Traditional Islam, like its more modern incarnation, upholds the belief in a single deity, Allah. The root of Islam are the words “salam” and “silm,” which mean peace. And, in fact, Islam is about finding peace with the Creator, which can be achieved through complete submission to His will.
In traditional Islam there is one definitive text, the Koran, which is the precise word of God (or Allah). Any serious practice of Islam demands a full commitment to this text, which was delivered by God to His prophet Mohammed in the year 610. Additionally, traditional Muslims study hadith, which reports on the deeds and sayings of Mohammed, God’s final prophet on Earth.
Misconceptions About Traditional Islam
Since September 11, more misinformation has been spread about Islamic culture than in any other period throughout modern times. As its name indicates, Islam is a peaceful religion that urges tolerance and acceptance. But like any creed, Islam has its radical factions. When these extremists are allowed to set the tenor of the entire religion, a handful of zealots …Continue reading
This morning once again I have had my blood pressure raised at the site of an article I found on the news sites online. It appears that Christianity is once again under attack and this time the target is Easter. The battleground is Ohio in Munson Township to be exact. The annual tradition of the Easter egg hunt has now been changed to “The Spring Egg Hunt” as per the township trustees. Those in favor of the change have called those against it “too touchy”, but in today’s society where Christianity is attacked on every level why should we be touchy!
Now since the article has been released many Christians, including myself are pretty upset by this, however I have heard the arguments that egg hunt traditions are rooted in ancient pagan fertility rituals surrounding spring and that the name Easter itself is based off of the pagan religious name Ishtar. I will not deny that the early Catholic church did adapt some pagan names and celebrations into the church in order to make the …Continue reading
Spirituality and religion are two different things. Understanding the difference can help you get in touch with and nurture your spiritual consciousness, especially if you have been hurt by religion.
What is the Difference Between Spirituality and Religion?
Spirituality is one facet of our human nature; religion is a group of beliefs and practices, not unlike a “how-to” guide, meant to help people express their spirituality and draw closer to their Creator, God, or the Universal Truth. In short, religion is meant to help you with your personal spiritual growth. It is your spiritual practice.
Definition of Spirituality
So what is the facet of our human nature known as spirituality? It is people’s innate desire, capacity and need to:
- find meaning in their lives;
- to feel fultilled, rather than empty;
- to find purpose beyond today or this world;
- to rise above the confines of the limited ego and all that is human and imperfect;
- to connect with their Creator or their true inner selves;
- to belong to something larger than themselves;
- to triumph over fear
If every creed passes on the same messages, why have different cultures fought against each other throughout history in bloody battles motivated by religious intolerance?
From a philosophical standpoint, there is no religion better than the other, there are only different cultural elements that covers a common message. The differences are a result of a misinterpretation of the original form of each belief system, and intolerance arises when people lose the connection with the essence of the religion and become attached to the shapes and forms.
What is Religion?
There are many different possibilities to define the word “religion,” but one of the most accepted definition is that religion is a tool to connect with divinity, or the highest instances of consciousness.
Religion is a set of rules, rituals, values and concepts that aim to lead people towards their best possibilities as humans, providing the necessary knowledge to make judgments and decisions that will ensure peace of mind, salvation, heaven, nirvana or whatever they name the state of mind that every belief system understands as …Continue reading
Some find the trappings of religion to be the very thing that draws us far from the message that Scripture carries. The historical Jesus was a person of reform, challanging the treatment of outcasts in his society, questioning the traditions of the Jewish religion and calling not for the destruction of that religion, but for changes to be made in that society.
A Historical Jesus
This Jesus was historical, political, charismatic and ready and willing to use these traits to take a stand for what he believed in. He carried and promoted those beliefs to his death, indicted for those beliefs. He was a man of honor and witness willing to go the whole mile for what he believed were changes that needed to be made his society. Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and the Kennedy brothers are examples of others who made the same choice. While Jesus was murdered by the state and the others by rebels against moral living makes no difference. All died for what they believed in.
Religion and Observance
Can one …Continue reading
I’ve been a Christian for most of my life. This isn’t something that I intend to hide or cover up. While there is a time and a place for everything, I strongly believe that religion shouldn’t be banned or excluded from the workplace as long as you’re not trying to enforce your beliefs on others. The first amendment does protect our right to freedom of religion so as long as we’re not infringing on the freedom of others or abusing that freedom in any other way, we should be able to have it.
I myself plan to become a teacher in the near future. The constitution does have a separation of church and state. However, I do plan on telling my students that I’m a Christian but I’m not going to impose or force my Christianity on any of them. Right now I’m a substitute teachers and I often see a few religious artifacts or paraphernalia in classrooms.
The workplace is a place where you spend around 40 hours a week, which is a lot …Continue reading
“Fool’s gold exists because there is real gold.”
Take a deep breath and engage in an exercise of imagination with me for a couple of minutes. First of all, suppose that all religions in the world did originate from a common source, and that all of the prophets had something in common amongst them. Now, take this fantasy one step further, by bundling up smaller cults and sects, no matter how bizarre, with our sanctioned religions. That is to say that Occultism, Alchemy, Witchcraft and maybe even Scientology – in this fantasy of ours – would also be engaged in the search for that common source to whatever degree the’re capable of.
In this fantasy world, it would be terribly clear to all of us that the institution of Church really could not have any direct relation with the dude supposedly on top of the organizational chart: J-man. He wouldn’t even count as a CEO, in fact. He would most likely be like the king of a monarchy, or like the President of …Continue reading
There was a time when religion was almost universally recognized as representing virtue and humanities’ most sincere striving for goodness. Not anymore, in 2013, the era when religion was viewed as an unalloyed positive seems so…2000 years ago!
Today, the word itself is more likely to elicit frowns of disapproval than visions of righteousness. You know a tectonic shift has occurred when people who may have previously described themselves as religious now prefer to describe themselves as spiritual instead; as in “I am spiritual; not religious”. Consider also the pejorative connotations associated with the phrase “organized religion”, as in “I don’t believe in organized religion.”
The popularity of so called non denominational churches is a direct byproduct and expression of this suspicion, or disdain, for traditional religious institutions and forms of organization. As one who does in fact subscribe to “organized religion” I’ll be the first to admit that religious folk have not exactly distinguished themselves in the eyes of the world as recent headlines attest; when children are abused by men appointed to oversee …Continue reading
If you’re seeking a quick and informal education in world religions, why not turn to Hollywood, Bollywood, and the global cinema for some classic entertainment along with the expansion of your spiritual horizons? I’ve conveniently waded through the murky waters for you and selected a few of my favorites when it comes to religion and the moving picture.
You’ll probably notice a few classics missing from this list, but I won’t pretend that my selection isn’t entirely subjective or remotely comprehensive. If your favorite is missing, suggest it in the discussion section and I’ll try to find it at my local movie megapolis and provide feedback!
The Jesus of Montreal (1989) Directed by Denys Arcand
This film purports to educate the viewer about the historical figure of Christ using a story-within-a-story method. Although we do learn about the cultural and historical setting from which Jesus and his followers came, the real spiritual message of the film turns out not to be Christian at all per se, but about individual spirituality and power. The quiet style …Continue reading