Friday, March 24, 2017

China Embraces Religion! Really!

Wow! China is embracing religion. “If the people have faith, the nation has hope, and the country has strength,” says China's leader Xi.

The New York Times Review has a terrific essay called "China's Communists Embrace Religion."

Mao crushed most all religion including Confucianism and Buddhism. But now, Buddhism is making a comeback and one endorsed at the highest levels of government.

Christianity has not fared as well, but according to Ian Johnson, the essay's author, Xi is probably "better disposed" to China's traditional religions like Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism than to a foreign religion like Christianity or even Islam.

This is not the only time in Chinese history in which leaders embraced religion. Buddhism played a prominent role in the Tang Dynasty, for example.

Other leaders in other parts of the world also embraced religion.  India's Asoka embraced Buddhism in the 4th Century BCE and Constantine embraced Christianity in the early 4th century CE.

In all these instances, leaders saw religion as a way to strengthen their government, just asXi apparently now sees traditional Chinese religion.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Meet Qahera: A Muslim Superhero

Qahera is a veiled Muslim superhero who helps other women in distress. Unlike G. Willow Wilson's superhero, Karmala Khan, who aspires to be Captain Marvel, Qahera uses her power to help women who are being sexually harassed.

And, according to the Daily Beast, "she carries a sword and has amazing fighting abilities."

In addition, "she is also fed up with misogyny, sexual harassment and “white savior” ideologies." Deena Mohamed, a young Egyptian, created the comic in 2013.

It's all on the web and you can see it here. Below, you can read  some of the excellent reviews of the comic. My thanks to one of my students who sent me the link!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Hindu Gods: Digitized by Oxford University

Digitized Kalighat paintings from 19th century Calcutta, @Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, 2015[/caption]
The University of Oxford has digitized at least 100 paintings of Hindu gods that were made in the 19th century as cheap souvenirs for tourists at the Temple of Kali in Calcutta.

You can now see them at the Unviersity's Digital Bodleian site.

Among the images you will see are Kali, the Hindu goddess of creativity and fertility;  Krishna, the popular God who is considered one of the most powerful incarnations of Vishnu; Shiva, the destroyer; and Durga, the invincible goddess who symbolizes freedom from evil.

You can create collections and download the images once you create an account. The images are stunning and might make for a great teaching tool when studying Hinduism.

You can also look at the University's other collections, which include Greek manuscripts, Burmese Life and Devotion, and Egypt in the 19th century.

Below, you can see Ganesh, one of the most popular Hindu gods and most recognizable because of his elephant form. He is known as a master of intellect and wisdom.
Digitized Kalighat paintings from 19th century Calcutta, @Bodein Library, Universiy of Oxford
Thanks to Interfaith Matters (@__Interfaith__) for tweeting the link.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Concentrate: Zen Buddhism Simulation

Teaching Zen Buddhism?  Concentrate your mind like this practitioner and if a tiny fly like the one on his forehead bothers you, follow the path of this interesting simulation.

Four Awesome Religion Infographics

Here are four religion infographics. Each shows the breakdown of the major religions differently.
religion tree
I saw this cool inforgraphic on another blog. The page is in Russian but the infographic is in English. You can magnify the image and move it around.
religion9401 (1)
Great graphic of the world’s religions. Some of the numbers are off because it was made in 2003 but it’s still a great visual
Here’s a nice timeline of the major world religions from a blog called “Coming Anarchy.”

Monday, March 20, 2017

Religious Symbols: Take the Quiz

How well do you know the major symbols of the various religions?  Take the quiz at the Huffington Post here.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

China Embraces Religion! Really!

Wow! China is embracing religion. “If the people have faith, the nation has hope, and the country has strength,” says China's leader X...