Religion 101

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 themselves have in mind, when…

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 themselves often put it, don’t Jews “believe in…

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 fairly common misunderstandings about it.…

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 common misunderstandings about it. Many students…

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. Accordingly, June 21 being a solstice day, that date is also…

As I observed in my previous blog entry, a rather sizable percentage of the American public seems to know surprisingly little about the basics of Judaism. In my own world religions courses, when we take up the study of the Jewish faith, I often find that a fair number of students possess little to no…

One might expect that many if not most Americans would have at least a passing familiarity with the basics of Judaism. After all, about 80% or so of the American public self-identifies as Christian, and Christianity and Judaism are inextricably intertwined. Both are Abrahamic faiths, making them closely related religious siblings; the Christian Old Testament…

As I discussed in my previous blog entry, the Buddhist religion maintains that not only is there no eternal Creator God, but also no such thing as an eternal soul. If that is so, many non-Buddhists wonder, then just exactly what reincarnates? The basic Buddhist idea is that the “soul” (or any sort of enduring…

As I discussed in my previous blog entry, the Buddhist religion often stretches the very limits of what some of my students of comparative religion (and other newcomers to Buddhism) are typically used to regarding as some of the absolutely essential, even defining qualities or characteristics of a “religion.” How does a religion function, many…

As I discussed in my previous blog entry, if Hinduism seemed unfamiliar and strange to many of the students in my community college classes who are new to the study of Eastern religions, then Buddhism often seems even stranger, and perhaps in some ways even more challenging. It may even stretch, for some students and…

Reed Hall
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Reed Hall

Reed Hall teaches community college credit courses on world religions. (Check out his supernatural thriller novel "MAGIC" at http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Occult-Thriller-Reed-Hall/dp/1453874836.)

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