Tag Archives: Religion

Christian conservatives don’t support Donald Trump despite his vulgarity – they support him because of it

How to account for the strange fact that Donald Trump, a lewd and morally destitute person, the very opposite of Christian decency, can function as the chosen hero of the Christian conservatives? The explanation one usually hears is that, while Christian conservatives are well aware of the problematic character of Trump’s personality, they have chosen to ignore this side of things since what really matters to them is Trump’s agenda, especially his anti-abortion stance.

If he succeeds in naming conservative new members of the Supreme Court, which will then overturn Roe v Wade, then this act will obliterate all his sins, it seems. But are things as simple as that? What if the very duality of Trump’s personality – his high moral stance accompanied by personal lewdness and vulgarities – is what makes him attractive to Christian conservatives? What if they secretly identify with this very duality?

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Posted by on August 10, 2017 in European Union, North America


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God in the machine: my strange journey into transhumanism 

I first read Ray Kurzweil’s book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, in 2006, a few years after I dropped out of Bible school and stopped believing in God. I was living alone in Chicago’s southern industrial sector and working nights as a cocktail waitress. I was not well. Beyond the people I worked with, I spoke to almost no one. I clocked out at three each morning, went to after-hours bars, and came home on the first train of the morning, my head pressed against the window so as to avoid the spectre of my reflection appearing and disappearing in the blackened glass.

At Bible school, I had studied a branch of theology that divided all of history into successive stages by which God revealed his truth. We were told we were living in the “Dispensation of Grace”, the penultimate era, which precedes that glorious culmination, the “Millennial Kingdom”, when the clouds part and Christ returns and life is altered beyond comprehension. But I no longer believed in this future. More than the death of God, I was mourning the dissolution of this narrative, which envisioned all of history as an arc bending towards a moment of final redemption. It was a loss that had fractured even my experience of time. My hours had become non-hours. Days seemed to unravel and circle back on themselves.

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Posted by on May 8, 2017 in Reportages


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Christians are under attack in the Middle East – and not even a visit from the Pope can convince them to stay

Almost exactly a quarter of a century ago, I wrote a story for the front page of what was then The Independent’s Weekend Review. It was headlined: “Exodus: a story of Christians”. It told the tragedy of those people of the faith who were fleeing the lands of the forefathers.

I interviewed the only hermit left in Lebanon, in a cave in the north of the country, and he said to me: “I am the only hermit left in all the Middle East.” His eyes creased in happiness when I acknowledged his unique theological condition. “I will never leave Lebanon,” he said. “No Christian should leave the Holy Land. Those who have left will come back.”

He exuded faith: childlike, passionate, precise, untrammelled by contradiction or facts. And he was wrong.

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Posted by on April 28, 2017 in Middle East


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Buddhism can be as violent as any other religion

The recent violence in southern Thailand began on 4 January 2004, when Malay Muslim insurgents invaded a Thai Army depot in the southernmost province of Narathiwat. The next day, after the burning of 20 schools and several bomb attacks in a neighbouring province, the Thai government declared martial law over the three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat. Shortly after, two Buddhist monks were killed during their morning alms, and a third injured. In these provinces, the majority population is Muslim, and Buddhists are a minority. By the summer, journalists and scholars had written articles about the insurgents and the role of Islam in the violence. But since Buddhism was associated with peace, no one thought to investigate the role of Buddhism. How could a Buddhist monk participate in the violence? Yet clearly, Buddhism was involved in the conflict.

Source: Buddhism can be as violent as any other religion | Aeon Essays

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Posted by on April 27, 2017 in Asia


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The hijab ruling is a ban on Muslim women

This week’s decision by the European court of justice to allow the hijab to be banned in the workplace is yet another sign of the continent’s obsession with how Muslim women dress.

The ruling states that the hijab can be banned only as part of a policy barring all religious and political symbols – and so framed in a way that doesn’t directly target Muslim women. Indeed, the Conference of European Rabbis was outraged, saying that the ruling sent a clear message that Europe’s faith communities were no longer welcome – and a number of religious communities, including Sikhs, will be affected.

Source: The hijab ruling is a ban on Muslim women | Iman Amrani | Opinion | The Guardian

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Posted by on March 21, 2017 in European Union


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Can religion be based on ritual practice without belief? 

Since the dawn of anthropology, sociology and psychology, religion has been an object of fascination. Founding figures such as Sigmund Freud, Émile Durkheim and Max Weber all attempted to dissect it, taxonomise it, and explore its psychological and social functions. And long before the advent of the modern social sciences, philosophers such as Xenophanes, Lucretius, David Hume and Ludwig Feuerbach have pondered the origins of religion.
In the century since the founding of the social sciences, interest in religion has not waned – but confidence in grand theorising about it has. Few would now endorse Freud’s insistence that the origins of religion are entwined with Oedipal sexual desires towards mothers. Weber’s linkage of a Protestant work ethic and the origins of capitalism might remain influential, but his broader comparisons between the religion and culture of the occidental and oriental worlds are now rightly regarded as historically inaccurate and deeply Euro-centric.

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Posted by on November 26, 2016 in Asia


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‘I’ve seen hell, and it is real’: Ukrainian Pentecostals in the American Midwest and one man’s twisted path to Jesus 

Ruzam Tadzhibayev had his first meeting with God when he was 18 years old.
At the time he was living with his fiancée in Termez, a small ancient city in the deep south of Soviet Uzbekistan, known for being conquered by Alexander the Great and destroyed by the troops of Genghis Khan. It was August 1966 and it was one of those unbearably hot days when you could bury an egg in the sand, return half an hour later and find it hard-boiled. For people who lived in Termez, the climate was both a curse and a gift. It was precisely because of this excruciating weather that they got a 60 percent bonus in their official salaries each month: the state’s way of acknowledging that human beings shouldn’t really be working in such conditions.
Ruzam Tadzhibayev was a willing laborer. Several months before, he returned to Termez after serving eighteen months in a juvenile prison for getting into a fight with a cop in a club. Fortunately, his prospective father-in-law was a chief engineer at a local freight company, and there was a lot of construction going on around the city; truck drivers were needed. After getting his license, Tadzhibayev joined that workforce, eventually getting to drive a brand new ZIL truck, thanks to his family connection. However, the vehicle had just one small flaw: the starter didn’t always work properly.

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Posted by on September 6, 2016 in North America, Reportages


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In the fight against Isis, there’s hope in the history of Islam 

The Near East School of Theology in Beirut is housed in a bland grey and brown building near the Mediterranean Sea. A few days ago, the audience in its underground lecture theatre was witness to one of the most remarkable lectures on ancient and modern Islam in recent times, which – had it been more widely advertised – might have had just about every shade of religious protester huffing and puffing outside in the aptly named Jeanne D’Arc Street. 
The speaker was Dr Tarif Khalidi, one of Islam’s foremost scholars and translator of the latest English-language edition of the Koran, whose earlier works on Jesus in Muslim stories match his most recent anthology of Arab literature. The title of his address was an almost frightening world-beater: Does Islam need a Martin Luther?

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Posted by on July 12, 2016 in Middle East, Revolution


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Non chiedete a noi musulmani di schierarci, lo abbiamo già fatto 

Ho molti amici che per lavoro hanno passato del tempo a Dhaka, in Bangladesh. In questi anni ho avuto l’opportunità di conoscere il paese attraverso i loro occhi. Ed ecco che già sapevo della premier Sheikh Hasina che guida il paese da tanto (troppo?) tempo, delle diseguaglianze estreme tra Bangladesh rurale ed élite ricca con studi all’estero, dei cambiamenti climatici e dello sfruttamento nel settore tessile. Dopo l’attentato a Dhaka naturalmente i miei amici, chi in privato chi sui social, hanno dato voce al loro dolore per quella terra straziata e per quelle vite spezzate. Un mio amico conosceva Claudia D’Antona, l’imprenditrice che viveva in Bangladesh da vent’anni. Una donna solare, aperta, piena di idee, caparbia. Una donna che tanto si era spesa per gli altri, che credeva nel Bangladesh e in un mondo migliore. Ho fatto le condoglianze al mio amico. Ero triste per lui, per me, per tutti.

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Posted by on July 11, 2016 in Reportages



If Islam Is a Religion of Violence, So Is Christianity

Speaking after “appreciating the congrats” on the Orlando shootings, Donald Trump again insisted that what mowed people down at Pulse was not an assault rifle but radical Islam, because in Trump Tower, it cannot be both. Trump’s world is binary. It is zero-sum: Either guns kill people or radical Islam kills people. In that world, only one religion can be bad, and so Christianity is good and Islam is bad. Christianity is peaceful and Islam violent. Christianity is tolerant and Islam intolerant. Both are inherently one thing or the other, immutable blueprints etched in stone for the behavior of their respective adherents.

If Islam Is a Religion of Violence, So Is Christianity | Foreign Policy
Inviato da Maxthon Cloud Browser

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Posted by on June 23, 2016 in North America, Reportages


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