Questions in the Religion & Philosophy category.
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February 17

How does one perform the Amidah in Synogogue?

I'm lost during this prayer in shul. I know I'm supposed to do certain things, but not always sure when I'm supposed to do them. [more inside]
posted by bearam at 11:06 AM - 15 answers

February 9

More stuff like Zen koans?

I have a couple of major stressors right now and probably for a while. Zen koans (specifically The Gateless Gate) have provided me a lot of happiness over the years in little doses for reasons I can't explain. Have other bite-sized pieces of orthogonal thinking or non-thinking given you comfort? [more inside]
posted by radicalawyer at 9:51 AM - 15 answers

January 24

Plato on the virtuous citizen

In Gibbon's Decline and Fall, chapter 49, he mentions: And some credit may be due to the asseveration of Boethius, that he had reluctantly obeyed the divine Plato, who enjoins every virtuous citizen to rescue the state from the usurpation of vice and ignorance. Is there a specific quote from Plato on this topic, or is there just more of a broader discussion, with no particular reference Gibbon was thinking of?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:06 PM - 3 answers

January 16

10 PRINT 'Om Mani Padme Hum'; 20 GOTO 10

Are there any cases of the use of electronic/computational prayer wheels, by way of computation? (In real life and/or in literature) [more inside]
posted by scodger at 11:52 AM - 16 answers

January 10

Basic gentile etiquette

I'm a non-Jew and will be part of the staff at a bar mitzvah event (it's outdoors and involves cooking) but I have almost zero cultural awareness of Judaism aside from what I've gleaned from movies. Please help me avoid any really obvious faux-pas. Answers from those with knowledge of British Judaism will be especially helpful, most of those movies I watched were American. [more inside]
posted by Happy Dave at 12:03 PM - 26 answers

January 4

How to voice my thoughts on religion

I was raised in a very religious household, and, over time, came to realize that I did not believe in God or that if I believed in God he was not worthy of worship. I'd now describe myself as an atheist. Extracting myself from my religious community and my religion were some of the hardest things I had to deal with as a kid. It has led me to believe that, while a person can be religious and that's fine, I think practicing religion with your children is not fine, since it sets them up, if they ever want to leave the religion, for a very painful process, and possibly the loss of a relationship with their parents. [more inside]
posted by durandal at 3:14 PM - 20 answers

January 3

Good critiques of Buddhism?

Can anyone recommend good critiques of Buddhism as a religion, particularly in print form? (There are some online, but I am looking for something more comprehensive and deeper than a short-form article.)
posted by Grinder at 12:57 PM - 11 answers

December 30, 2016

Which Minneapolis-St Paul churches should I check out?

I'm looking to explore faith communities from the mainline Protestant tradition, located in the central cities or inner ring MSP suburbs, that have a strong young adult presence including single folks. [more inside]
posted by ramenopres at 8:10 PM - 5 answers

December 25, 2016

Just found out my family's Jewish--how do I learn more?

My maternal grandma died recently, and we found out after her death that she was Jewish. I want to learn more and go to a service, but I also don't want to blunder in there, and I'm feeling sort of overwhelmed. Any advice for how to go about exploring this? [more inside]
posted by ElizaDolots at 11:02 PM - 23 answers

December 15, 2016

Popular podcast about "tulpa"?

I'm trying to find a podcast episode that focused on a woman who started exploring the concept of tulpa (basically, physical manifestation of an imaginary being*) in order to help with her depression and shyness. [more inside]
posted by queensissy at 10:11 AM - 8 answers

December 14, 2016

Informal markers of piety and devotion

Evangelical Christianity has the well-worn Bible. What informal markers of piety and devotion do other faiths/sects/spiritual practises have? [more inside]
posted by clawsoon at 8:25 AM - 25 answers

December 12, 2016

Being a Respectful Stranger

I want to attend as many different religious services in my city as possible over the next year as part of a project I'm working on. My goals are to be as respectful as possible, to gain as much insight as possible and to commit as few dorky faux pas as possible. So tell me how a visitor to your place of worship should go about attending her first service. How to dress, how to act, what to do. What should I pay attention to? [more inside]
posted by sleepy psychonaut at 8:11 PM - 38 answers

December 11, 2016

Meditation Retreats near NYC?

I am searching for single day or weekend vipassana meditation retreats near NYC and was curious if the AskMefi community had any recommendations. [more inside]
posted by hobodeluxe at 8:11 AM - 3 answers

December 10, 2016

A contemporary "version" of Frazer's The Golden Bough?

I am interested in myth, religion, magic and authority, and was just watching Apocalypse Now which reminded me of that Frazer book 'The Golden Bough' (1890). The Golden Bough, it seems, is read these days mostly for understanding the "history of anthropology" rather than as anthropology per se. Is there an equivalent contemporary anthropological study of the same subjects that someone could recommend? i.e. If I am interested in the current "accepted" state of anthropology of magic and religion. [more inside]
posted by mary8nne at 2:45 AM - 5 answers

December 6, 2016

Books about Celtic Christianity or Spirituality

I am interested in learning about the history of Celtic Christianity or spirituality. I am having trouble finding books that are about the history of this period, rather than being "self help" type books about lessons from that period that can be applied to today. I want a good, solid history, preferably one that is available on Kindle. Can you suggest something? [more inside]
posted by OrangeDisk at 7:15 PM - 8 answers

December 4, 2016

Psychedelics and the self

I have a hypothetical question about the use of psychadelics and the sense of self: is it possible to take a psychedelic drug and perceive how others "see you"? [more inside]
posted by Dressed to Kill at 4:19 PM - 10 answers

November 27, 2016

Thinking on creative work in times of real political trouble

Given the election of Donald Trump, I'm conflicted about spending my free time on creative work. I am committed to taking small, regular actions like calling my congressman, or maybe doing a phone bank or two, but I'm inclined to spend my free 40-60 minutes each weekday (I'm a parent with a full-time job) on things I find interesting and not at all related to politics. However, given how dire our situation seems, this seems irresponsible. This issue does seem like the kind of thing that people would have written about at length in the past. Can you point me at that work? [more inside]
posted by ignignokt at 5:45 PM - 20 answers

November 26, 2016

Christian Theology Tumblr Post?

There's a viral Tumblr post that is going around about Christian theology and the Old Testament. I'm curious as to whether it is "valid" Christian theology. Text after the cut. [more inside]
posted by WCityMike at 9:06 PM - 18 answers

November 22, 2016

Premodern University Teaching, also convents etc. - History of Pedagogy

How did premodern universities, schools, convents, etc., work? This question is a bit confused as in formulating it I realized I was confused, but I will do my best! It came up when I was reading a fantasy novel and the novel was clearly "the author went to 20th century American college and just retrojected that on his imaginary medieval world." But what was it really like? I'm looking for the history of teaching, I think, and not just in universities. [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:02 AM - 11 answers

November 18, 2016

Rider Waite Tarot Deck Explained

I'm looking for either a book, or online resource that will let me learn about the Rider-Waite tarot deck. This is strictly an academic interest, and I'm more interested in the meanings behind the cards, and the way they can be interpreted together, than I am in trying to divine my future. Do any mefites with occult interest have suggestions?
posted by dortmunder at 4:01 AM - 9 answers

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