A celebration of the holy land of Krishna. Discussions about diversity within Hindu theology and philosophy. And a Muslim feminist manifesto. It's Faithful Friday, our weekly segment on faiths and religious communities from around the world! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

Most major religions feature numerous sacred locations. Polytheistic religions, all the more so. Hinduism Today takes a look at Braj in Uttar Pradesh, a region associated in Indian mythology with the Hindu god Krishna, considered by most Hindus to be an avatar of Vishnu.

Those unfamiliar with Buddhism may only know of Siddhartha Gautama, the Shakyamuni Buddha, as a sacred figure in the religion. But Buddhism has many holy men and women, not just Gautama. Some of those are also known buddhas but others are called bodhisattvas and they are particularly important in Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Buddhist magazine Lion's Roar examines how one can achieve this status, which may be more attainable than you would expect.

One thing Hinduism is sometimes criticized for is its diversity of practices, which to Western eyes might look like heterodoxy. But such variety may not be a weakness but rather a strength. That's what Deepika Birks argues for Patheos here.

Atheism and irreligion may seem like synonymous terms. But not all of those who forsake religion claim to be atheists. And perhaps not all atheists are irreligious. After all, atheism literally means a disbelief in "gods," but no all religions are specifically theistic in nature. At Vox, Sean Illing talks with Alain de Botton about the "uses of religion" for non-believers and why atheism doesn't have to mean a disregard for the sacred.

Muslim feminists often find themselves at the crossroads of two unpleasant trends in modern society: Islamophobia and anti-feminism. To outsiders, it can seem like an incredibly difficult position to walk, if not an impossible one. But many Muslim women don't feel that way. Writing for The Huffington Post, Krutika Pathi explains why she's proud to call herself both a Muslim and a feminist.


Top image by R4vi