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Finding God: Religious Icons and Imagery

December 16, 2013 by Eliza Wood in Blog, Magazine, What is God? with 0 Comments

religious icons and symbolsThis segment was borrowed from the post Where is God? Finding God in Our Daily Lives:

God is often evident in art, architecture and fashion via the use of various religious icons and images.

Fashion has welcomed religious themes, and smartly. Home décor has much to offer as well. There seems to be no end to the selection of doves, crosses, and rainbows; as well as the trinity in paintings, mosaics, medallions and frescos. Read more →

New Religions: Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

December 2, 2013 by Eliza Wood in Blog, Magazine, Weird Religion with 0 Comments

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster COFSMWe have written about our friends at The Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, and the fact that “pastafarians” help keep our country religiously free.

While some consider this “church” an irreligious affront to the world’s faiths, in reality it is an excellent yardstick by which we can measure religious tolerance. Read more →

New Religions: Who Invents Religions and Why Should We Care?

We have written about our friends at The Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, and the fact that “pastafarians” help keep our country religiously free.

While some consider this “church” an irreligious affront to the world’s faiths, in reality it is an excellent yardstick by which we can measure religious tolerance. Read more →

Who Was Jesus? A Future Jewish Superhero Rock Star?

Many of our readers know that I write quite a bit about Jewish and Christian things: how they differ and how they converge in modern times.

My book, Crisis of Faith, goes a long way toward showing how we, as two different yet intertwined people, are united in the challenges we face internally as we strive to make progress toward better compliance with human rights. If we aspire to reach fairness, equality and justice, we are forced to leave some Biblical teachings behind. Read more →

Do Unto Others: Religions and the Broad and Golden Rule

The Golden Rule exists in many religions. Some have the positive form “Do unto others as you would want others to do to you,” and some have the negative version of the rule “Do not do unto others what you would not want others to do to you.”

It would be amazing to see how the world’s religions could be better instruments for world peace by emphasizing this more.

Karen Armstrong has revived interest in leveraging The Golden Rule as a platform for peace, and is well worth watching: Read more →

Religion and Happiness Study: Which Religious People are Happiest?

An examination of religion and mood

Some research suggests that religious people are happier and less stressed than non-religious people.  Read more →

Religious Holidays Celebrated in U.S. Schools

Christmas tree ornaments, 2006Take a look at the religious holidays observed by the public school system of New Jersey in 2012-2013 (see chart listed at the end of this post).

This is an example of one way our country is changing that is hardly noticeable to many, but, particularly in our religiously diverse areas, our kids are experiencing a lot more religious celebrations than most of us remember. Read more →

Hobgoblins, Hobhoulards & Hob-thrusts: Happy Halloween Words

October 18, 2013 by Eliza Wood in Blog, Trending with 0 Comments

Taken from D.L. Ashliman’s Things that Go Bump In The Night.. Read more →

What is Jewish Halloween?

One of my recent blogs discussed the Christian celebration of Halloween and certain Christian resistance to the idea. After rereading the piece, I decided it would only be the right thing to do for all our Jewish readers to write a few lines about the Jewish celebration of Halloween and certain Jewish resistance to the event as well. Read more →

Violence Has No Timeline


Violence is a social issue that has niggled the human race for millenniums. Although sometimes deemed a necessary evil, violence still accrues a lot of heartache and confusion. Because of last December’s shooting in a Connecticut Elementary school—killing 26 people, of which 20 were children—President Obama recently proposed a plan to close background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands, to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, to make schools safer, and to increase access to mental health services. Hopefully the plan will limit violence. It’s now only a matter of time? Or is it?

It will take time to hammer out regulations that don’t infringe on the Second Amendment guaranteeing citizens the right “to keep and bear arms.” It will take time to decipher exactly what kind of regulations can keep guns out of dangerous hands. Awkwardly, the proposed plan also comes on the heels of a recent legislative debacle. It’s been less than a year since the futile Combined Ballistics Identification System (CoBis) was reversed—a program that wasted 44 million dollars and didn’t help solve one crime in 10 years.

Most of us are pretty savvy to the fact that violence is prevalent in the world. A growing number of the killings, tortures, rapes, and spouse and child abuse make headlines, probably because of the growing globalized communication. But, even back in the day violence made its way into the annuals of humanity. Records of violence fatten the Bible.

Bible readers also discover though, records of violence thwarted. We read in Genesis the story of Joseph and his brothers. Joseph was favored by his father and this angered the brothers. They’d stew about ridding their lives of Joseph. Then one day, while away from the house, the brothers surrendered to the angry thinking and were provoked to kill Joseph. But the eldest brother, Reuben said, “Shed no blood. Throw him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him.” (Genesis 37:22, The Pacific Bible)

Reuben’s courage and distraction foiled the violence—not that throwing someone in a pit is all that courteous—offering proof that human beings have the ability to avert and diminish violence anytime. We don’t have to wait for new or more rules and regulations to experience a less violent outcome or safety. The time is now because the timeline of life is circular.

We read in 21st Century Science and Health, a book embracing the circular timeline, “Men and women of all environments and cultures are still under the control of terrorists and bullies, ignorant how to obtain their freedom. However, the rights of humanity are being vindicated as people fight for equal rights and remove dictators from office. Moreover, this is prophetic of further steps coming toward the banishment of world-wide oppression, found on higher planes of existence and under more subtle and depraving forms.” The fight is not for a particular legislative plan or regulations but for the mental qualities that promotes peace and stems violence.

Leaders, healers, and common everyday people are validating the truth that the mental qualities of courage, wisdom, and forgiveness effectively banish violence. Humanity is not destined to be under the control of violent thoughts and behavior. The time is now, not to rely on rules and regulations, but to step forward with a courageous love and truth.

Cheryl Petersen is a freelance writer who lives in upstate New York. With her husband, she fostered children for 15 years. Cheryl contributed an article to The Foster Parenting Toolbox and is author of 21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and Marriage: Sink or Swim.

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