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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The Mayan civilization hit its peak around 250 AD in the Americas. Yes, they are the ones who built Chichen Itza. And yes, they were the ones who predicted the end of a cycle in 2012. Although, according to my Mayan tour guide in Mexico, they were not predicting the end of the world (a la Armageddon) – they were predicting the end of one phase of life and the beginning of a new chapter in which long-deceased Mayans would return to roam Earth with the rest of us. All of this, of course, remains to be seen, as does the question of whether we will all search for a spaceship to take us away from a dying earth with John Cusack. So let’s move on.

Mayan religion and astronomy

Much of the Mayan religion is based on astrology and astronomy–the Mayans’ understanding of how they were to relate to the sun, moon, stars, earth, and universe. This understanding is illustrated in pictures of the Mayan Tree of Life, thought to stand between the cosmos above and the underworld below. This particular picture also shows why several Mayan structures are built in the shape of a pyramid: The sun (worshipped as a god) also followed a path around the Tree of Life. It rose up on one side of the earth, made its way through the heavens/cosmos along the eliptic, dove to the other side of the earth, and then descended into the underworld overnight before rising again the next morning.

Exclusive video: The Mayan god, Huracan

During a recent trip to Tulum (Mayan ruins in Mexico), we captured this video of a local Mayan tour guide. Watch to hear the story of the Mayan god Huracan:

Learn more about the Mayan religion here.

Created by, 2011.

You’ve heard before that today’s generation of young adults is focused on social justice issues. But did you know they were really active?

A new Barna Group study found that 93% of church-attending Christians are concerned about global poverty and 20% of practicing American Protestants have traveled outside of the United States to serve the global poor. But what’s really striking is the info they gathered about young adults:

Younger Christians, those under 40, are more than twice as likely to have traveled outside the U.S. to serve the global poor.

Younger Christians give 50% more than older Christians toward the cause of global poverty.

45% of younger Christians believe their churches should be more involved in helping the poor…and 37% said they would donate more to their church if their church increased its involvement.

Do your religious beliefs affect your concerns about poverty? Are you doing anything to eradicate hunger?

Created by, 2011

Ever wondered why Sikhs carry small swords?

Ever mistaken a Sikh for a Muslim?

Want to know why Sikhs traditionally do not cut their hair?

RT writer Jackie Walker Gibson recently wrote a post for Teaching Tolerance (a mag and website for teachers) describing certain Sikh traditions that could lead to discrimination in schools. The post is intended to educate teachers on Sikhism so that they can demonstrate understanding in the classroom.

Check out the full post at

Created by, 2011

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