May 27, 2014 · 2:37 PM
One of the best things you can do for yourself as an honest student of religion is to throw away the common concept of a ‘religious cult’.
The porch of caryatids at the Erechtheum in Athens, the civic cult of Athena.
The student who has accepted my notion of Modern Religion and has discarded the concept of religious cult (or ‘secte’ in French) as a rogue religion, will be able to explore these religions, whether or not these religions function within accepted laws or cultural norms and regardless of their modern expression, denomination, or relationship to the state.
The ‘cult of a god’ is a term that goes to the heart of all religion, both the living traditions and those that are extinct.
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Filed under Origins, Religious Controversy, Religious Literacy
Tagged as Church of Christ Scientists, cult, history of religion, Modern Religion, new religions, origins of religion, Religion and Spirituality, religious cult, scientology, sect, Studying World Religions, theosophy
May 22, 2014 · 12:41 PM
To help you remember the many and diverse religions of the world, my seven categories of all religions past and present offer you assistance and support.
The Mahikari-no-Waza Temple at Takayama, Japan.
Modern Religion – the last of my categories – allows you to easily isolate the more recent religions from their ancient inspiration. A modern religion is any and all religion that has a founder or foundation after the beginning of the nineteenth century. Modern religion contains at least one, but most often several, of the following: Continue reading →
Filed under Easy Categories, Origins, Religious Literacy, Ways to Learn the World Religions
Tagged as history of religion, Major religious groups, Modern Religion, new religions, Religion and Spirituality, religious cult, religious sect, religious studies, Studying World Religions
May 15, 2014 · 8:40 AM
image above: detail of Abraham and Isaac on the way to the Place of Sacrifice Marc Chagall, 1931
It is endlessly troublesome to create helpful categories for the myriad religions of the world.
The centuries of hostility between the so-called Abrahamic religions originate from their competitive claims to the Hebrew prophetic tradition and from their mutually exclusive claims to the revelations attributed to Abraham and the canon of Israelite prophets. I’m not sure why this category title ever felt right to anyone, religious or otherwise. Continue reading →
Filed under Origins, Religious Controversy, Religious Literacy, Ways to Learn the World Religions
Tagged as Abrahamic Religions, ancient religion, Christianity, Christianity and Islam, history of religion, Islam, Judaism, Major religious groups, Rabbinic Judaism, Religion, Religion and Spirituality, Studying World Religions