Category Archives: Religious Tolerance

Equal Protection Under the Law

This episode of Crash Course in Government and Politics provides a general overview of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. Discussed is the concept that the law should be applied equally to everyone and what this means in terms of our civil rights. As opposed to civil liberties, or our protections from the government, civil rights differ in that they involve how some groups or individuals are permitted to treat other groups or individuals (usually minorities) under existing laws. The video explains the process the Supreme Court follows in racial, ethnic and religious discrimination cases, known as “strict scrutiny,” and examines one landmark case, Brown v Board of Education, and its role in kick-starting the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

Freedom of Religion

This episode of Crash Course in Politics provides a general overview of the First Amendment and the freedom of religion. It examines some significant Supreme Court decisions and discusses how they’ve affected our interpretations of the law with respect to issues like animal sacrifice and prayer in schools. As you’ll see, there aren’t always clearly defined, or bright-line, rules in approaching these legal questions. Sometimes tests have to be developed to account for the ever-changing nature of the law and it’s applications.

Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: http://youtube.com/pbsdigitalstudios

John Paul Sartre: The Existential Choice

Synopsis: The existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre thought that human beings live in anguish. Not because life is terrible. But rather because, we’re ‘condemned to be free’. We’re ‘thrown’ into existence, become aware of ourselves, and have to make choices. Even deciding not to choose is a choice. According to Sartre, every choice reveals what we think a human being should be.

From the BBC Radio 4 series about life’s big questions – A History of Ideas. http://www.bbc.co.uk/historyofideas

This project is from the BBC in partnership with The Open University, the animations were created by Cognitive.

Eastern Philosophy: Confucian Ancestor Worship

Synopsis: Honor your elders. Especially those who brought you into the world. And honour those who brought them into the world and those who brought them into the world and so on… Confucious believed that it is within the family that individuals learn how to live well and become good members of the wider community. Narrated by Aidan Turner.

From the BBC Radio 4 series about life’s big questions – A History of Ideas. http://www.bbc.co.uk/historyofideas

This project is from the BBC in partnership with The Open University, the animations were created by Cognitive.

Eastern Philosophy: Daoism of Lao Tzu

Synopsis: Along with Confucianism, “Daoism” (sometimes called “Taoism“) is one of the two great indigenous philosophical traditions of China. Daoist ideas fermented among master teachers who had a holistic view of life. These daoshi (Daoist masters) did not compartmentalize practices by which they sought to influence the forces of reality, increase their longevity, have interaction with realities not apparent to our normal way of seeing things, and order life morally and by rulership. They offered insights we might call philosophical aphorisms. The following six minute excerpt introduces the teachings of Lao Tzu.

Hindu Story of Creation

Synopsis: Most religions have a single creation story. Hinduism has many. This is because for Hindus there is no single creation, but periodic cycles of creation. The universe we live in is one of innumerable universes.

From the BBC Radio 4 series about life’s big questions – A History of Ideas. http://www.bbc.co.uk/historyofideas

This project is from the BBC in partnership with The Open University, the animations were created by Cognitive.

What is Jihad?

Synopsis: This five minute short, from Simple Islam summarizes the Islamic concept of Jihad, an Arabic word which means “to strive, or struggle in the way of God.” In Islam there are two types of Jihad termed the lesser jihad, represented by a lower case j, and the greater Jihad, represented with a capital J. The lesser jihad is the fight in self-defense of those who seek to harm a Muslim or prevent them from practicing their faith. This was a temporary edict which dates back to the founding of the Islamic faith, when Muslims experienced savage oppression. This jihad was only to be carried out to defend against aggression until peace was restored. The second, or “Greater Jihad” is defined as “the struggle within” to resist one’s evil inclinations. It is the moral struggle to become a better person and develop a closer relationship with God.

What Is Islam?

Synopsis: Islam is the world’s second largest religion. A 2012 Pew Research Center study estimates Islam has 1.6 billion adherents, making up over 23% of the world population. This four minute short, from Simple Islam discusses the basic tenets of the Koran, summarizing the Five Pillars of Faith that all Muslims are required to adhere to. These include (1)  the declaration of faith in God; (2) prayer and service toward those who are in need; (3) fasting to experience the hardships of those who are less fortunate; (4) charity (Muslims must donate 2.5% of their earnings towards charitable causes); and the Holy Pilgrimage to Mecca.

William Paley: The Divine Watchmaker

Synopsis: In Natural Theology, the theologian William Paley pointed out that if you found a watch on a heath you’d naturally assume it had a designer. Paley argued, that in a similar way, the human eye, a brilliant piece of biological machinery, must have also had a designer. But does this prove the existence of a Divine Watchmaker?

From the BBC Radio 4 series about life’s big questions – A History of Ideas. http://www.bbc.co.uk/historyofideas

This project is from the BBC in partnership with The Open University, the animations were created by Cognitive.

 

Thomas Aquinas: The First Mover Argument

Every motion was caused by something else. But how, or who, first caused the universe to come into existence? Gillian Anderson summarizes Thomas Aquinas’ theory of the Prime Mover.

From the BBC Radio 4 series about life’s big questions – A History of Ideas. http://www.bbc.co.uk/historyofideas

This project is from the BBC in partnership with The Open University, the animations were created by Cognitive.