Tag Archives: human-rights

Combining Love: Interfaith marriage


Throughout the past few years, America has made strides in becoming a more open nation in terms of marriage. Although times and viewpoints are still changing, the concepts of interfaith marriage, interracial marriage, and even gay marriage are being more openly accepted in our society. According to the National Study of Youth and Religion, less than a quarter of the 18-to 23-year-old respondents believed that it was important to marry someone of the same faith. However, like any true controversial issue, there are both positives and negatives to interfaith marriage.

An interfaith marriage can pose many issues to the couple and the family unit. Within a interfaith marriage a power struggle may be created over which religion is more important. This is especially true if a child is brought into the picture. The couple must decide to either raise the child within one religion or expose them to both religions in the household. Both parent will interfaith-marriages-in-Britainobviously feel a strong inclination to raise their child in their own religion. If there are two different religions present there will likely be two different sets of holidays and traditions. Although celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah may seem like an advantage, it could also cause tension within the marriage as each person in the couple believes that their holidays and traditions are more important. Couples of interfaith marriages may be more likely to fight over which traditions they want to celebrate. It would be easy for disagreements to add up over time as religion ties into many other aspects of like, like how to raise children or spend time.

There are also many advantages to an interfaith marriage and growing up as a child within an interfaith family. Rather than being defined by one single religion, children from interfaith marriages have the advantage of experiencing two different religions. Instead of growing up with one faith, children within interfaith marriages feel more free to explore their own beliefs. The child would be more aware of the various faiths that exist and would be more tolerant of other religions. Allowing the child to take part in both religions will give them a more complete picture of what faith is about and lead them to eventually make their own decisions about what they believe. Another positive aspect is that interfaith marriage can also strengthen the bond between the couple. In terms of religion, the couple would have to be very open with communication and willing to occasionally compromise on things like holidays and traditions. Interfaith marriages will create more diversity among the population and society will become more integrated and tolerant to different religions.


I personally feel that interfaith marriages can be both informative and rewarding. To limit oneself solely to one religion is ludicrous. There is a whole world of beliefs and religions out there and it seems naive to not expose oneself to other religions or at the very least become informed about them. Without being informed on the other religions that exist how can one know what religion they truly believe in without blindly accepting the faith they were taught as a child by their parents. I believe that as long as the couple have a strong relationship with open communication they can compromise on the important aspects of both religions and allow their child to make their own informed decision about religion.

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Confucianism: optimistic view of human nature

Confucianism is an ethical and philosophical religion that was born out of the Han Dynasty by Confucius. Confucianism was very popular during the Han Dynasty until it fell in popularity to other religions like Buddhism and Taoism which took over as the dominant schools of thought during the Tang dynasty. Confucianism is practiced in places like China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Vietnam.

confuciusConfucianism, which began in the 6th-5th century BC, is seen as less of a religion and as more of a way of life. Some even view Confucianism as more of a philosophy than a religion. There are about 5-6 million followers of Confucianism.

Confucianism has a few classic texts all authored by Confucius himself:

  • I Ching: the Book of Changes, earliest of the classics, shows metaphysical vision which combines art with numerology, philosophy sees cosmos interact with the yin yang
  • Classic of Poetry: the Book of Songs, earliest book of Chinese poems and songs
  • Book of Documents: the Book of History, features speeches from major figures and recorded events
  • Book of Rites: describes social form and ceremonial rites
  • Spring and Autumn Annals: a book that chronicles the spring and the autumn

Confucianism is centered on humanism, the world around us and the people in our lives. There is also a large emphasis placed on honesty which is important to humanism. There are five humanist virtues:

  • Ren: humaness
  • Yi: righteousness/ justiceConfucian Temple
  • Li: propriety/ etiquette
  • Zhi: knowledge
  • Xin: integrity

Confucianism also places a large importance on relationships. There are the Five Bonds are:

  • ruler to ruled
  • father and son
  • husband and wife
  • elder brother to younger brother
  • friend to friend

Confucianism also places a heavy emphasis on the optimism view of human nature. Confucianisms truly believe in humanity and that humans can become amazing. Confucian believed that humans are “teachable, improvable, and perfectible” through proper ethical and philosophical training.


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Pastafarianism: satirical response to intelligent design

Onto a much lighter topic… let’s talk about the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, also known as, Pastafarianism.


The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a parody religion that was created through a satirical letter by Bobby Henderson. The parody religion takes a light-hearted view on all things religious.pastamonster_2 Henderson wrote the satirical letter to protest the Kansas State Board of Education’s decision to allow intelligent design to be taught in publish schools rather than evolution. Henderson’s creativity clearly showed in the open letter where he claimed to believe in a higher being that resembled spaghetti and meatballs, even describing the higher being to have “noodly appendages.” Henderson asked the Kansas State Board of Education to devote equal class time for intelligent design and also for the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The_Gospel_of_the_Flying_Spaghetti_MonsterHenderson is described as a prophet of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and has written The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster which was published in 2006. The core belief of the “religion” is that the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. Those who follow the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster have meetings online where they share ideas and post about their alleged sightings of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

When Henderson’s open letter to the Kansas State Board of Education was never answered he posted it online where it become a phenomenon. The letter went on to be published in many newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Chicago Sun-Times.The newspaper coverage of his letter caused six publishers to approach him about a book on the Flying Spaghetti Monster. He received a $80,000 advance from Villard to write The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The book was released on March 28, 2006.

Henderson states that “the only dogma allowed in the Church ofFSM3d the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma.” Pastafarians count Friday as their holy day. Prayers are said over meals and they are ended with the phrase “R’amen,” a combination of the usual “Amen” with the food, “ramen.” The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster uses many religious terms with a pasta twist, like “Pastover” instead of Passover and “Ramendan” instead of Ramadan.

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Westboro Baptist Church: the ultimate hate group

Westboro Baptist Church always finds its way into the middle of controversy. From picketing the vigil for the victims of the Newtown shootings to claiming that the Boston Marathon bombings were God’s retaliation, the Westboro Baptist Church always finds someway to make a statement.

The Westboro Baptist Church claims that their beliefs are similar to the primitive Baptist tradition, a conservative branch FredPhelpsdeveloped in the early 19th century that follows the King James version of the Bible. The Westboro Baptist Church is described by most as a hate group. Most of the Westboro Baptist beliefs are similar to other Christian schools of though. The big difference between the Christian teachings and the Westboro Baptists teachings are their stance on homosexuality.

Fred Phelps, leader of the Westboro Baptist Church said, “The modern militant homosexual movement poses a clear and present danger to the survival of America, exposing our nation to the wrath of God as in 1898 B.C. at Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Phelps believes that America’s new openness to homosexuality will be the downfall of religion and of our country. “They were raised on a steady diet of fag propaganda in the home, on TV, in church, in school, in mass media – everywhere – the two pronged lied. One, it’s okay to be WestboroBaptist4gay. And two, anyone saying otherwise, like Westboro Baptist Church, is a hatemonger who must be vilified, demonized and marginalized,” Phelps said in response to America’s children growing up with an open mind about homosexuality.

The rituals at the Westboro Baptist Church are similar to other religions including a weekly church meeting. However, the WBC has been centered on picketing and protesting since the early 1990s. WBC picketing has become more widespread including homosexuality, the Holocaust Memorial, September 11th, 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China, Pope Benedict XVI, Barack Obama, Al Gore, Catholic priests, Catholic church, Hinduism and Islam.

tumblr_m81v6myBeE1qk2dsto1_1280One thing that has become popular is the “counter protest” which started gaining popularity after the September 11th attacks. The Westboro Baptist Church showed up to picket the tragedy and one young man, Jared Dailey, stood across the street with a sign that read “Not today, Fred,” calling out Phelps on his insensitivity. After a few days, nearly 100 other people joined Dailey with American flags and anti-hate signs. When the WBC decided to picket the funerals of the Newtown shootings, people took to the internet to fight back at the church, writing letters to government officials and releasing a membership list with personal contact information of all of the WBC members.


The Westboro Baptist Church is not affiliated with any particular denomination and has actually been rejected by many religions. The WBC mainly claims to have ties to the Southern Baptists because Phelps was ordained by a Southern Baptist Minister in 1947.


Although there are no exact numbers, it is estimated that there are less than one hundred followers of the Westboro Baptist Church and the majority of the members are family. Phelps and his wife have 13 children together and those 13 children have married and have children of their own. Many of these offspring live in the family compound, while some do not except the WBC teachings and have moved away. The family compound is located in Topeka, Kansas where Phelps lives with his large family.


Although the Westboro Baptist Church receives mainly backlash for their conservative views, the church was defended on the grounds of free speech by the American Civil Liberties Union. Even though the church has found an ally in one Union, most others are still disgusted by what the WBC’s actions and what it stands for. The federal government has made some moves to control the WBC. In 2012, California and the federal government set a 300 foot parameter around funerals the the WBC cannot protest within.

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Candomblé: syncretic, African religion brought by slaves


Candombléa small African religion based on a mixture of Yoruba, Fon and Bantu beliefs, is popular among African countries especially Brazil.

Candomblé can be translated to “dance in honor of the gods” in English. The BBC reports that there are more than two million Candomblé  followers worldwide. Candomblé is considered a syncretic religion because it combines many religions and beliefs. Candomblé originated from the enslaved Africans who brought their religion with them when they were shipped to Brazil during the slave trade.


Followers of Candomblé believe in one powerful and almighty God named Oludumaré. This god is served my lesser deities called orixas. Every person has their own orixa who serves the. The personal orixas serve them by controlling their destiny and protecting them. Orixas can be ancestors and they can be recent or hundreds of years old. Orixas serve as an important link between people and the spiritual world. Candomblé practitioners believe that every orixa has a central force. This central force can be associated with food, color, animals, days of the week, a person’s character, etc.

CandomblŽC: Cynthia Britto/ PulsarLic/00 fasc31 pag 11 Hist—ria

One central idea is that there is no concept of good and bad. Candomblé believes that each person has one mission which is to fulfill their own destiny by living their life to the fullest.

Candomblé is based on oral tradition. Music and dance is central to Candomblé worship. Many choreographed dances are used throughout the service in order to connect with ancestor spirits. Worship used to take place in the home of the slaves. Women in Candomblé are called “mothers of the holy one” and usually lead the service.

The first Candomblé temple began during 19th century in Salvador, Bahai in Brazil.

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