Religion 101

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 about 50% of the total global Christian populace. The second largest major branch is that…

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 single largest such major branch or subdivision within Christianity, accounting for about 50% of the…

At sunset yesterday (April 30, 2013), a significant holiday on the religious calendars of Wiccans and other Neopagans began. However, which particular Wiccan holiday it happens to be will vary, depending upon which particular hemisphere of the world — the northern, or the southern — you happen to reside in. In the Northern Hemisphere, it…

In my previous blog entry, I raised the question, “What is religion?” (and invited reader feedback). In this blog entry, I’d next like to raise the question, “What is spirituality?” (and again invite reader feedback). What’s the real difference, anyway, between “religion” on the one hand, and “spirituality” on the other — if any? Both…

It has occurred to me that, over the course of some 113 blog entries and counting (this one marking number 114, since starting this little blog back in July of last year), that I have not yet attempted to precisely define the specific subject matter of this “Religion 101” blog. What is religion, anyway? I…

Finally, another way of attempting to underscore and clarify how science and religion can be viewed as each occupying and specializing in very different, and even non-overlapping, domains or areas of inquiry (which, being non-overlapping, would mean that they cannot ever really contradict or conflict with each other) is by suggesting the following: Science addresses…

So, what happens if or when religion ventures beyond its own purely non-empirical (or strictly “spiritual”) backyard, and starts making claims regarding empirical (detectable, testable) matters? Such claims would fall properly within the purview of empirical science, which possesses the tools and the expertise to investigate and assess such claims. Any such empirical claims as…

Some observers suspect that, as science continues to advance, it may eventually succeed in eclipsing religion altogether. According to this perspective, both religion and science are essentially all about explaining or accounting for various mysteries of existence; if and as science’s answers to such mysteries continuously prove superior to those offered by religion, then religion…

In some of the community college world religions courses I teach, as the end of the semester draws near we sometimes begin to shift our focus away from looking just at individual religions, from exploring the details of their particular origins and histories or their specific beliefs and practices, in order to sort of “take…

A fair percentage of my community college world religions students (and also of the general public, whom my students probably represent a fairly representative sample of) often exhibits some confusion or uncertainty over the precise meaning of such terms as atheism and agnosticism. As discussed in previous blog entries, atheism can refer either to a…

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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