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Showing posts from May, 2012

1500-year-old handwritten Gospel found in Turkey

A handwritten Bible, believed to be 1,500 years old and is recently kept in the Ethnography Museum of Turkish capital Ankara, includes a drawing of the Last Supper, The 52-page Bible is written in Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, and consists the depiction of the Last Supper, which shows Jesus dining with his 12 Apostles, and also a depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus, a symbol of the sun and a cross, according to Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman. The report added that there is also a depiction of a cave and a large rock which are thought to be the grave of Jesus. Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay confirmed on Thursday that the 1,500-year-old Bible was discovered by policeman during an anti-smuggling operation in 2000 and is currently being kept in Ankara, according to Today’s Zaman1500-year-old handwritten Bible found in TurkeyContinue reading »
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The Soul of Islamic Symbols

Most, if not all religions, function in the world of symbolism and communicate their universal messages to their followers through these religious symbols. Rituals, sacraments, prayers, worship services, religious ceremonies and more are nothing but to invite believers to engage with very deep ethical, moral and spiritual teachings through set of symbols and symbolic acts and behaviors. These religious symbols are never meant to be goals as themselves but vehicles and agents to much higher ultimate goals. If one does not get lost in the actual practice of these religious symbolic acts but constantly strives to get connected and feed him or herself with the deep teachings beneath these acts, he or she could develop a healthy spirituality, strong ethical and moral values, righteousness and more. However, it is one of the most common human weaknesses to easily get disconnected from what those religious symbols have been trying to teach us and keep practicing them as a form of habit or r…

Counter Islamists and Islam: The new religious opposition

“They can do good and they can do bad – but they’re just Muslims. They are not Islam.” And with that, the man summed up his talk about the different Islamist movements in Egypt. His talk had been intense – perhaps better described as virulent. Such sentiments distinguishing Islamism from Islam is hardly unique – liberal and non-religious forces within predominantly religious conservative societies in the Muslim world have been making that argument for a while now.
But this man was hardly a secularist. He was a graduate of the Al-Azhar University in Egypt, the pre-eminent Islamic educational institution of the world – and he was delivering his talk as the Friday sermon in one of the most prestigious mosques of Cairo. In short, he was a counter-Islamist religious authority. It was fascinating to listen to the talk for many reasons. For one, the preacher was very clear in his essentially political diatribe – something that could not have been thought of a little over a year ago in Cairo.…

Church and State

Christianity emerged when the Roman Empire was at the height of its power. To survive, Christianity adopted the policy of submission, obedience and peace. It teachings appealed to the oppressed, powerless and weaker sections of society who by accepting it endured exploitation and suffering with patience. In the early period, the converts belonged to the rural areas but gradually the faith spread and the urban population also embraced it. The belief in religion was so strong and deep that belivers preferred to die rather than to abjure it. They were tortured, thrown before wild animals and burnt at stakes.
However, the number of converts continued to increase and strengthen Christianity’s impact on Roman society.

When Roman Emperor, Augustus Constantine converted to Christianity in 312 CE, and made it the state religion, its character changed from submissive to an aggressive religion. Once the church acquired political power, it made attempts to convert the entire Roman Empire by usin…