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Salman Rushide on the Role of Religion in Literature and the Literary Imagination

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Well, the first thing to say is that all literature began as sacred literature. That is to say, the beginnings of writings are religious, that the oldest written material that we have is all the product of one or another religious experience. It’s a long time, if you look at the history of literature, before literature separates itself from that articulation of religion. So there is something profound in the origins that link them.
Columbia University Press

Philosophy is not religion. It must not be taught that way
For A-level students in the UK, there is only one exam board that runs a real philosophy course. And that’s about to be changed into yet another religious education course. For the last nine years, I have taught the AQA’s A-level philosophy course. It’s a good course, and the only one to represent the breadth of philosophy as a discipline in its own right. So I was somewhat surprised to learn that the AQA have this week, without warning or consultation, published a completely new draft syllabus, which is now just waiting to be rubber-stamped by Ofqual.
The Guardian

Sikhs stand up to bullying as they try to build understanding
Throughout elementary, middle and high school, Prabhdeep Suri has been the only Sikh in his class, and it’s been obvious. Like all Sikh boys, he wore a patka, a head covering for his uncut hair that’s worn out of respect for his gurus. To his classmates, the patka was a license to stare, taunt, isolate, punch and kick him. It was a target to knock off his head. It was the reason they called him “Osama bin Laden” and “terrorist.”
The Washington Post

Strength In Spirit Affects Overall Well-Being
A new year often comes with questions. January is a time to take stock, reflect on past accomplishments and lost opportunities, and determine the way forward. Creating more happiness, achieving a longed-for goal, and making changes that lead to better health and more resilience can be part of the new you in the new year. While improving physical, mental and emotional well-being can involve much different considerations, there is one aspect of the human condition that ties each of these together — spirituality.
Army MWR

Was Joan of Arc a saint or a crazy person?
This question was put to me by a local graduate student and it is actually a problematic one on several levels. Many people know the story of St. Joan, the female warrior of France who was said to be called by God to liberate her nation from English oppression. Viewed from the perspective of secular history, we have a story of a person who claimed to hear the voice of God and had visions of saints. That would make anyone in any age appear at least a little bit eccentric. Yet that said, she won stunning military victories against incredible odds as a teenage girl when the best military commanders of her day were utterly unable to do so.
Redlands Daily Facts

Atheism is not a system of values
Atheism doesn’t tell you what you “ought” to do. It is simply a lack of belief. Naturalism on the other hand is an epistemological position, i.e. “I don’t see evidence for the supernatural, which includes gods”. One can be an atheist and be a great humanitarian or a mass murderer. Atheism is not a system of values. My lack of belief does not inform my values in any way.
Atheist Nexus



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