Religion

Star Trek and the Request for Plot Lines

Hey, I loved Star Trek growing up and I think my whole generation did. But be forewarned. I am going to help you find the tears. But until I thought of Star Trek and Dr. McCoy, I could not find the tears either. The themes of Star Trek are great. The inclusiveness, the friendship, the camaraderie, no one was expendable, we were all members of the crew, no matter race, faith, colour or sexual orientation, we were all working together for the common good; for the mission.
Alamy

How Colourful Is Canada? We'll See

OTTAWA - Canada is about to find out how colourful a country it is. Just how vibrant the colours will be, however — well, that's another story.On Wednesday, Statistics Canada will publish the first pa...
Michelangelo/Public Domain

Why Atheists Are Wrong About Religion

That Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins are disappointed that religion hasn't gone the way of the dinosaur perhaps speaks to the fact that religion provides something of great importance to human beings, an importance that is beyond their grasp. Science provides the cold hard facts of life. Religion provides meaning. Even Dr. Krauss agreed that we make the meaning in our lives. Why can't that meaning come from religion?

Faith, Skepticism and GSI

Skepticism is good, but we usually trust someone's account of something, even though we did not see it ourselves. Carl Sagan was famous for saying extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. But really, I would have loved to have asked Mr. Sagan or ask Richard Dawkins today, how many accounts from "good" people are you not going to trust, before you at least move from atheism to agnosticism?
AP

Can You Respect a Religion You Disagree With?

How can the adherent of any religion (or even the atheist) -- who believes that his faith (or lack thereof) defines the true reality and offers the correct perspective on what is ethically and morally correct -- even accept a value of freedom of religion when it permits behaviour that this person deems incorrect?

Highlights From the Great Composers

The Canadian scholar Northrop Frye, has called the Bible, "The Great Code". It is always interesting then, to see what parts of the Bible, some of the world's greatest composers, have chosen to set to music.
Getty Images

Does Following a Methodology Make You Religious?

There is an interesting disconnect in our world today regarding religion. Being an adherent to a certain religion is simply seen, to most people, as a description of the way by which this individual achieves spirituality. This is not, however, the way that religions -- even more so, traditional religious systems -- actually view themselves.
Shutterstock

The Origin of Easter Eggs

The Easter egg has similar pagan roots. Many cultures around the world have long regarded the egg as a symbol for life and fertility. Engraved and decorated ostrich eggs found in Africa date back thousands of years. The early Christian communities adopted the custom of painting eggs, usually in bright red, as a reminder that the blood of Jesus was shed on the cross for them.

This Holiday Season, Let's Ignore the Pope

Dinners and drinks with family and friends, gifts and well-wishing is my idea of Christmas, a lovely time of year, but some people can't get into the holiday spirit without gay-bashing. The Pope is such a man. He believes gay people are actually heterosexuals who choose to be gay. However unwarranted, the pope still holds influence over some people. That Canadians are increasingly rejecting this stuff is a credit to our intelligence and basic decency. It's time we stop being guided by these dusty mirages.
Alamy

Why Is Santa A Lie But God Isn't?

NOTHING polarizes parents more than Santa. It is where religion, idealism and perfection of parenting clashes with more debate and bluster. My son Adam told me that a kid in his class is telling everyone that Santa isn't real. This boy happens to be of a culture and religion that does not do Christmas. Adam and I feel that no matter your beliefs, you have to respect other peoples beliefs, cultures and origins so I tend to get a bit upset when other parents don't feel the same way I do.
Alamy

Exploring the Lonely Exurbs of America's Midwest

The exurban neighbourhods of El Paso County, Colorado seem, to this observer, environments designed for alienation and loneliness: street after street of developer-built houses fronted by enormous, power-operated garage doors, which display an defensive attitude to the street, and to the larger world. It all makes The Netherlands, where I currently live, seem mighty urbane, and civilized.
AP

Harper's Not the Only One Taking Cues From God

Harper Conservatives have established religion as a basis from which to establish and alter policy. But I highly suspect the Christian right isn't alone in aspiring to have the power to decide where trangendered people are allowed to pee and poop, and it is most certainly not the only religious sect hell-bent on controlling the abortion debate.
Flickr: michale

On National Coming Out Day, I'm Proud to Be Gay

Because today is National Coming Out Day, I was reminded of my own journey. Almost two decades ago, I came out of that supposed "closet" publicly and purposefully for when I finally figured out I was gay, I wanted to shout it to the world. I eventually found the label "gay" something to be proud of. The gay label is just one small part of the big picture. But take it away and I wouldn't be me.
imageZebra: Shutterstock

Science and Religion: Why You Don't Have to Choose

A friend's kid said to me the other day: "I'm a Darwinist...I don't believe in God." Okay, I thought, hold on there kid. Darwin wasn't a prophet who started an "-ism," and Science isn't a faith. We need to get rid of some of the category confusion that has crept into current debates and percolated down to secular kids. It can be tempting to respond to the sheer idiocy of American Creationists like Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA,) who recently described evolution and the Big Bang as "lies straight from the pit of Hell" by broadly rejecting religion. But these are not either-or categories and it is startling that they should have become so.
shutterstock

The Surprising Key to Success for Many Women

After interviewing hundreds of accomplished women over the past few years, in my quest to discover the keys to their success, I have become aware of recurring themes. For many of these successful women, the importance of having a regular meditation practice is not only important; it has been paramount to helping them achieve career and/or overall life success.
AP

Doug Saunders on His New Book, George Bush and Multiculturalism

Journalist Doug Sanders, whose latest book The Myth of the Muslim Tide: Do Immigrants Threaten The West? tackles (and pretty much straightens out) the laundry-list of misconceptions and falsehoods that has made its way from the fringe to the forefront of the public domain about Muslim immigration and the West. In this interview, he goes in-depth on the larger issues.

Watching the Watchdog: The Organization Fighting "Isms" in the Media

Innoversity is a not-for-profit organization that has spent the past 13 years struggling with some success "to create opportunities for cultural minority, Aboriginal and disabled Canadians to actively engage with, and be reflected within, key social sectors and institutions." That's institution-speak for fighting racism and all the other isms that still stain our society, particularly our media.

Watching the Watchdog: Maclean's Misses the Mark

You'd have thought Maclean's would have blazoned the death of Section 13 all over its front cover. With a massive headline along the lines of "SCREW YOU, CENSORS!!!" Or "WE WON!!!" Instead, the cover featured a generic picture of an innocuous youngish woman and an innocuous youngish man grinning maniacally and the silly headline: "The majority of us are singles. So why do we still live in a couples world?"

Why Are Israeli Police Stopping Jewish Women from Praying?

On June 21, a Jewish woman was detained for hours by Israeli police for praying at the Western Wall. Why? Because she was wearing a tallit -- a prayer shawl. Some say that women who are wearing the tallit are flaunting their piety, but is this really the case? Shouldn't we, as a Jewish people, give women the benefit of the doubt when they honour Hashem?

Chief Rabbi or Corrupt Pol?

In September 2012, a successor to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the current Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, will be appointed. The new rabbi will begin his tenure in September 2013. If the post will not undergo a major transformation and become purely one of spiritual and educational leadership, then it is far better to leave the post empty than to continue the institution of a chief rabbi.
alamy

You Have the Right to Offend Me

This week, a grade 12 student was suspended for wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words "Life is wasted without Jesus." Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects both freedom of religion and freedom of expression, but nowhere does it protect people from feeling offended. In a diverse and complex society, learning to disagree without being disagreeable may be a survival skill.