Tags: syncretism

goddess and god

Women in Hinduism, Muriel Spark: The Biography, A spiritual community, sans dogma

Ask the Religion Experts How do the positions of men and women differ in your faith tradition? How are we to understand the seemingly subordinate position that many religions impose upon women?
By Radhika Sekar,Ottawa Citizen, August 22, 2010
"Ancient pagan religions worshipped goddesses and there is evidence suggesting women were highly regarded in these societies. But while goddess worship still flourishes in Hinduism, ironically, the equal status of women did not prevail.
[...]
Fortunately, Hindu reformers of the 19th-century recognized that the injustices heaped upon women are social rather than religious and campaigned vigorously against the oppression. In the past decades, the status of Hindu women has undergone three stages; first emancipation, then "equal but complementary" and finally equal in all spheres. But attitudes of several millennia are slow to erase and injustices still abound. However as more women claim their rights, the patriarchal system will give way to a society of parity."
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Muriel Spark: The Biography by Martin Stannard

A brilliant, difficult woman in sharp focus
Biography of novelist Muriel Spark, known best for "The Prime of Miss Jean Brody."
Reviewed by Frank Wilson, Philadelphia Inquirer, Aug. 22, 2010
"She was born Muriel Sarah Camberg on Feb. 1, 1918, in the Morningside district of Edinburgh. Her father was a Scottish Jew. Her mother was English (from Watford) and (at least, nominally) Anglican. Stannard describes the household religion as "pagan Christian Judaism."
[...]
Then, in 1951, the Observer announced a contest for a Christmas story. The prize was 250 pounds. There were nearly 7,000 entries. Spark's "The Seraph and the Zambezi" won.

The story displayed all the characteristics of Spark's mature fiction: precision, concision, and her own brand of magical realism.
[...]
He certainly makes it clear that as a single woman, she had to fight for what she got. He also makes clear that, for Spark, writing fiction was a vocation in the religious sense. She was prepared to sacrifice anything and anyone on behalf of her art.

What Spark, who always considered herself a poet, wrote about John Masefield's work, of its "kinship with that primitive order of religious revelation," applies equally to her own:

That is the paradox of inspiration - the incredible and the impossible are felt to be present and therefore (for what is more actual than what we feel?) are credible and possible. . . . The poem will have an organic connection with its physical origin, and the pattern of events and their movement at the visionary instant will be translated symbolically until in the end the work itself becomes the real thing and the events the symbols of it."
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A spiritual community, sans dogma
by Guy Kovner, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, August 21, 2010
"A stone statue of the elephant-headed Hindu deity Ganesh stands just inside the door to Santa Rosa's Center for Spiritual Living.

The senior minister, Edward Viljoen, a South African native and trained classical musician, is as likely to quote from the Bhagavad Gita as the Bible, and says neither one should be taken literally.

More than 1,000 people call the center, located in a warehouse-sized former roller skating rink on Occidental Road, their spiritual refuge, a place of prayer, study and communal warmth.

Just don't go in expecting pat answers to the elemental questions about the meaning of life, like who are we and why are we here."
goddess and god

"Religious Items", the Nazareth Baptist Church, Marketing to Muslims, Religious Diversity

"Pagainist"? Why do people make up words like this? It's as bad as "Wiccanism".

Living Dead dolls are "a bit macabre" but so are Day of the Dead dolls.

I had this conversation with a friend of mine when I was giving her 2 year old daughter candy skulls for Samhain. Her mother had not let her celebrate Halloween because any image of death was necessarily evil. In Wicca we value balance and accepting the cycles of life. We accept that death is a natural part of the cycle of life. We celebrate both life and death to maintain the balance. And we discourage the fear of death that comes with trying to hide it away and deny it.

Are Living Dead dolls "religious items"? I'm not sure. Are Christmas trees "religious items"? It's not like they are statues of gods.

Paganist protests as health visitor tells her to move items
by Chris Broom, Portsmouth News, UK, 25 January 2010
"Jemma Hawkins, 29, receives regular visits from a mental health home treatment team because of her bi-polar disorder.

But on one of these visits, Mrs Hawkins says the health visitor told her she should remove pagan images and accessories from her living room because of her concerns for her 10-year-old son David
[...]
'I was really angry because Wicca is a recognised religion.

'You wouldn't go into a Muslim's home and ask them to take down their religious items would you?'
[...]
Hampshire Partnership NHS Trust Jamie Stevenson said the health visitor had been referring to some collectable dolls not connected to religious beliefs, known as Living Dead dolls, which Mrs Hawkins had on display.

He said 'When the support worker went around there and she saw these dolls and she thought they were a bit macabre.
[...]
We would never give advice on parenting unless they were doing something extremely wrong, which isn't the case here.

'With a mental health patient like Mrs Hawkins we are trying to build a rapport and look after her needs, not to go in and throw our weight around.'"
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Battle for the Holy Mountain
By Bongani Mthethwa, Jan 24, 2010
"One of the oldest and most powerful African churches in Southern Africa has been rocked for decades by a bitter and sometimes bloody leadership battle

For almost a century Maria Nyanisile Mthembu has been a devoted member of the estimated 4.5 million-strong Shembe Church, as the Nazareth Baptist Church is popularly known.
[...]
Easily identifiable by their flowing white robes, the Nazarites spend two weeks on the mountain, where they perform their hypnotic traditional Zulu dance, sing hymns and praise God in a festival that has evolved into a colourful spectacle.

Shembe worshippers believe Nhlangakazi is where God instructed Shembe to form the church.
[...]
Followers of Shembe - a religion that combines Zulu tradition with Christian values - believe that their leader is equivalent to Jesus Christ and that female followers should be virgins before marriage.

Shembe rituals include baptism by immersion, the keeping of the Sabbath, observance of a seven-day fast before Holy Communion, and the celebration of Holy Communion at night, preceded by feet-washing ceremonies.

For more information about African Initiated Churches on wikipedia.com
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Marketing to Muslims poses a challenge for retailers
By Raja Abdulrahim, The Los Angeles Times, January 25, 2010
"Best Buy has refused to discuss its holiday advertising, though a brief statement on its website indicates it stands by its Eid greetings: "Best Buy's customers and employees around the world represent a variety of faiths and denominations. We respect that diversity and choose to greet our customers and employees in ways that reflect their traditions."

Other companies have recently come under some fire for marketing to groups that some considered out of the mainstream.

A Gap ad during the holiday season angered a conservative Christian group for being too inclusive by referring to Christian, Jewish, secular and pagan holidays with the line "Go Christmas, Go Hanukkah, Go Kwanzaa, Go solstice." Gap didn't directly address whether it had considered mentioning Eid al-Adha, which was celebrated two weeks after the ad first appeared.

"We've been down this road before with other groups," said Jerome Williams, a professor of advertising and African American studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

In the 1960s, studies looked at whether advertising that featured blacks would scare away white customers. Companies don't rush into new and unfamiliar markets, he said, but rather tiptoe into them. And what will ultimately sway advertisers is money.

"They're not in the business of social justice," he said. "An advertiser does not want to do anything that will have negative impacts on sales. . . . At the end of the day, they have to see if they've gained more than they've lost."
[...]
Constraints that advertisers face here don't exist in the Middle East, where Ramadan and the two Eid holidays are times when brands such as Coca-Cola, Nestle and McDonald's are merged seamlessly with holiday greetings."
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My East-West Allah
By Petra Gimbad, The Nut Graph, 25 Jan 2010
"My father is a non-Muslim bumiputera and my mother a West Malaysian Chinese. My sister and I grew up attending mass and read books on Buddhism; my mother's Catholic brother who practises Buddhist meditation introduced Islamic poetry to our family. We have Muslim cousins and Buddhist aunts.

My East Malaysian cousins and I share ancestors who were bobohizans — pagan medicine women — and men who held bomoh abilities. My family members and I, regardless of faith — whether Muslim, Christian or Buddhist — understood that "Allah" and "Tuhan" could be used interchangeably. It was never something to get confused about.

As Catholics, we never fought with our Protestant cousins the way I had to defend my church denomination when I came to Kuala Lumpur. Diversity in skin colour and belief were expected, and accepted. Had anyone tried to put my Buddhist or Muslim relatives down on account of religion, they would have my sister and me to contend with.

Underlying it all, we knew, even as children, that everyone's blood runs red, and that we ultimately worship the same God. Those who did not believe in a higher being practised love and compassion anyway. This was good enough for most of us.
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In the light of attacks on churches, a gurdwara and surau, I feel immensely lucky to be a mixed race child from a family of many faiths. I believe — and this is personal — that this has brought me closer to God. Hafiz expresses it best:
I have learned So much from God That I can no longer Call Myself A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, A Buddhist, a Jew. The Truth has shared so much of itself With me That I can no longer call myself A man, a woman, an angel, Or even pure Soul."
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curiosity

Some ideas about Syncretism

Syncretism From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Syncretism: The Ages of Religion: Memetic Evolution and Spiritual Ecology by Niall Leighton

I got interested in this today because I was reading one of the court cases that came up in a previous discussion.

In general I do think that all God/dess are One God/dess.
"The Real is One, though sages name it variously" (Rigveda, I, 164)
To think of the divine as any personification is necessarily to form a concept infected with illusion. Ultimately, mystically, the divine must be understood as without attributes, as neti neti (not this, not that). But manifesting as physical reality. As a Wiccan I embrace the physical world as a manifestation of the ultimate divine, an illusion to be embraced rather than rejected. {while understanding that not all Wiccans share my beliefs.}

UNITED STATES v. SEEGER, 380 U.S. 163 (1965)
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT.
No. 50. Argued November 16-17, 1964. Decided March 8, 1965.

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