religion

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By Marc Gopin

Tom Banchoff’s essay raises important insights and deepens the discussion about the historical relations between organized religion now and in the future with secular forms of power, governance, and authority structures. Banchoff rightly warns that ignoring these trends is a grave mistake in assessing the future, in tracking what kind of balance and shift in balance of powers may be taking place. There is no question that political Islam has had an enormous impact on contemporary history, even though it is too early to say where this will lead.

I want to focus my thoughts and response on two aspects of religion that are often not distinguished sufficiently in terms of our subjects of power and religion as well as secular and religious sources of authority in history and going forward.

There are two essentially different elements of religion as a human phenomenon that often have little …

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The couple from Chapel Hill never saw a photo,
From their wedding,
Because it just arrived,
Upon their murder.
So if you want young people to die,
shot in the head, in a grave,
keep yourselves polarized,
keep fighting for your side.
Keep up with proxy wars,
And real wars.
But if you have a tendency,
Upon the death of the young,
To feel a little sick,
To see through sleepless eyes,
Their love,
As they gaze into each others’ eyes,
For the last time,
If their religion, if their skin tone,
Matters not to you,
Then show it,
Every day, in every way,
In your empathy and solidarity,
With those who are different in your midst.
There is no other way to build the world,
And there never has been.…

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Idolatry

by mgopin on November 25, 2014 · 0 comments

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Idolatry is not about icons or about multiple names or faces for the Divine. That is common even among monotheists. Idolatry is worshiping one thing so much you consume all virtues, all human beings, in pursuit of that one thing, and delude yourself into feeling perfectly righteous in doing so. Guns, money, power, race, oil, male domination, settlements….

 …

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Absolutes

by mgopin on November 14, 2014 · 0 comments

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together

Absolutes meet absolutes,
On the battlefield of mind.
The winner takes the heart,
And the heart drives the hands,
And the hands do what they will.
There is a time on this earth,
For questions,
And there is a time for answers.
The mind is the gateway
To the question,
And the question is the gateway
To knowledge of things,
Earthly and divine.
But the young mind also craves absolutes.…

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CRDC’s Work in Afghanistan Featured

by mgopin on October 30, 2014 · 4 comments

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Afghan FP

CRDC’s work in Afghanistan is highlighted in this article from Foreign Policy.

In line with this approach, over the last few years, the World Organization for Resource Development and Education — a nonprofit, educational organization with which we are both affiliated — co-hosted a series of conferences with the U.S.-based George Mason and Boston Universities on peacebuilding from an Islamic perspective. The conference brought together 200 religious leaders from across Afghanistan to meet with internationally-renowned Muslim scholars. By utilizing a faith-based approach, it was possible to generate discussions on hot-button issues ranging from jihad to women’s rights.

Please check out the whole article from here.

Foreign Policy, Six Things About Afghanistan That May Surprise You.

 

(Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

 …

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Situation in Kobani

by mgopin on October 16, 2014 · 0 comments

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There are a great many Muslims who are about to be slaughtered. They are not Gazan, they are not dying at the hands of Christians or Jews. They happen to be Kurds and they are about to die at the hands of Muslims funded from the Gulf. I just need to share my outrage at how little traffic I see on this. And it dovetails the absence of traffic about Syrians dying in general. It seems that it only turns into global outrage when Western Christians or Jews are doing the killing. And that is unacceptable. The Abrahamic religions are not ready for power, nor will they ever be. The only way that any minority, anyone weaker, ever gets defended in history is by benevolent autocrats with a reason, or by pluralist democracies. Religion is great for the heart, let’s keep it away from guns and power forever,

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Jonah to the Prophets

by mgopin on October 10, 2014 · 4 comments

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Jonah-Waiting-for-the-Destruction

Run away
In order to run toward,
Rebel
In order to serve,
Complain selfishly
In order to sacrifice generously,
Wish to die
In order to live,
Sacrifice yourself
To prevent sacrifices,
Be a fool
in order to teach wisdom,
Stop wrapping yourself in God
So that people may listen,
The lesson of your foolishness
Stops habits in their tracks,
Much more than
fundamentalist prattle.

 

(Photo: Reading the Bible)…

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My latest article was published on Berkely Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs at Georgetown University.
Please have a look at it from here, and your comments are always more than welcome.

Minorities,, Majorities, and Religioius Freedom: Patterns and Possibilities for Israel, Palestine, and Beyond

The history of freedom of religion in its most successful moments of impact has been the history of the empowerment of minority religions, the religions that are especially reviled by some segments of a majority. It is vital that the rights of minority religions be protected in both Israel and Palestine as a critical test of a functioning democracy. It is marker of a state in which the rule of law can be trusted to work for everyone. This means that Christians, Jews, and others must be guaranteed their rights in the new state of Palestine, and that Muslims, Christians, and non-Orthodox Jews be

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Fossil Fuel Funds / Baking

by mgopin on October 7, 2014 · 3 comments

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FOSSIL FUEL FUNDS

As long as Sunni fossil fuel jihadi funds continue to flow there will be only two choices for the minorities of the Middle East: Autocracies or shared democracies.

BAKING

Being half baked is such a waste,
You used all those resources, only to make something inedible.
If you bake, bake all the way.
If you live, live all the way.
If you love, love all the way.

 …

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On the day of Rosh Hashanah

by mgopin on October 1, 2014 · 2 comments

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9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”
10 But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”

I thought of this text today. Could not get out of my head for my whole life the pathos of not knowing the left from the right, the basis of mercy being our utter ignorance and aimlessness as human beings, and THAT is why God did not destroy Nineveh (Mosul) despite Jonah

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