Questions in the Religion & Philosophy category.
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My wife's grandfather just passed. I asked for an address where to send a mass card, and she had no idea what I was talking about. I thought this was a common thing to send to the family of the deceased. Some further investigation revealed that mass cards are a strictly Catholic thing, and not all Christian religions use them. My wife's parents attend a United Methodist church, so I figure it is safe to assume that is their religion. So what do United Methodists do for funerals?
Next month, my siblings and I will have an interment ceremony when our parents' ashes will be placed in a vault. The vault is on the grounds of the Methodist church they attended and the minister of the church will preside over the ceremony. As none of us are churchgoers, we're in the dark as to the etiquette involved: whether and how much to pay the minister for his services and the mechanics of such a transaction. Cash? Check? Payable to him or the church? Amount? Any guidance appreciated.
I love my clients, I love my coworkers, I love the work I do, but although there are many wonderful moments of connection and times when I get to see my clients succeed, overall my work is unrelentingly enraging and grim. I want to keep doing this kind of work, but after less than two years, I already end most days feeling depleted, angry, and hopeless. Social service/healthcare/helper colleagues, how do you keep going? [more inside]
My colleague has been invited to an engagement party for his friends who are Indian-Fijian Hindu. What can he expect at the party and what would be an appropriate gift? If it matters everyone lives in Australia at present.
In the film A Beautiful Mind, John Nash struggles with realistic hallucinations of imaginary people. At one point, a representative from the Nobel Prize approaches Nash, and Nash checks with a student familiar to him to verify that the Nobel rep is real. How would someone in Nash's position know that the student was real? How would such a person establish the reality of anything? [more inside]
How literally should I be interpreting ancient and medieval stories and texts? I gather this is an open question among modern scholars, but I'm having a hard time coming up with any books that deal with it. [more inside]
Does anyone know the source of the dialogue in this strange Mickey Mouse/Donald Duck comic panel edit? [more inside]
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.