Question: You were once an atheist. Now there’s Ganapathy in your room as well as a picture of Shirdi Sai Baba. What made you a believer once again?
Arvind Kejriwal: Yes, I was once an atheist. But look at our movement in the last three years. Is it possible to go from where we were to where we have reached today without divine support?
Question: With people’s support…
Arvind Kejriwal: Of course, with people’s support. But that wouldn’t have come unless there is also a divine role.
— The Times of India
How Santa Hurts Christmas
Yes, it’s true, but Mr. Claus is just about the worst thing to happen to Christianity. We make kids believe in a fat man who hands out gifts unfairly and makes out with mom, and then ask them to believe in Jesus. Right.
— The Daily Beast
Patriarch Twal: Jesus tells us “Peace is possible”
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, celebrated Christmas Midnight Mass in Bethlehem, at the Basilica of the Nativity. In his homily, Patriarch Twal recalled the many crises and conflicts around the world. But, he said, “But we must never give in to despair, because Jesus, our Saviour has told us that peace is possible, that the flame of hope remains alive, that justice and reconciliation will come.”
‘Holiday’ trees offend the religious and the secular
The religious should be offended because it is an attempt to secularize a Christian symbol of Christmas. For Jews, it would be like calling a menorah a holiday candelabra. It would be misportraying a symbol of the holiday because the menorah represents the Jewish religious holiday of Hanukkah. Secular people should be offended because it’s an attempt to deceptively rename an inherently religious symbol, in an effort to universalize it so more people adopt it. This is like calling creationism intelligent design in an effort to pass religion off as science.
— Mansfield News Journal
A grim outlook for Christianity
RESEARCH showing Christianity is now the most widely persecuted religious group in the world should be an urgent wake-up call to all who value the principles of religious freedom and tolerance enshrined in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted 65 years ago this month. Indeed, Christianity could, after 2000 years, be facing the threat of extinction in its birthplace in the Middle East.
— The Australian
Why Christianity Will Never Be at Peace with Free Markets
As many others have ably controverted the Pope’s assertions, I will not reiterate the point that the free market is the best friend of the poor. Instead, I’m going to briefly explore why Christianity has traditionally been in tension with the market economy — even if, correctly understood, Christianity has no political or economic doctrine and therefore leaves its votaries free to adopt whatever modes of production best fulfill their worldly needs. Christian opposition to free markets ultimately flows from three facets of that religion’s beliefs and history:
— Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada
New Paper: William James and Jesus Christ in Late Capitalism
Contemporary discourses on “religion” frequently use a distinction between “religious experience” and “institutional religion,” which we have inherited in part as a result of the popularity of William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience. This paper offers a discourse analysis of this distinction—including how it has been taken up by people who say they are “spiritual, but not religious”—and demonstrates that the distinction often seems designed to sanction anything “religious” that might conflict with or upset the status quo in late capitalism. In addition, this paper considers how the distinction has been appropriated by writers who incorporate it into portrayals of Jesus that similarly legitimate a consumerist life under late capitalism.
— Studies in Religion
As a Man of God, I See the Value in Atheism
As a member of a faith whose history is filled with the persecution of its members by dominant, other faiths, I have to recognize that my personal freedom, in the modern age, is absolutely dependent on the advancement of this principle. If I relish this liberty and, even more so, find it morally correct, it is clearly mandatory upon me to also advance this principle as others face persecution, especially death, when a dominant faith wishes to impose its beliefs upon a minority. Freedom of religion must be a basic principle of any civilized society.
— Huffington Post
Religion and Science
Much of the contention is due to religious philosophy being passed off as science. Intelligent Design “Theory” is used as a counter argument against evolution. With the recent gains religious conservatives have made in government over the past few elections, news of school boards trying to get intelligent design into the classroom has increased. Their argument is that evolution shouldn’t be the only thing taught and that students should be thinking critically and considering alternatives. As a scientist, I agree and welcome that line of thinking, but the alternatives have to be scientifically based alternatives, not theological. If we are going to consider that the Earth was created by god in six days, what’s to stop us from saying Zeus hurls thunderbolts down from mount Olympus and Poseidon is responsible for Hurricane Sandy as alternatives to earth science?
— The Typewriter