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I originally wrote this post for Idealist in NYC, but thought Ecumenical Women readers might like it as well. Enjoy!

In a country where the larger part of our population is religious, and where our current president believes that social change should come about through religious organizations, Former NYU Professor James Carse’s message might be hard for some to swallow: religion, he argues, has very little to do with belief.

from Mrs. Maze, on Flickr

To Carse, religion is all about longevity rather than belief; it’s what unites people over millennia. Additionally, Carse dismisses attempts to find some underlying unity to all religions. This idea, I would say, is fairly unpopular among many religious people, either because they want to avoid being exclusionary or because they want to find a common thread in humanity’s search for meaning. As a current student at Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan, I find Carse’s arguments in this Salon.com article incredibly interesting and compelling.

But I bet a lot of folks would wonder: If we remove the idea of belief from the religion, would we lose our ethics as well? And with them, our propensity to act? Read the rest of this entry »

For some of our Ecumenical Women superstars, they’ll remember that the theme of CSW 51 was “The elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child.” Well, when we came across this video at Britt Bravo’s blog Have Fun Do Good, we thought it would be a good time to revisit the topic of the girl child.

The video isn’t perfect: it is a project of the Girl Effect, and aside from being partially funded by the Nike Foundation — whose track record isn’t glowing — we wonder if it isn’t a little too simplistic (what? a cow is really the answer?).  But in a world where pregnancy is the leading cause of death for girls aged 15 through 19, and where educated girls and women fosters the education of children… well, we’re willing to get on board.

Just some food for thought.  What do you think?

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