Faith is not beating someone over the head with your beliefs and trying to get them to convert to your way of thinking. Faith is believing in the unseen and calling those things that are not, as though they are. I believe that faith works in the workplace. Taking the uncommon path to profits and changing people’s lives simultaneously has been my business plan for many years. Faith works.
Censorship and Repression in the Name of Religion
There are far too many countries where news and content providers constantly face a very special and formidable form of censorship, one exercised in the name of religion or even God. And with increasing frequency, this desire to thwart freedom of information invokes the hard-to-define and very subjective concept of the “feelings of believers.”
— Sampsonia Way
Sonia Gandhi to seek dismissal of lawsuit in 1984 riots case
Congress President Sonia Gandhi will move a US court here seeking dismissal of a human rights violation lawsuit filed against her by a Sikh advocacy group and will urge the court to prevent it from filing further cases on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in America. Gandhi’s attorney Ravi Batra, who also represents the Congress party in the US courts, yesterday filed an 85-page memorandum in the District Court Eastern District of New York in support of Gandhi’s motion for dismissal of the amended complaint filed against her by Sikhs for Justice (SFJ).
— First Post
Religion versus spirituality in the war zone
Recently, I was moved when I got to know one of the people who I see on the flight line on a regular basis whenever we load remains or wounded on aircraft. This man is a civilian. His son was a Marine who died during the invasion of Iraq. When his son died, he and his wife decided that his death would not be the end to the story. They chose to honor their son, by continuing the dream that their son died for. This wife and husband quit their jobs and took jobs with the contractor who hires people to do the jobs they are both currently doing here. This husband-and-wife team do the exact same thing — he is here and she is in Kuwait. When we send remains back home to the states, they are processed from here through Kuwait and placed on aircraft where they will directly return to America. He ensures they make it on the plane on this end, and she is in Kuwait receiving those remains and ensuring that each one of them is taken care of until they are loaded on aircraft back to the states. What a better way to honor your son’s memory than to take his place in the battle. What a special couple. Please pray for them that they will find peace with their son’s death, and for all those who have lost someone in this war.
UPA has done quite a lot for Sikh victims of 1984 riots: Manmohan Singh
UPA has done “quite a lot” for the Sikhs who suffered in 1984 riots but no compensation could be “adequate” to compensate for the loss of valuable lives, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said today.
— The Economic Times
The wonderful world of religion: Stories from 2013
Religion continued to wield undue influence in world culture and politics, with a number of seismic shifts felt throughout 2013. Here are some of the notable stories of 2013 as collated by Atheist Alliance International:
— Atheism UK
Politics and religion a tinderbox of tension
Malaysia would be better off separating religion from politics, rather than using matters of the faith as a tool to crackdown on political dissent, said former Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin. Weighing in on Harussani Zakaria’s statement that those who protested at the New Year’s Eve anti-hike rally were bughah (traitors), Mohd Asri said he was disgusted at the blatant misuse of religion by “so-called scholars”.
— Malaysia Today
No Form, Feelings, Perceptions, Mental Formations, Consciousness: A Buddhist Perspective on AI
It seems as though every day we grow closer to creating fully conscious and emergent artificial intelligences. As I’ve written about before, this poses a problem for many religions, especially those that ascribe a special place for humanity and for human consciousness in the cosmos. Buddhism stands out as an exception. Buddhism may be the one system of religious thought that not only accepts but will actively embrace any AIs that we produce as a species.
Review, Ten Sacred Cows in Christianity that Need to be Tipped
When I reviewed the Harry Potter Bible Study on the Intermountain Christian News, I didn’t give it a favorable review. The Bible Study written by Second Vice-President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Jared Moore, was (at least in my opinion) a contrived attempt at eisegeting Gospel themes where they weren’t present. I also thought that the book pandered unnecessarily to secular culture and bordered on sacrilegious, using a wizard as a type or shadow of Christ. When I had Moore on my radio program, he obviously disagreed. Moore has written another book, “Ten Sacred Cows in Christianity that Need to be Tipped.” Unlike the aforementioned book, I would recommend both the premise and the content of “Ten Sacred Cows…”
— Pulpit and Pen
Rich Kerala Christians praise Narendra Modi as he gets Orthodox Seminary support
For a second time in the last two weeks, two smaller Christian denominations, dominated by businessmen and professionals, have made statements in support of Narendra Modi and his work in Gujarat.
— The Economic Times
Do Christians Threaten Religious Liberty?
Jews ought to back away from any alliance with Christians when it comes to the contraceptive mandate, argues Yishai Schwartz in Tablet. His main reason: Catholics and Evangelicals and legal advocates like the Becket Fund are undermining religious liberty, not promoting it. “Although the rhetoric of religious freedom is seductive, using the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to strike down the contraceptive mandate would not serve that cause, but discredit it.”
— First Things
Is conversion the only path to Judaism?
As someone who is married to a convert, who has spent the better part of his professional life as a Jewish communal leader and counseled a wide range of sincere people in intermarriages who seek entry into the Jewish people, I find such a proposal shallow, impractical and offensive.
— J Weekly
No one is a born terrorist: Karmapa
“They are the creations of living environment and it is the responsibility of the religious leaders to create a healthy situation and guide people in such a way that terrorism becomes a thing of the past and people live in peace and harmony,” the Karmapa said. He made the observation during a formal interaction with mediapersons in his Tregar monastery. He was responding to questions regarding the terrorist attack on the world famous Mahabodhi temple in July, 2013.
— The Times of India
China’s Kaifeng Jews Rediscover Their Heritage
“Are you Jewish?” my Israeli boyfriend likes to ask me every time I do something like mumble oy va voy when I spill a bag of oranges outside of the grocery store. It’s a running joke, albeit not a very good one, since I’m ethnically Chinese. But the premise of our joke—that the notion of a Chinese Jew is oxymoronic— is not technically true. Lately, Chinese Jews have been coming out of the woodwork, and, because of the obvious novelty factor, are getting a decent amount of media attention.
— The Daily Beast
Jews for Jihad
Stockholm Syndrome reared its head last Friday, when an academic who identifies herself as Jewish published op-ed in the Los Angeles Times explaining why she voted for the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli universities, about which I wrote recently in the Jerusalem Post. The Times piece said that the writer had just returned from a trip to Israel and “Palestine” sponsored by Interfaith Peace-Builders, a group that subtly propagandizes for the Palestinian jihad. She was easily taken in. “Palestinian students of all ages,” she claimed, “endure harassment at military checkpoints, frequent school closures, unprovoked arrests, imprisonment and sometimes death at the hands of trigger-happy soldiers.”
— The Jerusalem Post
Uttar Pradesh to asses Muslims’ condition through survey
The survey by the minority welfare department, under the multi-sectoral development programme (MSDP), would be conducted in villages and towns followed by a developmental package to pep up infrastructure, an official told IANS. The survey would cover 144 minority-dominated blocks.
— Business Standard
8 Reasons to Develop Your Spiritual Connection
Through the years of trying to create my personal spirituality, I finally discovered that keeping my heart open to learning about loving myself and others is the key to maintaining a consistent spiritual connection. I also discovered the enormous benefits of staying connected with my spiritual guidance — benefits that I don’t think my religious grandmother or my atheist parents ever experienced.
— Huffington Post
US-based Muslim body writes to Akhilesh on riots
An organisation of US-based Indian Muslims — Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) — has criticised the UP government for its mishandling of the Muzaffarnagar communal riots, saying its “insensitivity” was “shockingly close” to that of the perpetrators of the violence.
— The Indian Express
Best of 2013: Faith in the community
Religious freedom — what it means, who it’s for, how it’s protected — has been a source of debate and news for centuries. And 2013 was no exception. What sets apart today’s debate from the past? As I interviewed scholars, lawyers and those with a personal stake in a religious freedom claim, it became clear to me that as America becomes more diverse, recognizing and protecting individual conscience rights takes on added importance.
— Desert News