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Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving, Plus : Review of the Week

  • Smackdown!: Thanksgiving show stuffed with Tag Team action, CANOE
  • Black Friday: Why Canada should not copy the U.S. MetroNews Canada
  • NFL Picks: The Detroit Lions deserve a happy Thanksgivin, National Post
  • Here's your definitive Thanksgiving weekend marathon guide, Entertainment Weekly
  • Dozens of US retailers opened on Thanksgiving through Black Friday CTV News
  • A Thanksgiving that forgets nobody, Sentinel and Enterprise
  • Buddhism and Sikhism - a Thanksgiving Day Reflection by Prof. Amritjit Singh:
  • This is part of what I wrote this morning to a friend – some of it may interest you.  Happy Thanksgiving,  Amrit 

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and to so many of God's creatures (humans not excluded) that you share your love with.  [Take my reference to God with a grain of salt. I am an agnostic by choice – I don't say "agnostic by faith or conviction" becos that would be a contradiction.] 

    BTW, I am one of those agnostics, those Lefties if you like, who as a non-believer, recognizes that billions of humans around the world get their moral sustenance from their distinct faiths and that when the Marxists dismiss all religions as specimens of false consciousness and refuse to engage with faith communities, they make a big mistake.  The Lefties also allow the fanatics within each faith tradition to go unchallenged.  All of us then face the consequences.  

    Am reading an interesting book on Buddhism – Pankaj Mishra's An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World.  He argues that Buddhism nudges us in the direction of meditation and mindfulness in order to resolve our individual personal struggles with human suffering (indeed the focus of Buddha's thought and meditations) and has little to say on issues of social justice in larger circles of society and politics.  I have been thinking at the same time of Sikhism, the faith in which I nominally grew up – my Dad was also a skeptic of sorts although not an agnostic.  Sikhism, in contrast, is a project in social engineering – an unending struggle for social justice and for First Amendment rights in their largest connotations.  Meditation at the personal, individual level is not forgotten in Sikhism – but living fully and actively with an awareness of issues that affect family and community is at the heart of the Sikh way of life.  And in some of those ways, I am a Sikh all right.  

    That is the burden of my song on Thanksgiving Day (also Hanukah today! - a rare coincidence).  Sorry to insist on making you my captive audience for a few minutes!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Judge invokes Bible, Quran on ‘sacred’ life

TNN | Nov 26, 2013, 07.25 AM ISTIn his 204-page order, the judge leaned heavily on holy books and edicts to disapprove of the parents' actions. "They have extirpated their own daughterwho had hardly seen 14 summers of her life and the servant... in the breach of the commandment 'thou shall not kill' and injunction of Holy Quran'take not life which God has made sacred'," he observed. 
... "Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha (If we protect dharma, dharma will protect us). If we protect the law, the law will protect us. Both the accused have flouted the penal law of the land and therefore are liable to be convicted for murder, destruction of evidence and having common intention to commit the crime," the judge added.  Continue reading

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Faithwise/Culturewise Review of the Week

Thursday, November 21, 2013

New on the Spiritual Web Shelves - A select list of books

Costco Apologizes for Labeling Bibles as Fiction

A California pastor tweeted a picture of the label to his congregation

Christian News Network
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – The wholesale retailer Costco has issued an apology after a pastor in California Tweeted a photograph of a Bible at his local store being marked as “fiction.”
On Friday, Pastor Caleb Kaltenbach of Discovery Church posted the photo on Twitter after shopping for a gift for his wife at his Simi Valley Costco.
“Costco has Bibles for sale under the genre of fiction,” he wrote above a photograph of a Bible with a “$14.99 fiction” label. “Hmmmm….”
Kaltenbach told local television station KTLA-5 that he attempted to obtain information about the label after noticing the issue.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Heavenly Bodies: Relics of Catholic Saints - in pictures

"As the Vatican prepares to display bones it believes to be those of St Peter, we explore an amazing series of jewelled saints' remains from southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The skeletons were found in 1578 when some of the catacombs of Rome were opened up, containing the remains of the city's early Christian community. Over the next couple of hundred years, some of the skeletons, identified as saints' remains, were sent north across the Alps to replace relics destroyed in the Protestant Reformation. To mark their newfound status, they were festooned with an extraordinary assortment of jewels, cloth of gold and other precious fabrics, and are still objects of veneration. Paul Koudounaris tracked them down for his book Heavenly Bodies..."  continue reading Guardian

on the same shelf:

Where is the "Muslim World"? Professor Tony McEnery

"What is the Muslim world? At TEDxLancasterU, linguist Tony McEnery argues that this phrase, which was used 11,000 times in articles discussing Islam written from 1998 to 2009 by the British press, highlights an unsettling trend in the media -- using language that characterizes Muslims as violent and unusual -- a trend that, as he shows, has a long history and he asks us to change...."

On the same shelf (British media):

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bless atheists, for they have sinned

by Emma Teitel on Friday, November 15, 2013,

The door-to-door religious proselytizer is, like his secular cousin the Cutco knife peddler, a harmless irritant of modern North American life. If you don’t care for his wares, you say no thanks, shut the door and sometimes roll your eyes. But you rarely, if ever, engagePortland University philosophy professor and proud atheist Peter Boghossian not only advocates engaging religious fundamentalists in debate, he has written the manual on how to do so.
His new book, A Manual for Creating Atheistscould be called the bible of deconversion.  Continue reading.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

There can be no goodwill if we only tolerate each other

Dear Friends and Family, Greetings on Guru Nanak's Birthday!
I thought this message from Judge Mota Singh of UK might interest some of you. Amritjit Singh

The message is written by His Honour Sir Judge Mota Singh QC, a former Crown Court judge in the UK, who has received many lifetime achievement awards. He has been an advisor to the non-profit organization "United Sikhs" for Sikhs' Right To Turban campaign under which we won three cases at the UN against France’s ban on the turban in schools and on ID photo documents...
"Sikh  spiritual tradition is not content with mere toleration. There can be no goodwill if we only tolerate each other. Many thinkers rebuke the habit of condescending toleration. We must appreciate all faiths, recognise that they offer rich spiritual experiences and encourage sacrificial living and inspire their followers to a nobler way of life. The Sikh Gurus had this noble quality of appreciation of whatever was valuable in other religious traditions. The more we understand one another, the more we find we are like one another..." continue reading SikhSiyasat.Net
On the same shelf:
  • The Surprising Pope: Understanding the Thought of John Paul II (Religion, Politics, and Society in the New Millennium)   O.P. Zieba Maciej  -- "What kind of brothers and sisters in Christ would we have if we only tolerate each other? To "bear one another up in love" means more than to tolerate." (p. 149)
  • My Path to World Faith & Love at Home, by Frankie Fredericks, Executive Director of World Faith "After studies in Greece and Italy, I went to Egypt to explore Christian-Muslim relations through independent research. Witnessing how mere coexistance and tolerance will never create greater community and understanding, rather than finding answers, I began discovering
    new questions.  If we only tolerate each other, how can we create a space where religious identity is no longer a source of divisiveness?"
  • Tolerance in Islam (Lessons from history), By: Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall.  "There is no doubt but that, in the eyes of history, religious toleration is the highest evidence of culture in a people. Let no Muslim, when looking on the ruin of the Muslim realm which was compassed through the agency of those very peoples whom the Muslims had tolerated and protected through the centuries when Western Europe thought it a religious duty to exterminate or forcibly convert all peoples of another faith than theirs - let no Muslim, seeing this, imagine that toleration is a weakness in Islam. It is the greatest strength of Islam because it is the attitude of truth. Allah is not the God of the Jews or the Christians or the Muslims only, any more than the sun shines or the rain falls for Jews or Christians or Muslims only."           

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Who is the most talked about person on the Internet, 2013?

Pope Francis, a pontiff that has made viral newsposing with teens for selfies and kissing the disfigured head of a sick man, was the most talked about person this year, according to Global Language Monitor (GLM).
The Texas-based organization released its annual list of top words, names and phrases based on analysis last week, and it placed the popular pope at the top of its list of proper names.
Pope Francis has been hailed as "the people's pontiff," a man who has removed emphasis on controversial issues such as the LGBT community and abortion, and touched people personally. The papal office's Twitter handle,@pontifex, was also fourth on GLM's list of top words of 2013, falling below "404," the code for a webpage failing to load, "Fail" and "Hashtag."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Identifying the major topics to find Internet resources on Muslims and Islam

"Religion is not just for churches, synagogues or mosques anymore -- it's a topic that is being actively searched for online, according to researchers at Penn State." (Web Searches for Religious Topics On the Rise,

The purpose, here, is to identify and list major topics that relate to finding religion-online (aka faith-based web searches), example: Muslims and Islam. 

In short, the spiritual web has many resources (good, best and not so good) that are used for religious purposes. Here is a sample of topics that relate to Muslim and / or Islamic resources:
  • Basic 101 - Iman (knowing), Islam (practicing), Ihsan (experiencing)
  • Prayer / space location / direction / time (obligatory prayers)
  • Fasting date and timing / Do's Don'ts
  • Charity (obligatory = Zakat), other helping aids
  • Hajj date and timing / Do's Don'ts
  • Festival / celebration: date and timing
  • Meditation / Zikr (other than obligatory prayers)
  • Quran, recitation / Adhan / Hymns (Naat)
  • Learning Islam: How to worship, how to resolve everyday situations 
  • History, biography, Life of the Prophet Mohammed and his companions
  • Law (jurisprudence), schools, sources, etc.
  • Finding an expert / alim / Scholar / Imam
  • Cultural matters (dress, diet, etc.) communities, etc. 
  • Language based resources (Quran: translation and interpretation; Hadith, Fiqh, etc) 
  • Necessities of daily life: housing, jobs, Halal and legal avenues, inheritance, wealth management, family life, marriage, birth, death, etc.
  • Movements, groups, ideologies, etc.
  • News, events, etc.
NOTE: If you want to see the websites on some of the above themes, then you have to look at my book in your library (using WorldCat), or order  from Amazon or Publisher:

Cyber Worship Resource for World Prayers

Here is a sample from inside the Book: Cyber Worship in Multifaith Perspectives--full of resources that will facilitate building bridges in a Multifaith society. Table of Contents Reviews

Chapter 1. 1. Cyber Worship/Meditation Webwise: Noah, Abraham and Beyond 

 Chapter 2. 'Cyber Worship As-Is On the Web'
On the same shelf:  
  • Key Themes for the Study of Islam
    Jamal J. Elias (2010, ISBN 9781851687107)  [Contents: Art / Kishwar Rizvi -- Authority / Devin DeWeese -- Belief / R. Kevin Jacques -- Body / Shahzad Bashir -- Community / Ahmet T. Karamustafa -- Culture / Michael Cooperson -- Death / Amila Buturovic -- Gender / Kelly Pemberton -- God / Jamal J. Elias -- History / Snjezana Buzov -- Institution / Joseph E. Lowry -- Law / A. Kevin Reinhart -- Modernity / Bruce B. Lawrence -- Prayer / Shawkat M. Toorawa -- Prophecy / Devin Stewart -- Ritual / Amina M. Steinfels -- Text / İrvin Cemil Schick -- War / Sohail H. Hashmi -- Word / Walid A. Saleh. ] -- Other possible Islamic themes (potential keywords): Allah, fiqh, hadith, iman, islam, jihad, kitab, mithaq, nabi, qadr, Quran, salat, sharia, sufi, sunna, tawhid. umma (p. 4); prayer, fasting, alms-giving, judgement (p. 4); 
  • Major Themes of the Qur'an: Second Edition, by Fazlur Rahman
    Chapter One : God
    Chapter Two : Man as Individual
    Chapter Three: Man in Society
    Chapter Four: Nature
    Chapter Five: Prophethood and Revelation
    Chapter Six : Eschatology
    Chapter Seven: Satan and Evil
    Chapter Eight: Emergence of the Muslim Community
    Appendix I: The Religious Situation of the Muslim Community in Mecca
    Appendix II: The People of the Book and Diversity of Religions
  • Islam and Christianity: Theological Themes in Comparative Perspective, by John Renard
    Part I. Historical Dimensions: Interpreting God's Communication and Divine Engagement in Time and Space
    1. Sacred Sources and Community Origins; 2. Development and Spread
    Part II. Creedal Dimensions: Faith and the Development of Theology as a Religious Discipline
    3. From Story to Creed; 4. The Emergence of Theological Disciplines
    Part III. Institutional Dimensions: The Structures of Theologically Grounded Community
    5. Beneath the Brick and Mortar; 6.Institutions in Action
    Part IV. Ethical and Spiritual Dimensions: Mapping Outward and Inward Journeys of Faith
    7. Sources, Methods, and Social Values in Theological Ethics; 8. Sources and Models in Traditions of Spirituality; 9. Themes in Prayer and Mystical Theology
    Epilogue: Reflections on the Prospects for Christian-Muslim Theological Dialogue
  • Islamic Theological Themes: A Primary Source Reader, by John Renard (Editor) CONTENTS:
    Part One: The Science of Interpretation: Reading the Sacred Sources
    1 Qur'an and Hadith; 2 Interpreting the Sacred Sources
    Part Two: The Science of Community: Mapping the Boundaries of True Belief
    3 Muslim Awareness of Other Religious Communities; 4 Creed and Polemic
    Part Three : The Science of Divine Unity: Schools and Themes in Systematic Theology
    5 Theological Schools and Principles; 6 Major Themes in Systematic Theology
    Part Four : The Science of Hearts: Spirituality and Literature
    7 Knowledge and the Spiritual Quest; 8 Poetic, Pastoral, and Narrative Theology
    Part Five: The Science of Character and Comportment: Ethics and Governance
    9 Ethics in Theory; 10 Ethics in Practice
  • Yahoo Topics/Categories:

Jay Lakhani : HINDUISM and Quantum Phenomenon of Physics : Lecture

  • Jay Lakhani : HINDUISM, Nature, Science and QUANTUM Physics - YouTube
  • Material errorsIn arguing that quantum physics challenges the materialist view of the world, Jay Lakhani gets his science wrong, says Mano Singham

  •  On the same shelf:

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    Big business embraces meditation, Montreal Gazette


    At Google’s high-tech offices in California’s Silicon Valley, silent “mindful lunches” are on offer, along with a labyrinth for walking meditation. A full-time mindfulness coach has led more than 1,000 employees through Search Inside Yourself training, which includes meditation practice.
    At cutting-edge businesses like Google, Facebook and Twitter, meditation is the new caffeine, writes Wired magazine contributing editor Noah Shactman, whose recent feature examined how meditation and mindfulness are thriving in company culture, albeit in an unusual new way. Here, “entrepreneurs and engineers are taking millennia-old traditions and reshaping them to fit the Valley’s goal-oriented, data-driven, largely atheistic culture.” continue reading

    Natural resources care and concern - Faith Based Resources

    Adultery in news and views

    Saturday, November 09, 2013

    Spiritual Care in Times of Disaster - Select Readings

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