Religion 101

As I discussed in a previous blog entry, my community college classes on Eastern religions begin each semester with an introductory overview of Hinduism, the world’s third largest religion (after Christianity and Islam), quite possibly the oldest of the world’s major living religions, and the professed faith of over 80% of the vast population of…

In a controversial move (controversial among many religious conservatives), the Boy Scouts of America recently reversed their longstanding policy banning “open and avowed homosexuals” from becoming Scouts. In other words, the BSA now affirms that it’s okay for Boy Scouts to be gay. However, it’s still not okay for Boy Scouts to be atheist; that…

Today (Wednesday, May 29), adherents of the Baha’i Faith will celebrate an important holy day. “The Ascension of Baha’u’llah” annually commemorates the anniversary of the death of Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith. The Ascension of Baha’u’llah is one of eleven holy days on the Baha’i religious calendar. Of those, work is suspended on…

Today (Friday, May 24) marks one of the most important Buddhist holidays. Vesak, otherwise known as “Buddha Day” (or sometimes “Buddha’s Birthday”) commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha. Although observed by Buddhists in many lands, Vesak is a holiday of particular significance among Theravada Buddhists, adherents of the branch…

Tomorrow (May 23), members of the Baha’i Faith will celebrate “the Declaration of the Bab,” one of eleven holy days on the Baha’i religious calendar. Of those eleven Baha’i holy days, work is suspended on nine of them; this is one of those nine. Baha’is, like Jews and Muslims, reckon “days” as beginning and ending…

In a previous blog entry, I commented upon a recent news story involving the cancellation of an Arkansas school district’s elementary school graduation ceremonies in the wake of a local controversy over prayer, which the district had intended to incorporate as part of the official proceedings. Rather than simply nix the planned prayers, the district…

This Sunday (May 19) is the Christian holiday known as Pentecost, widely regarded by many believers as marking the actual birth or nativity of the church. Pentecost commemorates the descent of, and the manifestation among Christ’s apostles, of the Holy Spirit (one of the three divine Persons of the holy Trinity, which along with the…

At sunset yesterday (Tuesday, May 14), Jews worldwide began the Jewish holiday festival of Shavuot (pronounced “shav-oo-OT”), otherwise known as the Feast of Weeks. Shavout is traditionally both an agricultural harvest festival (originally dating back to when the first fruits of the harvest season were brought to the Temple in Jerusalem as sacrificial offerings before…

There seems to be a rather widespread misunderstanding regarding the actual underlying motivations of people who object to schools leading prayers and courts posting copies of the Ten Commandments, or who protest against “under God” being in the Pledge of Allegiance and “In God We Trust” being on our money, and so forth. Lots of…

Documentary films relating to matters of religion and belief are always worth knowing about, and often worth checking out. A new film entitled The Unbelievers, looking at the importance of reason and science — and casting a critical eye upon religious belief — has recently been released. The film focuses upon noted biologist Richard Dawkins…

Reed Hall
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Reed Hall

Reed Hall teaches community college credit courses on world religions. (Check out his supernatural thriller novel "MAGIC" at http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Occult-Thriller-Reed-Hall/dp/1453874836.)

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