GateHouse News Service's weekly Religion News with tips on Shia Islam, the least religious states in the U.S., and the religious philosophy of "The Dude".
Week in Religion
Shiite Muslims in Quetta, Pakistan, are refusing to bury those who died in a suicide bombing until the government investigates, CNN reports. The bomber blew up a water tanker full of explosives in a crowded marketplace Saturday, killing at least 89 people and wounding 180 others.
The protest was mounted in response to Pakistan's failure to prosecute the perpetrators of bombings against Shiite Muslims, especially those from the Hazara community, a Shiite group from Afghanistan. The bodies line the street in Hazara Town in Quetta, while demonstrators watch over them. In Islam, it is believed a soul can not be at rest until the body is buried, lending extra weight to the protest.
The government has vowed to catch those who planned the bombing and bring them to justice, and a senior police official said a raid Monday night had captured seven of those responsible, and killed four. Amnesty International reports that there have been 91 documented attacks against Shiites in the past year, resulting in 500 deaths. Over half of those killed were Hazaras.
Vermont is the least religious state in the U.S., according to a Feb. 13 Gallup poll. Nineteen percent of Vermonters were classified as "very religious." Neighboring New Hampshire was the second-least religious state with 23 percents of its inhabitants classified as very religious. Following were Maine with 24 percent, Massachusetts with 27 percent, and Rhode Island and Oregon tied at 29 percent. The District of Columbus had 30 percent, while Nevada, Hawaii, Alaska, Connecticut and Washington all had 31 percent of their citizens classified as very religious.
"The Dude and the Zen Master," by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman
Zen master Bernie Glassman compares Jeff Bridges’s iconic role in "The Big Lebowski" to a Lamed-Vavnik: one of the men in Jewish mysticism who “are simple and unassuming, and so good that, on account of them, God lets the world go on.” His buddy Jeff puts it another way. The wonderful thing about the Dude, he says, is that he’d always rather hug it out than slug it out.
For more than a decade, Academy Award–winning actor Jeff Bridges and his Buddhist teacher, renowned Roshi Bernie Glassman, have been close friends. Inspiring and often hilarious, "The Dude and the Zen Master" captures their freewheeling dialogue about life, laughter, and the movies with a charm and bonhomie that never fail to enlighten and entertain. Throughout, their remarkable humanism reminds us of the importance of doing good in a difficult world.
Quote of the Week
"Whoever seeks to set one religion against another seeks to destroy all religion." - Franklin D. Roosevelt
Shiism: the name of the smaller of the two major branches of Islam. It developed after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, when his followers split over who would lead Islam. The Shiism branch favored Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law Ali Ibn Abi Talib. Its followers are called Shiites.
Religions Around the World
Religious makeup of Pakistan, according to CIA World Factbook:
Sunni Muslim: 85-90 percent
Shia Muslim: 10-15 percent
(Total Muslim: 96.4 percent)
Other: 3.6 percent
GateHouse News Service