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Pagan News Beagle: Faithful Friday, March 18

A Tibetan nun speaks out on the role of women in Buddhism and the world generally. A Christian writer explores the appeal of H.P. Lovecraft. And the London community of Saivite Hindus from Sri Lanka is explored in depth. 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!

Devoting one's whole self to a religious paths is never an easy thing. But for some people the calling comes naturally, even if it takes them outside their culture and comfort zone. Tenzin Palmo, Buddhist nun and feminist talks about how she came to Buddhism and how she's fought for women both within Buddhism and outside of it.

H.P. Lovecraft is one of the most legendary authors in the history of science fiction, fantasy, or horror. Despite his atheism, Lovecraft often drew upon religious themes and invokes a similar sense of awe (and terror) at that which lies beyond the field of human knowledge. Evangelical writer C.R. Wiley considers the appeal of Lovecraft, which he believes lives in the author's use of the "sublime."

Hinduism can be divided into several different sects, the broadest categories of which are often described as Vais(h)navism, S(h)aivism, S(h)aktism, and Smartism. Of those, Vaisnavism is the largest branch but Saivism (which focuses on the god Shiva) is quite influential in its own right. Hinduism Today takes a look at the local Saivite community in London, Britain and how they've preserved their culture and traditions in a foreign land.

Israel is in many ways a land of contradictions. Founded as a refuge for one of the most bitterly and roundly oppressed peoples in the history of the world, it has drawn criticism ever since for denigrating and diminishing the rights of the local inhabitants. Furthermore, though in many ways a country founded on religious principles, there remains a deep tension not only between Jews and Muslim in the county but between secular Jews and their more religious brethren. Pew Research examines these tensions and more in a recent survey.

While in many ways controversial, it's been shown in several cases that religion can be a socially stabilizing influence for people, providing them with structure and guidance in circumstances where they have little of either. This can be particularly true for marginalized communities like the black community in the United States. The Atlantic takes a look at the role religion (specifically Black American Christianity) plays in lives of African-American men.

Top image by Luca Galuzzi

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Aryós Héngwis (or the more modest Héngwis for short) is a native of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, born some 5000 years ago, near the village of Dereivka. In his youth he stood out from the other snakes for his love of learning and culture, eventually coming into the service of the local reǵs before moving westward toward Europe. Most recently, Aryós Héngwis left his home to pursue a new life in America, where he has come under the employ of BBI Media as an internet watchdog (or watchsnake, if you will), ever poised to strike the unwary troll.


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