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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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God's Business

Here is an excellent 6 part series, covering the major Religions, from Al Jazeera English.

God's business, a six part series: Al Jazeera English - Programmes

"Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."

Jesus's advice to his followers is one of the clearest and boldest statements dividing religion from the worldly concerns of money, politics and power.

However, reality in the 21st century is much more complex.

No religious movement has managed to truly disentangle matters of faith from the messy and confusing stuff of daily life.

John McCarthy in Jerusalem
God's Business aims to get behind the issues of faith and how it affects people's real lives, their work, their families and the how they view their government and leaders.

Renowned journalist John McCarthy has been investigating these issues and approaches six major world religions with the same questions:

How do these institutions balance the demands of religious teaching and ceremony with wealth, power and human weakness?

How do they function as powerbrokers in the often dangerous realm of politics, both local and global?

And do these dealings inevitably threaten the moral integrity and clarity of purpose of religious institutions?

God's Business is a six-part series by ORTV for Al Jazeera and will air from the Monday 17th September to the 29th October 2007.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 04:24 PM
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The Taliban have that one covered by dismantled all civil institutions, and closed all women Institutions. And would deem anything outside their rule to be violators of the Shariah. The Taliban's harsh fundamentalist rule has solved the problem of compromise.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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The Taliban as the first Islamic Anarchists?
I still find the different viewpoints of the six parts very informative.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-11-2007, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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Part One - Greek Unorthodox

The video links are underneath each: Al Jazeera English - Programmes
Part One - Greek Unorthodox

The Holy Land: the place where Christianity was born, and has existed continuously from the beginning; yet the Greek Orthodox Church has moved in to key holy sites and treated them as its own fiefdom.

In doing so, it has alienated the local congregation of Palestinian Christians to the point where it is accused of running a property business, not a religious institution.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
This allegation coincides with a whole outburst of financial, sexual, political and legal scandal that has affected the Church, not only in Jerusalem and the Holy Land but in Greece itself.

We focus on some land deals in Jerusalem which have profound political, financial and moral implications; they even impact on the larger Middle East issue as the land in question was a key discussion point when Clinton, Arafat and Barak met at Camp David.

The Greek Orthodox Church is the second-largest landowner in Jerusalem after the Israeli state and this property business is presided over by a secretive organisation of Greek bishops called the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre - it owns the leases both of the prime minister's residence and the Knesset, which has just expired.

Part Two - Hinduism Goes Global

This film tells the story of a small regional Hindu sect that has gone global; the Swaminarayan movement was founded 200 years ago in the state of Gujerat by a man who declared himself to be the ultimate manifestation of God.

His first followers were poor peasants, but this group, many of them Patels, has since spread all over the world as shopkeepers, teachers and increasingly as successful entrepreneurs and highly educated professionals.

Hindu temple in India
Today they are building vast religious complexes across America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Their most impressive centre, which uses the techniques of Disneyland to convey a message of Hindu pride, was built in the Indian capital, New Delhi.

So influential has the Swaminarayan movement become that both the prime minister and president of India presided over the recent opening of the Delhi centre.

But has the movement grown so absorbed in creating a corporate presence, involved in finance, politics and influence – as well as charity work – that it now risks losing its spiritual heart? Are networking and power-play submerging the original message?

Part Three - Islam in Israel

When Israel was created in 1948, the Palestinians were scattered and divided across many lands. Today, the Palestinians who now make up 20 per cent of the Israeli population are growing ever closer to their fellows in the Occupied Territories.

Increasingly they are being drawn together by the Islamic faith as a religious, cultural and political force. At its centre is the most contested piece of land on earth: the site of the al-Aqsa mosque or, as the Israelis know it, the Temple of Solomon.

Al-Aqsa Dome in Israel
Palestinians in the Occupied Territories can no longer get to Jerusalem because of the Wall, so the Islamic movement organises busloads of Israeli Palestinians every week to come to attend the mosque and help sustain the battered economy of the Old City.

This is the symbolic heart of the health, welfare and education projects that have made the Islamic movement a fast-growing political force; its supporters have elected mayors of Arab towns and members of the Knesset.

These representatives also act as a bridge to Hamas, the elected leadership of the Occupied Territories. We show how, on both sides of the wall, Islam is becoming the dominant voice of Palestinian politicians.

Part Four - Islam in France

The six million Muslims in France form Europe's largest Islamic community and we explore the tensions between a people defined by their religious identity, and a fiercely secular state.

Set in Lyon, France's second most populous city and filmed during Ramadan, this film explores the rivalry between the Grande Mosque, financed by Saudi Arabia, and a newly-opened local mosque which is the first to be funded only by French Muslims.

The call to prayer
The funding of the new mosque represents an urge for independence from foreign influence, and a conscious attempt to create a French Islam; the French government supports the principle of a home-grown Islam. But what does this mean in practice?

The question is also pressing at the first Islamic school to gain a place in the state system, which we follow in its very first days. It has taken years of struggle against resistance from the city authorities to get this school open.

The organisers hope to have scores of such schools in France, but have to reconcile their aims with a society that demands public education free of religious influence. French Islam is at the epicentre of the debate about what Islam might become in the modern world.

Part Five - Russians in Israel

Twenty per cent of Israel's population are those who have arrived from Russia in the past 20 years. This new wave of immigrants – more than a million of them – has already transformed Israeli society.

Their impact is provoking big questions about how they will help to shape it in the future; the Russian language, Russian culture, Russian values and taste (including non-kosher meat) and Russian enterprise can be seen everywhere.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
We explore how this presence is raising the issues of what it is to be Jewish, and the kind of society Israel should be. We focus on a group of Russian immigrants who are having a big impact on Israeli media and politics.

By contrast, we meet others who find themselves at the margins of society; they feel themselves excluded and even despised on account of their Russian-ness.

Is there a danger that the Russians are creating a unique culture, set apart from the rest of an already fragmented society? The questions Israelis are now asking are: how Jewish are they, and how committed to the Zionist project?

Part Six - Anglican's Rebranded

The Anglican Church has become increasingly marginalised in British society; seen by many as an echo of the lost imperial order, from the days when Britain ruled the world and Anglicanism was the creed of the British Empire, the Church now suffers from ever-declining congregations and ever-increasing bills.

We examine the efforts of the Church to respond to a new world in which, in the words of the Bishop of London, "the new God is the economy".

John McCathy in St Pauls Cathedral in London
The film explores the Alpha Project, which has spread from one London church to 160 countries and a membership of 8 million people, by exploiting the techniques of advertising, marketing and networking.

Despite its troubles in the home country, the Anglican Church is becoming an increasingly international enterprise; it is growing rapidly in Africa and is second in size only to the Roman Catholic Church.

While this powerful new force is even injecting new energy into the mother church in Britain, it may be that the Church of England is becoming the Church of Africa?
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-12-2007, 05:58 AM
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Another good thread Teutone. Not having seen this series, I believe that there are enough common denominators between the world's major religeons to convince me that none of them are that far apart philosophically.

The differences are, and always have been, mankind's perversion of what was meant to be. I hope I live long enough to see the people of the world cast aside their petty religeous disagreements, and come to the realization that all of us are brothers/sisters.

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