For more than three decades Bengtson had strayed far from his Christian upbringing in rural central California, where his father was pastor of a small Evangelical Covenant Church. A sociology professor at the University of Southern California and noted scholar on the dynamics of aging, Bengtson had compartmentalized his faith from his academic work until he began delving into how and why religion is passed down from one generation to the next.
— Desert News
Why non-believers need rituals too
One of the problems I have with the New Atheism is that it fixates on ethics, ignoring aesthetics at its peril. It tends also towards atomisation, relying on abstracts such as “civic law” to conjure a collective experience. But I love ritual, because it is through ritual that we remake and strengthen our social bonds. As I write, down the road there is a memorial being held for Lou Reed, hosted by the local Unitarian church. Most people there will have no belief in God but will feel glad to be part of a shared appreciation of a man whose god was rock’n’roll.
— The Guardian
Buddhism and biology: a not-so-odd couple
Buddhism’s appeal in the West has thus far mostly involved its promise of increased inner serenity, derived primarily from mindful meditation, to which can be added a developing strain of “socially engaged Buddhism,” as reflected in the political activism of the Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma/Myanmar, and the beloved Vietnamese scholar/monk Thich Nhat Hanh, along with numerous Western activists such as Joanna Macy and the late Robert Aitken. It turns out that in addition, Buddhism and biology have much to say to each other. In part, this might be because Buddhism can be considered as much a philosophy and intellectual perspective as a traditional religion. That is certainly the nature of my own Buddhist “practice,” which has little patience for those aspects of Buddhism that resemble standard religions: belief in various supernatural deities, worship of relics or statues, taking fairy tales as literal truth. But wipe away the mystical nonsense and abracadabra, and we find that many of the foundational ideas of Buddhism converge with newly revealed, empirically-based insights of biology, especially the disciplines of ecology, evolution, genetics, and development.
— OUP Blog
Religious without religion
To be a religious believer we have to follow certain strict rules which cannot be violated. For instance as Muslims we believe that Allah is the only God and the Prophet Muhammad is His messenger; we must regularly observe the five daily prayers (shalat), pay zakat (alms), fast (saum) during the month of Ramadhan, and perform the haj (pilgrimage) at least once in a lifetime — all these are the five pillars of Islam. As Muslims we cannot evade those five pillars except for some specific exceptions.
— The Jakarta Post
Bruce Langtry on “What is Philosophy of Religion?”
Philosophical discussions of ‘bare’ theism (the proposition that God exists) which completely ignore theistic religion are rarer than one might at first think. For example, although there is little discussion of any theistic religions in Graham Oppy’s Arguing about Gods, Oppy says that the book is specifically about ‘the kinds of arguments that contemporary Christian philosophers of religion typically give when they give arguments on behalf of the claim that the orthodoxly conceived monotheistic god in which they happen to believe exists.’ (Graham Oppy, Arguing about Gods, Cambridge University Press 2006, p.xv). Similarly, John Mackie, in his 1955 article on the problem of evil, makes it clear that his main concern is to argue that ‘religious beliefs are positively irrational, that the several parts of the essential theological doctrine are inconsistent with one another …’ (J.L. Mackie, ‘Evil and Omnipotence,’ Mind 64 (1955), p.200.)
— Philosophy of Religion
A guide to the gods and enlightened beings: Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s West Wing
Aside from the purely visual pleasures they provide, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s new Chinese, Indian and Southeast Asian galleries constitute an invitation to learn about Hinduism and Buddhism, the predominant religions represented in the new displays. This admittedly incomplete guide is intended as a rudimentary introduction to some of the religious ideas and holy figures represented in the galleries and to encourage deeper looking, learning and appreciation.
Top 5 Atheist Books of 2013
2013 was a very good year for books and though narrowing them down to five is no easy task, it seemed only right to provide some must read material to start your new year off right.
— Digital Journal
‘Bid to Alienate Tribals from Hindu Religion’
Delivering the key-note address at the cultural meeting organised as part of the birth centenary of Balasaheb Deshpande, the founder of Akhila Bharatheeya Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram, Seema Surakha all-India joint organising secretary A Gopalakrishnan said here on Thursday that it was from the days of East India Company that the Western Christian missionaries had started the efforts to convert the tribals on a massive scale.
— The New Indian Express
Indian Muslims and Aam Aadmi Party
Now as we see the upsurge of the Aam Aadmi party, Muslim community leadership once again is lagging behind in connecting themselves with the masses through popular movement and failed to create an electoral arithmetic where a vote can be easily transferred to Muslim leaders based on the development issues and this movements can create a mass leaders those are acceptable in the majority community.