Religion and Same Sex Marriages

In Blog, Religion by Alice0 Comments

Religion and same sex marriages have been talked about for decades now. If you’d have asked me how religions felt about same sex marriage 50 or 100 years ago, then you’d know that there was a drastic difference in opinion.

The majority of religions – not just religions, but the majority of the world – looked down on same sex marriages 100 years ago. This was not just confined to religions, but in general being in a same sex relationship was not okay, let alone marriage.

As time progressed, people felt more accepting of same sex marriages outside of religion. And it forced the majority of religions to look at themselves and what they were doing. I am also interested in trying other alternative stuff in the bedroom like DDLG, so it’s important for my family to accept this.

Now, not all religions are accepting of this, sure. It seems that religions like Sikhism have a more stern approach on whether it’s acceptable to be in a same sex marriage. Whereas religions like Christianity, which are more in the western world, have been forced to accept same sex marriages as they are.

So in 50 years or 100 years, will the whole world be accepting of same sex marriages as they are today? Or is there more to it? Will we look at generally accepted fetishes like bondage and DDLG as acceptable in 100 years too? I am not entirely sure that this will be the case.

I do not know whether same sex will be totally accepted amongst the mainstream in 100 years. I still think that there will always be that group of people who shun anything that they cannot understand. Which I guess, is to be expected when you are dealing with a population of 7 billion.

As the population grows, I only hope that people out there can start to accept us as we truly are. There are not enough people and hate to go around, and I don’t feel that there would be enough people in this world to make a difference if they had to.

Living as a gay man has made my life infinitely more difficult than it ever had to be. Did life really need to be like this? Hopefully people become more accepting.

Yours truly,

A Gay Christian

View Post

Keeping religious tradition alive in Legislature

In Christianity by Alice0 Comments

Our Father who aren’t in council, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will won’t be done…if McGuinty has his way. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer has opened meetings since Ontario’s inception. Now Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario, is taking steps to remove this time-honoured tradition, or perhaps even change the prayer itself.
It has been argued that reciting the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of Legislature and council meetings, demonstrates disrespect for the choices of their members or visitors to those meetings. Multicultural Ontario has a broader diversity than just “Protestants and Catholics today”, McGuinty has said.
What about the other side of that coin? What about those who DO chose to worship a Christian God? Is removing the Lord’s Prayer, or replacing it with a non-denominational one, not violating their rights and freedoms?
Christians are regularly asked to accept the removal of their Christian practices from educational institutions or now-under the guise of separating church and state-the beginning of Legislature and council meetings. When will it end? How much more are Christians expected to give?
Today’s society is suffering from a lack of moral fibre and integrity that once would have been instilled through religious practices, a fact that is both sad and frightening for faithful believers said Pastor Shawn Craven, Cole Lake Free Methodist Church.
“Why look for a problem which will pit group against group in our province?” asks Frank Dimant, executive director of B’nai Brith, a Jewish advocacy and community volunteer service organization.
McGuinty has established an all-party committee to begin consultation on the issue. Should the prayer be removed completely, or should an additional prayer be added that would cater to other denominational beliefs and groups?
Conservative Garfield Dunlop, MPP, and a member of the committee said, “Our whole British parliamentary system was based on Christianity. That goes right back to the Magna Carta. The first parliamentary sessions held in Great Britain were held in churches . . . Removing one thing is just like chipping away at a foundation.”
Cheri DiNovo, a United Church Minister representing the NDP on the committee, said that instead of focusing time and energy on the Lord’s Prayer issue, Ontario should start focusing instead on the “[o]ne in eight kids living in poverty.”

Keep religiouis tradition alive in Legislature

There is just no need for this change at this time. You don’t fix something if it’s not broken. In this case, one is left wondering why the McGuinty government is stirring this particular pot at this time, when there are so many current issues that are more important.

View Post

Why are monks bald?

In Blog, Buddhism by Alice0 Comments

One of the most curious questions that people have about monks is considering why they are bald. Is it really necessary to shave of all of your hair, and in some cases your eyebrows too, when becoming a monk? When did this tradition begin?

The main reason that monks shave their hair is that it is associated with sexuality. As a monk, you renounce your interest in the opposite sex for religion. Shaving your head is a way of showing that you have no interest in persuing sexual desire any longer.

This is the most common reason for monks being bald, but this specifically refers to Buddhist monks. Buddha himself had a shaved head, and during his period of living, it was actually considered a shameful thing to do this (originally at least). Buddha taught his followers to reduce their ego by shaving their head completely free of hair – much like the astetic practices of other philosophers throughout history. It’s important to remember that they will use a bald head razor to shave their hair as short as possible – usually once a week or so.

Essentially, monks want to show others that they are devoted to this practice entirely. Watch this funny video in which a monk explains why he shaves his head (it’s very tongue in cheek so beware!).

In other religions like Christianity it is thought to have come directly from Jesus’ disciples. His disciples shaved their heads to show others that they were devoting their life to him and nothng else – it was a good way to distinguish themselves from others.

Keeping your head moisturized and appearing well is also important for a monk. Many monks will have a specific head care practice to ensure that their head is receiving optimal care. You will also likely notice that monks do not have much issue with this – have you ever seen a monk with acne? No, me either. This is likely down to the lifestyle that they lead, avoiding toxins in their food and getting a significant amount of exercise.

Becoming a monk is a serious thing, and not something to be taken lightly. Shaving their hair is a small sacrifice to make to devote themselves entirely to their religion, as appearance is no longer of importance.

View Post

Do Buddhists believe in Karma?

In Blog, Buddhism by Alice0 Comments

Karma is moral causation law. Karma theory is a crucial Buddhist doctrine. Despite Buddhists believing in Karma, the theory of Karma existed way before Buddhism. Afterwards, Buddha was the one who formulated and explained the doctrine completely.

It’s the one we currently use. It is either purely accidental or mankind inequality has effect on our actions. In accordance with Buddhism, the inequality is caused by Karma, that is, due to the consequence of present doings or past actions and environment and heredity. Buddhists usually like to shave their head. Humans are responsible for their misery and happiness.

karma

Humans create their Hell and Heaven; they decide their fate, not a supreme being. Buddhists believe that whatever happens to someone is because he or she deserves it. Ordinary people can’t use their intellect to understand the reasons for those happenings; only spiritually gifted person can comprehend. The exact seen or unseen reason of the happenings, ought not be limited to present doings, but can be traced to proximate past birth.

A young knowledge seeker was perplexed by the state of the world in how different states of people existed; the wise and the ignorant, the high born and the low born, the rich and the poor, the powerful and the non-influential, the beautiful and the ugly, the diseased and the healthy, and the long-lived and the short-lived.

The Buddha gave a wise response by stating that all human beings have karma in
their own ways; their refuge, their kinsman, their congenital effect and their inheritance.

Karma gives disparities into human being states, either high or low states. Buddha gave an explanation of how the effect of the disparities based on the cause and effect law. Buddhists believe that Buddha inherited reproductive genes and cells from the parents just like every person. However, intellectually and morally they were insignificant compared to his Royal ancestor’s long line. Buddha belonged to the Aryan Buddhas, not Royal lineage.

In accordance with Sutta Lakkhana of Nikaya Digha , Buddha inherited special aspects, for example, due to the previous deeds, he got 30 major marks. Sutta explains clearly ethical reasons that lead to every physical feature. Uniquely, karmic tendencies affect parental genes and cells and physical organism.

He was a supreme being, an exquisite making of his karma. When comparing previous life
actions and hereditary parental genes and cells in both mental and physical characteristics formation, accumulated karma from previous actions plays a greater role. Abhidharma, a Buddhist, dealt with the issue of variations in human being by giving the explanation that there exist differences in Karma leading to disparities.

This means that our present temperamental, moral intellectual and mental differences are basically because of our tendencies and actions, both the present and past. Based on the Karma law in the Buddhist philosophy, Karma is not the only reason for variations among human beings but is just one of the established twenty-four conditions. Buddhism describes five processes or orders (niyama in Buddhist native language) that affect the mental and physical realms e.g. Citta Niyama, Karma Niyama.

View Post

Do Sikhs eat meat?

In Blog, Sikhism by Alice0 Comments

Sikh is generally a word used to refer to a learner or a disciple. The Sikh religion was founded in the Northern part of India by Guru Nanak in the 15th century. Sikhism religion is the world’s fifth largest religion with over 25 million believers worldwide. Most people confuse Sikhism for Islam or Hinduism and yet this is a completely distinct religion with its own believes and practices. Sikhs stress on the need for equality between all men and women.

There is however a lot of controversial information going on revolving around the question on whether Sikhs should eat meat or not. The general rule here is that Sikhs have the free will to choose whether to adopt a meat diet or go the vegetarian the way. Sikhs believe in a life of moderation and try all means possible to avoid actions and practices that may cause harm to one’s mind or body. Based on this fact therefore, all forms of animal sacrifices are shun from the Sikhism religion as well as eating meat from animals killed in a way that causes harm to their bodies.

do-sikh-meat

A very simple answer to our question is that Sikhs are not allowed to eat meat that has been slaughtered through the Muslim way.

This form of meat that has been slaughtered and prepared the Muslim way is referred to as Kuttha in the Punjabi. They are however allowed to eat Jhatka meat. This is meat from an animal that has been slaughtered quickly without religious rituals or suffering.

According to their ancient tradition, Sikhs believe that animals killed with one stroke of a weapon resulting to their instantaneous death is the only form of meat suitable for human consumption. Many times instead of consuming food, Sikhs will makes themselves various vegetable smoothie recipes with fruit. This helps to keep them full throughout the day.

The reasons behind Sikhs not eating any other form of meat apart from Jhatka meat include the following.

Causing pain and suffering to an animal is not a justifiable act before God and they therefore believe that torturing an animal in the name of killing it to obtain meat is a sin before God. Based on this they believe that living things that contain a nervous system feel pain and it is therefore not just to have them as a diet. However, on the other hand plants or simply vegetables have no nervous system and therefore consuming them is not a sin and this is the main reason behind most of the Sikhs living the vegetarian way.

The almighty has blessed humans with a wide variety of foods and he requires them to be merciful too. Sikhs therefore believe that when other types of food are available, one should make a decision to have a vegetarian diet and leave the flesh for future hard days. This decision shows that they have mercy on the animals.

The decision on whether to consume meat or not is upon individual Sikhs to make. Consuming meat does not make one less or more of a Sikh and also a vegetarian diet does not guarantee one a sure pass to heaven. Other rules and practices also need to be followed as per the laid down Sikhism rules.

View Post

Does Hinduism celebrate Christmas?

In Blog, Hinduism by Alice0 Comments

Christmas is the religious celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth; usually a holiday. Most Hindus don’t appreciate Christmas as the day for marking a religious tradition, but a section of Hindus does celebrate Christmas. The Hindus celebrating Christmas treat that day as a peace festivity that is secular. Recently, 20 years ago, the American Hindus were being assimilated into the American culture into celebrating Christmas; Hindus in America had lived and intermarried with Americans, shared their cultures too as they had stayed there for long.

Due to the ever-increasing Hindu population, only a few Hindus recognize Christmas. In America, most Hindus participate in the Christmas parties, festivities and the giving of gifts; this makes the Hindu children not feel excluded in the highly celebrated day in USA. In India, where most Hindus in the world reside, most Hindu families celebrate Christmas which I marked as a national holiday by the Indian government.

hindu-celebrate-christmas

Unfortunately, Hindus in India that celebrate Christmas are increasingly under attack from illegal groups. A militia group of India beat Catholic priest and seminarians in Pradesh Madhya state. The police made necessary arrests; a priest was detained and a member of that illegal group arrested.

Do Hindu’s buy each other gifts?

The answer is that it depends on the family. Some hindus will purchase expensive lavish gifts for their family, but this isn’t often. The majority of families will spend small and meaningful.

In accordance with the Indian agency news of Press Trust, there were charges on the priest, of forceful conversion of religion. This accusation was frequently made against Hindu Christians. An extremist Indian group in Uttar state of Pradesh, made warnings to Aligarh city schools against participating in Christmas festivities. However, according to India media, the government directed the police of state to ensure that Christmas holiday went on smoothly without any incidences by urging the various Indian states to increase national security.

Despite backlash fears, non-Indians and Indians celebrated Christmas even in some regions dominated by Hinduism in India. Since then, no other incidents of attack on Indian Christians on celebrating Christmas, have been reported.

In 2014, unlawful groups have targeted Muslims more from the time a Hindu state party rose to take over the government; Indian Christians started having fears on possible attacks due to the effect of polarization, Madhu Chandra reported, India Christian group administrator, a council that fights for marginalized people right and religious freedom.

The ruling party (Modi Narendra’s government) does not speak against the violence against Christians, Muslims and other non-local religions; making activists condoning those incidences saying it ought to stop. Chandra said that government leaders and political heads are not doing enough by just condoning such activities, but ought to implement those actions as the attacks on Hindus celebrating Christmas was becoming mainstream. based on statistics, out of the total 1.3 billion Indians, Christians are a small portion of 6%, Hindus consist of 80% and Muslims consist of the remaining 14%.

 

For further information, Hindus celebrate Pancha Ganapati religious holiday in December; a 5- day festivity which honours Lord Ganesha. Pancha Ganapati incorporates similar traditions to Christmas ones. The celebration starts on 21st of December which includes gift giving and feasts like Christmas and decoration of their homes.

View Post

Does Hinduism believe in a God?

In Blog, Hinduism by Alice0 Comments

In order to understand truly how Hinduism believe in god, we must understand the word ‘god’ and it’s definition. First, there is the Supreme God who is divine in nature and then we have deities also known as devas or gods.
So, the answer? Yes. Hindus believe in the supreme God, the one who created the universe. This God is all pervasive.
However, the supreme God created other gods who are advanced and highly spiritual beings to become his helper.
Hindus believe in a true god called Brahman who is supreme in spirit. The Brahman is in many forms and is present in the whole of the universe symbolized by the syllable which is sacred Om.
The god contains almost everything from destruction and creation, female and male, the evil and the good and stillness as well as movements.
hindu-believe-in-god
Brahman the god has 3 main aspects which are well expressed in trimurti.
They include:
1. Brahma who is the creator of everything.
2. Vishnu who is the preserver.
3. Shiva the one who destroys.
Majority of Hindus have a believe that their god Brahman is present in each and every person as an eternal soul or spirit called atman.
The reason is because, Hindus see mankind’s as divine because they believe their god Brahman is everything.
For this reason, they asserts that each and everyone is divine. Atman is with Brahman and any kind of reality that is behind Brahman is usually considered an illusion.
Reason? the spiritual goal and the belief of a Hindu is to be one with Brahman and cease to exist as an individual self.
Hindus believe that god is never far away, living in heaven or in remote areas but he is inside everyones soul, in the consciousness and in their hearts waiting to be discovered in the right time.
The knowledge of knowing that god is amongst them gives them courage and hope. The goal of the Hinduism spirituality is knowing that god is intimate and is experimenting them in all ways.
So, we cam comfortable answer the question, does Hinduism believe in god and say yes they do.
Actually, the religion of Hinduism neither believe in many gods nor one god. But they believe in God who is the God who is the God Head and the supreme creator.
They believe that everything that is unmoving or moving in the universe is the manifestation of god, the Brahman. Brahman is the divine supreme consciousness.
Therefore, Hindus believe that there is existence of God who is the creator of all creations. In fact, Hinduism believe that its that Supreme Being who manifests Himself in every creation in the universe.
The gods or the devas are monads of God just like we are.

We can conclusively answer the question. Does Hinduism believe in god? Yes, because they see each and every creation of the Supreme Being as God Himself.
So, to simply put it in an Abrahamic terminology, there exists only one God, the Supreme being and anything else is his own manifestation who acts as the helpers.
View Post

Does Christianity follow the Old Testament?

In Blog, Christianity by Alice0 Comments

Does Christianity follow the Old Testament? You might have come across this topic being debated among Christians themselves and even among other religions. But, even before we begin answering that topic, what do you understand by the term Christians? The name Christian was first heard in the town of Antioch to refer to Christ followers and if you are a true Christian, John says that you should keep God’s commandments and teachings, which are not a burden;1 John 5:3.
does-christianity-follow-the-old-testament
In Mathew 5:17-18, Christ told His followers and teachers of law that He had come to fulfill the law and not to destroy it. The coming of Messiah was a promise to Israelites. It is important to understand that the Old Testament was written and addressed to the God chosen nation; Israelites. So, when Christ came, he did everything in fulfillment of what the Old Testament had taught. Thus, being a Christ Follower you have to acknowledge that Christ did not come to render the Law of Moses or the Old Testament irrelevant.
However, when He died, He became the atonement for sins and drew all people not just Israelites to GOD and making them understand the nature of God better. Thus, he put everyone who believes in Him under His law. Paul states that Christians are under the law of Christ according to Galatians 6:22; which is Moral Law of God. Christ’s teachings revolve more around grace, forgiveness, and mercy just like the Old Testament teachings.
In New Testament righteousness does not come through obedience to Mosaic Laws. It is for that reason, the Disciples of Christ were taught not to burden the Gentiles with the law of circumcision as one does not become righteous through the obedience of law rather by faith in Christ Jesus. In support of that, Paul reminded his followers in Romans 6:22 that Abraham was accredited as righteous because of his faith; by faith, he became a father of many nations while he had no child.
It is important to understand that Christ reconciled the Old Testament, law and its decrees with Himself as stated in Ephesians 2: 14-16. That is why He taught the importance of loving God above everything and loving your neighbor as yourself; a summary of the Old Testament Laws. Christ understood that no one was Holy or could adhere to the law and become righteous. He became our righteousness and that is why Christians are righteous through faith in Jesus Christ according to Romans 3:22.

According to Pharisee, Jesus did many things that seem to contradict the Old Testament because they had not understood the word of God clearly. However, Jesus obeyed and adhered to the Old Testament and brought a better understanding of it. Jesus coming was a graceful act and He wanted us to know that we are saved by having faith in Him and not by being obedient to the Mosaic Law as no one could be Holy for all have fallen short of the glory of God.

Conclusion

By failing to acknowledge the Old Testament, we fail to acknowledge all the prophets, their teachings and God’s inspired Word in the Old Testament, which was the basis of New Testament. What Christ did was to reconcile the Old Testament with Him and give us a better understanding of His nature and Law and not contradict it. Therefore, to understand God, His Purpose, and the New Testament, you must understand the Old Testament as the Former is the Fulfilment of the Latter. Nonetheless, in regard to law, you are not under the Law of Moses, but of Christ Jesus.