My back is acting up today, and my mind seems to have slowed down.  Instead of some deep thinking about religion I will just post a few interesting pictures from the Guardian, and reprint part of an article in the Christian Science Monitor, about the debate over the building of a Mosque near “Ground Zero”, New York City, that asks the question, “How well do you know Abraham’s children?”

1) Thursday’s Photos of the Day from the Guardian


Bago township, Burma: A woman sleeps near her ducklings at a monastery, which serves as a temporary shelter for flood victims


Tokyo, Japan: A ghost figure at a haunted house in the Tokyo Dome City amusement park.

Have you every had a scary experience with what you thought might be a ghost?

2) Two photos from Friday:


The ‘flowery desert’ in Atacama desert, between Copiapo and Vallenar, Chile. The ‘flowery desert’ is a natural phenomenon in which flowers of great diversity appear in July and August


The sun sets behind a parched tree in Mato Grosso, midwestern Brazil. Dry weather, drought and heat has put about 70% of the country at risk of fires

If you took a photo of you favorite landscape who would it look like?

3) How well do you know Abraham’s children?

From an article in Friday’s Christian Science Monitor, by John Yemma :

“Even an inveterate church dodger can be inspired by the peal of cathedral bells on a Sunday morning. Even a Gentile can understand the deep ties of faith that accompany the sound of the shofar on Rosh Hashana. And you don’t have to be Muslim to appreciate the reverence in a muezzin’s voice reminding worshipers of the oneness of God.

Dive a little deeper, and there is plenty of doctrine in dispute, but at the live-and-let-live level the three great monotheistic religions seem compatible enough. They share the same Abrahamic root and point toward the same singular deity. They have all subdivided and fractured into different strands: some strict, some open-minded, some almost mirroring one another. There are saints and martyrs in Shiism, for instance, as in the Roman Catholic church. The Sunni mufti is like the local preacher or rabbi.

Individual adherents of each faith are even more varied than the faiths themselves. Beside you in a pew or on a prayer rug might be a pious literalist, an easygoing liberal, or a daydreamer thinking about lunch. That’s the thing about humans, you never know what they believe. Some have gone all-in with the sacred texts. Others navigate by their own inner compass.

Which is why it is such a pity that Americans and Europeans are once again freaking out about Islam, wondering if the tolerant heritage of the West (recent and tentative as that heritage is) is not just vulnerable to Muslim radicals but whether Muslims themselves are a danger.”

“Now, about those 6.7 billion: Many pray to the one God. Many do not. Each is influenced by local conditions, family background, education, friendships, and that ineffable inner compass. From the 6.7 billion, a bombmaker can emerge at any time. So can a peacemaker. Individuals can surprise you.”