Before moving house, I throw away all the old brooms. But this is just an antiquated superstition.
Inscription in the Asclepion at Epidayuros in Greece, imploring the god of Health for healing
There is, at the outset of any serious pursuit of understanding religion and the history of religion, the need to isolate and redeploy the use of the term ‘superstition’ as routinely applied in contemporary English.
One of the more popular topics of discussion in the World Religions class is the subject of angels and demons.
Most ideas about angels, devils and demons do not come from sacred writings but more often come from stories, traditions and the arts adjacent to an adherent’s religion. Continue reading
The objective of my categories is to orient the student once and for all into religion as a topic of study.
The seven categories are:
- Prehistoric Religion
- Indigenous Religion
- Ancient Religion
- The Hindi Religions
- Religions of China
- The Abrahamic (or Revealed Religions, if you like)
- Modern Religion
It is very important to note that, in my system of categories, I ignore the claims made by any one religion. Many of the modern religions, for example, consider themselves to be a continuation of – or, often, a singularly orthodox expression of – Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, or one of the ancient religions. Continue reading
The obscure nature of sacred writing, or any ancient text for that matter, can be surprisingly discouraging for the student of religion. So much of religious scripture is ambiguous and often unintelligible.
For the good Christian, the four Gospels of the New Testament are central to belief in Jesus. These gospels (the Christian revelation) are often referred to as the canonical gospels to distinguish them from the many other gospels and writings that belong to forms of Christianity that did not survive or, for other reasons were not included in the Bible. The canonical Gospel we know as The Gospel According to John contains over a dozen stories not found in the three earlier Gospels. The most startling of these stories is that of the apostle Thomas who would not believe his friends and peers who claimed that Jesus had come back from the grave and was alive. Continue reading
In the Christian traditions, the founders of Christian monasticism are often referred to as the Desert Fathers.