MattAndJojang's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Islam

Strangers No More: Catholic Monastics in Dialogue with Other Faith-Traditions

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The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men… The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions… [to] recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men.

–Nostra Aetate, Official Document of the Catholic Church

Written by MattAndJojang

September 8, 2016 at 4:19 pm

#NotInMyName: Muslims Condemn Attacks In Paris

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NotInMyName

Photo: Youtube

As the terrorist attacks erupted in Paris, people throughout the world mourned with France, and appalled Muslims turned to social media using the hashtag #NotInMyName.

Shehnaz Khan, a journalist in London, tweeted, “Whoever kills an innocent person, it is as though he has killed all of mankind.” She was one of many people to share this verse from the Quran.

“I don’t see ISIS as Muslim. I see terrorists when I look at ISIS,” Philistine Ayad, a Muslim feminist, told CNN. “To me, terror knows no religion. They are picking and choosing aspects of the religion and twisting and distorting them in order to justify their actions that are unjustifiable.”

Ayad, who has lived in the United States since 2001, says she feels very Westernized. However, she says it hurts when she wears her hijab, the scarf worn around her head, in public and hears muttering about her religion from onlookers.

She hopes the #NotInMyName campaign will help remove Islamophobia from Western culture.

“I want there to be an understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims and a sense of communal sympathy for the victims of terrorists, but not descending into Islamophobia. If the #NotInMyName campaign can help expel some of that Islamophobia and expel some of my fear … then that would be wonderful,” she said.

Ayad is also expressing her views through art. A drawing she posted to Twitter in the aftermath of the attacks portrays Ayad carrying all the weights that she believes terrorists have created. She feels that fingers are pointing at her just because she is Muslim.

Dania Saltagi is speaking out because she is upset that terrorists are continuing to deface her religion and her reputation.

“Using #NotInMyName is a way for me not only to condemn the terrorist attacks, but to also spread the message that ISIS does not represent Islam. It is a way for me to have a voice and break stereotypes, rather than stay silent,” she told CNN.

Being a student in an American university, Saltagi says she is immersed in Western culture. She says was raised Muslim and taught principles of love, compassion and peace.

“The message that I want to spread is that the very small percentage of extremist committing these murders do not represent the rest of the 1.6 billion Muslims who absolutely condemn killing and violence,” Saltagi says.

Along with numerous other Muslims, Ayad and Saltagi continue to participate in the campaign.

“#NotInMyName means that we are taking that power back, to represent ourselves to what we truly are and that is a peaceful people,” Ayad says.

–Savannah Pratt

Written by MattAndJojang

November 17, 2015 at 9:57 am

The Most Powerful Religion

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Money

Photo: chedder/Flickr

The love of money is the root of all evil. — I Timothy 6:10

If I look at the world today it seems to me that the most powerful religion of all– much more powerful than Christianity, Judaism, Islam and so on– is the people who worship money. That is really [the] most powerful religion. And the banks are bigger than the cathedrals, the headquarters of the multinational companies are bigger than the mosques or the synagogues. Every hour on the hour we have business news– every hour– it’s a sort of hymn to capitalism.

–Tony Benn

Written by MattAndJojang

November 4, 2014 at 11:26 am

“Do Not Rejoice When Your Enemies Fall”

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Photographs of firefighters killed on 9/11 are seen outside the World Trade Center site after the death of accused 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden was announced May 2, 2011 in New York City. Bin Laden was killed in an operation by U.S. Navy Seals in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“Do not rejoice when your enemies fall,
and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble.”
—Proverbs 24:17

We feel compelled to respond today to the killing of Osama bin Laden by the United States and to the jubilant response across the nation.

A nation has a right to defend itself. From the perspective of the fundamental national security of the United States, this action is legitimately viewed as an expression of self-defense.

But as Christians, we believe that there can no celebrating, no dancing in the streets, no joy, in relation to the death of Osama bin Laden. In obedience to scripture, there can be no rejoicing when our enemies fall.

In that sense, President Obama’s sober announcement was far preferable to the happy celebrations outside the White House, in New York, and around the country, however predictable and even cathartic they may be.

For those of us who embrace a version of the just war theory, honed carefully over the centuries of Christian tradition, our response is disciplined by belief that war itself is tragic and that all killing in war, even in self-defense, must be treated with sobriety and even mournfulness. War and all of its killing reflects the brokenness of our world. That is the proper spirit with which to greet this news.

This event does provide new opportunities for our nation.

President Obama’s respectful treatment of Islam in his remarks, and his declaration that Osama bin Laden’s body was treated with respect according to Islamic custom, offers all of us an opportunity to follow that example and turn away from the rising disrespect toward Muslims in our nation.

A second opportunity is for the United States to reconsider the questionable moves we have made in the name of the war on terror. From our perspective, this includes the indefinite detentions of scores of men at Guantanamo Bay, the failure to undertake an official investigation of detainee interrogation practices, the increase in Predator attacks in Pakistan, and the expansion rather than ending of the ten-year-old war in Afghanistan.

We also now have the opportunity for national reflection on how our broader military and foreign policies — including the placement of our troops throughout the largely Muslim Arab world, our posture on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and our regular military interventions around the world, create a steady supply of new enemies.

There can never be any moral justification for terrorist attacks on innocent people, such as the terrible deeds of 9/11. But we must recognize that to the extent that our nation’s policies routinely create enemies, we can kill a Bin Laden on May 1 and face ten more like him on May 2. Might it now be possible for us to have an honest national conversation about these issues?

May we learn the right lessons from the news of this day. For Jesus’ sake.

~ David P. Gushee

Written by MattAndJojang

May 3, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Happiness: A Pursuit or a Practice?

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spiritual happiness is never merely personal in nature. It is linked to an awareness of the suffering and pleasure of others.

A basketball court transformed by flowers and incandescent light. Four thousand people in attendance. Four global religious leaders. I have never concentrated as hard as I did in the two hours I spent on that stage. But it was, in the end, a delight. And it was fascinating as an encounter as much as a conversation. The Dalai Lama’s embodied joy, his radiant and playful presence, was as defining as the words he spoke.

The biggest challenge with discussing “happiness” in this culture might be finding our way back to the substance of that word itself — a substance that has been hollowed out by its uses in culture. I found myself very much planted in the definition of happiness that the French-born Tibetan Buddhist scientist/monk Matthieu Ricard offered on this program and podcast in 2009. He defines happiness as “genuine flourishing” — not a pleasurable sensation or mood, but a way of being in the world that can encompass the fullness of human experience — joy and pleasure as well as suffering and loss.

Professor Nasr, Bishop Jefferts Schori, and Rabbi Sacks all added to that definition as they laid out the virtues and habits, the spiritual technologies, that their traditions have carried forward in time. They all described corollaries, in a sense, to the Dalai Lama’s joyful yet disciplined teachings on cultivating compassion and calmness in the mind as way of flourishing in and amidst all of life’s experiences. But the most exciting part of interreligious encounter, for me, is not rushing to hear similarities but savoring particularities — the distinctive vocabularies of thought and practice, the beautiful and intriguing differences that come to light even as we may seem to be circling towards the same goal.

And so among my favorite moments are Prof. Seyyed Hossein Nasr’s explication of beauty as inextricably linked to virtue and happiness in Muslim tradition. Beauty, he says, makes the soul happy. Bishop Jefferts Schori talked about the long tradition in Christianity of practicing gratitude and “the presence of God” in the midst of ordinary activities of life. Rabbi Sacks evoked sabbath as a space to focus on the things in life that are “important but not urgent.” He described the extraordinary power of pausing to let life’s “blessings” — an awareness of the deepest sources of our happiness — “catch up with us.” Such reflections unsettle notions of happiness as a “right” and as something to be “pursued.”

A discussion of happiness is intrinsically serious, too. As we were also reminded in the course of this discussion, spiritual happiness is never merely personal in nature. It is linked to an awareness of the suffering and pleasure of others. And at the same time, it is something we cultivate in our bodies as well as our minds. It communicates itself in our very presence.

There was, fittingly, a great deal of laughter on this stage of religious dignitaries seated center court at Emory. There was a festive atmosphere in the room altogether. Listen, and watch, for yourself. Ponder, and enjoy this dynamic discussion to get a full flavor of the physical and engaged presence of these prominent religious leaders as they contemplate the meaning of happiness.

Source: blog.onbeing.org