Sunday, August 20, 2017

Test your Attitude toward Religion or Race: Harvard's Project Implicit tests

Project Implicit measures "thoughts and feelings that exist outside of conscious awareness or conscious control" through a series of tests.

Harvard University researchers developed the tests.

Among the more interesting association tests are the ones on racial bias and religion.  The racial bias test requires the ability to distinguish faces of European and African origin.

The religion IAT test measures your attitude toward the different faiths.

I usually ask my religion students to take the religion IAT test and then reflect on the results. Were the results what they expected? Do they agree with the results?

Here is the link to the different tests. Read the disclaimer in which you acknowledge that you may encounter interpretations with which you do not agree.  Click "I wish to Proceed."  Scroll down to the Religion  IAT test and click on it to begin.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Hinduism: Resources

Studying the development Hinduism?

Here two excellent resources, both short documentaries.

The first is a 23 minute overview from the The Himalayan Academy, which publishes Hinduism Today Magazine.

The documentary is engaging and includes great photography. It's divided into five short parts: origins, sacred texts, Hindu society, beliefs and practices, and finally, festivals.
Another resource comes from Freer Sacker Museum and shows Hindu devotion, called Puja.

Finally, you can see a terrific graphic that explains the caste system.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Diversity of Muslim Americans: 9 Animated Clips

Here are nine animated clips from the Huffington Post that show the diversity of Muslims in America.   The clips represent short anecdotes of everyday life for these nine Muslim Americans.

In one clip, less than two minutes, a Muslim had to find a place to pray at an airport. He did not want to be conspicuous, so he asked a guard if he could pray in a corner. The guard told him that he was in American and could pray anywhere he wanted.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Veiling Practices Around the World

Are Muslims the only religious group to to use the veil? What type of Muslim veil did the French government ban? Do East African women wear a veil? Are Muslim veiling practices similar around the globe?

These are the types of questions that a website called "ReOrienting the Veil" attempts to answer. Designed by the University of North Carolina Center for European Studies, it outlines veiling practices in the three Abrahamic religions in one section.

In another section, the website examines how veiling is practiced in different countries, specifically France, East Africa, and Turkey.

Finally, you can look at some of the most famous images of women and veiling in a section about the visual arts.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Muslim Heritage: Terrific Website & Resource

Studying Islam?

Here is a  terrific website that reviews the achievements of pre-Renaissance Islamic culture called Muslim Heritage.  It covers Muslim art, architecture, literature, culture, music and people.  It includes images, essays, videos, and maps.

Among the featured essays on the site's home page is one one of my favorites, Mega Cities on the Silk Road. Can you list three of the biggest?

Xi’an (Chang’an) is at the top. It became the capital of the Chinese empire in the 4th century and was a significant trading post and melting pot. Under the Tang Dyasty, it was home to a panoply of religions including Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Nestorian Christianity and Islam.

Another top mega city along the Silk Road included Samarkand in the heart of central Asia. From Han times, merchants from Samarkand traveled as far China and Tamerlane was one of its prominent leaders.

Another essay, Technology in Sub-Saharan Cultures, reviews advances in metallurgy and quarrying. The Nubians, from modern-day Sudan, during Egypt's Middle Kingdom (2050-1800 BCE), mass produced iron and bronze used to make items like cutlery,  jewelry, weapons, and even musical instruments.

And Aksum, in Ethiopia, quarried lots of granite between 100 and 700CE. According to the essay's author, Aksum had "extensive" knowledge of granite extraction.

But it was in math and science that Muslims made some of the most stunning achievements like the invention of the astrolabe or the translation of ancient Greek texts to Latin and then to European languages, or the development and building of hospitals in many cities in the Muslim world.

A new documentary called “1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham” reviews these achievements and many more.

The film is part of a global  educational campaign with UNESCO and is available on ITunes.

Muslim Heritage and the website for 1001 Inventions are great for both teachers and students. Some of the essays are ideal for students. And teachers can easily create an interesting web quest out of the material.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Understanding Confucius: Three Awesome Short Bios

Here are three terrific views of Confucius.

The first  is an awesome four minute TedEd video.

Bryan W. Van Norden, Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Professor at Yale-NUS College, and author of a recent essay about the importance of understanding Chinese philosophy, produced the video.

The second comes from The School of Life and its Eastern Philosophies series.

And the third comes from "It's History" and is called "Master of Philosophy and Fortune Cookies.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Zoroastrianism: Resources

Studying Zoroastrianism, one of the world's oldest religions?

Here are several terrific resources. The first is an awesome three minute video overview. The second is a broadcast from NPR that concentrates on some of the common elements of Zoroastrianism and Christianity. And  the third is an NPR broadcast about Parsi funerals and their unusual method of disposal of their dead.

Zoroastrianism started in Iran and grew with the three great Iranian empires which included that of Cyrus the Great, but began to weaken after the invasion of Alexander the Great and the later development of Islam.

Many Zoroastrians fled and migrated to India where they became known as Parsis. The Prophet Zoroaster founded the religion and believed in a single god, Ahura Mazda.

Today, many adherents call themselves Mazda-yasnians, or Mazda worshipers. What do Zoroastrians believe? Good thoughts, good words, good deeds. Those are the tenets by which Zoroastrians live.