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U.S. most religious country in industrialized world, professor says

Islam could be the dominant religion in the world by the end of the century.

Published: Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 17:12

Compared to other industrialized countries the U.S. is the most religious, but Islam is the fastest growing religion, and it is speculated to be the dominant religion by the end of the century, philosophy Professor Richard Schoenig said.

“The majority of the U.S. is still Christian because of immigrants coming from the south, also known as developing countries,” he said Nov. 15 during his lecture “World Religions: Facts, Comments, and Questions,” sponsored by the philosophy program during International Education Week.

Schoenig said Islam is growing faster than Christianity, or any other religion, because of where its followers come from.

“The birth rate in developing countries, where Islam is the main religion, is greater than in developed countries where most of the Christian followers are,” he said.

He said it is interesting how Christianity began in the Middle East and now that part of the world is dominated by Islam.

He explained that Christianity moved to Europe during the seventh century when Muslims moved into the Middle East.

Religions are based on two world views, the supernatural and the natural world; these two views are connected to crate the basis of any religion, Schoenig said.

He said the supernatural view represents gods, angels and devils; the natural view represents matter, energy and time space.

The supernatural world connects to the natural world by incarnations, revelations, signs and miracles, he said.

The natural world connects to the supernatural world by prayer, ritual, meditation or sacrifice, Schoenig said.

He said the unreligious, or atheists, have a one-world view of reality based on the natural world.

There are three types of religion, monotheistic, polytheistic and nontheistic, meaning they do not believe in the supernatural view, he said.

Monotheistic religions believe there is only one God and they include Sikhism (found in northern India), Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The last three religions are also called Abrahamic religions “Because they point back to Abraham as an important figure in the early development of this religions,” Schoenig said.

He said most people have not heard of Zoroastrianism, named after the prophet Zoroaster who was a Persian (now Iran), and it is believed this was the first monotheistic religion.

There are few Zoroastrians left in Iran, but there are a significant number of them in western India, he said.

Polytheistic religions believe in many supernatural beings, they include traditional Hinduism, Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism, and Shinto, he said.

Schoenig said primal-indigenous-tribal religions are mostly practiced in developing countries or rural areas and are disappearing because people are moving on to developed countries.

Nontheistic religions do not believe in any God or supernatural beings, and they include Theravada Buddhism, Brahmanic Hinduism, Original Taoism and Confucianism, he continued.

Pre-nursing sophomore Gerald Etkins, wanted to know why some Muslims take justice into their own hands in brutal ways, to later justify their actions by quoting the Quran by saying “Allah is all merciful.”

Schoenig said that the acts or views of some Muslims do not define the meaning of Islam as a whole, and there are only a handful of Muslims who use the Quran to justify their brutal behavior in what it is called honor killing.

Schoenig used the Westboro Baptist Church example, which is known for zero tolerance toward homosexuals and Jews, and for protesting during military funerals.

Nursing sophomore Claude Sikubwabo said he thought the reason the U.S. was religious was that the founding fathers were religious as well, and they passed on their believes in a greater being or God to the citizens.

Schoenig said some of the first Anglo immigrants were escaping religious persecution, so as the U.S. started to develop so did the country’s religious views. Schoenig said he is always open for discussions and learning about different points of view, and encourages everyone to stop by his office.

For more information, visit Schoenig in Room 230 of Oppenheimer Academic Center or call the philosophy program at 210-486-0966.

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Fri Dec 7 2012 15:14
THE FOURTH MONOTHEISTIC RELIGIONby BV Bhagavat Maharaja & Isa daswww.equalsouls.orgWhich religion is that? You may ask, and rightly so. Most academic and news articles usually talk about the three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Even though these three religions share a common theological precept that there is one GOD ([1]El Kana) and no other, they are anything but unified in describing the path that the devotee must take to reach that one and only GOD.Today we have attempts by all three religions to create interfaith harmony through theological fiats at ecumenical conferences that draw people's attention to the things that unify these three religions as opposed to their differences. Hinduism (Vedic Religion, Sanatan Dharma) would like to join this dialog and be recognized as Monotheistic. Hinduism (Vedic Religion Sanatan Dharma) appears to be a polytheistic theological conception where a pantheon of deities ([3]Angels) are worshiped, it is actually a systematic process of elevating each individual soul over one birth or millions ([4]Transmigration; Jewish) to greater and greater levels of faith in the divine existence of the one original and infallible GOD ([1]Kana). In the Bhagavad Gita which is the book that many consider the Bible of the Vedic Religion, Lord Sri Krishna (Kana) who is understood to be GOD ([5]Allah), The Supreme Personality of Godhead explains."After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare." BG 7:19"I am in everyone's heart as the Supersoul ([6]Lord in the heart; Jewish). As soon as one desires to worship the demigods ([3]Angels), I make his faith steady so that he can devote himself to some particular deity." BG 7:21"Endowed with such a faith, he seeks favors of a particular demigod and obtains his desires. But in actuality these benefits are bestowed by Me alone." BG 7:22In these verses Lord Sri Krishna explains how the worship of the Demigods in the pantheon is for less intelligent persons who want the temporary material pleasures of the world and not the eternal spiritual pleasures of eternal spiritual life on HIS Spiritual Planet ([7]The Garden Of Eden). Furthermore HE explains that it is actually HE who provides such temporary material benefits by empowering the Demigods to provide them. Hence directly or indirectly all Human beings are worshiping that one Supreme Personality of Godhead.There are many other evidences in the Vedic Scriptures of Lord Sri Krishna's position as the original Supreme Personality of Godhead , and as the source of, even Mahavishnu ([8]Metatron), Brahma ([9]Abraham), and Siva ([10]Shiva;Judaism) what to speak of lesser demigods like Indra, Ganesha, and Durga ([11]Jewish)We find in the Vedas this definition of God all religions can agree on.The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the Complete Whole is also complete in itself. Because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.Sri Isopanisad Verse OneThe point of this brief monograph is to give the reader an insight into the real nature of the Vedic Religion which in reality is monotheistic as opposed to polytheistic. The so called display of polytheism is only a device to appeal to the widest array of souls having a human experience. God is always inviting us "Back home back to Godhead".............................................................[1] The most holy of all names of God for a Jew is KNA or KANA, Rabbi's have slapped my face when I have said this name out loud.This is considered to be the most intimate name for God in the Old Testament. Where it is translated, "I am a jealous God, have no other gods before you", the literal Hebrew translation is, "My name is EL KNA, have no other gods before you."[2]From a Vedic (Hindu) view point, Kana is also an affectionate name of Krishna, The pronunciation used above "KRE ShTN" is very similar to the way south Indians pronounce Krishna.[3]DEMIGODS AND ANGELS have the same function in both traditions.a. The Midrash teaches, "There is no blade of grass that does not have a constellation (Mazal) over it, telling it to grow." [Sefer Yetzirah 4.6]"As commentaries explain, 'God's providence works through the angels, but the angels, in turn, work through the stars and planets. As some authorities put it,the angels are, in a sense, like souls to the stars. Thus, for example, some sources speak of the stars as having intelligence, but the commentaries note that this is actually speaking of the angels that are associated with them.'" [Sefer Yetrzirah 4.6]b. The Vedic conception is that there are many specially empowered demigods who help manage the affairs of the universe including...

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