October 24, 2014 · 10:25 PM
Interfaith council, publicity photo depicting: Rabbi Yona Metzger, Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Grand Mufti Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, and Catholic and Orthodox representatives
Now that the smoke has cleared, I would like to reference the heated discussion between writer Sam Harris and producer, director, actor Ben Affleck. Mr. Affleck got very annoyed as both religious and secular ecumenical norms were being so crassly neglected by the atheist and the politically incorrect.
Ecumenicism is a movement promoting cooperation and unity among differing religious groups. Ecumenical and interfaith movements have grown up alongside of and are entwined in the academic study of religion and have had a strong influence on how we speak publicly about religion. Continue reading →
July 3, 2014 · 9:12 PM
It is standard these days to describe Shi’ah Islam as a splinter group that formed very early in the history of Islam as a result of disagreement over the rightful successor to the Prophet Muhammad. But the student of religion should consider this explanation as part of the sacred history (traditional narrative) of Islam and not as historical fact.
The newly restored (Shi’ah) Al Askari Shrine, north of Baghdad: originally built in the tenth century, destroyed in Sunni – Shi’ah conflict in 2006-7.
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Filed under Origins, Religious Controversy, Religious Literacy
Tagged as history of Islam, history of religion, Islam, Islamic, Major religious groups, Mosque, Quran, religious controversy, religious sect, sectarian, Shi'ah, Shi'ah Islam, Shia, Shia history, Shiite, Studying World Religions, Sunni, Sunni and Shia
April 16, 2014 · 12:36 PM
My religion told me about your religion! The student of religion is very often discouraged and deterred by the discovery that all religion spends so much time and effort commenting upon, and criticizing the religions of others.
For the good Muslim, it is God who speaks in the Qur’an; it is God who writes the poetry of the Qur’an, and in this poem God mentions the Jewish people and the Christians by name. To be more precise, God devotes more than twenty per cent of the Qur’an to talking about Judaism, Christianity and other religions.
God discusses the failings, or otherwise, of the Sabeans, possibly the Mandaeans, and of numerous ancient religions of various Arabic tribes.
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October 26, 2013 · 1:29 PM
In the fall of 2006, the Pope of the Catholic Church, in a public discourse, quoted a medieval Byzantine emperor who had declared (hundreds of years ago) that Islam had added nothing new to the world of religious thought.
Implied in the statement was the idea that much of Islam is found in the beliefs of those who were assimilated into the Arab Empire and that Islam had added only the oppression of the new rulers.
This quotation caused an outpouring of indignation, with many voices claiming to have been sorely insulted. Of course, the original statement from the late 1300s can tell us quite a bit about the conflicts between empires, the nature of religious controversy and something of the Byzantine mind. Continue reading →