Prospering Economy vs. Religious Beliefs India is in the midst of making its place in the world through economic, political and cultural aspects. In an article titled “Growing Beef Trade Hits India’s Sacred Cow”, the discussion of religious compromise for economic affluence is discussed. As of 2014, India has become the world’s third largest beef exporter which is a heartbreaking shock for the dominating religion in India, Hinduism. In the Hindu religion, the cow is symbolised as holy, pure and divine. “The cow represents our country, our culture and in the Hindu religion” says Ashoo Mongia, the head of the cow protection enforcement team. Going against ancient tradition has raised outrage within many communities and they have been working on eliminating beef trade in India. Despite the religious hindrance India faces the question of whether a price can be put on religious beliefs is brought to attention. This question is difficult to answer by economic industries as cow exporting has brought a significant amount of money into the market. Approximately $1.24 billion dollars of profit was made in 2010 and another $500 million is made through underground beef trading every year. If the act was to be mandated, the consequences could pose to be very beneficial to India. Another reason why religion is not a good enough reason for businesses to stop the exporting is that there is high demand in neighbouring countries. Despite all the influential reasons to continue beef trade, it is important to address the question of whether it is worth compromising the virtues and principles of religious societies for economic and political power. Also, is this supremacy going to last if it is built on immorality? Dr. S.K Ranjhan believes that the profits are more advantageous than the compromise of religious beliefs. An argument made by Mongia brings about the idea that cows are not simply for food and trading. Cows are a source of fuel, manure and fertiliser. I agree with Mongia in terms that there should be no compromise of religion and sacred beliefs for the profit of few businesses and underground markets. If a country were to sacrifice the principles held by majority of the population, would the country truly be a strong, unified and moral nation? Therefore, would this country’s foundation be fragile or resilient? Stated by Mongia “the cow is regarded by Hindus as gau mata, or maternal figure and has had a long-standing central role in India’s religious rituals”. I believe that India’s economy should not compromise the trust and beliefs of the approximate 80% of people that are identified as Hindus. I feel this could bring about detrimental effects and would cause more obstructions in the path of economic prosperity. As Mongia stated, the cow is very resourceful in ways other than food and that should be taken into account. In conclusion, I feel that a nation’s prosperity should be developed with pride and morality rather than neglecting a major religion.
Canadian Syrian Refugee Policy
At a conference held earlier this week in Geneva by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees the appeal was made to Canada and other western nations to help more with Syrian refugees. Canada has been involved in the re-settlement of over 700 Syrian refugees. The government is struggling to meet an earlier commitment from July 2013 to settle 1300 by the end of the year. The controversy is that sources close to the discussions on Syrian refugees say that Canada is only accepting refugees from Syrian religious minorities.
Refugee advocacy groups have been asking Canada to accept up to 10,000 Syrian refugees within the next 2 years meanwhile the UN is in desperate need of aid as the civil war in Syria intensifies.
In Fridays question period in parliament both parties raised the question of whether or not the Canadian government was preferential to a certain group of Syrian refugees. The parliamentary secretary to minister of immigration offered the response, “To suggest that we are only going to focus on the one group of people is categorically false,” he said. “We have seen countless examples in recent years of people being persecuted for their religious beliefs. We will prioritize persecuted ethnic and religious minorities … those at deu8monstrated risk, and we will make no apologies for that.”
The Canadian Council for refuges reacted to these allegations on Friday with a news release. Loly Rico, the group’s president said, “It is completely unacceptable and in fact irresponsible to discriminate against refugees on the basis of religion, refugees must be selected for resettlement according to need.”
This is a challenging issue because some religious groups face more adversity in Syria than others, so the question is raised whether these groups have more of a need to immigrate than other groups. With all the negative media and problems with terrorism in Syria involving Muslims one has to wonder if the Canadian government is hesitating to immigrate refugees of Muslim descent in fear of potential radical views.
It has been months since Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said that he would make an announcement about a commitment to take in further Syrian refugees in the near future. In this time there has still been massive unrest in Syria so the question of how committed Canada is to the crisis is still up in the air.
This can be related to the concept presented by Ninian Smart called “the human phenomenological environment” because Canada is taking into account the social implications of a religion and what it could mean to accept them and also the individual experience of individuals within the religion.
American Hijab: Why My Scarf is a Sociopolitical Statement, Not a Symbol of My Religiosity
In the Islamic faith, women have the choice of wearing a headscarf, or a hijab because it is a way that they establish that they are Muslim, and show self-respect and respect to their culture. In the article, women who wear the hijab are described as being successful, intelligent, and standing for their identity as Muslim women.
In the media, Muslims are often depicted negatively and this causes some Muslims to try to change the way that people perceive them. Muslim women choose to wear a hijab because of socio-political reasons and the media because they want to get away from the misconceptions presents this.
The girl from the article states that as a Muslim, she wouldn’t really get away from the stereotypes were set out for her, however, she realized that she could reconstruct the way that she is perceived as a Muslim. By wearing the hijab, she is establishing that she is proud of her culture by creating a different identity of herself and choosing to be different. The media often portrays the Muslim religion to be negative, violent, and oppressive but that is not true, the fact is that a small proportion of Muslims in the world are portraying acts of violence, which is not what Islam teaches Muslims to do. So considering that Islam speaks of mercy and peace, the small amount of Muslims that are oppressive and show acts of violence causes the media to show all Muslims to be like that. The article suggests that Muslim women not only wear a hijab for religious reasons but it is also to show their identity as intelligent, independent, and successful women. By choosing to be different and showing their identity, they are showcasing that just because there are stereotypes and negative views on them by the “west”, they can be changed.
In order to change the way people may see you and label you as being different, you need to embrace your differences at first and make sure that you are proud of your identity and are going to represent who you are in your society. Like the woman from the article did with the hijab, she decided to be different and embrace it before anyone could label and judge her.
“Ties between language and religious practice” posted on December 6, 2014
I found this blog about religion and language and found it really interesting in the framework of worldviews due to the ability of language to misinterpret the meanings of religious texts with increasing numbers of translations. Language is the medium which religion is interpreted and this article points that variation in language allows for different interpretations based on language of origin and the connection between translations and the variation of meanings from different languages.
“Folly or fact?”
The article is about behavior and its interpretations and acceptability in social norms of a culture or tradition based on an event in Hamilton, Ontario on September 13, 2013. Apparently there was an incident where a man died from diabetes and was placed in a side room where his wife believed he would rise again from a traditional belief from her original culture. The blog references Tom Paine and the views that logic and reason should rule above the faith and superstitious beliefs and actions. The secular ideas and use of scientific method could potentially eliminate many of the behaviors which seem unfamiliar or outrageous to our own cultural views could be eliminated.
“Merry Christmas or happy holidays”
A woman was apparently assaulted for using the term “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” when working for the Salvation Army. The misuse of the greeting was apparently offensive to the offender and can be associated with the entrenched Christianity in the western world which pervades the majority culture in Canada. The blog asserts that there is a move towards a more increasingly religious and cultural diversity which should culturally allow for a more inclusive greeting in the holiday season. The term happy holidays is becoming more popular due to the increasing diversity in the country and the inclusion of multicultural attitudes there is a move towards the adoption of the phrase as opposed to the “merry Christmas” of the current cultural theme.
Christmas Roots and Celebration vs. Secularism
The French court has recently banned a nativity scene in a town hall for the purpose of preserving France’s secular traditions. For those who do not know, the nativity scene typically depicts baby Jesus in his manger surrounded by his mother Mary and Joseph. Other characters commonly depicted are shepherds and sheep, and angels. There are many variations of the scene including characters that either are or are not biblical figures. The nativity scene is huge for the Christian tradition of Christmas, as it shows the basis for the holiday – the birth of Jesus Christ. As Christmas’ origin is from what this scene is presenting (literally Christ’s Mass) it is as typical of a symbol to see around the holiday season as a snowman, or Santa Claus. Hence the backlash that has occurred since the court’s banning of the scene. 86% of Guardian newspapers readers surveyed were in favour of keeping the nativity scenes in public places. The removal was due to a complaint from the secular campaign group Federation Nationale de la Libre Pensee. Arguments againset the decision to ban it question the courts why they don’t just ban all the Christmas and public holidays that go with it? This raises issues of where do we draw a secularist line? Controversy continues as the government is concerned with being seen as discriminatory against Muslims who have been banned from wearing burqas in public. The war between those for and against secularism seem to be at a tense high around the holiday season. I believe the government may be leaning too far to protect the country’s secular traditions. However, my biased Christian upbringing has presented the nativity scene as a basic and traditional Christmas symbol.
Polygamy Within and Outside of Christianity,
In the online blog; Religious Tolerance, there is an article called “Christian Polygamy:” A group promoting conservative Protestant Polygyny. This article’s purpose is to identify polygamy, within and outside of Christianity, then to define Evangelical Christian polygamy, what it is, and what it is not. The blog defines polygamy and some its subsets, Polyamory, Polygyny, and Polyandry. Polyamory is a sexual relationship between more than two consenting adults. Polygyny is a marriage between one man and two more women. Polyandry is the marriage between one women and multiple men. The only type of Polygamy endorsed by the Evangelical Christian Church is Polygyny; the marriage between one man and multiple women. What Christian Polygamy is not, is “adultery, arranged marriage, dishonest bigamy, fornication, group marriage, homosexual marriage, under-age marriage, or wife-swapping”, and is not in any way, connected to Mormonism, or Mormon Polygamy. While the Evangelical church is very critical and condemning of all the above listed variations on marriage, their version of polygamy, polygyny, is deemed acceptable because it can bee seen in the Old Testament and the New Testament, in both Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. The article also states that the main differences between Polygyny in the bible and in modern day practice are; the relations are consensual and not arranged, and women are not allowed to be forced into marriages as in the bible. While I do believe that everyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs, I find it very hard to condone the idea of ‘Evangelical Polygyny’. Their ideals are hypocritical, judgemental, and oppressing to women. They condemn almost all other types of variations on marriage, including homosexual marriage which is legal, and promote an oppressive and illegal form of marriage, using the bible as justification. These types of marriages are only allowed due to literal interpretation of the bible. And all other types of polygamy or ‘unorthodox’ forms of marriage are condemned. The article even goes as far as to say that Christian Polygamy is the ‘logical extension of the Protestant Reformation’. Evangelical Polygyny endorses the use of “Love not Force”, which is the practice of a man “gently persuading his first wife to accept the idea of polygyny without the use of compulsion”. Even the suggested use of compulsion and force is repulsive, as is the fact that they have to clearly distinguish the women should not be forced, harmed, or coerced into a second marriage. There are many different types of polygamy appearing in many different religions, for varying reasons.
Another Canadian Falls to ISIS
ISIS has released another video and once again it is featuring a Canadian turned ISIS believer. This time it features a very much Caucasian man sporting Muslim attire. According to a former friend of the man, who was identified as John Maguire, he seemingly turned to Islam upon arrival back into Canada after attending school in Southern California. His former friend also stated that he was very active in the music scene and played in punk rock band. In the video John, or Abu Anwar al-Canadi as he calls himself, states that he too grew up playing ice hockey but according to CBC News senior correspondent Adrienne Arsenault said is a line ISIS has been using in its attempts to appeal to Canadians. And apparently it is working. In the video he states that he is a part of a circle of people from Ottawa who have left Canada to fight with extremist groups or have social media profiles that are filled with ISIS propaganda. In other media postings Abu Anwar says he is going to receive the “reward of jihad” and “the opportunity for martyrdom.” At one point he even refers to Canada as “evil.” When I read that he referred to Canada as “evil”, I was absolutely blown away. To call the place that you live evil, which does not discriminate your religion is so ignorant. This is coming from the man who flew to a place where they kill people who refuse to convert to Islam or pursue the activities of these so-called “Jihadists” is astonishing. Especially coming from a man who was apparently extremely intelligent and on scholarships for his academics. He then goes on to threaten Canada that if they do not stop their attacks and association with the US on their missions, they’ll attack more Canadians. Then what? Oh yea, the Canadian military and all of its allies will keep on killing the people who are influencing this terrible mindset on people. They need to realize that, as they as they keep making these threats, the US and Canada and all of their allies, will not stop. IT goes to show the brain washing effect that the ISIS group has on some people and hopefully it comes to a rest soon.
Quoting of Scripture by Obama Regarding Immigration Causes Controversy
Article Link: http://huff.to/1yT1gF8
At a recent press conference President Obama quoted scripture as a method of reinforcing his points on immigration reform, stating “Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger — we were strangers once, too…My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants”. This sparked some controversy, particularly from Fox News (the decidedly Christian republican-slanted news network), as they ironically stated that his referencing of scripture “was out of line”. They claimed that his interpretation of scripture is taken in false context and understanding. This news network has used biblical passages to reinforce their stories on several occasions previously, to which they have received similar responses making claiming a lack of understanding and interpretation of said scripture.
The interpretation of religious texts always seems to be an contentious issue in that readings and understandings of said literature is just that; an interpretation. The bible can be viewed as a historical text, a sort of moral compass, a source a comfort, fear or anger, or it can be viewed as nothing but fiction. However, never has it been confirmed that any sort of religious text (or interpretation of a religious text) is understood universally as true or correct. Individuals’ understandings of these texts are simply their personal interpretations, and thus are not meant to be evaluated under the guise of absolute truth when compared or contrasted to someone else’s interpretation.
It is understandable as to why Obama would think to use a scripture passage at this press conference to make his pro-immigration stance to the target demographic seem more appealing (that target demographic being middle-class, typically Christian Americans). While I am sure that it was not his intent for his quoting of said scripture passage to be interpreted as fact, the backlash from it is a testament as to why church and state should truly be separate. As these two areas are melded together it is easy for the personal aspects of religion to cloud the governmental decision making process intended for the people as a whole, regardless of their religion.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck from Fox News weighed in, saying “To guilt someone into supporting immigration reform…That’s not what the scholars behind the Bible would interpret as proper use.” This is a rather hypocritical statement coming from a network that frequently references scripture to reinforce their points, and rather egotistical for them to claim to know the intended interpretation of these scriptures by biblical scholars.
Isis World View
In this blog I shall be discussing the Islamic world view of ISIS. This is by far one of the most disturbing world views that I have ever come across. The reason for this is how ISIS is going about trying to impose their Islamic world views on the Middle Eastern countries. Upsetting how this is group has only resorted to absolute violence, hostage kidnapping and murder to impose their views on the Middle East. When we compare their views on the Islamic views we learnt in class we clearly can see that this is not the way they wanted to impose their religion on people and the world. Then we look at the “new map” that ISIS wants to see, they pretty much are willing to do anything to get what they want which is a very large portion of south Asia and northern parts of Africa that are dominantly Muslim. This acts of terrorism haven’t reached levels like these since the 9/11 attacks. This world view scares many we as a world have to put an end to ISIS otherwise this could drastically alter our world as we know it. The level of extreme that ISIS is going to have their way is enormous but, we cannot give into their threats we must push aside the scare they have created in order to come out in victory. Their views on Islam are not the way that they should be portraying the Islamic people. We have to remember though that not to racial profile all Muslims cause this could cause more problems within the world that we already have. To summarize this, this is not the view of the world that most Muslims behave towards and we should not judge people by what other Muslims do.
The Christmas Tree Debate
A municipality in northern Israel who’s population is made up of both Jews, Christians, and Muslims is drawing controversy as a Christmas tree was placed in a central square of the city. An Israeli-Arab Christian on city council requested the tree be placed. The chief rabbi of the municipality stated that according to Jewish law “there is no place for Christian symbols in the city”. Although the Jewish community was opposed to the idea of a Christmas tree in the cities public realm they were very civil on the matter and agreed to leave it up this year as not to cause outrage in the Christian community. Although, they noted that next year they need to rethink “how to avoid this”. Members of the Christian minority argued that they “are active and have four or five churches, pay taxes, and have rights as well.” The Christians argue that the tree promotes pluralism.
This is an interesting article, especially from the perspective of a westerner living in Canada. The appearance of a Christmas tree appearing publicly and creating a controversy, to most Canadians, would seem like a trivial and silly thing to get upset about. Canada is made up of many different religious groups and yet publicly displayed Christmas trees can be found everywhere during the holiday season, with very little public criticism. You may argue that is because Christians make up a majority of our population but I believe it is something else. I think the Christmas tree has evolved into a symbol of the holiday season, at least here in Canada. Rather than being a symbol of Christmas and therefor Christianity it has become a symbol of a nondenominational holiday season that most religious groups would sympathize for.
That being said Canada is not Israel, by any means. It is a country rooted with religious tension and it is understandable why such a simple decoration can cause such a stir. Maybe the best route of action would to not allow any public display of religious celebrations. On the other hand they could allow the Christmas tree and put a Jewish Hanukkah symbol in a different part of the city.