Tag Archives: Christianity

Mundus, caro, et diabolus

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Hieronymus Bosch, late 15th century, “Garden of Earthly Delights” detail

Anyone studying the religions of the world will encounter from time to time the notion that all religion is somehow fundamentally anti-human; all religion seems to denounce and find fault with life-on-planet-Earth.

Are there any religions that do not reject our earthly existence?

The translation of the title (above) is: “The World, the Flesh and the Devil”

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Miracles in the 80’s

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The original five children of Medjugorje in their vision state – communicating with Mary, mother of Jesus in 1983.

The study of miracles and supernatural manifestations will always be a subject of great interest for the student of religion, as many religious adherents will claim that their belief has been confirmed and often reinforced by these unexplainable events and miracles.

It’s hard to believe – it’s been thirty years. In 1984 I was invited to travel from Rome to Bosnia (then Yugoslavia) with a Franciscan priest who organized trips to visit the miraculous apparitions of Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the town of Medjugorje.
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Modern Religion vs Late 18th century Churches

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George Whitefield, preacher of the Christian revivals that became the ‘Great Awakening’ in colonial US.

Many Christian churches of North America have their origins in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and my students often asked me whether these are best studied as Modern Religion or as part of Christianity.

The introductory class on religion is not the place to memorize the hundreds of different sects of Christianity or their origins. Later, when studying Christianity in depth, a student can research the details of sectarianism in European churches and the continued splintering of denominations in the Americas.

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The Term ‘Abrahamic’

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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

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Filed under Origins, Religious Controversy, Religious Literacy, Ways to Learn the World Religions

Recipe for Happiness

Most all religions have at one time or another described themselves as a path to truth and a recipe for happiness. As these recipes are believed to come from a spokesperson for the divine, it’s fair to say that some part of religion consists of a ‘how to’ set of instructions, like a recipe, revealed, as it were, from the Divine Chef.

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