Tuesday, 29 May 2007

May 29: Social at Tai Wu

We had a nice buffet social, discussing things like Richard Dawkins, Bill's book on Only God can be proved to exist by reason, and the travels of many of our members who are going away for the summer.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

May 22: Discussion on religions and women

We discussed for a while about what to discuss during this meeting. I had some material with me about eco-islam as a leaflet (you can download the leaflet and mor info from http://www.ifees.org.uk/ ) and hare krishna's ecologically self-sustaining community in Hungary
( http://krisnavolgy.hu/english/day/index.html ) so I thought maybe we could discuss about religions and the environment. Robert brought with him a funny film called Victor/Victoria ( http://imdb.com/title/tt0084865/ ) but many of us had to leave early and it was unrelated to religion, so we didnt watch it. He also suggested a channel 4 movie called beautiful thing ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115640/ ). Anyway after a while we ended up discussing religions' approach to women (ironic for 6 guys to discuss, but no less ironic than the womens week at university few months back when there were 6 athiest or cynical women discussing women in religion, and 3 religious men).

Anyway, we discussed the bahai faith approach to women, especially the positive aspect that bahais are supposed to educate their daughters in preference if they have limited means, so that they can grow up to be good mothers. We discussed the buddhist problems about nuns having less rights than monks and the controversial part about women cant get enlightened. We went on to Christianity and discussed how perhaps (controversially for some) Jesus could be interpreted as a radical feminist in his time, since in the gospel are accounts where he touched women to heal them (perhaps not appropriate as per traditional jewish laws of the time), was anointed by a woman, had a woman wash his feet with tears before he washed the disciples' feet, was served water by a samaritan woman etc. we discussed the hindu concept of mother goddess, about God being depicted as androgynous ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ardhanareshvara ) in certain places etc, yet the fact that some women are yet oppressed. I had to leave a bit early, so missed the rest of the discussion. Perhaps Kevin or Robert could fill us in on that.

Thats all for now, think we shall meet again next week if people are willing to come along.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

May 15: Discussion on meaning of life

We were thinking of showing the film "the Message" based on the founding of Islam by Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) and its early days (at least i brought my laptop and the DVD). However, it was a bit long and some of us had already seen it, so we shelved the plan. I have a DVD that was kindly given by the Islamic society (or it could be didsbury mosque) so if any of you want to borrow it, it can be arranged. For more information see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Message_%28film%29
For those interested in many religious films, you can see the list at http://www.adherents.com/movies/

We started with Oxana sharing some Buddhist jokes from http://www.serve.com/cmtan/buddhism/Lighter/index.html (some of the jokes might need a bit of knowledge about buddhist world to appreciate)

After that we started with a discussion on the meaning of life, sharing our own views. There were various views from different perspectives discussed as to what is the meaning of life, including to get rid of suffering, to live in the fullness of life, to get close to God, to obey God's laws and his messengers, to live and not try to live, to simply exist, etc. We also spoke on how it would be to exist for a child in darfur for example. We also spoke about maths and physics and reality (inductive and abductive arguments, that there is no such thing as a perfect circle) and skepticism (that everything that is spoken is within some axioms out of which no communication is possible) and bayesians and meditation and drugs and a popular catholic priest called Brian D'arcy.

After the discussion, some of us went to falafel for some food. We decided that we would keep these meetings going for next few weeks, as long as people are happy to come along.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Mar 13: mass at Holy Name

We went to the Holy Name church and although all couldnt see properly the whole thing, it was certainly a very interesting experience for everyone. At least you can read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_%28liturgy%29

After attending the mass we went to Falafel restaurant in Rusholme and had a meal and also had grace before the meal in different languages: Bengali (from John), German (Robert) and English, and witnessed Nicholas and others breaking the Bahai fast with a Bahai prayer.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

May 8: Discussion and scripture study

We had a scripture study this time, and discussed the attitudes of different religions to those who are non-believers (or apostates, or covenant breakers, or infidels, or heretics) in those respective religions. We discussed quotes from the Bible, Quran, Buddhist scriptures, Bhagavad Gita and Kitab-e-Aqdas to compare on this topic. we also discussed about some of the New religious movements (NRMs) that evmerged from some of the older religions.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

May 1: Film John Safran Vs God

On Tuesday 1 May meeting, we continued watching the rest of the John Safran Vs God episodes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Safran_vs_God (you can see most of them from youtube) including the very interesting exorcism episode with evangelist Bob Larson, with Bob "exorcising" John of all the daemons he picked up during his trials of all the earlier religions!