Religion 101

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 Islamic calendar. Just as September is the name of the ninth month of the…

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 part and parcel of the very fabric of human existence. It also serves to highlight…

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 about the Hebrew Bible vs. the Christian Bible, but also upon which particular version of…

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 single volume. This is reflected in the very term “Bible” itself, which derives from the…

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 cultures). Many indigenous cultures are “pre-literate” or “non-literate”; their cultures simply haven’t invented the art…

(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 here that polytheism also remains present today within many so-called “indigenous religions” — that is,…

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 part of a more sustained spiritual search), are very much like newcomers to the study…

•  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 Mount. •  A majority of Americans wrongly believe that the Bible says that Jesus was…

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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