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Religion 101

Religion 101

Christianity Archives

At the Intersection of Church and State, the Violations Continue…

posted by Reed Hall

In a previous blog entry, I commented upon a recent news story involving the cancellation of an Arkansas school district’s elementary school graduation ceremonies in the wake of a local controversy over prayer, which the district had intended to incorporate […]

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Pentecost 2013

posted by Reed Hall

This Sunday (May 19) is the Christian holiday known as Pentecost, widely regarded by many believers as marking the actual birth or nativity of the church. Pentecost commemorates the descent of, and the manifestation among Christ’s apostles, of the Holy […]

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It’s Not About Being “Too P.C.” or Not Wanting to “Offend”; It’s About the LAW

posted by Reed Hall

There seems to be a rather widespread misunderstanding regarding the actual underlying motivations of people who object to schools leading prayers and courts posting copies of the Ten Commandments, or who protest against “under God” being in the Pledge of […]

Orthodox Easter 2013

posted by Reed Hall

Today (as I write, Sunday, May 5, 2013), Orthodox Christians worldwide are observing Easter Sunday. Christianity, like other religions, subdivides into a number of major branches. Catholics are the single largest such major branch or subdivision within Christianity, accounting for […]

Orthodox Good Friday 2013

posted by Reed Hall

Today (as I write, Friday, May 3, 2013), Orthodox Christians worldwide are observing Good Friday (or Holy Friday) — the Friday immediately prior to Easter Sunday. Christianity, like other religions, subdivides into a number of major branches. Catholics are the […]

Easter 2013

posted by Reed Hall

Today (as I write, March 31, 2013) is Easter Sunday. Worldwide, Christians today are commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ (traditionally believed to have occurred on a Sunday). On the calendar, Easter Sunday falls in close proximity each year to […]

Good Friday 2013

posted by Reed Hall

Today (as I write, Friday, March 29, 2013), Christians worldwide are observing Good Friday — the Friday immediately prior to Easter Sunday. Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ (traditionally believed to have occurred on a Friday), […]

On Teaching About Indigenous Religions (Part Five)

posted by Reed Hall

Finally, what about something like religious sacrificial offerings? The practice is common enough among indigenous religions; but what role, if any, might such a practice play within major religions of the modern Western world, like Judaism or Christianity? Well, the […]

On Teaching About Indigenous Religions (Part Four)

posted by Reed Hall

So, what about such matters as religious taboos, or religious sacrificial offerings? What role, if any, might such things play within major contemporary religions of the modern Western world — like, say, Judaism or Christianity? In our own contemporary culture, […]

On Teaching About Indigenous Religions (Part Three)

posted by Reed Hall

In my previous blog entry, we looked at some of the similarities and parallels that seem to exist between the shamans of many indigenous religions, and the prophets, priests, and faith-healers of the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. But what about some […]

On Teaching About Indigenous Religions (Part Two)

posted by Reed Hall

Many of the students in my community college world religions courses (who may be completely new to the academic study of religion) often find some of the seeming similarities and peculiar parallels that exist between indigenous religions on the one […]

One Nation: But “Under God”?

posted by Reed Hall

Recent blog posts have addressed some controversial matters arising from the intersection (some might say collision) between religion and our secular culture in general — and our secular public schools in particular. I’ve addressed common misconceptions and misinformation revolving around […]

School Prayer: Yea or Nay?

posted by Reed Hall

In recent blogs, I’ve been concerned with clearing up some common misconceptions relating to areas of interface (sometimes involving significant controversy and conflict) between religion and secular American culture. Having previously discussed why teaching creationism in public school science classes, […]

Why the Ten Commandments Do NOT Belong in Public Schools (Part Three)

posted by Reed Hall

To attempt to put a more “human face” upon all of this abstract armchair argumentation over the constitutionality and legality (or otherwise) of the government posting or supporting displays of the Ten Commandments in U.S. public schools, let’s wrap things […]

Why the Ten Commandments Do NOT Belong in Public Schools (Part Two)

posted by Reed Hall

In my previous blog entry, I underscored the fact that since U.S. public schools are secular state institutions, they therefore cannot endorse or promote religion in general, or any specific religions or religious doctrines in particular. And this means that […]

Why the Ten Commandments Do NOT Belong in Public Schools (Part One)

posted by Reed Hall

In my previous blog entry, I mentioned the fact that U.S. public schools are taxpayer-supported, government-operated state institutions (teachers and other public school staff members are state employees), and that, as state institutions, U.S. public schools are therefore required to […]

No, Creationism is NOT Science; It’s Religion (Part Five)

posted by Reed Hall

As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, there simply is no alternative scientific theory in legitimate, evidence-based competition with evolution. “Creation scientists” frequently attempt to present what they take to be valid empirical data in support of creationism (or […]

No, Creationism is NOT Science; It’s Religion (Part Four)

posted by Reed Hall

As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, the theory of evolution is far from “a theory in crisis,” and is in fact fully accepted by the overwhelming majority of scientists worldwide. Within the U.S. alone (where belief in creationism […]

No, Creationism is NOT Science; It’s Religion (Part Three)

posted by Reed Hall

As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, a sizable proportion of the American public in general fails to understand that in science, a theory is not just a working hypothesis or a mere educated guess, but actually a systematic, […]

No, Creationism is NOT Science; It’s Religion (Part Two)

posted by Reed Hall

As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, a sizable proportion of the American public in general seems to have the impression that creationism and evolution are equally legitimate heavyweight contenders in the scientific marketplace of unsettled ideas. With so […]

No, Creationism is NOT Science; It’s Religion (Part One)

posted by Reed Hall

A sizable proportion of the American public in general — which, of course, includes a correspondingly sizable proportion of the community college students who enroll in my world religions classes each semester — evidently believes that creationism and evolution are […]

No, America is NOT a “Christian Nation”

posted by Reed Hall

A surprising number of students who enter my world religions classes every semester seem to have the idea that the United States is a “Christian nation.” It isn’t. Now, we must of course be careful to clearly define our terms […]

Happy 2013 (But No, Jesus Was NOT Born 2013 Years Ago)!

posted by Reed Hall

Today is January 1, 2013, otherwise known as New Years Day. The beginning of a brand new year (as much of the world reckons time and date), today is the day we throw away our old 2012 calendars and open […]

Was the Virgin Birth REALLY A “Virgin” Birth?

posted by Reed Hall

In my previous blog, I clarified the difference between the Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Birth (they’re by no means the same thing at all, despite widespread misconception and misuse of the two terms as if they were synonymous). The […]

No, the Immaculate Conception is NOT the Virgin Birth

posted by Reed Hall

Yesterday was Christmas. Christmas is, of course, the Christian religious holiday that commemorates the birth of Christ, which may have to do with why this particular religious misunderstanding just happened to pop into my mind. Or it might have popped […]

Christmas 2012

posted by Reed Hall

As I write, tomorrow (December 25) is Christmas, one of the most important holidays on the Christian religious calendar; the term itself derives from the phrase “Christ’s Mass.” The holiday (or “holy day”) is widely celebrated, even among non-Christians, as […]

Christian Demographics & Denominations (Part Two)

posted by Reed Hall

In my previous blog entry (Part One of this pair of posts), I described and illustrated how Christianity worldwide breaks down, in terms of its various branches, wings, and internal subdivisions: Now, moving from a broadly global perspective to a […]

Christian Demographics & Denominations (Part One)

posted by Reed Hall

For those who may not know, Christianity is the single largest religion in the world. Of course, by “Christianity” I do not merely mean, say, evangelical Christianity alone, or any other single subset of the Christian faith (some of whose […]

Christianity: One Faith, Many Flavors

posted by Reed Hall

Question: What do Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists, Amish, Mennonites, Quakers, Pentecostals, charismatics, evangelicals, fundamentalists and “non-denominationals” all have in common? Answer: they’re all “Christians.” Christianity is the largest religion […]

Previous Posts

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Six)
Specifically Christian newcomers to the study of Judaism frequently puzzle over  why -- as they themselves often put it -- Jews "don't believe in Jesus." The reality is simply that the entire Jewish concept of who and what a Messiah actually is (or does) is just nothing like what Christians them

posted 4:45:00pm Jun. 29, 2013 | read full post »

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Five)
Aside from the several other frequent areas of confusion which sometimes puzzle newcomers to the study of Judaism (areas which I've been discussing in my last several blog entries), there is yet another hazy area that is often uniquely puzzling to specifically Christian newcomers: why, as they thems

posted 10:01:32pm Jun. 27, 2013 | read full post »

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Four)
As discussed in previous blog entries, a fairly sizable percentage of the American public seems to know surprisingly little about many of the basics of Judaism. In my own world religions courses, some students begin the semester with no real knowledge of the Jewish faith, and may even harbor some fa

posted 9:16:07pm Jun. 25, 2013 | read full post »

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Three)
As discussed in previous blog entries, a fairly sizable percentage of the American public seems to know surprisingly little about the basics of Judaism. In my own world religions courses, some students begin the semester with no real knowledge of the Jewish faith, and may even harbor some fairly com

posted 6:27:16pm Jun. 22, 2013 | read full post »

Midsummer (Litha)/Yule 2013
Tomorrow (Friday, June 21, 2013) is the date of the summer solstice within the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, by contrast, tomorrow will be the date of the winter solstice. Solstices have long been observed as important seasonal festivals in many traditional cultures. Accordingl

posted 5:05:38pm Jun. 20, 2013 | read full post »

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