Tag Archives: Religion

Ancient Concepts of Life After Death

When Socrates refers to ‘Hades’ in Plato’s dialogue Phaedo, he describes it as the afterlife reserved for the good; and he describes the good man as the ‘philosopher.’

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Bust of Socrates, Vatican Collection

Throughout Antiquity, there were many variations on the theme of life after death, all of which predate Christianity and Islam. The insistance on a “final judgement” in both Christianity and Islam comes directly from the early civilizations of Mesopotamia, the Mediterranean, and the Levant.

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Filed under Origins, Religious Literacy, Revelation

8 Excellent Movies about Religion

Throughout the history of cinema, there have been a number of excellent films that offer insight into the many religions of the world.

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Baraka, 1992, Ron Fricke

Aside from documentary films and ethnographic film on religion, the independent and mainstream cinema has known some very interesting movies through which we can get a glimpse of the religions that may be foreign to us.
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September 5, 2014 · 3:05 PM

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

Too Many Religions! part I

I had often wished for an improved system of categories when I began my study of the world religions. The categories offered were frequently unhelpful due to oversimplification, or they were difficult to remember, or simply excluded some religions all together.

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Filed under Easy Categories, Religious Literacy, Ways to Learn the World Religions

Magic Talk in the Classroom

The terminology we choose in our study of religion can block us from looking closely into the various topics we are hoping to investigate. Uncritical and wonted use of words like ‘magic’,  ‘superstition’ and ‘pagan’ consistently send us off in the wrong direction.

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The most familiar of these words is the term ‘spiritual’. We sometimes use the term spiritual as synonymous with ‘religious’ and at other times to indicate ‘ethereal’ or ‘non-material’ and at other times to indicate ‘mind and emotion’. Often we wander through these various meanings without taking much care. Continue reading

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Filed under Religious Literacy