Beliefnet
Religion 101
July 2012 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 …Read More

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 …Read More

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 …Read More

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 …Read More

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 …Read More

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 …Read More

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 …Read More

(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 …Read More

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 …Read More

•  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 …Read More