In spite of the uncertainty we currently face, the endurance of my people throughout conflict, and in particular the resilience of women, gives me hope for Afghanistan's future. I pray that they have learned from this last decade and can use that learning to build a better future for us all.
Caution seems to be the perfect watchword for all to bear in mind when approaching the Hebrew Bible. Yet caution, and its cousin attentiveness, are qualities in short supply in the modern world. The biblical texts are not easy to read or understand. But they are worth engaging with - and that will be the subject of my next blog.
We need to focus as never before on the poorest and most vulnerable communities across the country, investing above all in the infrastructure of basic health and education services that will help lift people out of poverty. Afghanistan needs more schools, more health clinics and more trained teachers and health professionals to staff them.
In a stunningly ironic way it is the political equivalent of survival of the fittest that seeks shelter under a religious cannon. The religious Americans have there ultimate dream cake and eat it: the pre-eminence of self-regard on this earth is the right thing to do for yourself, others and God and as a consequence you are spiritually rewarded for it in the afterlife.
Noting a case in which she administered tiny doses of a solution containing "common table-salt" in which there wasn't "a single saline property left", she reportedly cured a patient who had been "sinking in the last stage of typhoid fever".
New evidence, which I will present here, suggests that gender segregation is not only tolerated, but often legitimised and institutionalised by the very universities and student representatives that are supposed to uphold and promote equality for all.
With their Indian mother and white father, my children stand out at the gurdwara. They look different, and although they don't know it yet, I wonder what impact this will have on their lives. As I see them alongside little boys with turbans and young girls in traditional dress, I wonder when they will notice the differences that are skin deep.
To many - like myself - mentally challenging this stigma is at the heart of prayer, because if we successfully silence the voice of this self-stigmatisation we're left with nothing but the awareness of being a son or daughter of the divine, as Jesus showed us all to be.
Syria lies broken, bloodied, but not quite dead. Faint flickers of national life before the civil war remain, but these are fast being snuffed out; victims of territorial conflict, over which existing democracy and the soothing voice of international arbitration can exert no influence.
Want that feeling? Buy that feeling. Pay in monthly instalments for that feeling. Nowhere has this trend been more extreme than in the "click bait" articles now swarming social media. "What This Boy Has To Say About Family Is The Most Moving Thing You Will Watch Today [VIDEO]", essentially, "click here to feel moved".
I really support the essence and ambition of the Sunday Assembly. However, Atheism's greatest strength will always be it's intrinsic inclusiveness, honesty, openness and enlightened spirit. This must not be forgot in an attempt to market the Sunday Assembly as a friendly (yet ignorant) song and dance.
The Northern Ireland peace process is fraying at the edges. That is if you can call cultural and religious divisions and social hostilities "the edges" when they feed so powerfully the persistence of political problems at the centre.
One less abuser and hater in the world is not something I am sorry to hear. My sorrow in the life and death of Fred Phelps is reserved for the victims of his abuse who never got closure, never saw justice, and have to overcome religious indoctrination. Because those scares can last a lifetime.
We need to move beyond tinkering. There needs to be demonstrable change, driven by a sense of urgency. A clear purpose, founded on human dignity and the common good, can inspire people to come together... But this is not a quick fix. It is a journey that will take many years.
For nine years in a row a controversial resolution on, "Combating Defamation of Religions," described by some as an, "international blasphemy law," has been consistently losing support in the United Nations General Assembly.
The problematic relationship between faith and technology is amongst the most difficult of the challenges faced by Jorge Mario Bergoglio's papacy. Yet many see his interest in the digital as a symbol of the renovation underway in the contemporary Catholic establishment...