A Guide to Religious Texts

Image courtesy of British Library

If the sacred texts of many religions overwhelm you, then take a look at some of the favorite passages or images that religious scholars chose.In an online exhibit called Expressions of Faith, the British Library invited scholars and well-known people of each of the major religions to choose their favorite.The result gives you a fascinating look at some of the religions' great manuscripts.For example, Sue Arnold, a well-known author and social critic with a tie to Buddhism through a … [Read more...]

Understanding Iran: A Terrrific Summary

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Why does the Iranian government continue to criticize the United States after signing the nuclear accord that would unfreeze their assets?In short, it's because of centuries of European and American exploitation. According to Annie Tracy Samuel in the current issue of Origins, Current Events in Historical Perspective, "the past is very much part of the present in Iran."Called "Viewpoint Iran: The Past and Present of the U.S.-Iran Standoff", the essay is one of the best and most readable … [Read more...]

Hindu Coming-of Age: Upanayanam


Teaching Hinduism? Here's a great clip showing a Hindu religious coming-of-age ceremony called Upanayanam.The coming-of-age cermony is for boys between 8 and 16. Acccording to PBS Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, it "marks the start of formal education." … [Read more...]

Fragments of World’s Oldest Quran: CNN Video summary

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Here's a great review from CNN of the discovery in Britain of Quran fragments that date to the time of the Prophet. … [Read more...]

Women in Yemen: A Glimmer of Hope

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Here's a moving five minute documentary about the fight for women's rights in Yemen from The Trials of Spring for Independent Lens. It's the last of a "six-part series about women who were in the front lines of the revolutions of the Arab Spring."Yemen was "dubbed the worst for woemen," according to The New York Times. But revoltuion promised some feminsits a glimmer of hope.They led the successful protest against the corrupt dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. But soon after he was toppled, … [Read more...]

Buffalo Returns: Lakota Resuregence


Teaching indigenous religions?Here's a fascinating 20 minute documentary about Native Americans on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Datkota.The Tribeca documentary tells the story of two entrepreneurs "who use tradition and ingenuity to bring opportunity and hope" to their people.They do it with Tanka energy bars made from buffalo.According to Mark Tilsen, President, Native American Natural Foods, “A lot of people believe that the buffalo have returned in order to help heal t … [Read more...]

Is the Middle East More Secular?


Is the the Middle East becoming more secular? That's what historian, Juan Cole, author of the New Arabs, suggests in this fascinating short interview for Lip TV.He argues that most Arabs are becoming increasingly secular. The current generation, born in the 1980's, is different from their parent's generation. It is more literate, more urban, more wired, and less religiously observant. Cole notes that in Lebanon and Tunisia, the younger generation is starkly more secular.In Egypt, he … [Read more...]