March 2007 Archives

Official Recognition for Baha'is of Vietnam

March 27, 2007

I wanted to share with you my excitement at hearing this piece of positive news about religious freedom:

In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, about 280 people attended a reception where the government Committee for Religious Affairs presented a certificate giving recognition to Baha'i activities.

The state news agency announced the reception and quoted Ngo Yen Thi, head of the Committee for Religious Affairs, as saying, "The State policy on religion respects and ensures freedom of belief and religion for all Vietnamese citizens as stipulated in the country's first constitution in 1946 and in revised versions."

(Baha'i World News Service, March 21, 2006)

(Trying to) Take Ownership as a White Male

March 26, 2007

Over dinner tonight my wife and I were talking about the paucity of major news coverage of women's rights and justice. In the U.S., it seems that you are more likely to find an in-depth look at the current status of women in Afghanistan in a "fashion" magazine than in Newsweek or the other news weeklys. That is definitely a sad state of affairs. We talked about how so many people seemed to have felt that the plight of women was instantly and completely rectified after the overthrow of the Taliban.

Photo used by permission of Flickr user lakerae

Naw Ruz Mubarak! Happy New Year!

March 21, 2007

"Naw Ruz Mubarak" basically means "Happy New Year". The first day of the year in the Bahá'í, Zoroastrian/Parsi, and a few other calendars ended today at sunset. That means yesterday was the last day of Fasting for the Bahá'ís. It was good to be able to eat again during the day and have my coffee, but I'm afraid I overdid the food at the Naw Ruz celebration this evening.

Conversations on Faith and Science

March 14, 2007

Continuing on the theme of science and religion...

  • Lunging, Flailing Mispunching, a friend's blog posting on Richard Dawkins and why it is good that we ask "why" and not just "how"
  • Darwin's God, a New York Times Magazine article on evolutionary/anthropological approaches to belief. Evaluates the main two camps: the byproduct theory and the adaptionist theory. Is religion a byproduct of other conditions that led to genetic fitness, or is it per se inducing of reproductive fitness? I'm definitely in the latter camp, believing strongly that religion influences culture influences genetics. Witness development of lactose tolerance in certain cultures.
  • God and gorillas, an article I haven't actually read yet but have on good authority is worth it. "Anthropologist Barbara J. King explains what our distant cousins can tell us about religion and why it's OK for scientists to believe in God."

21 Inches of Snow; Fasting

March 3, 2007

So we've got nothing on Buffalo, I'll admit. But for me, 21 inches of snow in one week is rather impressive. We've been snowed in the last few days; technically we could have gotten out yesterday, as they actually plowed in the morning. But my back is unhappy enough with all the shoveling that I just couldn't face the thought of shoveling out the end of the driveway, where the plow had deposited a huge dam. So that meant working — and fasting — from home yesterday.

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