Thursday, April 05, 2007

Shameful Abuse of Children

Shameful Abuse of Religion:

It is bad enough when adults and young adults have to suffer for their faith, but when children are made to suffer too, we get to witness a new low.

To let this go on (like we let it in Darfur), gives me no sense of pride.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

One's Own Conviction

One's Own Conviction

Or, another case for "No Compulsion in Religion"
Or, another case for "Independent Investigation of the Truth"

have questioned in an easrlier post whether it is satisfactory to base one's religion on what I call accidents of time and place:

"... the question of whether it is as valid as anything else for one's choice of religion to be determined by factors such as place of birth, the time of birth (which century), and the religion of the parents (either natural, or adoptive). For example, growing up Muslim if you were born in Saudi Arabia, Jew if you were born in Bethlehem in the year 50 B.C. (but Muslim or Christian if you were born in 1930 A.D.), Lutheran if you were
born in South Korea and were adopted at age two and a half by a family from Minnesota,
U.S.A., but Catholic if your new parents are from Argentina."

Today, I read yet another
story on the BBC news web site about parents sent home from the hospital, with a child who is not their own, because of a mix-up (30 years ago).

The story is about a Malaysian Chinese couple who are considering taking legal action against a hospital for sending them home with the wrong baby. Of course this means that another couple were also sent home with the wrong baby. This other couple happens to be Muslim. It's an interesting story that you should read for yourselves. The point that attracted my attention even more about this story, is -- now that the Chinese boy (man) is re-united with his natural parents, he wants to change his name to a Chinese name, and no longer wants to remain Muslim.

Should he be allowed to choose his real parents' religion for himself (or any other religion for that matter)?

Or, should he be forced to keep the religion he was raised with, in order to avoid complications and possible negative consequences associated with "apostasy" ?

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Light of Unity

On Sunday, the 21st of January, many celebrations were held around the world, in communities large and small, on the occasion of World Religion Day.

World Religion Day was initiated in 1950 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States to 'address the need for religious unity', as they state on their web site.

Most of the celebrations, are organized around the world at the grass root level, which is wonderful. Imagine how much more wonderful it would be if countries and world leaders of religion (specially the big shots), would make a larger effort in calling for such unity.

This year, a couple of countries commemorated the occasion with postal stamps.

"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth."

Friday, January 05, 2007

Baby Steps

Yesterday the US swore in its new Congress. There were a few "NEW"s that have been topics of conversation for the last few weeks. New majority, new Speaker (and a woman too). New ideas, new standards for ethics (well, can't really call them new, but a new resolve to adhere more to ethics proposed to us for millennia), and many new faces. Many younger new faces.

Another "NEW" was that now the US has a Muslim for a congressman. Not only that, but two Buddhists as well. These, it can be argued, are very high offices in the land. The Muslim congressman took his oath (later for the pictures) on his Holy Book, which makes a lot of sense, because one should want a new officer to take an oath on a Book the he or she believes in, although the ritual itself is just symbolic because the Source of the Book, The Author, is ever present, and knows what's in the heart, making the oath (done actually together and without books), a pledge to the people witnessing the event. The copy of the Holy Qur'an used for the second ceremony, was a copy owned by Thomas Jefferson, one of the "Founding Fathers" of the American nation. This too seems to be a significant piece of information few people knew. I think it's significant that Jefferson would want to know about Systems of Belief other than his own.

NEW things signify change. Hopefully it's change for the better.

Buddhists and Muslims are among the smaller minorities in the US. Still, that in itself did not stop electing congressmen and congresswomen from among adherents of the two Faiths. This is really very good. For some reason, the Buddhist didn't make a big deal of this, but I suppose because of the current state of affairs between the Muslim World and the West, there has been a lot of attention given to the Muslim congressman.

These may be baby steps, but that is significant too. After baby steps, comes real walking.

I just hope that, even if for just a small degree, other countries also take baby steps in affording opportunities for their minorities to be "equal" citizens.

I hope that, this is not too much to hope for.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Too much talk about the same thing

Many of you may be familiar with a program on Public TV (in the US) called NOVA, . Tonight's episode had different segments covering different aspects of science. One of which had to do with mass extinctions that have supposedly (or actually, I guess) happened numerous times during the lifetime of our planet.

There have been many theories concerning the cause(s) of these mass extinctions, including giant meteorites hitting the earth and causing the dinosaurs and other forms of life to disappear. The theory presented in tonight's episode proposes massive burps of poisonous sulfur based gases produced by uncontrollable growth of certain types of bacteria that thrive in the oceans when oxygen levels are depleted due to the warm up of the atmosphere and rise in water temperature. That is to say, that mass extinctions have occurred by massive poisoning.

Later, I came to my computer and saw headlines on the BBC News web page, of two stories that seemed very minor in the larger scheme of things which our world is going through these days. Really small, and probably should not have taken space on the web page.

One is about a former Russian spy who has been poisoned (allegedly) by the KGB. The other, is about rare Abyssinian lion cubs that are being poisoned at a zoo in Ethiopia's capital (for lack of funds).

Poison gasses in the atmosphere, a poisoned former spy, poisoned lion cubs .. too much poison for one day?

I already said, that these are very minor stories in and of themselves, still, I think they are reminders of other ills that plague us. Much larger ills.

I remain optimistic. We are emerging slowly from adolescence toward maturity. Still, these words keep ringing in my ears, not to bring me down, but to think about, ... to contemplate on :

"O YE THAT ARE LYING AS DEAD ON THE COUCH OF HEEDLESSNESS! [...] ye walk on My earth complacent and self-satisfied, heedless that My earth is weary of you and everything within it shunneth you. Were ye but to open your eyes, ye would, in truth, prefer a myriad griefs unto this joy, ... "