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The “Business” of Being Christian: The Ethics of Usury

The “Business” of Being Christian: The Ethics of Usury

By Kate Daley-Bailey….
For thousands of years, the Christian Church has identified “usury” as a sin… however various theologians and scholars living within these thousands of years disagreed over exactly what “usury” was and was not. A brief exploration of the term “usury” (and its multiple manifestations) may lead us to a better understanding of what was actually being prohibited by various religious communities, especially Christian ones.

Terry Jones and Free Speech

Terry Jones and Free Speech

Terry Jones has a right to free speech, regardless of how repugnant. Just as I lauded the Supreme Court’s decision regarding Snyder vs. Phelps, I will stand beside Terry Jones (way far away!) to protect his right to free speech. Any limitation on his free speech is a limit on my free speech. The government has no business telling anyone what to say or not to say. The First Amendment to the Constitution explicitly states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” How difficult is that to understand?

This Muslim says, give me that ol' time Judaism

This Muslim says, give me that ol’ time Judaism

By Hesham A. Hassaballa….
These reflections should come as a surprise to no one: As a Muslim, I worship the God of Abraham, the very same God who was worshiped and honored in the Temple in Jerusalem. As a Muslim, I honor and revere the prophet Moses, Aaron, and all the other Hebrew prophets.

Also, my holy scripture speaks with honor and reverence about King David and Solomon. The Quran says: “We believe in God, and in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, and that which has been bestowed upon Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and their descendants, and that which has been vouchsafed to Moses and Jesus; and that which has been vouchsafed to all the [other] prophets by their Sustainer: we make no distinction between any of them. And it is unto Him that we surrender ourselves.” (2:136

Religion, Lately: Christmas, Hanukkah,Yule, and Kwanzaa

Religion, Lately: Christmas, Hanukkah,Yule, and Kwanzaa

By Kenny Smith and Heather Abraham….
In Loudon, Virginia, nativity wars seem to have given way to Star Wars. In Loudon’s public space, where “traditional Christian symbols have been joined by displays of symbols from the Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faiths,” this holiday season ten different displays are on view: “a Christmas tree, a manger scene, five atheist displays, and a mannequin arrangement featuring ‘the chosen one,’ Luke Skywalker, from the Star Wars films.

The Problem of Identity

The Problem of Identity

Originating in the Hebrew Bible, The Ten Commandments were later adopted by the other scriptural monotheists in the Abraham tradition: Christianity and Islam. I Am, more than simply a concept of self, imparts a sense of identity. The concept of identity for the Hebrews, early Christians or Muslims may have been more community oriented, with God being the primary holder of individualistic identity, but in the modern post-Enlightenment world, identity has become multiple and individual.

The Role of Happiness in the World Religions

The Role of Happiness in the World Religions

By April L. Bogle, Huffington Post
It’s hard to deny that His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet and the world’s most famous Buddhist, is the also world’s foremost expert on happiness. He clearly states in writings that seeking happiness is the very purpose of life, and he’s dedicated his life to learning how to be happy and sharing this knowledge with others. But what about other major religious traditions? Is happiness a good thing, or bad? To be sought in this life, or the next?

Mary: A Bridge Between Islam and Christianity

Mary: A Bridge Between Islam and Christianity

In this atmosphere of tension, it may be prudent to attempt to find common ground between these two clashing Abrahamic traditions. Christianity and Islam are in some ways, intimately connected; sharing many sacred stories, devotion to one god, ethical standards, and scriptural figures. Illuminating commonalities between these two mega religions, whose adherents make up almost fifty percent of the world’s population, may be the first step in building an understanding and hopefully, a bridge between the two.