Does God exist? What’s the relationship between religion and race? Our curated list of religious debates, explains the landscape of opinion around some of the oldest questions known to man.
For the two billion Christians worldwide, Jesus of Nazareth is the son of God - a first century messiah who performed miracles before being crucified to atone for the sins of mankind. However, some claim that Jesus was something else entirely, and have developed conspiracy theories claiming he was anything from a hypocrite to an alien. Who, or what, was Jesus?
A theodicy is a story that attempts to demonstrate that the presence of evil in the world does not disprove the existence of a perfectly good, almighty, and all-knowing God. Theodicies and defences are two forms of response to this conundrum. Evil can be classified into natural evil such as disease and physical catastrophes or moral evil, which can be summed up as “man’s inhumanity to man.”
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) is a terrorist militant organization seeking to establish itself as state and as a self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate. Under the ideology of Salafism, a conservative interpretation and movement of Sunni Islam, and describing its efforts as a jihad, many point to how religion is at the core of ISIS. However, many others argue that the Islamic State’s primary motivations are more political, using religion as a veil to increase its legitimacy and as a recruitment strategy.
If you have read Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilisations or listened to Slavoj Žižek’s commentary on coexistence of cultures in the postmodern world (mainly the West); and reviewed the rhetoric of some Salafi Muslim clerics and European ecclesiastical leaders, you will be able to draw parallels in the sometimes subtle references to exhalation of “self” and denigration of the “other”.
In both the 2016 and 2020s US election, White Evangelical Christians resoundingly voted for Donald Trump, and were critical in his Presidential victory. This, despite much of Trump’s behaviour seen as an affront to “traditional values”. Why?
When Copernicus and Galileo championed a heliocentric view of the universe, they were demonised by the Catholic authorities for fear of threatening their legitimacy. Would the discovery of alien life on other planets threaten the power and importance of modern religions in a similar way?
For much of time people have questioned the existence of God. This question understands God as ‘Supreme Being and Creator of the Universe’, not a specific God (Christian, Islamic, Jewish, or other), and explores the various positions and arguments for and against the existence.
In a landmark 2018 court ruling, Jews became a protected “race” under American law. This judgement was divisive. The case, in which a Catholic convert had been denied a job beause of his Jewish bloodline, should have been a victory for victims of anti-Semitism. Instead, many Jews saw its result as short-sighted. They argue that formalising racial distinctions legitimises racism. And that this approach is in the same genre of identity politics as the Holocaust. Others claim that categorising Jews as a minority ethnic group helps protect them against discrimination. Are Jews white?
With the UK’s Labour Party, the French Parliament, and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar in the US all at the centre of rows over anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, what is the relationship between the two concepts? Is either acceptable? Or do both words describe damaging and dangerous prejudices against Jewish communities across the globe?
Boris Johnson MP recently divided opinion for controversial remarks about Muslim women who wear burkas/burqas. Though he did not advocate a ban, his comments have reignited the debate following bans on the full-face-and-body coverings becoming law in countries including France, Belgium, and Denmark. Should similar prohibitions should be introduced in the UK? This question operates on the basis that women are making a free choice when wearing burkas, and are not forced to be doing so - something which all parties would reject.