This week, we dip into the archives to look more closely at a small sampling of non-Abrahamic religions. We talked with author Thrity Umrigar about why she wrote a children’s book about the festival of Diwali – celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains. Then Sr. Maureen Fiedler talks with scholar Stephen Prothero about the Yoruba tradition. We conclude this week’s show with a discussion with the filmmakers of The Gate: Dawn of the Baha’i Faith – the story of its founder, the Báb.
A Conversation with Thrity Umrigar about Binny’s Diwali
Thrity Umrigar is a much-lauded author of literary fiction, much of it set in India and among the Indian diaspora. Now, she returns to the Diwali celebrations of her Indian childhood for “Binny’s Diwali,” a picture book for children that explains how her family celebrates this important but little-understood Indian festival
Yoruba Religion: The Way of Connection
The Yoruba religion is a tapestry of myths, magic, spirits, and secrets. Stephen Prothero calls it “a tradition about hanging onto tradition,” a way for people scattered by the African diaspora to connect to their common origins. The gods of Yoruba are more like super-powerful humans, with their own personalities, stories, and tastes in music. And they’re often wonderfully mischievous. Yoruba religion teaches that our problem is disconnection; the solution is to reconnect ourselves to a divine power, through fortune telling, sacrifice, and spirit/body possession.41:20-42:50 90-second music bed
The Greatest Story Never Told: Documentary Explains the Origins of the Baha’i Faith
Steve Sarowitz is not a filmmaker. But when the former tech entrepreneur declared himself a Baha’i, he felt compelled to let others know about his new faith. With only about five million Baha’is in the world, few people know much about the religion. But Baha’i are not allowed to proselytize, so Sarowitz set off to make what became The Gate: Dawn of the Baha’i Faith, a documentary from Spring Green Films about the creation of the Baha’i faith and its prophet, the Báb, directed by Peabody Award-winner Bob Hercules.