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      


What’s with all the recent violence in Egypt? Is it just Muslims attacking Christians? Are Christians ultimately responsible?

The recent spate of violence stems from years of tensions resulting from the mash-up of two groups: Coptic Christians and Wahhabi Muslims. Watch this video from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly to learn about these recent tensions.

Some definitions to know before you watch this video…

Who are the Coptic Christians?

Nowadays, this term refers to Egyptian Christians (including those who first came to the region in the 2nd and 3rd centuries), particularly members of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria. The term “Desert Fathers” refers to Christians of the desert in Egypt around the 3rd century. They became the first real monastic community, leading the way for present-day monks and nuns. As Egypt has changed from a mostly Christian country to a mostly Muslim country, the freedom and acceptance of Copts in Egypt has waned.

What is Wahhabi?

Wahhabism is a branch of Sunni Islam named after Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. (Click here to learn the difference between Sunni and Shi’ite.) It is prominent in Saudi Arabia, though often viewed as an extremist branch of Islam. Learn more about Wahhabism from PBS.

Created by Religion Transcends, 2011

An August 2010 poll from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life revealed that 38% of Americans have an unfavorable view of Islam.

Yet we also know, based on another recent survey from the Pew Forum about religious knowledge, that an incredibly low number of Americans really know a lot about the world’s religions – sometimes even their own!

Enter 20,000 Dialogues. Through this initiative, you can host a small event in your living room – or a bigger event in your community – to watch a film about Islam and then talk about the religion. According to its Web site…

(20,000 Dialogues) seeks to build greater understanding of Muslims through films and conversation.

More than 10,000 dialogues have already taken place across the United States. States in the East, parts of the Midwest, and the South have hosted several events. States in the Upper Midwest and the West are particularly underrepresented.

This is a great way to get the conversation going – even if that conversation turns sour. People in your own family or in your community likely differ in their opinions about Islam. Here’s a chance to talk about it in an open environment where you don’t have to feel afraid to ask tough questions and express your opinions.

If you are interested in hosting a group of 4-5 people in your living room to watch this film, sign up at You’ll receive the DVD of the film, conduct the dialogue, and place your community on the map of dialogues.

Check out this YouTube video for more info.

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.

UPDATE: On May 25, the New York City Board voted 29-1 to APPROVE the building of the mosque.

Do you think a mosque should be built just two blocks from the site of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001?

Cordoba Initiative and the American Society for Muslim Advancement plan to build a community center/mosque just two blocks from Ground Zero (in the former Burlington Coat Factory building). Earlier this month, the Community Board of Lower Manhattan voted to support the initiative.

Cordoba wants to send a symbolic message that not ALL Muslims support extremist ideologies – that in fact, most support a pluralistic Islam that respects other religions.


-The mother of a 9/11 victim said she doesn’t want to look at a mosque near the 9/11 site.

-Muslim author-filmmaker Kamran Pasha said the terrorists of 9/11 “had no more to do with my faith than the Crusaders did with true Christianity.”

-One rabbi suggested Cordoba build the mosque but use it as a museum about the horrors of terrorism and extremism.

RT’s opinion:

First and foremost, Religion Transcends does not support any speech that tears down the religious beliefs of another human being. Sadly, in this debate, people are slinging mud and throwing out bigoted names for all people of the Islamic religion. One writer has even compared the mud-slinging to McCarthyism. Let’s have a diplomatic discussion, please. Speaking of someone’s religion is like speaking about their family name; you tear down a lot more than just a belief when you tear down someone’s religion.

On to the question at hand: I don’t see how America could disprove of freedom of religious practice. Isn’t it the same as the Swiss banning minarets atop mosques? Or the French telling Muslim women they can’t wear the hijab and burqa?  All religious followers should be permitted (and are permitted constitutionally) to follow the religion of their choice and to practice that religion in whatever (lawful) way they so choose. And anyway, intentions to increase interfaith understanding seem to be well-aiming.

That being said, if building this mosque would incite violence, anger, or further damage to the 9/11 victims’ families, then our system has a responsibility to stop that threat.

The issue isn’t cut and dry. I would agree with the rabbi when he suggests we leave it up to the victims’ families. If the families say go ahead and build, then Cordoba should respect them enough not to hold a celebratory opening day on the same day they grieve the loss of their loved ones. Let the mourners have their space and time to mourn. And let Muslim-Americans be Muslim-Americans.

Created by Religion Transcends, 2010