Islam comes in as the second most popular religion in the world, with approximately one billion members. Some Islamic people claim that there are actually more practicing Muslims than practicing Christians. This depends on how one defines the word “practicing.” A person who cites his/her religion as Christianity might not, for example, attend church regularly. This to a Muslim might seem like failure to practice the religion.
In the United States, however, Islam is the fastest growing religion. Roughly 80% of the mosques in the US were built within the last 20 years.
Today is the first day of Ramadan for the Muslim Faith. Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting and lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon. Once the moon rises, a practicing Muslim begins his fast. Once the moon sets, they can break their fast.
|photo taken from our driveway this evening on June 18th, 2015|
Fasting is "obligatory" for adult Muslims, except those who are suffering from an illness, travelling, are elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic or going through menstrual bleeding. While fasting from dawn until sunset, Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations with one's spouse.
Muslims are also instructed to refrain from sinful behavior that may negate the reward of fasting, such as false speech (insulting, backbiting, cursing, lying, etc.) and fighting. Food and drink is served daily, before dawn and after sunset. Spiritual rewards for fasting are also believed to be multiplied within the month of Ramadan. Fasting for Muslims during Ramadan typically includes the increased offering of prayers and reading their holy writ.
One could say that all of the above practices during Ramadan are "good fruits" ...and if so that their religion must be true. (the "good fruits = true religion" is a reference to a recent Boise talk given this past Sunday)
The third largest group of the population is considered non-religious. About one billion people consider themselves to not regularly practice any religion, or to be atheists. This is actually a diverse group, including agnostics. Atheists only represent a small portion of the one billion. Many are simply unsure what faith is the right one for them, and also may have problems with organized religion in general.
One of the Christians denominations are the Baptists. They have recently taken a bold stand on some political issues recently. It was reported on FOX news that the Southern Baptists cannot and will not affirm anything that deviates from God's designs.
Here is one quote from the Fox news article…"While affirming their love for all people — regardless of sexual orientation, the former Southern Baptist presidents said they 'cannot and will not affirm the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior or any behavior that deviates from God's design for marriage.' 'Our first duty is to love and obey God, not man.'"
I compare that bold statement that to this new billboard that can be seen in the heart of Salt Lake City along the 1-15.
|Taken on June 17th in Salt Lake City, UT|
A friend of mine emailed this thoughts yesterday,
"I think the LDS church would consider "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" a groundbreaking document in support of marriage in it's time. I agree that perhaps it was then but I think in recent times they have found themselves reacting to the zietgiest of the population and trying to fit in rather than our the president (prophet) taking bold moral stances in a public way. Absent a strong voice from leadership, the "proclamation" has been a great go-to document in a pinch. If you remember, the proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting in 1995 and he is now, dare I say, dead, so that may totally invalidate that document. If the living prophets trumps the deceased you'd think a bold sturdy statement would be in line. Come to think of it, I'm not really sure where the church stands on it given their statements from a few months ago - (Mormons free to back gay marriage on social media, LDS apostle says - plus issues revolving around scouting). Seems like in scripture the prophets were the first out of the chute to identify and teach Christ's message to any and all who would listen, even at the risk of their life let alone popularity. We became a bit gun shy I think with prop 8 in CA. so "luke warm" seems to be the most comfortable stance to take. I think Christ had something to say about "luke warm" - Anyway, it's amazing to watch."