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Pagan News Beagle: Faithful Friday, September 25

Cubans celebrate their dual faiths of Catholicism and Santería. The dwindling Parsi (Zoroastrian) community of Pakistan struggles to survive. And online atheists grapple with sexism in their movement. It's Faithful Friday, our weekly discussion of religion and religious communities from around the globe. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

Shortly before his visit to the United States, Pope Francis visited Cuba. Despite the country's officially communist stance, many in the country are still fond of the Catholic faith. But Cubans aren't necessarily exclusive in their affections; this article from The Huffington Post examines the Afro-Cuban religion of Santería as well as its long and complicated relationship with Catholicism.

Once the dominant religion of Iran, Zoroastrianism today is an endangered and dwindling faith. In Pakistan, where many Zoroastrians of the Parsi tradition live the religious tradition faces threats from both without and within: without from Islamist violence and within from the religion's own self-segregation from the outside world, which makes it unappealing to young members.

The legacy of Christianity in Africa is a complicated one. Ethiopia was one of the first countries in the world to adopt Christianity, preceding ancient Rome. But Christianity is also inexorably tied up in colonialism and slavery, which were forcibly imposed upon most of Africa by Christian Europe. As such it may not be surprising that some West Africans, such as Azizaa feel a fair degree of hostility toward the religion and hope instead to revitalize their own traditional beliefs.

In theory, people who identify as progressive or left-leaning are pluralistic and supportive of multiple varied ethnic and religious communities. In practice, however, things aren't always so simple. Owen Jones, writing for The Guardian, decries what he considers to be an underlying element of Antisemitism within the European left.

Speaking of problematic currents within a movement, the online atheist community has drawn recent criticism for many of its members misogynistic behavior and speech. Over at Patheos, atheist writer Matthew Facciani describes the necessity of combating sexism within the atheist community openly and how it damages atheists' credibility.

Top image by Dominik Schwarz

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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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