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Religion 101 Archives

In my previous blog entry (on religious calendars), I mentioned that according to the Jewish or Hebrew calendar, we are currently living in the year 5772. I further mentioned that the Jewish calendar begins counting or numbering its years from […]

While discussing the month (and the monthlong fast) of Ramadan in my previous blog post, I briefly touched upon the subject of the Islamic calendar. It subsequently occurred to me that many non-Muslims may not be aware that such a […]

Muslims worldwide are currently in the midst of observing Ramadan. But just what, exactly, is Ramadan? Ramadan is well known as the famous month-long fast of Islam. But Ramadan is actually also the proper name of a specific month in […]

The tragic recent events at a suburban movie theater in Colorado, in which a gunman killed 12 people and wounded 58 others, is a vivid and painful reminder of the degree to which senseless evil and profound suffering exist as […]

In the previous entry (“Sacred Texts & Sacred Libraries, Part Two“), I concluded by asking the seemingly straightforward question: How many books are there in the Bible? The simple answer: it depends. It depends not only upon whether we’re taking […]

In my previous blog entry (“Sacred Texts & Sacred Libraries, Part One”), I mentioned that the Bible was itself a kind of “mini-library,” an anthology of multiple individual sacred texts or scriptures, all assembled together between the covers of a […]

Religions and scriptures. Can you have one without the other? Well, yes, actually — you can. The classic example of non-scripture-based faith is the broad category of “indigenous religions” (the myriad native religious traditions of various local, often tribal ethnic […]

(We here continue with our “Ten Essential ‘-isms’,” which we began listing and describing in the previous post [“Part 1”].) By way of wrapping up our discussion of polytheism (begun at the end of Part 1), it’s important to add […]

Newcomers to the study of religion and spirituality, whether they approach such a study academically and objectively (as my own students do, in a college classroom) or more personally and subjectively (perhaps during moments of private religious reflection, or as […]

•  Only half of American adults can name even one of the four Gospels. •  Most Americans cannot name the first book of the Bible. •  Only one-third know that Jesus (no, not Billy Graham) delivered the Sermon on the […]

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