Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Obama on religion

This caught my eye because it was new for me to watch President Obama reflecting on his religious beliefs and how he associates it with living his everyday life.

Plus, the end of the article shows how ignorant Americans can be. 1 in 5 Americans believe the President is Muslim - and this is an increase from last year?! So, more and more people are believing he's Muslim as time goes on?? That seems a bit ridiculous.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Economic Justice and The Simple Way

There was an essay by Shane Claiborne in the readings for this week (pages 238-240). A few months ago, there was an interview with him on "Speaking of Faith." It's really interesting.

The Simple Way, the community he founded 10 years ago, is intense. The members work part time jobs, share one car, run a neighborhood garden, thrift store, coordinate grocery donations and more. He and the rest of the community approach religion as a way of life, and something to shape their entire interaction with the world.

In my opinion, the most amazing thing about his community is the amount of time he has kept it up without burning out. He attributes that to the people he lives with. In the interview, his response to the question of avoiding burnout was, "What community is is surrounding yourself with people who are like the person you want to become."

He says a lot of other things related to economic justice and religion. (He ends the interview with the point that "It's not just whether you're going to be a lawyer or a doctor, but what kind of lawyer or doctor you're going to be.) It's worth a listen.

Banning Sharia law in Oklahoma

They're going to vote on it:

Religion Quiz

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life just released a survey on religious knowledge. Atheists and agnostics performed the best:

You can test yourself here:

Monday, September 27, 2010

What if Paul's letter to the Galatians was published in Christianity Today?

This is a satirical piece from Sacred Sandwich, in the form of letters to the editor responding to Paul. Don't laugh until you figure out who it's making fun of:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Employment Law and Discrimination

Provides an interesting review of the discrimination claims brought by Muslims working (or trying to work) in the U.S. and the increased discrimination many have faced in the workplace. There are jobs that probably cannot reasonably accommodate certain styles of dress, but no one ever deserves to be treated poorly at work (or anywhere in the U.S.).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New Hope

I'm just bragging a little on my high school best friend, Russell Jeung, whose wife and family are featured in this story about a church in a crime-ridden neighborhood in Oakland, California, and the personal commitment to the neighborhood that they have made.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Message to Muslims: I’m Sorry

This article was forwarded to me, and I'm passing it on to the class. It's a great editorial that looks at recent anti-Islamic rhetoric/events and apologizes for extremists.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The public square debate, catholic position

Looking for blogs in all the wrong places.

Must be a Friday afternoon. Doing some browsing to share:

Here's a blog called "Bold Faith Type" from the website for Faith in Public Life.

Here's the website for an organization called "The Faith & Politics Institute."

"First Things is published by The Institute on Religion and Public Life, an interreligious, nonpartisan research and education institute whose purpose is to advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society." Here is their blog.

Mirror of Justice is "a blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory."

World Mag is the blog and commentary page for World, which is a magazine the mission of which is
"to report, interpret, and illustrate the news in a timely, accurate, enjoyable, and arresting fashion from a perspective committed to the Bible as the inerrant Word of God."
Please feel free to explore these and comment here, or to share your favorites.

God, “The Original Intent”: Advancing the historical understanding of the hand of God in American history.

I recently came across this site that collects materials regarding the role of Christianity in the founding of the United States.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Thousand Words

Is this chart helpful or misleading? It's from the blog, Catholic and Enjoying It!

The Pope's First State Visit to the UK in Almost 500 Years

The head of the Anglican Church welcomes the head of the Roman Catholic Church for the first official Papal visit since Britain's reformation in 1534. Can anything be done to reawaken faith in what many consider a post-religious society like Great Britain? Issues of sex-abuse, women's rights and atheism are at the forefront of the Pope's official visit to Scotland.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The most ironic part to me is the last line..."France does not keep its own statistics on religious affiliation of the population, in keeping with its laws requiring the state to be strictly secular." Strictly secular, yet they're going to control one's religious practices...odd.
Shouldn't it be left up to the individual whether or not they want to wear one??

NPR: Is Believing In God Evolutionarily Advantageous?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Grand Inquisitor

Last week, we discussed the standards that people should be held to and the idea of universal truth compared with relativism.

I fear this is going to out me as the nerdiest member of class, but the discussion reminded me of the following scene from an episode of the BBC comedy from the 1980s, Red Dwarf. Thought I would share and lighten the blog up a bit.

(Preface: the episode is about a guy travelling the universe capable of making people disappear if they did not use their life wisely. The following is the judgement of two of the characters, one of which is a creature that evolved from the ship's cat.)

NYT - Concern Is Voiced Over Religious Intolerance

Based on last weeks end of class discussion I found this article to be interesting.

Concern Is Voiced Over Religious Intolerance

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, center, and the Rev. Richard Cizik,
at the lectern, at a news conference Tuesday in Washington, where
 Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders were meeting.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Burning the Quran to mark 9/11

Above is link to a news article about a church in Florida that is planning to burn the Quran to mark the 9/11 attacks.

I was listening to NPR tonight as I drove home and the reporter was describing the measures the city of Gainesville would have to take to ensure the protection of the citizens who live in the neighborhoods near the church, including checkpoints. Not only does it seem that this act may cause significant issues for the U.S. troops serving in Muslim countries, but it also hurts people in the U.S., on so many levels.

I need to read more about this action this church plans to take, but it just seems completely self-serving.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Here is an interesting link to an article in TIME regarding the WTC mosque issue.

This is a slide show of an illustration which followed the article in the magazine. It sheds some light on our sometimes intolerant past. I hate to use the phrase history repeats itself, but judging by divisiveness of this issue I fear it may. It only takes a spark... and there could be a picture for 2010 on the slide show.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ruling on State Funding of Religious Student Groups

Here's an article describing the case: U. of Wisconsin Cannot Exclude Religious Group From Student Fees, Court Says

Here's the decision itself.

The issue involves a student group called Badger Catholic, at the University of Wisconsin. The University refused to fund activities that constituted worship, proselytizing, and religious instruction.

On the one hand, you could see this as discriminating against a religious group, since other groups are allowed to hold counseling and educational sessions and try to convince others of the correctness of their views.

On the other hand, if the group were to be funded, you could see this as tax dollars being used to promote a particular religion. If I'm a Muslim taxpayer in Wisconsin, I'm wondering why the state of Wisconsin is paying someone to try to convert me.

For myself, I think the question is whether religious activity is special and different or not. If you want to say that the Sierra Club or the Federalist Society are in a sense praying and proselytizing and you should be able to do the same, I think you are right in a way, but then I want to know why the National Organization for Women can't discriminate based on gender but the Lutheran Church can. Why do priests get to write off the cost of their housing when the executive director the Yoga Society doesn't? What do you think?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Book Review - The Tenth Parallel

Book Review - The Tenth Parallel - By Eliza Griswold - Here's the key quote, for me:
"Jihad was a ‘career move,’ she said. The only other job besides kidnapping was fishing. And fishing required a boat.”

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Is Real Peace Attainable?

Perhaps one of the most consistent news headlines in recent years involves a continuous cycle of U.S. Presidents who stand hand-in-hand for photo-ops with Middle East leadership. Yet, lasting peace never comes.

Will any U.S. President successfully complete peace talks with Israel and Palestine? Is peace possible, or is President Obama continuing down a long road of near misses? It’s a lofty mission many American Presidents have had no success with.

President Obama is presently holding one-on-one talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, Jordanian King Abdullah and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. These leaders all claim an interest in peace, but I’m not sure whether they’re actually willing to work together to achieve it. Tensions continue to run high, as Hamas claimed responsibility for recent terrorist attacks against Israelis in the West Bank. Such negotiations require “give and take,” but it often seems everyone is willing to “take” but no one wants to “give” in the slightest.

Will American lawmakers find a way to supersede generations of religious turmoil among Muslims, Christians and Jews? Is America even in a political position to offer an opportunity for healing in the Middle East? I wonder whether another one-year timeline will come and go while the peace talks continuously drag on indefinitely.