Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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Religion and Politics: It’s OK to Be Worried

The complete third paragraph of the sixth amendment is “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

The clear and simple meaning is that government cannot impose religious qualifications to be a candidate. An atheist is entitled to be a candidate, but you don’t have to vote for him if a Christian candidate is important to you.

Religion and Politics: It’s OK to Be Worried – WSJ.com


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Britain has become a ‘Catholic country’

The statistics show that attendance at Anglican Sunday services has dropped by 20 per cent since 2000. A survey of 37,000 churches, to be published in the new year, shows the number of people going to Sunday Mass in England last year averaged 861,000, compared with 852,000 Anglicans ­worshipping.

The rise of Catholicism has been bolstered by an influx of immigrants from eastern Europe and Africa, who have packed the pews of Catholic parishes that had previously been dwindling.

Britain has become a ‘Catholic country’ – Telegraph

Wow! That’s a whopping 2.9% of the English population — and that’s the real news.


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Faith of a Skeptic – Faith Matters

I don’t think what we call religion can be put into a box neatly labeled religion and relegated to one part of the academic curriculum or one area of journalism. It seems to me that one of the lessons of 9/11 is that the influence of religion is virtually limitless and ubiquitous, and the sooner we figure that out, the wiser we’ll be.

Faith of a Skeptic – Faith Matters (usnews.com)


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Are You a Perennialist?

Perennialism rejects a modern world that has slipped off the rails. Yet it also embraces all variations of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faith, as well as Asian religions and indigenous schools of thought. Perennialists believe that all religions are part of one great religion; that all wisdom makes up a great river of truth that all modern people should return to for what the Gospels call “living water.”
Faith Without Borders


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I was just thinking… by Bill

There’s a lot of stuff going around the Web, the conservative talk shows and blogs, and the Christian right-wing press about how Christianity and The Church are being badmouthed, demonized and otherwise mistreated by those terrible atheists and other unbelievers of whatever stripe. To hear them tell it, they’re beleaguered on every side, and unless all True Christians stand up and be counted — hopefully at the polls — the Will Of The Lord is in danger of being contravened, all that is Good toppled, and the Reign Of The Serpent will be upon us.

What’s that all about, anyway? Continue reading


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The battle over the new Dalai Lama

Imagine a committee of the Left parties … secretly meeting in Kolkata to select the reincarnation of the CPI-M leader.

After a couple of days, white smoke may appear above the building where they are meeting and a Vatican-style announcement made, Habemus Pappam (‘We have a new pope’ or, in this case, a new general secretary).

You may politely tell me: ‘Do not play an April fool joke on me.’

Unfortunately, it is not a joke. It has happened in China. The stage was set for the tragicomedy when, on July 13, the Communist government in Beijing decided to implement the ‘Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism.’ … The battle over the new Dalai Lama


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Joseph who?

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney
dropped a distinguished roster of names during his speech titled “Faith
in America” Thursday: Abraham Lincoln, Brigham Young, John Adams and,
of course, John F. Kennedy. But there was one name he did not invoke.
Where was Joseph Smith?

Just as John F. Kennedy was not the first Roman Catholic to run for
the White House, Romney is not the first Mormon to do so. Prophet
Joseph Smith Jr. announced his candidacy in January 1844. As mayor of
the Nauvoo City Council, Smith ran on a platform of the gradual
abolition of slavery, a reduction in the size of Congress, a national
bank, territorial expansion that included the annexation of Texas and
Oregon and radical prison reform that would have converted all prison
sentences into community service. …

[Be sure to read the comments at the site.]

The Seeker – A personal and professional quest for truth | Chicago Tribune | Blog

[Personal commentary:

The idea that we can learn what Mitt Romney believes by studying the Mormon faith is disingenuous to an incredible degree. That’s like saying that we can know what Hillary Clinton (a reputed Methodist) believes by studying the Bible and the teachings of John Wesley.

Romney believes whatever Romney believes, not what he has been told to believe by the teachings of his youth. If he were that simple, inflexible and — yes — gullible he would never have risen to national prominence. George W. Bush purports to follow the teachings of Jesus, yet he starts and prosecutes wars, and believes in torture.

Romney is Romney. We need to look at his record, his demonstrated positions on a wide variety of issues, and stop pretending that his religion is important. It’s what a man has done that’s important, not the label he chooses to wear — or that others choose for him. ]


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An Atheist Reponds to Mitt Romney’s Speech on Religion

As an atheist and a father of three young children, the speech Mitt Romney delivered at the George H. W. Bush presidential library today shocked me to my core.

If this is the drift of this country, towards a politics that explicitly excludes my standing as a worthy citizen because I do not believe in one of the major monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism or Islam, then I seriously do not know what I will do to sustain for myself, and instill in my children, the strong sense of belonging that I currently feel as a citizen.   An Atheist Reponds


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Dalai Lama says successor could be a woman

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th and current Dalai Lama, said: “If a woman reveals herself as more useful the lama could very well be reincarnated in this form.” The comment follows his surprising remarks last week that he might choose his successor before his death, or even hold a referendum on whether he should be reborn at all. …could be a woman…


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Dalai Lama challenges China – with a referendum on reincarnation

In calling for a vote among traditional Tibetan Buddhist communities from the Himalayas to Mongolia, the Dalai Lama is challenging the dominance of communist governance over tens of millions of people and thousands of square miles of land within China. As well as Tibet, huge numbers of his followers are found in the provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Inner Mongolia.

Dalai Lama challenges China – with a referendum on reincarnation | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited


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Ruling warns of mixing religion, rehab

In a decision Friday, a federal judge in Detroit put faith-based drug and alcohol treatment programs on notice that mixing religion and rehabilitation can be a recipe for violating the U.S. Constitution.

The decision came in a lawsuit filed by a former Genesee County man who said a Pentecostal preacher in Flint and his staff tried to turn him against his Catholic faith, confiscated his rosary and prayer book and isolated him from his family and lawyer without providing drug treatment after his 2001 marijuana arrest.

GENESEE COUNTY: Ruling warns of mixing religion, rehab

What first brought me to Buddhism was the absence of proselytizing.


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Chinese checker: Dalai’s new succession plan

 The signs were everywhere. A regent saw three Tibetan alphabets floating in a turquoise lake; a small house with blue-tiled roof near a mountain with a monastery on top appeared in the dreams of a senior abbot; a huge star-shaped fungus began to grow on a pillar in the eastern side of the hall in the Potala Palace where the 13th Dalai Lama’s embalmed body was kept in lotus position; and one day the deceased monk’s head turned towards the east. All signs and dreams pointed towards a hamlet in the east.

Chasing the signs, cracking the dreams and rejecting potential candidates, when a party of Tibetan monks and officials, traveling in the disguise of traders, reached a door in a cluster of houses in eastern Tibet, a toddler welcomed them with a warm smile, identified the prayer beads, walking stick and reading glasses of the 13th, and pleaded with the group to take him to his palace in Lhasa.

Chinese checker: Dalai’s new succession plan-Special Report-Sunday Specials-Opinion-The Times of India


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China Demolishs Tibetans Buddhist Statue

China Demolishs Tibetans Buddhist Statue « Status of Chinese People

New eyewitness accounts have revealed that local Tibetans attempted to prevent the demolition of a statue of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) near Mt Kailash in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) on September 28. Approximately 20 Tibetans were seen forming a human shield around the two meter high statue before they were dispersed and the statue demolished by armed security personnel.