Christian religion – Hardy Presbyterian http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/ Sun, 22 May 2022 01:47:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/cropped-icon-32x32.png Christian religion – Hardy Presbyterian http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/ 32 32 305 Couples Say Their Vows in Multi-Religious Mass Wedding Ceremony in Chandrapur | Nagpur News http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/21/305-couples-say-their-vows-in-multi-religious-mass-wedding-ceremony-in-chandrapur-nagpur-news/ Sat, 21 May 2022 23:53:00 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/21/305-couples-say-their-vows-in-multi-religious-mass-wedding-ceremony-in-chandrapur-nagpur-news/ Chandrapur: Mangalashtak, panchsheel, holy matrimony and nikah hymns were sung separately in the presence of more than 50,000 guests as 305 couples wed in an unprecedented multi-religious mass wedding ceremony held in the city to mark Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav. A total of 162 couples from Hindus, 98 Buddhists, six Christians, two Muslims and 37 […]]]>
Chandrapur: Mangalashtak, panchsheel, holy matrimony and nikah hymns were sung separately in the presence of more than 50,000 guests as 305 couples wed in an unprecedented multi-religious mass wedding ceremony held in the city to mark Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav.
A total of 162 couples from Hindus, 98 Buddhists, six Christians, two Muslims and 37 from other communities were married at the large hall spread over three acres at Tirupati Balaji Nagari on Friday evening. The ceremony was organized under the joint auspices of the Shri Venkateshwara Swami Temple Trust and its allied charities under the leadership of former MP Naresh Puglia.
The rally was treated to a chappan bhog (56 kitchens) while political bigwigs like former BJP Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, Congress MP Balu Dhanorkar, MPP Prathibha Dhanorkar and high-ranking netas from political parties welcomed the couples.
The Amrut Mahotsav celebrations kicked off on May 18, with a musical program presented by singer Anand Shinde. Maestro Qawwali Ustad Munnawar Masoom and Rubi Taj entertained the crowd the next day.
The mass wedding celebrations started with a baarat of 305 couples taken from the Shri Balaji Temple to the venue. Later, marriages were performed according to the rituals of the respective religion. The celebrations continued late into the night.
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Religious news May 20, 2022 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/19/religious-news-may-20-2022/ Thu, 19 May 2022 23:14:02 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/19/religious-news-may-20-2022/ £24.5million for the security of mosques and Islamic schools The Home Office has announced that mosques and Muslim faith schools have access to a £24.5million fund for security measures to protect their places of worship and schools. In 2020/2021, 45% of religious hate crimes recorded by police in England and Wales targeted Muslims. Security measures […]]]>

£24.5million for the security of mosques and Islamic schools

The Home Office has announced that mosques and Muslim faith schools have access to a £24.5million fund for security measures to protect their places of worship and schools. In 2020/2021, 45% of religious hate crimes recorded by police in England and Wales targeted Muslims. Security measures could include the installation of CCTV cameras, perimeter fencing and security guards. In addition, £3.5m is available for other faith communities and the scheme comes with the separate Jewish Community Protection Security Grant.

Western world ‘turning its back’ on persecution of Christians in Nigeria

The violent death of Nigerian student Deborah Samuel, who was stoned and set on fire for allegedly making a blasphemous statement on a WhatsApp group against the Prophet Muhammad, has sparked concern and outrage. the Archbishop of Canterbury strongly condemned the attack and called on the Nigerian government to ensure freedom and equality before the law for all, regardless of religion. The Spectator publishes an article suggesting that “much of the Western world turns a blind eye” to the brutal persecution of Christians in Nigeria. Hardeep Singh presents statistics showing that more Christians have been killed for their faith in Nigeria than anywhere else in the world. He says the United States has turned its back on Nigeria and the British government’s response has been uneven. Viewer’s post here

Prayer for the Lambeth Conference of World Anglicans

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called for a day of prayer for the Lambeth Conference, when bishops from all parts of the Anglican Communion will meet to discuss issues of common concern. The conference begins July 27 in Canterbury and the day of prayer is Sunday June 12. It has a history of airing strong disagreements on issues such as human sexuality, which led to division and a breakaway GAFCON conference, set up in 2008. Marriage, sexuality and relationships will be discussed this year, but the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, says there is unlikely to be a single common understanding. Other issues such as climate change are on the agenda, along with the move towards a “postcolonial model of the world church”.

Tributes to a champion of women’s rights in Islam

The Guardian publishes an obituary for Haleh Afshar, Lady Afshar, writer, scholar and activist for women’s rights and Islamic feminism, who died last week aged 77. The tribute explains that she was born in Iran and became a professor of politics and women’s studies. at the University of York, basing on the Koran the ideas of women’s rights to own property, to contribute to public debate and to be paid for housework. She was a commissioner on the National Commission for Government Women, chair of an independent committee advising the government on the views of women in the British Muslim community, and was made a life peer in 2007. She leaves her husband, children and his grandchildren.

Are meditation apps authentically Buddhist?

Cyber ​​Zen book author wonders if meditation apps that leave you feeling relaxed and blissful are really Buddhist. Gregory Grieve, professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, writes in The Conversation that “authenticity is not determined by its strict adherence to older forms. On the contrary, an authentic practice promotes happiness based on deeper meanings, whereas an inauthentic practice can only provide fleeting pleasure or temporary relief”. Article here

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Cervantes: A World Religion Will Open in Abu Dhabi Courtesy of Pope, Muslim Leader http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/17/cervantes-a-world-religion-will-open-in-abu-dhabi-courtesy-of-pope-muslim-leader/ Tue, 17 May 2022 10:26:51 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/17/cervantes-a-world-religion-will-open-in-abu-dhabi-courtesy-of-pope-muslim-leader/ IF YOU think the prophecies of not only one world government but also one world religion are fiction, think again. Better yet, do some research, especially when it comes to the latter. Anytime this year, a one world religion headquarters, to be called the Abrahamic Family House, is set to open on an island in […]]]>

IF YOU think the prophecies of not only one world government but also one world religion are fiction, think again. Better yet, do some research, especially when it comes to the latter.

Anytime this year, a one world religion headquarters, to be called the Abrahamic Family House, is set to open on an island in the city of Abu Dhabi, Middle East, United Arab Emirates (WATER).

Surprise, if you don’t already know, the siege is done in conjunction with Pope Francis and Sunni Muslim leader Sheikh Ahmen al-Tayeb in accordance with a global peace pact called the Human Brotherhood Document for World Peace. which they had signed.

Three buildings are being hastily completed at headquarters; a building each representing the mosque, the church and the synagogue. But none of the structures will have a cross anywhere, as it is illegal to display a Christian cross on a building in the UAE.

The headquarters is supposed to “bring understanding and tolerance between religions”. Except that in the United Arab Emirates, Christians are not allowed to preach to convert Muslims in a country that sticks to Sharia law, in which Muslims are strictly prohibited from changing their religion.

On the other hand, the Church of Pope Francis allows Christians the freedom to choose their religion.

Is the Pope unwittingly bringing the Church to the crossroads of apocalyptic prophecy?

This reminds us of another recent prophetic revelation about the fate of the Church, a revelation related to the 1917 apparitions of the Blessed Mother in Fatima, Portugal.

In 2011, writer Jose Maria Zabala interviewed the late official Vatican exorcist, Fr. Gabriele Amorth who requested that the interview be kept secret until his death. The exorcist died in 2016.

Thus was born Zabala’s book titled Fatima’s Best Kept Secret (I think it was written in Portugal, although I can’t tell the difference between Spanish and Portuguese). The book was later translated into English by Steve Skoject, founder and publisher of OnePeterFive.

In the interview, Fr. Amorth copiously quoted Saint Padre Pio whom he personally knew for 26 years, especially on the rise of a false church.

Here is part of the interview about the false church:

Zavala then asked about the Third Secret: “Pardon me for insisting on the Third Secret of Fatima: Did Padre Pio then link it to the loss of faith within the Church?”

Prof. Gabriele frowns and lifts his chin. He seems very affected.

“Indeed”, he declares, “one day Padre Pio said to me with great sadness: Do you know, Gabriele? It is Satan who has been introduced into the bosom of the Church and who, in very few time, will come to rule a false Church.”

” Oh my God ! A kind of Antichrist! When did he prophesy this to you? I [Zavala] asked

It must have been around 1960, since I was already a priest at the time.

“Is that why John XXIII had such a panic about the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima, so people wouldn’t think he was the anti-pope or whatever?”

A faint but complicit smile curls Father Amorth’s lips.

“Has Padre Pio told you anything else about future disasters: earthquakes, floods, wars, epidemics, hunger…? Did he refer to the same plagues prophesied in the Holy Scriptures? [asks Mr. Zavala]

“Nothing like that mattered to him, terrifying as they were, except the great apostasy within the Church. It was the problem that really tormented him and for which he prayed and offered much of his suffering, crucified for love.” [says Fr. Amorth]

“Fatima’s Third Secret?”

“Exactly.”

“Is there a way to avoid something so terrible, Father Gabriele?”

“There is hope, but it is useless if it is not accompanied by works. Let us begin by consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, let us recite the Holy Rosary, let us all do prayer and penance…”

In the same vein, Saint Michael the Archangel had another message delivered by the stigmatist mystic Luz de Maria de Bonilla on May 12, 2022. The message is as follows.

“Beloved Children of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima: On this feast day, I call on you as the people of God to accept our Queen’s call to pray the Holy Rosary, persevering in this act of Faith, of love, gratitude and at the same time reparation for the offenses committed by this generation against Our King and Lord Jesus Christ and against Our Queen and Mother.

“Humanity continues to stumble because of its authoritarian ‘inner Babel’, leaving behind order, peace, respect, love of neighbor, charity and forgiveness.

Confusion has taken hold of humanity, which has elevated its “inner Babel”, inflating human egos so that their goals are not those of peace but of domination and power.

Our Queen extends her hand to the simple and humble of heart, to those who love in spirit and in truth, to those who, without pettiness, seek the common good without neglecting human beings weighed down with sins and who, in repentance, ask forgiveness to save their souls.

Our Queen and Mother wants all her children to be saved, so she goes among this humanity, stirring hearts to soften.

You need the nourishment of the Eucharist. It is urgent that you receive divine food with full reverence and properly prepared.

This time and its events test you; therefore, henceforth, offer yourselves, bless, pray, sacrifice yourselves in reparation for sins and as an offering for your personal conversion and that of your brothers and sisters.

Children of Our Lady: The Holy Rosary in your hands, prepare to be firm in faith. This moment is decisive.

The conflicts progress and the armies blinded by the ambition of conquest will advance in spite of everything; they will desecrate the churches, which will have to be closed in order not to be desecrated any more, and humanity will be overwhelmed with pain and desolation. Therefore, feed on the Body and Blood of Our King and Lord Jesus Christ.

Keep in mind that the Angel of Peace will arrive accompanied by Our Queen. The sky will shine at the announcement of such a great marvel of Divine Love, for men are unworthy of such a great Act of Love from the Eternal Father.

The Angel of Peace is hope for those who persevere, protection for the humble and oppressed and refuge for the needy.

Be true children of Our Queen and Mother; allow him to guide and intercede for each of you so that, under his protection, you resist with firm faith the passage of the test and that you do not fall into the perversity of the Antichrist.

As Prince of the Celestial Legions, I alert you to mature in the Faith given the trials that humanity will face.

Earthquakes will continue with increased force; pray for those who will suffer.

Love Our Queen and Mother; cherish her like a precious pearl, venerate her – she is the Mother of Our King and Lord Jesus Christ.

The Most Holy Trinity has entrusted the protection of each of you to Our Queen and Mother at this critical time in human history.

Beloved, be firm in the Faith, maintain unity and brotherly love. This is how Christians should be recognized – in brotherly love.

With My Celestial Legions and My Sword aloft, I protect and bless you.”

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Instead of making assumptions about someone’s life or religion, just ask http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/15/instead-of-making-assumptions-about-someones-life-or-religion-just-ask/ Sun, 15 May 2022 16:18:37 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/15/instead-of-making-assumptions-about-someones-life-or-religion-just-ask/ Passover, Ramadan and Lent have all come to an end in the last few weeks and I found myself thinking about the weirdest thing: a cow. When I was about 5 years old, a life-size statue of a cow appeared in our neighbor’s front yard. The Hereford was a silent sentinel on Academy Street in […]]]>

Passover, Ramadan and Lent have all come to an end in the last few weeks and I found myself thinking about the weirdest thing: a cow.

When I was about 5 years old, a life-size statue of a cow appeared in our neighbor’s front yard. The Hereford was a silent sentinel on Academy Street in Galesburg and left many perplexed.

Where is he from? Why was it there? And what was its meaning?

It was the subject of neighborhood discussions. The adults felt the need to weigh in on the inadequacy of the bovine structure.

When I was walking to school, I would just pass the creature and stop with friends to look at it. Our little hands would caress its plastic side.

One day after school, I asked my mother, “Why is there a cow in front of Davey’s house?”

My mother remained silent and contemplative for a moment. She said: “Davey’s family is of a different religion than ours. They are Jews. The cow must be part of their religion. But don’t tell Davey about it.

Of course I did.

“Davey, do you have a cow in your yard because you’re Jewish?” »

He gave me a puzzled look and said, “No, my dad is from the Jaycees and his friends at the club thought it would be fun planting a cow in our yard.”

My 5 year old curiosity was quenched and I went on with my day with an answer to my question. I would no longer be confused by the mistaken idea that cattle statuary had anything to do with modern Judaism.

How did my mom get the crazy idea that the cow was some kind of theological statement? Is beyond me. But his mistake is all too common in our society. Too often we make assumptions about those who somehow identify differently from us.

It is a tedious but all too common exercise.

For example, when I was a student, my roommate was African American. We both had pictures of our nieces on our desks. Inevitably, when a white person walked into our room, they would see the picture on their desk and say, “Oh my god, he has a kid.

Strangely, no one ever asked my roommate the identity of the person in the photo or assumed the picture on my desk was someone other than my niece.

They made a judgment about him based on a difference – in this case, race – rather than facts. The false narrative hasn’t served anyone particularly well — especially if we’re interested in mending divides — rather than widening them.

I dont drink. It is not a religious choice.

Wouldn’t it have been better if someone just asked my roommate, “Hey, Danny, who’s in that picture?”

I am 57 years old. I have never tasted alcohol. And for decades, I’ve accepted people making assumptions about why. The most common thought expressed: “Scott doesn’t drink because it’s against his religion.”

No. I am a Christian who recognizes that Jesus drank wine to celebrate, hydrate and commemorate. I don’t drink because I had an alcoholic grandparent and never saw this very appealing custom. But to each his own.

Last year, my wife and I took a vacation to a country where the state religion is Islam. A well-meaning friend, who watches Fox News a lot, pulled me aside and begged us not to go. She said Muslims hate Americans and our lives would be in danger.

Despite her desperate pleas, we made the trip and found ourselves treated with kindness and hospitality. When we saw customs different from ours, we did not make assumptions. I was making small talk and just asking.

I learned a lot not only by asking questions but by observing. For example, I saw a couple who appeared to be Iranian and on their honeymoon. The woman wore a black chador, a coat that extends from head to toe.

For someone of my generation, the suit inevitably evokes memories of thousands of angry protesters outside the US Embassy in Tehran shouting “Death to America.” But I saw neither anger nor hatred.

In fact, it was fun to watch her flirt with her fiancé like newlyweds around the world. And when a wind blew in from the ocean, she stretched out and let the cool breeze fill her chador like a child would.

It would be easy to focus on the differences between our two cultures. But this small act served as a reminder of our common humanity.

To quote that great American television philosopher Ted Lasso, “Be curious, don’t be judgmental.”

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Ballot initiatives in Tennessee and West Virginia put archaic laws restricting religion on the chopping block, Arkansans to vote on religious freedom amendment http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/13/ballot-initiatives-in-tennessee-and-west-virginia-put-archaic-laws-restricting-religion-on-the-chopping-block-arkansans-to-vote-on-religious-freedom-amendment/ Fri, 13 May 2022 21:30:38 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/13/ballot-initiatives-in-tennessee-and-west-virginia-put-archaic-laws-restricting-religion-on-the-chopping-block-arkansans-to-vote-on-religious-freedom-amendment/ Is it too early to anticipate November? A fascinating piece in Christianity today dives into a planned ballot initiative for Tennessee voters. The measure repeals a provision of the state constitution that bars clergy from serving in the legislature. You may be wondering: can a state do this? Prohibit members of the clergy from being […]]]>

Is it too early to anticipate November?

A fascinating piece in Christianity today dives into a planned ballot initiative for Tennessee voters. The measure repeals a provision of the state constitution that bars clergy from serving in the legislature. You may be wondering: can a state do this? Prohibit members of the clergy from being senators and state representatives? No of course not! It is downright unconstitutional. But – like many states – Tennessee’s original constitution included the ban, and it remained on the books despite being unenforceable.

Sensibly, State Senator Mark Pody introduced a ballot referendum to remove it. His justification is not so sensible:

Pody believes that “our ancestors founded this nation on biblical Christian values.” It’s one of the five core questions he lists on his website. “I adhere to such principles,” he wrote.

But when asked why Tennessee’s ancestors banned Christian ministers from becoming lawmakers when they founded the state in 1796, Pody had no answer.

“That’s a great question,” he told the Chattanooga Free Time Press. “I don’t know the story or why they put it in originally.”

America was do not founded as a “Christian nation” or on biblical values. The reason for opposing the banning of the clergy has nothing to do with granting a privilege to one religion, but to guarantee the right to everything Tennessians qualified to run for elected office without regard to their religious status or religious faith. In short, the ban was flawed on the basis of religious freedom, not religious patronage. This is why, as the article explains, the United States Supreme Court in 1978 ruled it unconstitutional.

Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote that Tennessee made the ability to exercise a civil right — the right to run for office — conditional on giving up a religious right, the right to be a minister. Seven judges signed the opinion and one abstained, giving McDaniel an 8-0 unanimous decision victory.

Voters will have the opportunity to excise the illegal measure in November.

Meanwhile, in West Virginia, voters will have the opportunity to erase from their state constitution an archaic provision unique to West Virginia that prohibits the incorporation of churches and religious denominations. The ACLU of West Virginia supports the amendment:

This provision…discriminates against religious institutions by denying them the same opportunities as similar but secular institutions. The ban violates the US Constitution.


The state should never give preference to any particular religion, and it should never give preference to religion over non-religion. Likewise, it should not favor non-religious entities over similar religious entities. And that is exactly what Article 6, Section 47 of our state constitution does.

Finally, in Arkansas, voters will vote on whether to amend the state constitution by adding language inspired by the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The law would prevent the government from imposing a substantial burden on the free exercise of religion unless the burden is necessary to promote a compelling state interest.

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He bore the iniquity of us all http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/11/he-bore-the-iniquity-of-us-all/ Wed, 11 May 2022 20:54:51 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/11/he-bore-the-iniquity-of-us-all/ “We have all gone astray like sheep, each going his own way, and the Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6 “All those whom we love as sheep have gone astray; we have each turned to his own way…” says the Bible. We are all, by nature, like lost and […]]]>

“We have all gone astray like sheep, each going his own way, and the Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6

“All those whom we love as sheep have gone astray; we have each turned to his own way…” says the Bible. We are all, by nature, like lost and wandering sheep who have turned away from our true Shepherd and Creator. We each turned away to go our own way.

What an accurate description of humanity! Instead of following the LORD God and living according to His perfect will and purpose for us, we follow our own will and desire, go our own way and direction, and rebel against God and His Word. Instead of loving God and living for him, we love ourselves and do what we want. Instead of listening to God’s commands and obeying them, we close our ears, justify our sins, and seek to establish our own compromising values ​​in place of His absolute truth.

The lost, wandering and scattered sheep, each going in a different direction, are a picture of our world, with people wandering hither and thither and seeking life, happiness and fulfillment in all but the LORD God who created them .

But the Bible also tells us: “…And the Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all.” God took all of our sins and guilt and punished them in the innocent suffering and death of His own beloved Son, Jesus Christ! Our sins and iniquities were placed on Jesus and He was punished in our place.

This is why darkness covered the earth as Jesus hung there on the cross. And that is why Jesus cried out, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

Although Jesus died an agonizing and horrible death on the cross because we turned away from God and sinned against him, the beauty of it all is that all of our sins and guilt were punished in Jesus Christ . “It is finished,” cried Jesus (John 19:30). The debt of our sins is fully paid! And Jesus rose in triumph on the third day!

Therefore, through repentance and faith in Jesus, our Messiah and Savior, we can have forgiveness and eternal life! Instead of being judged and condemned for our own sins, God judged and condemned His own holy and innocent Son and He offers and gives us, through faith in Christ, forgiveness and peace with Him. What could be more beautiful for the lost and condemned sinner!

Because Jesus suffered our just punishment, fully paid for our sins and the sins of the whole world, and then rose again in victory, the gates of heaven have been opened to us. Through faith in Jesus, we can be sure that on the day of our death we will go with him to paradise (cf. Lk 23:43)!

Dearest Jesus, we have, like lost sheep, turned around and gone our own way. We have sinned against you. Thank you for bearing on the cross the just punishment for our sins and iniquities. Grant us forgiveness and life with you in your eternal kingdom by faith in your name. Amen.

— Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible. Devotion is by Randy Moll. He can be contacted by email at [email protected] Moll’s other devotional writings can be read freely at https://goodshepherdonline.org. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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Ethics and religion discussion: why can’t I sell my body parts? http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/09/ethics-and-religion-discussion-why-cant-i-sell-my-body-parts/ Mon, 09 May 2022 17:43:17 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/09/ethics-and-religion-discussion-why-cant-i-sell-my-body-parts/ Reverend Ray Lanning, retired pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, responds: “You seem to be unaware that contrary to laws, there is a horrible business of harvesting and selling human body parts that is flourishing all over the world, and no doubt to some extent in our own country. It is said […]]]>

Reverend Ray Lanning, retired pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, responds:

“You seem to be unaware that contrary to laws, there is a horrible business of harvesting and selling human body parts that is flourishing all over the world, and no doubt to some extent in our own country. It is said that some reapers take what they want, even reluctant parts. The greatest joy of a Christian is to know that “I, body and soul, in life and in death, am not mine, but belong to my faithful Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Catechism of Heidelberg, Q.1). We have given our bodies to the Lord, as well as the faith and love of our hearts or our souls. We live by this rule: “You have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which belong to God.” (I Corinthians 6:20). There is no way we can accept your premise, “It’s my body”. That would be turning your back on Christ and renouncing the Christian faith. On the contrary, the sixth commandment (“Thou shalt not kill”, Exodus 20:13) obliges us to respect the Lord as owner of our bodies, and therefore, “let me not harm myself, nor expose myself willfully without danger” (Heidelberg Catechism, Q. 105), much less offer my body parts for sale to the highest bidder. If by donating an organ, or giving blood, I can do good for others, I will do so as an act of sacrificial love, and thus glorify God, without asking anything in return. Making merchandise from body parts is nothing less than the crime of receiving stolen property.

Fred Stella, the Pracharak (minister of outreach) of the West Michigan Hindu Temple, responds:

“What’s interesting is that even though we can’t sell our body parts, we are allowed to give them away for free. Kidneys and bone marrow are regularly used for transplantation. There is a general consensus that a moral component exists in this conversation.

“The argument I’ve always heard against organ fees is that it would most likely exploit the poor. Of course, this begs the question, if we care so much about exploiting the poor, why do we allow an economic system to exist that would put people in such dire straits in the first place? The same reasoning is used when talking about prostitution.

“The only country I know of that allows the sale of organs is Iran. Obviously, we are not talking about a paragon of virtue here, at least by Western standards. There are people in the medical community who observe this system. Maybe one day in America we could change course on this.

Father Kevin Niehoff, OP, a Dominican priest who serves as Judicial Vicar, Diocese of Grand Rapids, responds:

“This question raises many ethical and moral questions. Philosophically, these questions have plagued the intellectual world for hundreds of years, especially since the Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries. The Enlightenment period places human reason before Christian thought, specifically Catholic.

“The human being is the image and likeness of God. Human beings are subjects, not objects, and deserve the highest level of dignity. Human beings, including all parts of the human body, are not commodities. The crux of the moral and ethical question of the sale of hair, blood plasma, sperm and eggs lies in the purpose. We must avoid processes that denigrate the dignity of the humanities. Reducing the human body and its parts to commodities destroys human dignity.

Reverend Steven W. Manskar, a retired United Methodist pastor, responds:

“The ban on the sale of human body parts aims to protect vulnerable people from criminal organizations that could exploit them by selling their organs for profit.”

Linda Knieriemen, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Holland, responds:

“Hair, plasma, sperm and eggs are replenished when removed or, in the case of human eggs, found in abundance. We will not miss them. But one kidney, even if a human is born with two, cannot be reproduced if removed. With organ shortages in the United States and most of the world, there is an understandable movement to make these sales legal, or at least tolerated.

“The human body is a creation of God. It is beyond value, it is more than a commodity. An individual’s decision to sell a body part is not isolated but is part of a larger market system and therefore subject to abuse.

“Allowing the sale of body parts skews the wealthy, or those able to pay for, say, a kidney, heart or lung. Potential donors can also be exploited by selling their organs to the person willing to pay the most rather than to those with the greatest medical need. The theological principle at stake is not that of morality, but that of justice, fairness and equality. Until these values can be protected, the government is right to ban the sale of irreplaceable body parts.

This column answers questions of ethics and religion by putting them to a multi-faith panel of spiritual leaders from the Grand Rapids area. We would love to hear about common ethical questions that arise in your day as well as religious questions you have. Tell us how you solved an ethical dilemma and see how members of the Ethics and Religion Talk panel would have handled the same situation. Please send your questions to [email protected].

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If each of our readers and content creators who value this community platform helps support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around the issues for years to come.

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‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ misses the mark, say religious scholars, but here’s how Latter-day Saints can learn from it http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/08/under-the-banner-of-heaven-misses-the-mark-say-religious-scholars-but-heres-how-latter-day-saints-can-learn-from-it/ Sun, 08 May 2022 12:01:48 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/08/under-the-banner-of-heaven-misses-the-mark-say-religious-scholars-but-heres-how-latter-day-saints-can-learn-from-it/ The FX/Hulu series “Under the Banner of Heaven” has generated a social media storm among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as former church members and watchers. It tells the story of the gruesome 1984 murders of Brenda Lafferty and her 15-month-old daughter, Erica, at the hands of her […]]]>

The FX/Hulu series “Under the Banner of Heaven” has generated a social media storm among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as former church members and watchers.

It tells the story of the gruesome 1984 murders of Brenda Lafferty and her 15-month-old daughter, Erica, at the hands of her husband’s two brothers. The story is built on the best-selling book of the same name by journalist Jon Krakauer, whose thesis is that religion is based on faith rather than reason and therefore all religion (especially Mormonism) inevitably leads to violence.

Three scholars of religion – Patrick Mason, chair of Mormon history and culture at Utah State University; writer and researcher Jana Riess of Religion News Service; and Janan Graham-Russell, who recently completed a Mormon scholarship at the University of Utah, met this week to discuss the series and the book’s findings.

Here are excerpts from the Salt Lake Tribune’s “Mormon Land” podcast.

What did you think of the book the series is based on?

Mason • Krakauer is a writer of phenomenal quality. I think his research was pretty good, especially when he focuses on Lafferty’s story itself. And I actually think his research on Mormon history and the way his ability to translate that for a general audience is obviously quite effective, as the book sales indicate. In fact, I liked the book better than many of my colleagues and peers in the field and in the church. But his general argument goes far beyond what the evidence can actually support.

Riess • I’m more negative about the book than Patrick. Yes, it’s well written, and it’s a very enjoyable read. But, to me, the fact that Krakauer draws what appears to be a straight line between Mormon violence in the 1830s, 40s and 50s, and this incident of Mormon violence in 1984, without ever really delving into the sea change that has church has suffered over these decades, it ruins the whole book. It’s not history. The story chronicles change over time, trying to interpret it as best we can. And, to me, Krakauer seems to be presenting his book as a story when it isn’t.

Graham Russell • I think Krakauer really misses the mark with the way the story is told. Every time I think about this book, I hear my advisor’s voice in my head say, “You know, that’s not how history is made. There is this past and this present and a number of points along the way. … The same goes for the series. You have these quick snippets of Joseph Smith and Emma Smith, and it’s kind of these quick cuts, and it can be a little confusing at times, but it really tries to support this point that 19th century Mormonism really has an impact on what happened with the Lafferty brothers.

(Courtesy photos) From left to right, Patrick Mason, Jana Riess and Janan Graham-Russell.

In the Book of Mormon there is the story of Nephi killing Laban with the voice of God in his head. And, of course, in the Bible there is a story of Abraham trying to sacrifice his son Isaac. Do you think these stories inspire believers to stand up for what they see as righteous violence?

Mason • Violence is projected through Latter-day Saint scriptures, both ancient and modern. For me, one of the things the show can do is maybe open up a conversation about it so we can talk more honestly and frankly and come to grips with it. It could be a really healthy thing. Essentially, the violence in our scriptures and in our past is one of those “we’re not talking about Bruno” issues. We just put it aside and it’s not comfortable. We don’t really have the tools to talk about it. … There is a connection to the Laffertys because Dan Lafferty actually said he saw himself in the role of Nephi when he did this… My students, many of whom are Latter-day Saints, said: “We never even thought about it in that way. It was just a story we read…. on faith, on obedience to God, on something like that. We never even thought about the fact that [Nephi] was like beheading someone and blood and violence, the ethical dimensions of it.

Riess • I think it would be helpful if we said to the Primary children, “My God, this is a complex story and we really don’t want you to go out and behead your friend just because you think God told you. to do. But we don’t have the conversation. And so I agree that if anything good is going to come out of this, it would be that we start addressing the issues of violence that are, you know, frankly, in all religious traditions.

Graham Russell • The LDS Church has really struggled with this for some time. And so, you know, when somebody dresses up as Captain Moroni in the [Capitol] the insurrection, which does not come out of nowhere, that these stories marinate in this broader Mormon culture, reflecting on faith and obedience and what it means as a Latter-day Saint and also promoting violence .…We need to think about the violence of treatment of the native American Indians, the “Lamanites”…and about the priesthood and temple restrictions on blacks and the kind of violence that was kind of cultivated in the church. Having these conversations would be so good for the church.

The idea of ​​personal revelation is the foundation of Mormon theology. It’s a nice idea for many, but also full of potential dangers. What could the church do to take care of this?

Mason • What religious communities do is they build all kinds of structures and hedges to guard against this extremism, to guard against the most radical impulses that actually help fuel religious devotion. I think there’s a lot to that. In Mormonism, in particular, personal revelation is an extremely important source of authority, but it is not an exclusive source of authority. It has to be in conversation with the scriptures, it has to be in conversation with the teachings of the prophets, it has to be in conversation with the community. So when Mormonism is functioning properly, all of these things should provide control over the worst impulses or the most extreme impulses, and vice versa, personal revelation should provide control over prophetic authority. All of these things should work in balance.

Graham Russell • What do you do when people have different ideas about the meaning of a particular scripture? When you think about the meaning of dark skin, you know, today the LDS Church says it’s a sign of some kind of face. But a few decades ago, that meant something very different. … I think that’s a really important conversation to have in terms of those checks and balances. But, again, even within that—and it’s not just Mormonism—the power of interpretation has meant its inclusion or exclusion.

Riess • I was just thinking of Christopher Blythe’s book “Terrible Revolution”, which is a very interesting look at revelation in Mormon history and some of that extremism. One of the points he makes is that in the 19th century it was much more common for people to stand up in sacrament meeting and share their personal revelation they had had on great spiritual matters. Not only have you received personal revelation for yourself or for your children, but for the world and the end times and all these other matters. And the church started to really strongly discourage that and urge those discussions to take place in private…. It’s good in a sense that it curbs extremism, but, on the other hand, it makes it private. Instead of having the checks and balances that Patrick was talking about, we’re not subjecting any of this to community investigation. We just leave it there and people can form their own very strange beliefs as if it were the norm.

To listen to the full podcast, go to sltrib.com/podcasts/mormonland. To read a full transcript and receive other exclusive “Mormon Land” content, go to Patreon.com/mormonland.

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Ethnic violence in Cameroon is a matter of history, not religion http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/06/ethnic-violence-in-cameroon-is-a-matter-of-history-not-religion/ Fri, 06 May 2022 11:53:15 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/06/ethnic-violence-in-cameroon-is-a-matter-of-history-not-religion/ In early April, separatist fighters attacked houses belonging to members of the Mbororo, a group of semi-nomadic herders of Fulani or Fulbe lineage, in a village in the North West region of Cameroon. The attack resulted in the burning of a dozen houses and the death of at least as many people. A militia belonging […]]]>

In early April, separatist fighters attacked houses belonging to members of the Mbororo, a group of semi-nomadic herders of Fulani or Fulbe lineage, in a village in the North West region of Cameroon. The attack resulted in the burning of a dozen houses and the death of at least as many people. A militia belonging to the hugely divided Anglophone separatist movement took responsibility, saying they were targeting the home of a Mbororo who had cooperated with the Cameroonian army.

The attack came just a month after the assassination of a traditional leader from the Esu community, also in northwest Cameroon. The attack was suspected to have been carried out by Mbororo youths and led local Esu youths to burn down homes, businesses and farms belonging to the ethnic group. The Cameroonian army has deployed an unknown number of troops to quell unrest in the already militarized region.

The recent violence is just the latest example of longstanding tensions, visible across the North West, between local communities and the Mbororo. The Mbororo, semi-nomadic and Muslim herders, have long been perceived by the villagers, mostly sedentary farmers and Christians, as foreigners not native to their place of residence and where their cattle graze. Tensions between the two communities have existed for over a century but have recently flared up and become far more deadly.

In early April, separatist fighters attacked houses belonging to members of the Mbororo, a group of semi-nomadic herders of Fulani or Fulbe lineage, in a village in the North West region of Cameroon. The attack resulted in the burning of a dozen houses and the death of at least as many people. A militia belonging to the hugely divided Anglophone separatist movement took responsibility, saying they were targeting the home of a Mbororo who had cooperated with the Cameroonian army.

The attack came just a month after the assassination of a traditional leader from the Esu community, also in northwest Cameroon. The attack was suspected to have been carried out by Mbororo youths and led local Esu youths to burn down homes, businesses and farms belonging to the ethnic group. The Cameroonian army has deployed an unknown number of troops to quell unrest in the already militarized region.

The recent violence is just the latest example of longstanding tensions, visible across the North West, between local communities and the Mbororo. The Mbororo, semi-nomadic and Muslim herders, have long been perceived by the villagers, mostly sedentary farmers and Christians, as foreigners not native to their place of residence and where their cattle graze. Tensions between the two communities have existed for over a century but have recently flared up and become far more deadly.

This is due to the ongoing Anglophone crisis in the country, in which armed separatists are trying to create an independent state, known as Ambazonia, comprising the Anglophone Northwest and Southwest regions. In the context of this conflict, longstanding communal tensions between the Mbororo and local communities have created the impression that the Mbororo are aligned with the Cameroonian government, which is engaged in brutal conflict in both regions.

The conflict began with peaceful protests demanding greater language autonomy, but quickly escalated into an armed conflict following harsh repression by security forces. It has caused long-standing communal tensions to escalate in an unprecedented way. Tensions between the pastoral Mbororo community and the agrarian populations of the North West are no exception, with some of the most horrific episodes of the conflict involving clashes between the two.

This is the case of the separatist fighters who are mainly drawn from rural communities in the two regions and the Mbororo herders who have developed strong relations with the Cameroonian government over many decades, largely due to the group’s precarious legal recognition. before the 21st century and its persistence. reliance on government for protection and permits.

This created a sense of dependency and, in some cases, loyalty to the Cameroonian government. For example, the 2020 Ngarbuh massacre which killed 21 civilians, including 13 children and a pregnant woman, saw Mbororo armed groups kill people alongside the Cameroonian military. Conversely, attacks and alleged cattle raids by separatist fighters have displaced thousands of Mbororo and forced them to move their livestock out of Anglophone regions. In some cases, mosques have been set on fire next to Mbororo-owned properties.

Clashes between the two communities amid the Anglophone crisis have led to accusations that the conflict now includes religious dimensions, with Mbororo Muslims engaging in fighting with religiously motivated Christian separatists.

For example, organizations monitoring the persecution of Christians around the world have expressed concern over the growing risk of persecution of Christians in the North West and South West regions, accusing Mbororo of attacks on churches and speculating that Communal tensions have religious overtones. While stopping to label the clashes religiously motivated, the US State Department cited them as a cause for concern in its 2020 report on international religious freedom.

Social media is also awash with rumors by both sides of targeted attacks allegedly based on religion. The emerging narrative is not unusual when compared to neighboring Nigeria, where similar clashes between sedentary and pastoralist communities have been described – dubiously – as religious disputes. Therefore, it is important to examine the nature of the clashes to determine to what extent, if any, these religious differences are a factor.


The origins of the continuing tensions between sedentary communities and Mbororo pastoralists in the North West region of Cameroon date back to the early 20th century, when the first Mbororo settlers arrived in Cameroon from modern Nigeria in search of fertile pastures. Their migration to the North West was supported by the British colonial authorities, who sought to diversify the regional economy and collect taxes on cattle.

Although initially welcomed by local people, Mbororo cattle grazing patterns began to clash with crop rotation systems, resulting in sporadic violence. After the initial arrival of the first Mbororo communities around 1910, their numbers continued to increase over the following decades.

By the mid-1940s, many had established camps in the Northwest region, where they resided permanently with only selected individuals traveling with their livestock. Even though many Mbororo communities were largely sedentary, British colonial headquarters rejected claims of their classification as “indigenous”, confirming their status as “settlers”.

Later, a permitting system was put in place that limited the locations and times during which grazing could take place. As a result, the Mbororo had a dubious legal status that required them to maintain good relations with the colonial authorities to maintain their livelihoods.

This legacy of being classified as settlers and dependent on colonial authorities continues to impact the relationship between Mbororo herders, the state and local communities. This created a sense of dependency that compelled the Mbororo to maintain good relations with government authorities, a trend that continued in post-colonial Cameroon.

The status of the Mbororo changed significantly after the formation of modern Cameroon in 1961. Colonial constraints on grazing were removed, granting them largely unlimited grazing rights, and the Mbororo were granted full Cameroonian citizenship in 1972. Mbororo communities were further seen as benefiting from the Land Ordinances of 1974 which nationalized communal lands. While implementation varied greatly by local area, the new rules undoubtedly led some wealthy Mbororo groups to acquire large amounts of land for grazing that had previously been considered communal and used by subsistence farmers.

Although the vast majority of Mbororo remained poor, tensions with local English-speaking communities grew and prolonged episodes of intercommunal violence occurred. At times, the Mbororo sought protection from government authorities and the military, reinforcing the perception that they were cooperating with the government against local communities.

These tensions have resurfaced in almost every socio-political event in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon since the mid-twentieth century. For example, in Cameroon’s first multi-party presidential election, held in 1992, the opposition Social Democratic Front, which enjoyed massive grassroots support in all English-speaking regions, promised to enact land reforms if he was elected.

The Mbororo saw this as a threat to the size of their pastures and in response voted overwhelmingly for the ruling Cameroonian People’s Democratic Rally. In the unrest and conflict following the elections, many Mbororo and their properties were attacked, largely in retaliation for being seen as close to the government.

As these tensions have become a societal divide in the North West region, it should come as no surprise that they have emerged in the Anglophone crisis. Armed groups that are now called “Amba Boys” began to form in large numbers after the Cameroonian army burned down villages in rural North West and South West areas in late 2017 and early 2018.

One of the hardest hit areas was the department of Menchum, where tensions between Anglophone militants and Mbororo were particularly acute. As a result, some of the earliest groups of secessionist fighters came from groups that had generations-old tensions with the Mbororo. This series of events led separatist fighters to naturally view the Mbororo as allies of the state from which they had hoped to secede and which had committed horrific abuses against their communities.

As the crisis escalated, secessionist fighters began to kidnap, kill and hold for ransom those who opposed their cause or supported the government. This included the Mbororo of the North West region, who were also victims of widespread cattle rustling. In response, the Mbororo quickly aligned themselves through formal and informal arrangements with the Cameroonian government and formed their own paramilitary forces.

This cycle continued as the Anglophone conflict in Cameroon escalated with Mbororo pastoralists fighting separatists from Christian agrarian communities. Categorizing the conflict as an emergence of religiously motivated tensions is misguided and ignores the complex and localized drivers of escalating intercommunal conflict. This is just an escalation of earlier tensions between the two communities against the backdrop of a war that has been wreaking havoc in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon for more than five years.

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“Atheism” or religion? 1. Is there a religion in China? http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/04/atheism-or-religion-1-is-there-a-religion-in-china/ Wed, 04 May 2022 01:40:00 +0000 http://www.hardypresbyterian.com/2022/05/04/atheism-or-religion-1-is-there-a-religion-in-china/ Confucianism is now presented in China as non-religious and as an early form of atheism. To address the issue, we should first ask ourselves what “religion” means in this discussion. by Massimo Introvigné Item 1 of 5. A Confucius temple in Dujiangyan, Sichuan. Credits. Bitter Winter reported on the new 2022 national campaign to promote […]]]>

Confucianism is now presented in China as non-religious and as an early form of atheism. To address the issue, we should first ask ourselves what “religion” means in this discussion.

by Massimo Introvigné

Item 1 of 5.

A Confucius temple in Dujiangyan, Sichuan. Credits.

Bitter Winter reported on the new 2022 national campaign to promote atheism in China, which follows the guidance of President Xi Jinping himself at the December 2021 National Religious Affairs Work Conference. this campaign is a book by Professor Li Shen, titled “The Principles of Scientific Atheism”. An interesting feature of Li’s book is that it presents atheism as a Chinese invention. While he admits that for “scientific” atheism the world had to wait for Marxism, he claims that the Chinese Confucians had already taught an “advanced form of atheism” some 2,300 years before Karl Marx (1818-1883). Li is both vice president of the Chinese Atheism Society and a member of the academic committee of the International Confucian Federation. Obviously, he considers atheism and Confucianism to be compatible, if not exactly one and the same.

These claims have led several readers of Bitter Winter to write and inquire about the relationship between Confucianism, atheism, and religion. This is an important topic because it is central to Xi Jinping’s assertion that “China’s excellent culture” is inherently non-religious. I intended to write about this since, on September 2, 2021, Father Joseph Shih (1926-2021) passed away at the age of 95. Shi, a Jesuit who taught at the Gregorian University in Rome for 35 years, was my first Chinese mentor when I studied there in the 1970s. Among other things, he taught a course on Confucianism, where all the essential questions have been asked and answered, although more recent studies have provided new elements.

Father Joseph Shih.  From Twitter.
Father Joseph Shih. From Twitter.

As Australian scholar Tony Swain wrote in his helpful book “Confucianism in China: An Introduction” (London: Bloomsbury, 2017), answering the question of whether Confucianism is a religion is “a fiendishly tricky business.” (p. 11). Canadian comparative religion scholar Wilfred Cantwell Smith (1916-2000) called it “a question the West has never been able to answer, and China has never been able to ask.” (“The Meaning and End of Religion: A New Approach to Religion Traditions of Mankind,” New York: Macmillan, 1963, p. 86). Smith wrote these words in 1963. Today, Xi Jinping’s campaigners for atheism believe they have grasped both the question and the answer, but even in Xi’s China, others are allowed to disagree. .

The question is so delicate because “religion” and “Confucianism” are difficult to define. In 1997, the European Union sponsored an interdisciplinary study on the notion of religion in its member states. I was one of the researchers involved in the project, the results of which were published in 1999 in a volume edited by Dutch researchers Jan G. Platvoet and Arie L. Molendijk, The pragmatics of defining religion: contexts, concepts and contests (Leiden: Brill). Although the book received positive reviews, our findings were that academics and courts in different countries within the European Union, as well as outside of them, used a variety of different definitions of religion.

On the other hand, our study has not left us, and our European Union sponsors, only with the “I know it when I see it” option, the one Judge Potter Stewart (1915-1985) gave adopted in its approach to pornography. In fact, we arrived at common conclusions or, to be more precise, we recognized that there were general conclusions widely shared within the international community of scholars of religion, despite their differences.

American historian Jonathan Z. Smith (1938-2017; in Imagining Religion: From Babylon to JonestownChicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982) reminded us that before the 18and century, very few people bothered to define religion. According to Saudi anthropologist Talal Asad, this was because before the Enlightenment there was no notion of religion’s “Siamese twin”, secularism (“Reading a Modern Classic: WC Smith’s ‘The Meaning and End of Religion'”, in Religion and mediaedited by Hent de Vries and Samuel Weber, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002, 131–48 [146]). To understand and define a term, humans normally refer to its opposite. To know what “hot” means, we must have a notion of “cold”. Similarly, argue JZ Smith and Asad, Europeans began to wonder what “religion” was when they were confronted with religion’s antagonist, secularism, which barely existed before the 18and century.

Talal Assad.  From Twitter.
Talal Assad. From Twitter.

Those who participated in the 1997 European Union Project, and most other scholars who have debated the issue, agree that a religion should include three elements: 1) an organized community; 2) practices unique to that community; 3) a notion of “ultimate reality” (as the German-American philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich [1886–1965] called), or something similar, with which the community engages through its practices. This “ultimate reality” must not be conceived as purely material or as being capable of being apprehended by purely scientific methods.

The first and second elements are necessary but not sufficient. Chess players form a sufficiently organized community whose practices may seem obscure to those who do not play chess. However, these practices do not relate them to an “ultimate reality”.

The third element is also necessary but not sufficient. History is full of philosophers who have written books about their own concept of “ultimate reality” or even about God but have not offered any practice to get in touch with these supreme realities, nor bothered to create a community.

Of course, it is the third element which is the most difficult to define. But not impossible. Most Western scholars today would use “ultimate reality” or similar concepts, rather than “God” or “gods”. This is a by-product of a long debate on Buddhism, especially in its early Theravada version. Few people seriously doubt that Buddhism is a religion, but it can be argued with good reason that in (most schools of) Theravada Buddhism there is neither God nor gods.

If we consider a purely material-materialistic ultimate reality with which a community passionately engages as sufficient to have a religion, we can easily conclude that Marxist communism is also a religion. This was seriously debated at the 20and century. However, most scholars have concluded that Marxism is not a religion, because an “ultimate reality” that is purely material does not make those who engage in it part of a religion. In a religion, the “ultimate reality” may be immanent rather than transcendent to the visible world, but it should have characteristics that are not merely material or discernible with the tools commonly used by science.

James Rosati (1911–1988), Bust of Paul Tillich, New Harmony, Indiana.
James Rosati (1911–1988), Bust of Paul Tillich, New Harmony, Indiana. Credits.

The West itself had no clear notion of religion until the Enlightenment, but in China a corresponding word for “religion” never existed until the late 19and century, when it was created in conversation with Christian missionaries. The word thus coined, “zongjiao” (宗教), or “the teachings of a sect”, never convinced the majority of Chinese. The problem thus created is not purely theoretical. It is eminently political since it allows the CCP to claim that the peculiarity of Chinese culture was that, unlike its Western or Indian counterparts, it has always been non-religious. This is an intellectual fraud, perpetrated by creating confusion between the absence of a word for “religion” and an alleged absence of religion.

In polls, 94% of Chinese say they don’t follow a “zongjiao,” which means they’re not members of an organized religious institution, but that doesn’t mean they’re all atheists. Asked in other surveys, a substantial portion of the Chinese respond that they believe in astrology, divination, and other practices that a scholar would describe as “religious,” and many of those who say they are not followers of ‘zongjiao’ nonetheless visit temples.

As Canadian scholar David Palmer has noted, China has always been “religious,” but several intellectual movements have proudly asserted that it is not. “What is ‘exceptional’, concludes Palmer, ‘is not Chinese religion, but the intellectual discourses which have succeeded in obscuring the fact that, as in all human societies, Chinese culture has always included the constituent elements universals of religion” (“Is China’s (lack of) religion exceptional?” in Ryan G. Hornbeck, Justin L. Barrett and Madeleine Kang, eds., Religious Cognition in China: “Homo Religiosus” and the Dragon, Cham, Switzerland: Springer, p. 17–34).

In addressing the question of whether Confucianism is a religion, we must first overcome misunderstandings regarding a supposedly non-religious Chinese culture and the “zongjiao” world. Our troubles would only begin, however. We must also ask ourselves if “Confucianism” exists.

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