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Religion by loudspeaker: India’s great cacophony

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India is becoming noisier by the decade as technology becomes affordable and accessible. Festivals and other religious and community occasions are increasingly imposed on all those within earshot. And more people are forced into participating in this through the loudspeaker. I don’t think this a pleasant experience and it is going to get worse.
First Post

Christian beliefs challenged as author seeks to uncover the truth of historical Jesus
To understand Zealot, a new and controversial book about Jesus, you need to put a dividing line between history and faith, says religion scholar and author Reza Aslan. Zealot is about the historical Jesus, the man whose life and death can be verified by serious inquiry — not the Jesus who Christians believe was the Son of God, but the zealous messianic leader who was executed by Rome for sedition. The Christ who rose from the dead, he says, is outside the scope of the legitimate historian and should reside only in the realm of faith. And while he insists there need not be a conflict between history and faith, many orthodox Christians will likely take umbrage. Prof Aslan, who teaches at University of California, Santa Barbara, would seem to come down on the side of atheists and skeptics — though he says he is not taking sides.
National Post

Religion should be followed in personal, not public life: President
“Shahu Maharaj said that we all are Indians and we all are brothers. There is no division of caste and religion. Religion should be followed in personal life, but it cannot stand in public life. Shahu Maharaj laid the foundation of true swarajya and the society grows through contributions of people like him,” he [President Pranab Mukherjee] said.
The Times of India

Tips for the spiritual journeyman
Is spiritual progress possible in this era? This is the big question asked by seekers of enlightenment. Hare Krishna devotees believe this is the era of conflict. They believe chanting the Hare Krishna mantra is the way forward. This mantra is chanted 108 x 16 rounds a day. Sometimes these 16 rounds are broken into eight in the morning and eight in the evening. Mahayana Buddhists believe chanting gatha (doctrinal verses) and making one’s action free of sins will ensure Buddhahood or enlightenment. Theravada Buddhists, the majority in Sri Lanka, believe that everyone should continue to accumulate merit and aspire to be born during the time of Maithree Buddha (the next Buddha).
The Nation

Compared with Ghanaian charismatic Christianity, American Christianity can seem like soggy toast
It is not just the intensity that seems different. In these churches, prayer is warfare. The new charismatic Christian churches in Accra imagine a world swarming with evil forces that attack your body, your family and your means of earning a living.
The New York Times

Are Jews A Race Or A Religion? A Genetic Map Helps
A recent genetic analysis focusing on Jews from North Africa when added to an overall genetic map of Jewish Diasporas indicates that both views are correct because lots of non-Jews converted to Judaism during the centuries of the Roman Empire, and very few converted in the last eight to ten centuries.
Albany Tribune



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