Currently viewing the tag: "belief"


Diwali or Deepavali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere (spring in southern hemisphere). It is an official holiday in Fiji, Guyana, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. One of the major festivals of Hinduism, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. Its celebration includes millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities and countries where it is observed. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika in Bikram Sambat calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set during Diwali or create a festival for the world you have created.

Journaling Prompt: Write about what candles and lights symbolize to you.

Art Prompt: Diwali

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about Diwali and compare it to a festival or holiday that you celebrate.

Photo Credit: Aeikesh Ghosh Dastidar on Flickr


The Shroud of Turin or Turin Shroud (Italian: Sindone di Torino, Sacra Sindone [‘sa?kra ‘sindone] or Santa Sindone), a length of linen cloth bearing the image of a man, is believed by some Christians to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth, although three radiocarbon dating tests in 1988 dated a sample of the cloth to the Middle Ages. The shroud is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, northern Italy. The Catholic Church has neither formally endorsed nor rejected the shroud, but in 1958 Pope Pius XII approved of the image in association with the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus…

…The image on the shroud is much clearer in black-and-white negative than in its natural sepia color, and this negative image was first observed in 1898 on the reverse photographic plate of amateur photographer Secondo Pia, who was allowed to photograph it while it was being exhibited. A variety of methods have been proposed for the formation of the image, but the actual method used has not yet been conclusively identified. Despite numerous investigations and tests, the status of the Shroud of Turin remains murky, and the nature of the image and how it was fixed on the cloth remain puzzling. The shroud continues to be both intensely studied and controversial. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story involving a mystery around a religious relic.

Journaling Prompt: Are mysteries surround religious relics important to your faith or not? Why?

Art Prompt: Shroud of Turin

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the history of the Shroud of Turin.

Photo Credit: Shroud of Turin on Wikimedia


In the Ancient Near East along the Tigris–Euphrates river system there were many shrines and temples or “houses of heaven” dedicated to various deities documented by the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus in The Histories where sacred prostitution was a common practice. It came to an end when the emperor Constantine in the fourth century AD destroyed the goddess temples and replaced them with Christianity. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a sacred prostitute.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your feelings about sex as a sacred act.

Art Prompt: Sacred prostitute

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the history of the houses of heaven and the women who worked in them.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

children in Angola

I had traveled to Angola as part of an effort by the World Bank… the destruction of the people and their way of life had been so complete, the loss and pain so debilitating that they had lost the capacity to celebrate or affirm their lives in a way that we might recognize as recovery. The traditional sources of ritual and cultural teaching – the tribal shaman or medicine man, the death rituals, spiritual practice, music, dance, and tribal arts, for instance – had been wiped out or severely disabled in the war. Without these key elements of cultural survival, the struggle for individual survival was made even more difficult. –In the Moment: Celebrating the Everyday by Harvey L Rich, MD

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a people that has lost its culture. 

Journaling Prompt: Write about one aspect of you personal culture that you could not live without.

Art Prompt: My culture

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about your culture and what makes it special to you.

Photo Credit: wilsonbentos on Flickr

The Holy Pool of St. Fillan

At Strathfillan, there is a deep pool, called the Holy Pool, where, in olden times, they were wont to dip insane people. The ceremony was performed after sunset on the first day of the quarter, O. S.,* and before sunrise next morning. The dipped persons were instructed to take three stones from the bottom of the pool, and, walking three times round each of three cairns on the bank, throw a stone into each. They were next conveyed to the ruins of St Fillan’s chapel; and in a corner called St Fillan’s bed, they were laid on their back, and left tied all night. If next morning they were found loose, the cure was deemed perfect, and thanks returned to the saint. The pool is still (1843) visited, not by parishioners, for they have no faith in its virtue, but by people from other and distant places. –The Book of Days: A miscellany of popular antiquities in connection with the calendar, etc , W & R Chambers

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a miraculous healing at a holy pool.

Journaling Prompt: Do you believe in miracles?

Art Prompt: Miracle

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the story of a pilgrimage to a holy place.

Photo Credit: Willie Angus on Flickr

Alice in Wonderland with the Flowers

For, you see, so many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible. –The Complete Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Fiction Writing Prompt: What impossible thing has occurred to your character that is causing him or her to consider other impossible possibilities?

Journaling Prompt: What do you believe is impossible that you are learning may be possible?

Art Prompt: Impossible possibilities

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the power of believing the impossibility.

Photo Credit: cea + on Flickr

Most people have a tendency to believe that they’re more knowledgeable about a topic simply because they’re more familiar with it. They may have years of experience in a field, but still lack the detailed information required to accurately explain it. Teachers often discover this flaw when they attempt to explain a topic they thought they knew. To counteract someone’s claims that they “know” a field or subject they might not actually be that knowledgeable on, ask them to explain their position in detail first…

This strategy has two advantages: for starters, by allowing the other person to speak first, you open them up emotionally. Rather than starting off on a confrontational tone, allowing them to voice their perspective makes them feel more validated and, thus, more willing to listen to outside input. Secondly, it gives you a better look into how well they understand a subject, and where you can offer specific information that conflicts with their understanding. The more detailed and specific information you can offer contrary to their viewpoint, the easier it may be to persuade them to your side. –Eric Ravenscraft

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use this principle to put your protagonist in an uncomfortable position.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you learned that you didn’t know as much as you thought you did.

Art Prompt: What you don’t know

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about this principle and share the technique for validating others in conversation.

Photo Credit: PhotoAtelier on Flickr

“People seem to have no idea how biased they are. Whether a good decision-maker or a bad one, everyone thinks that they are less biased than their peers,” said Carey Morewedge, associate professor of marketing at Boston University. “This susceptibility to the bias blind spot appears to be pervasive, and is unrelated to people’s intelligence, self-esteem, and actual ability to make unbiased judgments and decisions.”

They also found that people with a high bias blind spot are those most likely to ignore the advice of peers or experts, and are least likely to learn from de-biasing training that could improve the quality of their decisions. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story with a protagonist who has a high bias blind spot.

Journaling Prompt: What are some of your biases? How do you think they affect you?

Art Prompt: Blind spot

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about blind spots and biases. Give them some strategies to notice their own biases in order to root them out.

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk on Flickr

North Korea - Propaganda poster

The propagandist seeks to change the way people understand an issue or situation for the purpose of changing their actions and expectations in ways that are desirable to the interest group. Propaganda, in this sense, serves as a corollary to censorship in which the same purpose is achieved, not by filling people’s minds with approved information, but by preventing people from being confronted with opposing points of view. What sets propaganda apart from other forms of advocacy is the willingness of the propagandist to change people’s understanding through deception and confusion rather than persuasion and understanding. The leaders of an organization know the information to be one sided or untrue, but this may not be true for the rank and file members who help to disseminate the propaganda. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene where your protagonist rebels against propaganda.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the propaganda you were exposed to today and how it made you feel.

Art Prompt: Propaganda

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Talk about propaganda in our culture and how it affects our society.

Photo Credit: Roman Harak on Flickr

People Watching / People Watching

…delusions are false beliefs that a person holds on to, without adequate evidence. It can be difficult to change the belief, even with evidence to the contrary. Common themes of delusions are persecutory (person believes that others are out to harm them), grandiose (person believing that they have special powers or skills), etc. Persons with Ekbom syndrome may have delusional beliefs of an imaginary parasite infestation, whereas depressed persons might have delusions consistent with their low mood (e.g., delusions that they have sinned, or have contracted serious illness, etc.). Karl Jaspers has classified psychotic delusions into primary and secondary types. Primary delusions are defined as arising suddenly and not being comprehensible in terms of normal mental processes, whereas secondary delusions are typically understood as being influenced by the person’s background or current situation (e.g., ethnicity; also religious, superstitious, or political beliefs). –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or poem from the POV of a character having delusions.

Journaling Prompt: What delusions have you had in your life that you have outgrown?

Art Prompt: Delusions

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about secondary delusions and how they manifest in our culture.

Photo Credit: Tim Haynes on Flickr