Religion Posts

  • My new Twitter handle is now live - check me out at @jackiewgibson!

  • CNN has posted a history of bias against Sikhs - more reason for people to learn about religions before they attack anyone:...

  • Sikh temple shooting unfolding, learn about Sikhism here:

  • Sikh temple shooting unfolding, learn about Sikhism here:

  • Hackers group Anonymous takes down Vatican website:

  • WGN-TV calls doomsday prophecies "an illusion":

  • RT @graceishuman: Really,? Asking people JUST LEAVING the service how they felt about it? Tacky, tacky, inappropriate

  • Whitney Houston's funeral service really took the world to church. Love Pastor Winans' honesty, very moving.

  • #teacher ? Here are appropriate responses to situations with your Jehovah's Witness student:

  • #Teachers: Want to know why your Jehovah's Witness student won't say the pledge and how to respond?

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Holiday Information

The end of 2010 brought loads of bad news: attacks on Christians in their homes in Baghdad, attacks on a church in Egypt, the abduction of a Hindu spiritual leader in Pakistan, and so on. Unfortunately religion reporters had their hands so full with murders and devastation that very little airtime was left for coverage of religious celebrations: Pancha Ganapati, Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Ashura, etc. (Fortunately you can still click these links to learn more about those holidays.)

In the spirit of the new year, RT is taking a quick look at a couple of fun lists (ok, they’re serious issues, but who doesn’t enjoy light-hearted list-making?).

  1. Looking back: Religion Newswriters Association recently released its ranking of the top religion stories of 2010 (voted on by religion journalists). The top five stories involved the Ground Zero mosque proposal, the earthquake in Haiti, the pope’s handling of priest pedophiles, the Tea Party Movement, and Obama’s health care reform bill.
  2. Looking forward: The Public Religion Research Institute posted 10 stories from 2010 that will affect us in the coming months. These include churches and homosexuality, immigration reform, and Americans’ religious knowledge.

Still looking for a good new year’s resolution? Resolve to learn a little more about your neighbor’s faith this year. Click on the religion overviews in the top navigation to get some quick background information on the religions of people around you.

Created by Religion Transcends, 2011

First, apologies for the absence of posts for two months. The Religion Transcends writer recently became engaged to the Religion Transcends website designer. Pushing wedding plans to the side for a moment, we look to this recent development.

The winter season brings with it a number of important holidays for folks around the world. Among these holidays is Christmas, a Christian celebration. At this time of year, Christians tend to gather together, decorate their homes and churches, give gifts, and remember the birth of Jesus, founder of the Christian religion. But this merry-making will be impossible for Christians in Iraq this year.

Christians in Iraq have been receiving threats from Al-Qaeda and, as reported by the AFP, are still mourning the loss of 53 Christians in the October 31 Al-Qaeda attack on a Baghdad church. An additional 39 Christians were attacked in their homes in Baghdad in November.  Churches in Iraq have widely called off their celebrations, choosing only to participate in worship services.

Readers should remember that not all countries allow freedom of religion. And in this instance, although freedom of thought/belief exists, lack of respect for that freedom has led to fear, death threats, and loss of life.

To all RT readers, we thank you for following us on our site and on Twitter this year. It has been a great year with new content, a new design, and new followers. Have a great holiday season.

Created by Religion Transcends, 2010

Ramadan — the Islamic month of fasting marking the revelation of the Qur’an — began August 11.

On August 10, US Catholic magazine sent this bulletin to e-newsletter subscribers, stating:

Catholics aren’t strangers to fasting, and joining Muslims in their devotion can help bridge the gap between the world’s two largest faith groups….See if you can handle a sunrise to sunset fast, or visit a mosque and participate in an interfaith activity.

Religion Transcends supports and applauds this suggestion. If you are not a Muslim, consider taking a moment in the next couple of weeks to learn about the Muslim faith — at least to understand what Muslims believe, in support of our shared humanity.

Read Stephen Prothero’s quick summary of Ramadan to get an idea of what goes on during this month of fasting.

Created by Religion Transcends, 2010.

The following series of winter religious holidays was written by Religion Transcends writer Jackie Walker for the Winter 2009 issue of Relate magazine. Relate’s mission is to inspire teen girls to pursue their dreams with confidence and to teach them to be an example for others in their speech, life, love, faith and purity. Religion overviews may have Christian overtones to make the content relatable for the Christian teen audience.

If you’re putting the finishing touches on a winter wonderland of figgy pudding, jingling bells, and neatly wrapped presents, you’re in good company. Each year, about 93% of Americans celebrate Christmas. That’s more than 9 out of every 10 people in the United States!

Of course, Christmas comes in a variety of packages: Santa and his sleigh, Jesus and his manger, the Grinch and his itty-bitty heart. So just what is the real Christmas story? And what are some of the holy nights that the other 7% of Americans are celebrating this winter?

Set aside those gingerbread cookies and read this holiday list (we checked it twice!).


Holiday: Vasant Panchami

Date: January 20

Main Players: Saraswati

The Story: Vasant Panchami marks the beginning of Spring in India (“vasant panchami” means “fifth day of Spring”). On that day, many Hindus celebrate the season by worshipping the Hindu goddess, Saraswati. Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, wisdom, music, and art. Hindus look to her for help understanding life. Hindu students and teachers also look to her for help with knowledge.

Traditions: Vasant Panchami includes a mix of traditions:
-Many children learn to write for the first time during this festival.
-People pay respect to their ancestors on this day.
-Schools may have organized prayer.
-Hindus wear yellow during the festival and may even eat yellow treats (yellow is Saraswati’s favorite color).

Other installments in this series:
-Buddhism: Bodhi Day
-Judaism: Hanukkah
-Christianity: Christmas
-Islam: Ashura

Other holidays this winter:
-Islam: Hijra (December 18)
-Wicca: Winter Solstice (December 21)
-Shinto: Gantan-sai (January 1)
-Baha’i: World Religion Day (January 17)
-Buddhism/Confucianism: Chinese New Year (February 14)

 Created by Religion Transcends, 2009