Questions in the Religion & Philosophy category.
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March 9

Romans 9 and the responsibility for sin

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]
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 2:53 AM - 11 answers

March 8

Oakland synagogue for Purim services

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!
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:13 AM - 4 answers

March 3

Am I preaching to the choir? A question about the journey into faith.

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]
posted by Dressed to Kill at 4:55 PM - 18 answers

February 27

Need lists of thoughtful lists, please...

I'm writing about lists and would like some examples... [more inside]
posted by Tchad at 2:20 PM - 13 answers

February 26

Guild of Guides in the San Francisco Bay area

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]
posted by SamFrancisco at 11:42 AM - 5 answers

February 25

Intelligent spiritual and religious podcasts

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]
posted by FencingGal at 8:08 AM - 20 answers

February 23

the 2d of 3 stages of death?

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?
posted by mmiddle at 6:42 AM - 7 answers

February 19

I can't find reference to alternate view of rapture ("left behind")

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]
posted by forthright at 8:30 PM - 5 answers

February 16

Story of a holy man who chooses the company of sinners?

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]
posted by The otter lady at 9:25 AM - 7 answers

February 2

Converting to Judaism: Your Experiences

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!
posted by Fister Roboto at 1:34 PM - 10 answers

January 28

Meaning of 'unconditioned' in the context of meditation or Buddhism

In English-language writing on meditation, I've come across the term 'unconditioned'. What does it mean in that context?
posted by Paquda at 11:45 AM - 5 answers

January 25

Comprehensive resources on the one grand conspiracy theory.

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]
posted by Che boludo! at 9:20 AM - 9 answers

January 15

Looking for people who sold their soul to the Devil

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.
posted by rileyray3000 at 1:05 PM - 29 answers

January 12

How much of classical antiquity was known in the Middle Ages?

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.
posted by jwhite1979 at 8:18 AM - 14 answers

January 11

What to do with Santeria-related items found?

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]
posted by sciencegeek at 11:25 AM - 14 answers

January 5

Practical Tips for Time Travelers

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]
posted by oryelle at 5:08 AM - 5 answers

December 31, 2015

Plato Quote - Original Source?

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]
posted by tmharris65 at 7:55 AM - 2 answers

Parable about man who creates a religion and is killed by his followers

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?
posted by ccalgreen at 5:55 AM - 22 answers

December 27, 2015

Book Recs on East Meeting West?

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]
posted by vecchio at 8:22 AM - 5 answers

December 18, 2015

Why do my Chinese cleaners move my toy snake off of my toy tiger?

Why do my Chinese cleaners move my toy snake off of my toy tiger? [more inside]
posted by lifethatihavenotlivedyet at 5:33 PM - 14 answers

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