned. — SOURCE: The Zennist

Another Voice — Religionless Christianity

That separation of worlds did not always exist. Whether you regard the primordial human couple presented in Genesis as mythical, as true historical persons, or something in between, imagine:  Adam and Eve living in the Garden, innocents in a pristine world. God is with them. And, who knows? Perhaps they play together. But there are no sacraments or prayers. Nothing is sacred, since the profane does not exist. Though Adam and Eve bear the mysterious imprint of God’s image, they are not “religious.” Not yet. — SOURCE: The Ukiah Daily Journal

The real New Atheism: Rejecting religion for a just world

The ever-polemical atheist author Christopher Hitchens died two years ago this month, yet his incisive, erudite diatribes against religion continue to rile the faithful and spark debate. The latest anti-Hitch outburst comes from Sean McElwee, a writer and researcher of public policy who describes himself as “a poorly practicing Christian who reads enough science to be functional at dinner parties.” McElwee calls for a “truce” between believers and nonbelievers. But he stands on the losing side of both public opinion trends and history. According to a Pew poll conducted in 2012, a record number of young Americans – a quarter of those between the ages of 18 and 29 — see themselves as unaffiliated with any religion. Atheists’ ranks are swelling, and believers are finding it increasingly difficult to justify their faith. — SOURCE: Salon

Wisdom of Jesus & Muhammad

The Quran is replete with many stories about the life and teachings of Jesus. There are in fact recalling of his miraculous birth, his teachings, the miracles he performed by God’s permission, and his life as a respected Prophet of God. The Quran continues to repeatedly remind us that Jesus was a human Prophet sent by God, not part of God Himself. — SOURCE: OnIslam.net

It’s harder in America to come out as an atheist politician than a gay one. Why?

Was it really harder to come out as an atheist politician in 2013 than as a gay one 25 years ago? Incredibly, the answer might be yes. For starters, consider that there is not a single self-described atheist in Congress today. Not one. It wasn’t until 2007 that Rep. Pete Stark, a Democrat from Northern California, became the first member of Congress and the highest-ranking public official ever to admit to being an atheist. (And even he framed it in terms of religious affiliation, calling himself “a Unitarian who does not believe in a supreme being.”) Stark was elected twice after this, but when the 20-term congressman lost his seat last year, it was to a 31-year-old primary challenger who attacked him as irreligious, citing, among other things, Stark’s vote against our national motto: “In God We Trust.” — SOURCE: Politico Magazine

When Modern Science Agrees with the Qur’an

We refer to science and scientific facts when explaining Islam because some people are determined to reject anything that is not “scientific.” Materialists and those opposed (or indifferent) to religion have sought to exploit science to defy religion and use its prestige to spread their thinking. Many people have followed their lead, which means that we have to use the same tools of science and technology to show that they do not contradict Islam and to lead people to the right path. — SOURCE: OnIslam.net

VC emphasises religion as panacea for societal growth

The Vice Chancellor, Crawford University, has emphasised the importance of religion towards eradicating the moral decay that has embedded itself in the Nigerian society. According to him, lack of religious training was responsible for the rot being experienced in virtually all sectors of the Nigerian society, noting that if the people had the fear of God in them, issues of outrageous money embezzlement, injustice and the like would be reduced to the minimum level. — SOURCE: Nigerian Tribune

Arrested in Islamic Pakistan for reading the Koran: Ahmadi sect under siege

A 72-year-old British doctor is in prison in Pakistan for “posing as a Muslim”, charges that reveal an escalating ideological fight that often spills over into violence. Masood Ahmad is a quiet, reserved widower who returned to Pakistan to open a pharmacy in 1982 after decades of working in London to pay his children’s school fees, his family said. He is also an Ahmadi, a sect that consider themselves Muslim but believe in a prophet after Mohammed. A 1984 Pakistani law declared them non-Muslims, and Ahmadis can be jailed for three years for posing as a Muslim or outraging Muslims’ feelings. — SOURCE: Reuters

Yoga Rooms for travelers at US Airports

Hindus have applauded launching of “Yoga Room” at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, calling it a “step in right direction”. — SOURCE: eTurboNews

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