Jewish date: 26 Tishri 5771 (Parashath Noaḥ).
Today’s holidays: Feast Day of Francis of Assisi (Roman Catholicism), Feast Day of St. Buster Keaton (Church of the SubGenius).
Worthy cause of the day: “Stop 'Corn Sugar' Now!”.
The Tishri holidays are over, and I am trying to do something worthwhile waiting to hear back from someone in order to be able to move to Israel.
Topic 1: “Atheists, Jews top religious knowledge survey” and “Survey: Americans don't know much about religion”. That a lot of Americans know very little about religion is unsurprising; that is why this blog exists in the first place. That some groups (Jews, Mormons) tend to know more than average is also unsurprising, since some groups do value knowledge. That atheists and agnostics should tend to have better than average knowledge of religion is indeed paradoxical, but there is more to belief than just knowing basic facts. The question I want answered is how knowledge and belief are interacting.
Image of the Babri Mosque via WikipediaTopic 2: “India's top court gives green light for mosque verdict” and “India braces for ruling on contested holy site”. If you thought that the Temple Mount was the only site Muslims were fighting over with members of a different religion, think again. These articles report on a coming legal fight over Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya, which Hindus claim as the birthplace of Rama, one of the avatars of the god Vishnu. After the Muslim conquest of India, the Muslims demolished the Hindu temple there built the Babri Mosque in 1528. Naturally, the Hindus were not pleased at the desecration. In 1949 idols of Rama showed up at the mosque, Hindus demanded to pray at the site, the Muslims refused, and a legal fight began. The lawsuit apparently did not resolve quickly enough, because a Hindu mob destroyed the Babri Mosque in 1992. While the Hindus currently have control of the site, a new legal battle is in the works. Yes, there is a lot of politics involved in the case. But politics has to work on feelings that people actually have, and Hindus, having been persecuted under Muslim rule (no surprise there), have had every reason to want to tear down every mosque built on one of their holy sites. If the courts rule in favor of the Muslims, I expect Hindu politicians in India to use it as reason to rally Hindus against Muslims.
Also: Further incidents of stealing houses of worship from other religions and converting them into mosques are listed in the Wikipedia article “Conversion of non-Muslim places of worship into mosques”. Such behavior is not the way of a religion of peace, and, yes, the Muslims have made a lot of enemies.
Topic 3: For today’s religious humor, something relevant to this week’s parashah (Torah portion): “Bill Cosby Noah”:
Peace (the genuine kind).