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?

English flagItalian flagKorean flagChinese (Simplified) flagPortuguese flagGerman flagFrench flagSpanish flagJapanese flagArabic flag
Russian flagGreek flagDutch flagBulgarian flagCzech flagCroatian flagDanish flagFinnish flagHindi flagPolish flag
Romanian flagSwedish flagNorwegian flagCatalan flagFilipino flagHebrew flagIndonesian flagLatvian flagLithuanian flagSerbian flag
Slovak flagSlovenian flagUkrainian flagVietnamese flag      


I posted the following post on September 11, 2009. It still holds true and sums up what this 10th anniversary means for myself and for the creation of this site. On a day filled with mourning and reflection, take a moment to find out what we can do to make things better in the next 10 years. NEVER FORGET.

“A 9/11 Reflection and Call to Action”
By Jackie Walker, Religion Transcends
September 11, 2009

September 11 was personal.

A national tragedy in the United States, September 11 also represented a world-wide awakening. It demonstrated that terrorism and religious rhetoric were not relegated only to specific pockets of the world or particular sects. Terrorism, particularly terrorism that employs the name of God, offends us all.

The events of September 11 resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths, a direct offense to family and friends of the victims. But those same events also offended the entire population of religious adherents throughout the world. Attackers hijacked the name of God and used it for horrific purposes. Their acts claimed the name of love and used it for hate. They took the sacred and made it profane. Such blatant abuse of sacred texts and religious symbolism certainly offends each and every one of us who respect and uphold the world’s religions.

Yet God (Brahman, Allah, the invisible unifying substance) has a way of taking evil and squeezing the good out of it. Thanks to September 11, university religion programs have grown exponentially. More and more students seek to learn about other religions to banish their own stereotypes and support coexistence. I was one of those students in 2001 who watched the Twin Towers fall on a TV screen and quickly switched majors to religious studies. Innocence shattered, it seemed time to dust ourselves off and figure out how we could live in a world where terrorism in the name of religion was ever-increasing.

It was and is time to demonstrate that religious understanding is necessary and that anything that thwarts a more peaceful coexistence is unacceptable. The first step toward such peace is education. Borrowing from the words of Charles Kimball in his book When Religion Becomes Evil (HarperOne, 2002):

“The more effective we are at identifying dangerous patterns of corrupted religion, the more likely people of goodwill can avert disaster inspired or justified by religion. Whether or not one believes that religion itself is the problem, the diverse religious traditions will continue to be a powerful fact of life in our increasingly interdependent world community. Whatever philosophical or theological explanation one may hold for the evil things that happen, approaching the future passively is unacceptable. In the aftermath of September 11, it is incumbent on all of us to educate ourselves about religious attitudes and behaviors that lead to widespread suffering.”

Let’s honor the victims of 9/11 by doing our part to learn more about the people around us and to work together to eradicate hate.

More resources for understanding religious violence:

Use the links at the left to find more information on particular religions, then check out these sites:

Created by, 2011

Check out my latest article in the Chicago Tribune, available on stands and online today.

For this article, I interviewed Catherine Corona, a filmmaker in Boulder, CO, who has released a new film (The Great Mystery) about religious differences and similarities. Corona went on a road trip around Western America visiting mosques, temples, synagogues, and churches to discover what religious adherents say they believe. She didn’t set out to show their similarities, but Catherine told me that the themes just kept popping up — all of them mentioned a focus on compassion, all of them said all religions are worshipping the same God, and so on.

I’ve watched the film and I have to say, it’s pretty moving. And as far as documentaries go, it will have your attention the whole way through.

Learn more about the film on Corona’s website.

Created by Religion Transcends, 2010

The Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) is at it again, building bridges and supporting interfaith efforts.

Beginning this Friday through Tuesday, October 26, IFYC is hosting a Student Leadership Institute where they’ll train 200 students and 100 staff from campuses across the country. The program will equip the students to encourage interfaith cooperation on their college campuses. (Even cooler – part of the training happens at the White House and is hosted by the White House Office on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.)

According to IFYC, “We need to see concrete illustrations of religious tolerance and interfaith understanding, and believe there are no better examples than diverse young leaders working together for the common good.”

Learn more about IFYC online.

Created by Religion Transcends, 2010

In another example of interfaith services, FaithHouse Manhattan in NYC, a multireligious church, is holding interfaith gatherings twice each month. It’s part of a movement called “twinning” in which two or more religious groups get together to worship. The idea is that there are enough similarities that they can focus on those and can understand that all paths lead to God.

This Washington Times article admits that some evangelicals from various religions are not quite accepting of such gatherings, though they are becoming more open to the idea of interfaith dialogue. Perhaps there needs to be a distinction between interfaith foundations/movements/discussions and interfaith churches. It seems likely that more people would agree that talking about peace among religions is important. It seems less likely that evangelicals from all faiths could say “Yes, our religions are all the same and all lead to the same place.”

The goal of interfaith dialogue, interfaith gatherings, and so forth should be to allow each person to freely worship and believe without persecution, discrimination, and other barriers. If (and only if) twinned services can allow this freedom of belief without causing each religion to lose its unique identity or asking religions to ignore central tenets, then perhaps this is another way to transcend hate and work toward understanding.

Would you agree?

Created by Religion Transcends, 2010