Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

Toward a Pluralistic Middle East? – Jewish Ideas Daily   2 comments

A post card from the 19th century showing the ...

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Toward a Pluralistic Middle East? – Jewish Ideas Daily.As the Middle East lurches through the present confusion of civil war, revolution, and mass protest, decent people everywhere wonder about the chances of a more pluralistic and democratic order emerging. One way of measuring progress in that direction will be to track the treatment of minorities like the Berbers and the Jews.

Posted March 17, 2011 by dmacc502 in History, religion, social

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Saluting a pillar of buddhism   Leave a comment

The Sakyamuni Buddha, by Zhang Shengwen, c.117...

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How a true Buddhist lives

Seeking to draw up a code of conduct which would define what it means to be a true follower of the Buddha,  a group of concerned Thai Buddhists and educators sought the advice of Phra Brahmagunabhorn (P.A. Payutto).  The venerable monk has proposed the following guidelines:


[1] To develop toward human excellence: with self-training through education, one can achieve even the Buddhahood.

[2] To look up to Buddha and try to follow his examples of how to cultivate wisdom, purity and loving-kindness.

[3] To abide by dharma or truth, integrity and virtue in one’s actions.

[4] To build a society starting from one’s own family as a sangha with a sense of unity that nurtures collective creativity.

[5] To strive for success by doing good deeds with diligence and heedfulness.

Illustrations were designed by Phra Chaiyos Phuttiwaro and reproduced from Phra Brahmagunabhorn’s Siamsaamtri .


[1] To regularly pay respect to the Triple Gems (Buddha, Dharma and the Sangha), one’s parents, teachers and other respectable people.

[2] To follow the five precepts and refrain from all vices.

[3] To perform regular chanting or the reciting of Buddha’s words and to try to understand the meaning of what the Buddha has said at least once a day.

[4] To train one’s mind, for five to 10 minutes daily, to be calm and fresh through meditation as well as by expressing one’s intention to do wholesome deeds.

[5] To perform appropriate acts on holy days such as offering alms to monks, reciting the loving-kindness chant for every being, listening to dharma or reading dharma books. These acts can be performed with other people at home, in the temple, at school or in one’s place of work; they do not need to take up more than 15 minutes of your time.

[6] To be economical and share one’s savings with charities at least once a week or do charitable work such as helping those in distress or supporting some good people/activities.

[7] To do a good act at least once a week, such as paying tribute to the Triple Gems, one’s parents, teachers or ancestors.

[8] To visit temples with a nice ambience and join in religious activities on holy days and other important days for one’s family.

[9] To exercise moderation and balance in one’s consumption.

[10] To perform one’s duty, take care of one’s belongings and work on what should be done in life by practising until one develops the necessary skills.

[11] To set a limit on the entertainment programmes one watches on TV and to not let oneself drift into all the alluring vices; there should be an “entertainment-free day” at least once a month.

[12] To have something that one pays respect to which will remind one of the Triple Gems and one’s commitment to Buddhist principles.


via Saluting a pillar of buddhism.

Posted February 15, 2011 by dmacc502 in health, History, religion

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ON THE DEVIL- Pope John Paul II   Leave a comment

Gustave Doré, Depiction of Satan, the antagoni...
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In his discourse at the general audience of August 13, 1986, the Holy Father commented at great length on the fall of the angels. This was an eminently pastoral allocution:

Satan wishes to destroy life lived in accordance with the truth, life in the fullness of good, the supernatural life of grace and love. . . .

“As the result of the sin of our first parents, this fallen angel has acquired dominion over man to a certain extent. This is the doctrine that has been constantly professed and proclaimed by the Church, and which the Council of Trent confirmed in its treatise on original sin (cf. DS, 1511).

“In Sacred Scripture we find various indications of this influence on man and on the dispositions of his spirit (and of his body). In the Bible, Satan is called the `prince of this world’ (cf. Jn. 12:31; 14:30; 16:11) and even the `god of this world’ (2 Cor. 4:4). . . .

“According to Sacred Scripture, and especially the New Testament, the dominion and the influence of Satan and of the other evil spirits embraces all the world. . . . The action of Satan consists primarily in tempting men to evil, by influencing their imaginations and higher faculties, to turn them away from the law of God. . . . It is possible that in certain cases the evil spirit goes so far as to exercise his influence not only on material things, but even on man’s body, so that one can speak of ‘diabolical possession’ (cf. Mk. 5:2-9). It is not always easy to discern the preternatural factor operative in these cases, and the Church does not lightly support the tendency to attribute many things to the direct action of the devil; but in principle it cannot be denied that Satan can go to this extreme manifestation of his superiority in his will to harm and to lead to evil.

“To conclude, we must add that the impressive words of the Apostle John—‘The whole world lies under the power of the evil one’ (1 Jn. 5:19)— allude also to the presence of Satan in the history of humanity, a presence which becomes all the more acute when man and society depart from God.


Posted January 17, 2011 by dmacc502 in History, religion

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Colorado scientist’s research finds spot for parting of the Red Sea —   Leave a comment

Cropped screenshot of Charlton Heston from the...
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The results were that a wind of 63 mph, lasting for 12 hours, would have pushed back waters estimated to be 6 feet deep. That would have exposed mud flats for four hours, creating a dry passage about 2 to 2.5 miles long and 3 miles wide. As soon as the wind stopped, the waters would come rushing back, UCAR said.

“There are a number of details (in Exodus) like the duration of the wind and the direction of the wind that support the computer model,” Drews said. “The fact that bodies washed up on the Eastern shore where the Israelites were able to see them — details like that were confirmed by the ocean model.”

From a theological standpoint, the timing of the Red Sea parting when Moses and his people needed to cross shows the miracle, Drews said.

via Colorado scientist’s research finds spot for parting of the Red Sea —

Posted January 16, 2011 by dmacc502 in environment, History, religion, Uncategorized

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Rabbi Adam Jacobs: Understanding Prophecy: Moses vs. Nostradamus   Leave a comment

Most of the world’s religious systems attempt to add gravitas and authenticity to their tenets by claiming them to be the products of a deeply enlightened seer or prophet. This person, by virtue of his or her advanced state of consciousness, pious life and transcendental awareness, is thought to possess the ability to tap into hidden stores of information that reside in a plane of ephemeral existence higher than our own. By and large, religions are established by a single individual claiming prophetic insight such as Jesus, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, et al. By contrast, Jewish tradition claims 1.2 million prophets throughout the approximately 900 year span of the first and second Temples. Across the board, the rabbinic authorities held that the prophecy of Moses was qualitatively unique within this huge group as Maimonides recorded in his 13 Principles of Faith: “I believe with complete faith that the prophecy of Moses, our teacher, peace be upon him, was true — and that he was the greatest of the prophets — both those that preceded him, and those who followed him.”

Let’s do a little comparison. Let’s look at a few of Moses’ predictions to see if we believe that they actually came to pass and then contrast them with the perennially popular 16th century French prophet Nostradamus. There are two criteria that need to be employed to authenticate a prophecy — a true prediction must have both specificity and non-predictability to be viable. So saying something like “a great king will arise in the West” would be disqualified due to both its vagueness and relative likelihood, while something like “Dweezil Zappa will become Secretary of State in 2016” would be a home run.

Leviticus 26:33 states:

“And you, I will scatter among the nations, I will unsheathe the sword after you, leaving your country desolate and your cities in ruins.”

The Torah predicts here that the Jewish people will be exiled from their land. Does the prediction seem clear? It does. And how about the likelihood factor? Interestingly, exile was a rare phenomenon in the ancient world (less than 10 in recorded history) as the conquering nations preferred to tax and work the vanquished population. In short, this prophecy is quite specific and was not likely to occur.

Here’s one from Nostradamus (Prophecies 1:8):

“From the Orient will come the African heart, To trouble Hadrie and the heirs of Romulus: Accompanied by the Libyan Fleet, The Temples of Malta and nearby islands shall be deserted.”

Ummmm, OK. I did my best to make sense of this but it’s obviously extremely vague and to the best of my knowledge, no clear world historical event is associated with these words. As the blog commenters say: fail.

Back to Moses in Deuteronomy 30:1-5:

“Then the Almighty will bring back your captivity and have mercy upon you; and He will return and gather you from among all of the nations where he has dispersed you. If your dispersed ones will be even at the ends of the heavens, from there God Almighty will gather you and from there He will take you. And God your Lord will bring you to the land that your fathers inherited and you shall inherit it.”

Once again, extremely clear, and extremely unlikely to have transpired. No other people has even so much as survived an exile, let alone returned to reestablish their historical homeland. In fact, the Jewish people have done this twice — once at the hands of the Babylonians and later by the Romans. What Average Joe author would have been dumb enough to predict an outcome that was so exceedingly unlikely to ever come about? Unlikely to be exiled and impossible to come back — not a very good wager, especially considering the world could now easily proclaim your book worthless. Better to stick with vague and meaningless Nostradamus-type musings like:

“From the three water signs will be born a man, Who will celebrate Thursday as his holiday: His renown, praise, rule and power will grow, On land and sea, bringing trouble to the East.” (Prophecies 1:50)

Ah yes, those powerful, aquatic, 5th Day People. They were always giving the East hell. I think we’re all on the same page when I say: gong!

Now just permit me to pre-defend myself from the inevitable charges of “cherry picking.” I have discussed here only two of many. It’s important to note to that many of these Mosaic prophecies preclude the others from coming about. That is, if one happens, it makes it less likely for the others to come about. For instance, the Jews are told that they will be an eternal nation (Genesis 17:7, Leviticus 26:44 ). Already very unlikely, but all the more so considering the exile we discussed. On top of this we are told that we will always remain few in number (Deuteronomy 4:27), which is certainly a hindrance to eternality. So perhaps we’ll be small but so universally loved that the world will always take good care of us? Alas no. Indeed, the Torah predicts that we will be very unpopular in our host countries (Deut. 28:65-67). And there are more.

So what say you dear reader? I can see some of you you rushing to pick up your King James’s to school me with some prophecy that did not come to pass (as some of them have not yet) or others that seem vague and general to you and therefore not one iota better than our man in France. I’d love to hear it all, but let’s try to focus on the ideas presented here. Were they accurate predictions or not? It’s not tenable to suggest that out of hundreds of inaccurate ones, I just plucked the two or three that worked. It’s not the case. If you feel yourself drawn to the “cherry picking” defense, consider that it may be because you (as of yet) have no way to logically explain it. If these examples are accurate and conform to our “likelihood index,” what conclusions can be drawn about the book, its author and its information?

“Delve into it and delve into it, for everything is in it.” –Mishna

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Posted January 12, 2011 by dmacc502 in religion

Cop who ticketed Brooklyn rabbi on Sabbath for jaywalking transferred   Leave a comment




Jewish law prevents observant Jews from writing or forming any meaningful characters on the Sabbath.


via Cop who ticketed Brooklyn rabbi on Sabbath for jaywalking transferred.

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Posted December 22, 2010 by dmacc502 in global, religion

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Weekend readers' pictures: Religion | Life and style | The Guardian   Leave a comment

Berni Martin: “Colourful tiles from India, ­depicting the three main religions that live side by side there: ­Islam, Hinduism and Christianity”

Posted December 10, 2010 by dmacc502 in religion