Interfaith

Material about a variety of faith traditions

How do you define a citizen's identity?

In the old certain days, it was clear what a citizen was. You are a member of a political community, which in turn presumably works with the state to better society. You get to be a citizen by birth or by virtue of naturalisation or by race/religious identity or ethnicity. As is with these definitions, there are many exclusions and exceptions, but largely, getting nationality or being a citizen can be broadly defined to be because of these three reasons. So far so good! When we come to the last one, this is where we start having issues with identity, because it starts to violate the fundamental law of equality. Let us explore some facets of these issues relating to equality and citizenship.

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Ecumenicial organization now to embrace all faiths

A coalition of Evanston churches that has been exclusively Christian during its 36-year history is now opening membership to synagogues, Unitarian churches, Baha'i groups and other faiths to bring greater resources to bear on the problems of hunger and homelessness.

In what leaders are calling a historic vote, members of the Evanston Ecumenical Action Council agreed May 15 to embrace all faiths and change the organization's name to Interfaith Action of Evanston.

The group will welcome any religious or spiritual community in Evanston and the surrounding suburbs. Members must agree to provide delegates to the assembly and provide financial support to the interfaith organization.

The council has sponsored a network of daily soup kitchens at local churches and operated warming centers for the homeless during the cold weather months. The council also runs a year-round morning shelter where people in need receive job counseling and help with substance abuse issues. Most of the participating churches are located in Evanston, though a few are in Wilmette and Skokie.

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Matrixism and Baha'i?

From the "Wikipedia rejects" file...

Matrixism is an internet-based new religious movement (NRM) inspired by the motion picture trilogy "The Matrix". Conceived by an annonymous (sic) group in the summer of 2004 it has grown to attract a following of over six-hundred people to date.

Matrixism carries with it four main beliefs that are described as "The Four Tenets". Briefly these are; belief in a messianic prophecy, use of psychedelic drugs as sacrament, reality is multi-layered and semi-subjective and followers must adhere to the principles of at least one of the world's major religions. The sacred texts of Matrixism are the motion picture trilogy "The Matrix". The adopted symbol for Matrixism is the Kanji symbol for "red".

Matrixism is a syncretic or ecumenical religion. It uses references to "the matrix" from an obscure text of the Baha'i religion, called "The Promulgation of Universal Peace", to make a connection with broader world religious history.

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Unruly Bishop Shifts to Cyberspace

Tuesday, January 16, 1996

Bishop Jacques Gaillot, who was ousted from his see for his outspoken liberal views, has marked the first anniversary of his dismissal by inaugurating what may be the world's first "virtual diocese" in cyberspace.

Read more: Unruly Bishop Shifts to Cyberspace

The devout and the disaffected battle it out on the Internet

A number of on-line newspapers are carrying a Religion News Service story that looks at how the Internet is affecting religious power structures. That story mentions the Baha'is and Talisman:
Writer: G. Jeffrey MacDonald, Religion News Service

"...reform-minded dissidents are finding that the Internet enables them to bypass religious authorities altogether in a way that was virtually impossible, at least in terms of mass media, just 15 years ago.

International followers of Bahai pioneered such circumvention in the mid-1990s, when spirited discussions about official policies and projects occurred in an arena where authorities couldn't regulate what was said - the independent Web-based project called Talisman."

Sources:
Spirited Blogs: The devout and the disaffected battle it out on the Internet
Winston-Salem Journal, May 6, 2006.
Religious blogs test beliefs, power structure
The Chicago Tribune, April 28, 2006.