Assortments of Thought

Posts Tagged ‘Religion

As the days grow cold and the nights grow long, it’s that time of year again. Families and individuals across the nation–and much of the world–are gearing up to celebrate, or else already have. It’s a time of joy and yet stress, of frantic paces and yet quite moments, and a time of remembrance, indeed, and yet of looking forward as well. Yet it’s also a time of some controversy, over the usual squabbles; whether the proper greeting is “Merry Christmas” or not–whether “Happy Holidays” is offensive or not–and how much or how little governments, businesses, and schools should adhere to given traditions. Such may colorfully be referred to as the “War on Christmas”; but despite the strong feelings often involved, perhaps there’s really very little we have to fret about. Such diverse holidays as Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, Chinese New Year, Eid al-Fitr, and Kwanzaa do indeed represent divergent traditions, traditions that can’t be entirely reconciled. Perhaps there’s nonetheless a common thread throughout all our “winter” holidays though–a spirit of togetherness, love, and hope for the future–that’s really all that need matter to all of us outside of most traditions. The issue with public institutions is a bit more complicated, involving separation of church and state; private rights in public but privately-owned businesses; and cultural or secular traditions versus religious ones; but, even there, just accepting each others’ traditions needn’t be so hard. We need only to think of each other in the spirit of the season, and then whatever our own traditions or choices of greeting may be, speaking and listening with our hearts, we’ll surely have happy holidays for all.

Continue reading “Happy Holidays to All” …

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The end of the world was upon us, or so the notion went. Most of us knew it wouldn’t be so, but the ideas were certainly out there, and talked about, with a strange appeal born both of the stories, but also of our desires, perhaps, for a release from it all. But December 21st, 2012 came and went, and the world didn’t end; no cataclysms devastated it, or us; and in the end, the end of the Mayan calendar was just that, the ending of a calendar. Instead, we have since found ourselves in the same positions that we’ve always been in, journeying into an increasingly uncertain tomorrow, with the same old situations continuing to play out. And, while the world may never end as it was famously said it would on December 21st, 2012, we nonetheless face many problems that remain threatening to a brighter future. Perhaps the core issue is that we just don’t care sometimes, about our fellow human beings, about animals and other life, and about our future, the future of our world. Between different groups of people, we maintain divisions that aren’t truly there, and we sometimes even look down upon or turn away from others for no good reason, to all our detriments. And, perhaps we seek everything from others all too often, yet not so often give of ourselves in the many ways we can, a pattern currently playing out in and dominating political thought even. Yet in spite of all these things, there exists a way out, and an awesomely simple one at that. For if we can only learn to care more about the world than the world ever cared about us, acting under the auspices of our religious beliefs and psychologies alike, then, we will do what only living, conscious beings such as us can do in this universe: make it a better place in which to live. And it is accomplishing this aim, one step at a time, that we each ought to be focusing on, for there’s still time to make things right, even as greater challenges yet loom ahead.

Continue reading “Continuations and Journeys” …

The inclusion of God by government and other public institutions has continued to stir controversy. For instance, public schools have even faced lawsuits over using the line “One nation, under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, and some activists continue to cross out “In God We Trust” on all paper money that comes their way. That anyone takes issue with these things, however, may seem surprising. If separation of church and state as mandated by the Constitution is maintained with the exception of such minor things, indeed we are all fortunate. Even so, that anyone in turn takes issue with removing God from public institutions is perhaps less surprising but far more concerning. For it isn’t just separation of church and state that’s involved, though that’s certainly very, very important. Even further, it’s discrimination on the basis of religion. After all, government and public institutions serve the nation, and in a nation with citizens of virtually every major world religion and more, just one or a few religions shouldn’t be endorsed over all the others. And it’s important that everyone realizes this, even if it’s not a particularly big deal as it stands, to ensure that it doesn’t become anything bigger in the future.

Continue reading “Religious Diversity and God” …


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