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Faith and fish: Castaway recounts how he survived 13 months adrift in Pacific

How did a man survive such an ordeal — as Alvarenga describes — in a boat about the length of three people and the width of one person? He pointed upward and said, “God. … My faith in God.”

Where Faith Meets Justice: Jobs That Will Change You and Your World
When I graduated from college, ad agencies and consulting groups were the big draw. If you wanted to do service, the Peace Corps was pretty much the only option, unless you had a friend who knew someone who ran some kind of non-profit somewhere. Today it’s different. The most competitive job to get right after college is with Teach for America. AmeriCorps is also a popular option, but with more than 500,000 applicants for less than 80,000 positions, it is not a slam-dunk to get in. So what do you do if you are someone who wants to change the world, find meaningful work, commit to an issue and delve deeper and further into life’s journey?
Huffington Post

Indian politics: religion versus elections
Starting April 16, the people of India will determine the government of the country for the next five years. The elections will end on May 13 and the previous government will cease to exist on May 31. The election will be fought between the two most powerful parties in Parliament: the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), meaning Indian People’s Party. The BJP has already nominated Narendra Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate. Many expected Rahul Gandhi to be the INC candidate, however on January 17th the INC announced Gandhi would not be its PM nominee. This is a sure sign the INC are willing to surrender the elections to the BJP, who are already ahead in national polls.
Huffington Post

New book: The Romance of Religion
The Romance of Religion deals with the question of the great adventure of faith. So many abandon religion because they have come to believe that it is no more than a list of rules, regulations and rubrics combined with a list of doctrines, dogmas and disciplines to be observed. They’ve missed the fact that these things–while necessary–are not the core of religion. They are the map for the journey, the rulebook of the game, but they are not the journey or the game. The journey is far more than the map even if you need the map for the journey. The book then expands and considers how we use stories to tell about the faith, the relationship of myth and fairy tale to the re-telling of the old, old, story of fallen humanity and a forgiving God.

Religion and Culture: Mixed-faith Hindu weddings are on the rise
The incense was there. So was the tikka powder and the ceremonial grains of rice. So were the turbans, the saris, and the kurta pajamas. The wedding had all of the makings of a Hindu shaadi, but in one major way, it was far from traditional. When Neil Bajpayee, a Pennsylvania-born Indian-American, made his vows in Sanskrit to Stephanie Young, a Californian raised in a non-religious family, he became the first member of his family to marry a non-Indian, non-Hindu.
Southern California Public Radio

Miles Davis, Buddhism, and Jazz featured in Hancock’s First Lecture as Norton Professor
Hancock, the 2014 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry, the first African-American to hold the prestigious position, gave the first in a series of six lectures entitled “The Ethics of Jazz,” presented by the Mahindra Humanities Center. The first lecture, entitled, “The Wisdom of Miles Davis” tied Hancock’s personal memories of the legendary trumpet player and bandleader to broader lessons about racism, ethics, and Buddhism.
The Harvard Crimson




Faith gives perspective on financial problems, Pope tells world economic leaders

In a message to the international leaders gathering in Davos, Switzerland, for the 44th World Economic Forum, Pope Francis has urged that economic policy decisions should be made “taking into account the dignity of every human person and the common good.” The Pope’s message expresses the hope that the Davos meeting will allow for “deeper reflection on the causes of the economic crisis” that still grips he world. Pope Francis writes that the world has seen enormous economic gains, and a substantial reduction of poverty, but these positive results have been marred by “widespread social exclusion,” and most of the world’s people still live with insecurity.
Catholic Culture

Spiritual Things To Do In Morning
When you see the elders doing Puja early in the morning, you tend to question why they are doing it after getting up. What you do after you get up every morning is very critical. Doing good things will help have a good day ahead. Most of the people get up angry over the loud alarm, shouting at the spouse or dreading over the horrifying dream. We can’t prevent the bad days, but can set our mood in the morning so as to make up for it. Here are a few spiritual things that you must do very morning.
Bold Sky

The Religious Counterculture: An Open Letter to Religious Liberals
A high school teacher of mine used to entertain his classes by rattling off lists of oxymorons: pretty ugly, jumbo shrimp, constant variable. Sometimes he would take the opportunity to editorialize a little: military intelligence, airplane food, liberal religion. Everybody would smirk and the class would go on. The joke, of course, was that liberal religion couldn’t really exist because liberals are not religious and religious people are definitely not liberal. As if everybody knows there’s an inverse correlation between religiosity and liberalism: the more liberal you are, the less religious you are… to the vanishing point. I was told recently (not as a joke) about a synagogue here in New York that’s so liberal that no one ever goes.
Huffington Post

My Story – My journey with faith
I don’t consider myself to be a very scholarly person who has read hundreds of books or is an authority on religion in anyway. But I would like to share with you the story of my faith and my battle between a conscious reality and a common inherited belief. The transformation of my beliefs was not something that took place within a day, or through a single event, but through a few years of soul searching and a multitude of events.  I find, that faith is not something that can just be acquired or gained, but developed through one’s experiences, through the passion to seek and question, and most of all through prayers.
Ahmadiyya Times

Program to integrate psychiatry and spirituality
A client is severely depressed, and her despair quickly incapacitates her. A therapist discovers she had an abortion when she was young and because of her faith, feels rejected and abandoned by God. Another patient has strong faith and lives with bi-polar disorder. He stops taking his medication when a friend points out that he wouldn’t need it if he was more devout.
Herald Tribune

Mystics and Manics
Again and again the various athletes said that they were willing to get injured or even die in the pursuit of their dreams of experiencing something breathtaking and boundary breaking. The logic of these sports is to do things that have never been done before.
Fort McMurray Today

My Religion Is Better Than Yours
It is seemingly time for religious bigotry, hatred and violence once again. Referring to this odious tendency in human behaviour, Gadadhara Pandit Dasa, Hindu Chaplain, Columbia University and New York University said recently in the Huffington Post: ” I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely tired of encountering this attitude. Most people who make such statements don’t have deep knowledge or set of experiences within their own tradition, what to speak of other people’s traditions. I am confident that if we made even a little bit of an endeavour to understand another’s faith, it could make all the difference in the world”.
Sri Lanka Guardian



If You Have Faith, You’ll Stop Arguing Why It’s Important in the Marketplace

Freedom of speech means that you have full permission and a right to say what you want, write what you want and speak what you want. Sadly, some groups believe this means you should be silenced if your beliefs are different than mine, or even given special rights if your faith is threatening mine.

Yoga is the best way to enforce prohibition, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says
Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Tuesday termed people who do not practise yoga as ayogiyan (a term in Sanskrit and Tamil which means unethical person). “If you don’t practise yoga, you are good for nothing. This has been the belief since ancient times,” he said while speaking at the valedictory function of the 20th international yoga festival organized by the tourism department.
The Times of India

Harassed 300 Dalits Embrace Buddhism
The Dalits were banned from entering the temple and were also not allowed to use the local crematorium. They alleged that the district administration had failed to respond to as many as 28 petitions filed by them in the last two years. Around 79 Dalit families live in a colony in the hamlet which houses over 3,000 Caste Hindus. “As we are in the minority, Caste Hindus banned our entry inside their temples,” a Dalit said.
The New Indian Express

What 21st century Buddhists need to do is study: His Holiness
He said that among the three turnings of the wheel of Dharma, the Perfection of Wisdom teachings, the second turning of the wheel is supreme. The Heart Sutra describes both the Buddha and Avalokiteshara as absorbed in concentration. Initially the Buddha taught how we are propelled into cyclic existence, but not who is propelled. The Heart Sutra teaches not only that the person is empty, but that the five aggregates that are its basis are also empty. This indicates that phenomena as well as persons are empty of inherent existence. The Perfection of Wisdom Sutras teach that there is no essence in anything, everything is empty of inherent existence and is merely designated, nominally existent.
The Tibet Post

This is your brain on religion: Uncovering the science of belief
As far as I’m concerned, the most interesting question about religion isn’t whether God exists but why so many people are religious. There are around 10,000 different religions, each of which is convinced that there’s only one Truth and that they alone possess it. Hating people with a different faith seems to be part of belief. Around the year 1500, the church reformer Martin Luther described Jews as a “brood of vipers.” Over the centuries the Christian hatred of the Jews led to pogroms and ultimately made the Holocaust possible. In 1947, over a million people were slaughtered when British India was partitioned into India for the Hindus and Pakistan for the Muslims. Nor has interfaith hatred diminished since then. Since the year 2000, 43 percent of civil wars have been of a religious nature.

Religious NGOs, Civil Society and the United Nations
A new study by the University of Kent’s Department of Religious Studies in the United Kingdom has revealed that more than 70% of the United Nation’s religious non-governmental organisations are Christian. The report, religious NGOs and the United Nations, calls for better clarity in how religious NGOs are represented at the UN and for more emphasis to be placed on religious tolerance.
Global Research

The shadow government’s secret religion
The expansion of Washington’s national security state — let’s call it the NSS — to gargantuan proportions has historically met little opposition.  In the wake of the Edward Snowdenrevelations, however, some resistance has arisen, especially when it comes to the “right” of one part of the NSS to turn the world into a listening post and gather, in particular, American communications of every sort.  The debate about this — invariably framed within the boundaries of whether or not we should have more security or more privacy and how exactly to balance the two — has been reasonably vigorous.  The problem is: it doesn’t begin to get at the real nature of the NSS or the problems it poses.

Religious Homophobia Is Still Homophobia
I’m a bisexual Seventh-day Adventist evangelical Christian. I’ve only ever gone to Seventh-day Adventist educational school systems. I grew up in pathfinders, singing for church special music since I was three, and going to Bible camps during my summers. I still go to a Seventh-day Adventist university where I work on creating safe spaces (unofficial GSA’s) nationally within the Seventh-day Adventist church. I get the Gay Christian world — I live in it. Around the entire LGBT conversation, whether it’s marriage or politics, the main contention point is religion. It’s the root of the opposition and it is where homophobia was birthed.
Huffington Post

Spirituality in a secular world — a conversation
Something essential is missing from modern life. Many who’ve turned away from religious institutions — and others who have lived wholly without religion — hunger for more than what contemporary secular life has to offer but are reluctant to follow organized religion’s strict and often inflexible path to spirituality. In A Religion of One’s Own, bestselling author and former monk Thomas Moore explores the myriad possibilities of creating a personal spiritual style, either inside or outside formal religion.

Philosophy and Religion Intermarried in Groundbreaking New Book
Gleason’s book journeys through the depths of passion and prudence, of belief and rationality, of theology and philosophy. Loosely interlinked ordinary people represent moral allegories that attempt to explain whether free will or determinism exists, or whether humanity simply exists in a random set of events. The book’s overall theme is the merging of religious credos with philosophical underpinnings, the thematic crux of this fictional novel.
Digital Journal


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