Questions in the Religion & Philosophy category.
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In the recent book by Pope Francis, The Name of God is Mercy, I stumbled at the following in chapter VI: "None of us should speak of injustice without thinking of all the injustice we have committed before God. We must never forget our origins, the mud of which we were made." If God made us out of mud (i.e. something base and, literally, dirty), why is it the Christian view that God is upset when we act according to our base and dirty nature, and that we must seek forgiveness for our actions and our nature? [more inside]
I'll be in Oakland, CA this year over Purim and would like to attend services. Can you recommend a synagogue I can attend? Conservative preferred but would do Reform in a pinch. I'll be near Jack London Square on the waterfront and without a car, so something close would be ideal. Thank you & chag Purim sameach!
To those who converted into a religion or identify as a "born again" Christian (going from no faith/not sure -> faith) what was that journey like? [more inside]
I'm writing about lists and would like some examples... [more inside]
After reading Jim Fadiman's new book on psychedelic exploration, I want to locate an experienced guide in the use of psychedelics, oriented towards personal growth and refreshing my relationship to the world. [more inside]
I'm interested in religious and spiritual matters - both from an intellectual point of view and as a way toward living a better life. I'm looking for interesting podcasts. No limits on specific religion (Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Hinduism, spritual-not-religious), but a few special snowflakes inside. Also, please no answers about religion being stupid, flying spaghetti monsters, and whatnot. [more inside]
In one of the world's traditions (or maybe in fiction), there's the idea that death has 3 stages: first, the biological death of the physical body; second=??; and third, when the last person who, as a child, knew you, undergoes biological death. Would someone please refresh or correct my memory of this teaching?
Unless my mind is playing tricks, I seem to recall reading in the last week or two a reference to an alternate view of the rapture and/or "left behind", where God calls the "good" folks to heaven, and then takes the angels and saints to earth to finish the job the "good" folks never did. [more inside]
Trying to remember a parable of a holy man who chose instead to dine/associate with a sinner instead of his devoted followers, because the sinner had more need of his comfort/presence/teachings than did those who already knew him... sound familiar to anyone? [more inside]
I'm strongly considering converting to Judaism. I've heard about the process during a class that I'm taking, but I'd like more insight into what actually goes on. I would be converting through a Reform synagogue. If anyone has experiences or tips to share, please do so. Thanks for your help!
In English-language writing on meditation, I've come across the term 'unconditioned'. What does it mean in that context?
Watching the X-Files last night with my father he said that he believed in all of it and that it the show was soft disclosure of what's really happening. He seems to believe in EVERY conspiracy theory out there. Are there any resources, preferably books (or other sources) with a skeptical point of view that review all theories in a comprehensive manner? Non-skeptical point of views might be useful as well. [more inside]
So I'm starting research on a new project that involves people who supposedly sold their soul to the Devil for something Robert Johnson style. Unfortunately all the searching I'm doing is pointing to him. Help me find the early deals, the famous ones besides RJ and the most recent soul sales attributed to old Scratch.
I know that Aristotle mostly faded out after the fall of Rome, and that it was revived when Christian scholars began to translate Arabic editions into Latin in the 12-13th centuries. Fair enough. But what about Homer and the playwrights? Did they similarly disappear, and were they rediscovered alongside Aristotle? Would a 12th century monk have known who Pericles was? Would he have known Herodotus? The Pre-Socratics? If not, how were they recovered? Can someone point me toward some free online material where I can read about this topic? Thanks.
I've been finding the occasional Santeria-related object in a public location and would like to dispose of them respectfully. How can I do this? [more inside]
There appear to be a lot of versions of the Lord's Prayer out there. In Europe, between 1400 and 1700, how much did it vary over time and between locations? Did every place/ time have a canonical version or did it vary by sect? Is there a map or resources that show how translations shifted between times and locations? [more inside]
December 31, 2015
Does anyone know the original source of this quote that is often attributed to Plato: "Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it." [more inside]
I'm trying to remember a parable about a man who invents a religion (as a bet or as an experiment), then after he has built up a following, he reveals that it is false. However, his followers are so bought into the story that they call him out as an infidel, and kill him for blasphemy. I can't remember the origin, but it sounds like something from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Does anyone else remember this, and know where it's from?
December 27, 2015
I recently read The Monk and the Philosopher and enjoyed it. Any other recommendations for serious books comparing, contrasting, or describing encounters between eastern philosophy and spiritual practices and the western intellectual tradition? [more inside]
December 18, 2015
Why do my Chinese cleaners move my toy snake off of my toy tiger? [more inside]