when people refer to god what do they mean
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Church tax exemption is hotly debated. Although several countries require church members to pay a tax, many consider churches as tax-exempt. In discussions related to this policy, a nation’s perception of religious freedom and the common good is pivotal. Does the tax-exempt status of churches protect or violate these values?
BDS stands for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. It is a non-violent, Palestinian led political campaign that advocates for and promotes various forms of finanical protest against the state of Israel. The objective of BDS is to pressure Israel into abiding by international law, which includes ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, granting Arab-Palestinians Israeli citize...
The cake that Colorado baker Jack Phillips refused to bake was the kindling that lit a nation-wide discussion in the USA. Can a business deny service to an individual on the basis of their sexual orientation? As the Supreme Court came to a verdict in favour of the baker, the narrowness of the ruling still left the question unanswered. The baker was quickly followed by others who stood up in solida...
Few words in the English language convey such a range of meanings as the word "love". For many, love is the point of existence, for others it's the manifestation of the divine, for some it is a tool of oppression. No subject has spawned so much poetry. But what is love? Is it an animalistic urge, a mystical aspiration, a social construct, a neurological glitch, or nothing at all?
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?
Of the world’s population of 7.8 billion, Christianity is the most widely practised religion in the world, with more than 2 billion followers. Next in popularity are 1.5 billion followers of Islam and 900 million Hindu. There are many beliefs that Christians have in common. There are however, not unsurprisingly, also many differences in the more than 21,000 Christian denominations.
As covid-19 hit the headlines and became a national emergency in India, Islamophobia surged. On Twitter, furious posts poured out of the nation with the gruesome hashtag #CoronavirusJihad. The inference was clear: many Indians were using the pandemic as an excuse to victimise its Muslim population. Critics claim its government has done little to stop this, while others say the threat is exaggerate...
Lockdown makes no exceptions for belief. In March 2020 the now iconic image of Pope Francis praying to an empty St. Peter's Square hit the headlines. For the religious, it soon became emblematic of solidarity in isolation. Mass gatherings are now out. Places of worship, prayer groups, pilgrimages, weekly rituals and door-to-door evangelism have now been outlawed in many countries. It may be many ...
There is continued controversy around which bathroom trans people should use - that which is true to their identity, or that which matches their assigned gender at birth. While radical feminist women's groups characterise this as an issue of safety, it can also be seen as a fundamental contravention of trans people's rights to not allow them to use the bathroom that matches their identity.
Theocracy is a form of government in which God or a deity of some type is recognised as the supreme ruling authority, giving divine guidance to human intermediaries that manage the day to day affairs of the government who claim they are in power due to the divine will of their God or gods. Famous theocracies throughout history include the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and the Roman Emp...
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."
Creationism is the belief that the God in the Bible created the earth and the sky and all the things that live therein in six days. There has been furious debate about whether this should be taught in schools. This is especially an issue in the increasingly fundamentalist USA. Creationism is often described in opposition to evolution.
In a nation built on freedom, debate has surrounded the phrase "under God" in The Pledge of Allegiance for decades. Does the phrase alienate all those who are not of Christian faith? Or is it simply the continuance of a long-standing tradition?
When Copernicus and Galileo championed a heliocentric view of the universe, they were demonised by the catholic authorities. Would the discovery of life on other planets threaten the legitimacy and importance of modern religions in a similar way?
Immunisation is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by the administration of a vaccine. "Anti-vaxxers” have firm convictions about vaccines’ harmful effects and many people believe their children have been harmed by vaccines. Others have ‘vaccine hesistancy’: they are not inherently anti-vaccine, but are concerned or confused by the mixed m...
To be denied the opportunity to marry is to be locked out of one of life’s main identity-defining rituals. Marriage is both an expressive and legal act but for many same-sex couples around the world, it is not an option. Should our legal definition of marriage be expanded to include same-sex couples?
Throughout the world, abortions and a woman's right to have them remain taboo. As abortion is illegal in many countries, women sometimes going to extreme and dangerous lengths to obtain them. Going beyond whether or not terminating a pregnancy is right or wrong, what are the pros and cons of abortion? And should abortion as a medical procedure be legal?
Boris Johnson MP recently divided opinion - drawing condemnation from the Prime Minister and provoking a disciplinary investigation by his Conservative Party - 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, Bel...
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?
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”.
With the increasing ubiquity of sexual images, teenagers receive a constant stream of sexual imagery and information. But whose responsibility is it to equip children and teens with the necessary knowledge to form attitudes about sex, relationships and intimacy? Is it the parents'? Or should educators provide teens with comprehensive sex education classes in schools?
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.