Posts Tagged With: religion

A Conversation

Cultural Appropriation: A conversation by Sanaa Hamid

This body of work is an exploration of the extent of cultural appropriation and encourages a discussion about it. I give the appropriator and the appropriated the opportunity to defend themselves and create a dialogue between them, while maintaining a neutral stance myself. I am not attacking those who appropriate, merely educating and creating awareness. Neutrality is key in this series, as i remove myself from my political and social status and opinions, stripping the problem to the most basic issue; taking an item that means a great deal to somebody and corrupting it.

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Cause and Effect

The person who posted this did so to demonstrate the misogyny present in two major religious texts. Now there’s no denying thatthere is misogyny present in most religious texts, and that people often use religion as a justification for sexism. However  I dislike this graphic because it seems to imply that religion is the reason for sexism.

Religion can be used to justify sexism, but religion isn’t the root cause of sexism. Religion, like everything else, was created in a patriarchal culture. Thus, religion will be influenced by patriarchal norms. Religion isn’t inherently sexist, it only becomes sexist when the society that created it is sexist in the first place.

So really, we need to stop blaming religion for bigotry that is the result of the greater society as a whole, and atheists need to remember that being non-religious doesn’t automatically make them less sexist than someone who is.

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Trending

So hey, when did Hinduism become a trend?

As you know, I have a curious habit of browsing online for clothes on a daily basis and during my daily scouts for prospective items and deals, I’ve come across an insane amount of t-shirts baring different Hindu Gods and Goddesses with some cheesy one-liner about how amazing life is etc, along with the sale of bindi’s (an ornament sacred in the Hindu religion) and other such things that have linkages back to Hinduism. What is happening? And more importantly, why.

It’s so funny;  Hindu’s have been targeted, ridiculed and eaten alive for their differences. If you read their history, Hindu’s were murdered for following their faiths and today, their God(s) are being worn on t-shirts and their bindis are being completely misused by hipster white girls.

What is this? Reverse history? It’s cool to be Hindu for a couple months because you want to tick off your Christian parents?

Look, if you like aspects of a religion, respect it enough to admire it from afar because it really isn’t cool when the Indian religion and history is completely forgotten by the western world to create some hipster-hyped, out-of-place aesthetic. Wearing feather head pieces to be boho, or wearing crosses when you aren’t attached to the Christian religion, or wearing pentacle necklaces when you aren’t Wiccan, all raise the same sort of issues.

Believe me, I’m all for embracing individuality. But wearing bindis and whatnot isn’t indie at all. Anyone from India would say that bindis became a worldwide fashion accessory a long time ago, and many Hindus even wear them with no spiritual intent. But that isn’t a reason to abuse it because centuries of history lie behind its existence so appropriating culture and religion just isn’t cool in my books.

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“What makes the non-South Asian person’s use of the bindi problematic is the fact that a pop star like Selena Gomez wearing one is guaranteed to be better received than I would if I were to step out of the house rocking a dot on my forehead. On her, it’s a bold new look; on me, it’s a symbol of my failure to assimilate. On her, it’s unquestionably cool; on me, it’s yet another marker of my Otherness, another thing that makes me different from other American girls. If the use of the bindi by mainstream pop stars made it easier for South Asian women to wear it, I’d be all for its proliferation — but it doesn’t. They lend the bindi an aura of cool that a desi woman simply can’t compete with, often with the privilege of automatic acceptance in a society when many non-white women must fight for it.”

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Yeap!

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Convertion

I don't like having someone elses practices and belief's shoved down my throat and I'm sure plenty of people would rather not have that happen to them too. But somehow… this is excusable in the case of religion. 

I think it's fantastic if someone chooses to willingly convert because they have actually taken the time to learn about a religion. But when a group of people arrive in an underdeveloped nation and offer incentives such as food and housing to people in return for conversions, that is wrong. When a group of these same people offer false promises about salvation and force conversions upon the masses, that is wrong. When people take mission trips that are meant for building schools or playgrounds and other social benefits for underdeveloped regions and that is all they provide, that is good. And really, that's how it ought to be. 

Disclaimer: I have nothing against Christianity, I'm just passing on information I think people need to be aware of. See below:

There are 16,000 new Christians in Africa every day!

Conversions: Facts and Figures

http://www.christianaggression.org/features_statistics.php

Conversion Tactics

These pages describe common tactics emplyed by missionaries to convert others to the Christian Faith.

Charitable Allurement

Deception, Lies & Deceit

Educational Indoctrination

Medical Care

Sexual Abuse

Violence

http://www.christianaggression.org/tactics.php

Collection of ARTICLES

http://www.christianaggression.org/item_display.php?type=ARTICLES

From the US to Uganda, religion is used as instrument of violence

http://ncronline.org/blogs/grace-margins/us-uganda-religion-used-instrument-violence

Uganda: The Evangelical Game Plan: Use American Christianity To Exploit Africa

http://enlightenedcatholicism-colkoch.blogspot.com/2011/02/uganda-evangelical-game-plan-use.html

LIST OF AFRICAN CULTURES DESTROYED BY CHRISTIAN CONQUEST

http://www.crusadewatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=355&Itemid=36

CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF ALL ARTICLES

http://www.crusadewatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogsection&id=0&Itemid=9

EVANGELISM & CONVERSION METHODS

http://www.crusadewatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=section&id=21&Itemid=54

Christian terrorism may not be as brutal as Islamic ones, but it exists in North East India, Northern Uganda and the island of Ambon in Indonesia.

USA 

General Articles on Christian Terrorism

India

Sri Lanka

http://www.crusadewatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=section&id=31&Itemid=142

Is there imperial design behind conversion overdrive?

http://bharatian.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/is-there-imperial-design-behind-conversion-overdrive/

Kenya’s televangelism ‘empire’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEgmgs9KJNo&feature=player_embedded#at=13

HINDU STUDENTS HAVE TO CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY TO GET COLLEGE ADMISSION IN INDIA

http://bharatian.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/hindu-students-have-to-convert-to-christianity-to-get-college-admission-in-india/

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When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said "Let us pray." We closed our eyes. When we opened them, we had the Bible and they had the land.
— Desmond Tutu

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Oh Ha Ha

There is a Twitter account called #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend.

Understandably, being called “an abusive man” over Twitter pissed a lot of those #ReasonsToBeatYearGirlfriend contributers off — especially since some/most/many of them may not actually domestic abusers, but were simply contributing to a ha-ha-hilarious trending topic.

It’s just a jooooooke, they all whined, because joking about hitting your partner is funnnnnnnny!

Really, those ignorant whiners just need to STFU (that is, if they aren’t booted off Twitter entirely). Sure, there’s a legal difference between actually being a domestic abuser and making a joke about domestic abuse on Twitter.

But a cavalier attitude towards domestic violence — whether it’s against men, women or children — contributes to the culture that allows it to exist. We’re not at a place yet where joking about domestic abuse, or rape, or child abuse, is funny. Period.

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While on Facebook this morning, this too made me cringe:

Yes, because all other religions are invalid and only Christians can appreciate god's glory.

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Jesus Was A Palestinian, And Why It Matters

Please note: what’s written below is not my work. This is a great post by Jehanzeb on Muslim Reverie and I wanted to share it. Since he so aptly covered this topic, I thought I’d just copy and paste and credit him instead of trying and failing to put it together as eloquently as he did.

Because of modern alarmist reactions to the word “Palestine,” many non-Arabs and non-Muslims take offense when it is argued that Jesus was a Palestinian (peace be upon him). Jesus’ ethnicity, skin color, and culture often accompanies this conversation, but it is interesting how few people are willing to acknowledge the fact he was non-European. A simple stroll in the Christmas aisle of your local shopping store will show you the dominant representation of Jesus: a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, White man.

Islamophobia and anti-Arab propaganda have conditioned us to view Palestinians as nothing but heartless suicide bombers, terrorists, and enemies of freedom/democracy. Perpetual media vilification and demonization of Palestinians, in contrast to the glorification of Israel, blinds us from seeing issues such as the Palestinian refugee crisis, the victims of Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza last winter, the tens of thousands of homeless Palestinians, and many other issues that are constantly addressed by human rights activists around the world. To speak from the perspective of the Palestinians, especially in casual non-Arab and non-Muslim settings, generates controversy because the minds of many already associate Palestinians with violent stereotypes. So, how could Jesus belong to a group of people that we’re taught to dehumanize?

When I’ve spoken to people about this, I’ve noticed the following responses: “No, Jesus was a Jew,” or “Jesus is not Muslim.” The mistake isn’t a surprise to me, but it certainly reveals how ignorant much of society still is. Being a Palestinian does not mean one is Muslim or vice versa. Prior to the creation of Israel, the word “Palestine” was a geographic term applied to Palestinian Muslims, Palestinian Christians, and Palestinian Jews. Although most Palestinians are Muslim today, there is a significant Palestinian Christian minority who are often overlooked, especially by the mainstream Western media because the agenda is to simplify the conflict as “Muslims versus Jews.” To learn about many Palestinian Christians opposing Israeli military occupation, as well as Jews who oppose to the occupation, is to reveal more sides to an immensely one-sided story. Professor Jack D. Forbes writes about Jesus’ multi-cultural and multi-ethnic environment:

When the Romans came to dominate the area, they used the name Palestine. Thus, when Yehoshu’a [Jesus] was born, he was born a Palestinian as were all of the inhabitants of the region, Jews and non-Jews. He was also a Nazarene (being born in Nazareth) and a Galilean (born in the region of Galilee)… At the time of Yehoshu’a’s birth, Palestine was inhabited by Jews—descendants of Hebrews, Canaanites, and many other Semitic peoples—and also by Phoenicians, Syrians, Greeks, and even Arabs.

Despite these facts, there are those who use the color-blind argument: “It does not matter what Jesus’ ethnicity or skin color was. It does not matter what language he spoke. Jesus is for all people, whether you’re Black, White, Brown, Yellow, etc.” While this is a well-intentioned expression of inclusiveness and universalism, it misses the point.

When you see so many depictions of Jesus as a Western White man with Euro-American features, the ethnocentrism and race-bending needs to be called out. No person is superior to another based on skin color, but to ignore the way Jesus’ Whiteness has been used to subjugate and discriminate against racial minorities in the West and many other countries is to overlook another important aspect of Jesus’ teachings: Love thy neighbor as thyself

Malcolm X wrote about White supremacists and slaveholders using Christianity to justify their “moral” and “racial superiority” over Blacks. In Malcolm’s own words, “The Holy Bible in the White man’s hands and its interpretations of it have been the greatest single ideological weapon for enslaving millions of non-white human beings.” Throughout history, whether it was in Jerusalem, Spain, India, or Africa, so-called White “Christians” cultivated a twisted interpretation of religion that was compatible with their colonialist agenda. And racism was a key component of their atrocities.

And here we are in the 21st century where Islamophobia (also stemming from racism because Islam gets racialized) is on the rise; where people calling themselves “Christian” fear to have a Black president; where members of the KKK and anti-immigration movements behave as if Jesus was an intolerant White American racist who only spoke English despite being born in the Middle-East! It is astonishing how so-called “Christians” like Ann Coulter call Muslims “rag-heads” when in actuality, Jesus himself would fit the profile of a “rag-head,” too. As would Moses, Joseph, Abraham, and the rest of the Prophets (peace be upon them all). As William Rivers Pitt writes:

The ugly truth which never even occurs to most Americans is that Jesus looked a lot more like an Iraqi, like an Afghani, like a Palestinian, like an Arab, than any of the paintings which grace the walls of American churches from sea to shining sea. This was an uncomfortable fact before September 11. After the attack, it became almost a moral imperative to put as much distance between Americans and people from the Middle East as possible. Now, to suggest that Jesus shared a genealogical heritage and physical similarity to the people sitting in dog cages down in Guantanamo is to dance along the edge of treason.

Without acknowledging Jesus as a dark-skinned Middle-Eastern man — a Palestinian — who spoke Aramaic — a Semitic language that is ancestral to Arabic and Hebrew — the West will continue to view Islam as a “foreign religion.” Hate crimes and discriminatory acts against Muslims, Arabs, and others who are perceived to be Muslim will persist and they will still be treated as “cultural outsiders.” But what about Christianity and Judaism in America? Aren’t these religions “cultural outsiders” according to the racist logic of xenophobes and Islamophobes?

Jesus would not prefer one race or group of people over another, and I believe he would not encourage today’s demonization and dehumanization of the Palestinian people or the misrepresentations of him that only fuel ignorance and ethnocentrism. As a Muslim, I believe Jesus was a Prophet of God, and if I were to have any say about the Christmas spirit, it would be based on Jesus’ character: humility, compassion, and Love. A Love in which all people, regardless of ethnicity, race, culture, religion, gender, and sexual orientation are respected and appreciated.

And in that spirit, I wish you all a merry Christmas. Alaha Natarak (Aramaic: God be with you).

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“Rise above time and space.  Pass by the world, and be to yourself your own world.”
– Mahmud Shabistari, 13th century Islamic mystic.

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Breaking Up With Religion

Sometimes it seems like Generation Y is in a religious trance: Bristol Palin flip-flops on abstinence, the Jonas Brothers pledge to keep it in their pants, Britney and Lindsay take up Kabbalah (or at least wear its bracelets). But we all know what’s really going on: young people are opting out of religion.

What Would Jesus Do? One in four people aged 18-29 probably don’t give a crap.
That’s because 25 percent of us are unaffiliated with religion according to a recent survey. This is stunning news to Robert Putnam, a Harvard professor who conducted the research, but it sounds about right to me. I can’t think of any friends whose weekly rituals include going to Church or sitting in silence repeating mantra’s or lighting the Shabbat candles or praying to Allah five times a day.

So what does this all mean?

It doesn’t mean we’re atheists. It means we’re calling bullshit on "intolerance and rigidity and doctrinaire political views” that come with belonging to a particular creed (well, I am anyway).

I’m guessing it also means that we’ve found belonging elsewhere: in a Facebook group (the Internet age has allowed us to retreat from community and reinforce it at the same time), a political party (any Libertarians out there?), an eco movement, a Pastafarian meeting (a religious spoof—or is it?).

Obviously there are other reasons as to why the current youth step away from religion: agnosticism, atheism and whatever else, but I think the above two mostly summarize why.

While Putnam worries that increasing numbers of nones (which is survey speak for the depraved) will be bad for the community because “people who go to church are much more likely to vote, volunteer and give to charity” ( if you didn’t already know my minions, religion = Grade A citizen). He also says that youth becoming less religious could result in “a burst of religious innovation.” Yes…options—now that’s something to believe in.

Why are so many Generation Y-ers retreating from religion? I have my reasons for as to why I am. How does religion fit into your life? Or not?

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