Hi! I'm interested in finding some information about the way that Hephaistos is guessed to have come to be worshipped in ancient Greece. Please note that I am not looking for psychological theories (for example: "he represents the creative drive, and functions as a symbol of social exclusion and early technology"), but historical ones (for example: "he is found on an Athenian vase in 500 BCE, but no earlier, so that may have been when they began worshipping him" or, for example: "the philosopher Anaxamagazine tells us that the Thracians worshipped Hephaistos above all other gods, so it is possible Thrace was the initial origin of his cult"). Book recommendations or well-sourced websites would both be welcome! If you're dropping by the thread to merely mention a fact you know regarding Mister Hammer's origin point, that's great, but please link to a primary source. Thank you!
Some prayers invoke blessings on God. Is there a theological justification for this, or is it a translation error? [more inside]
How did 'god' and 'jesus' and presumably other religious names and figures become integral components of our anger and cursing expressions? [more inside]
I have a half remembered parable that I'm trying to source. The gist is that a guy dies, and when he gets to heaven, God is disappointed he didn't take time to see all the natural beauties of the world. [more inside]
It starts with the main character's death where he meets God. God presents him with some kind of question or riddle to solve. The guy eventually gets the right answer. In the end it turns out that God deceived the man into getting the correct answer so he could be free of his immortality.
I have read a lot of the – for lack of a better word – anti-religion Books. The God Delusion by Dawkins, Hitchens’s God is Not Great and The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice. Sam Harris’s The End of Faith and Letters to a Christian Nation, among quite a few others. Those books made a lot of sense to me. Most (if not all) of my friends and colleagues are either agnostics or atheists. [more inside]
Someone recently emailed me trying to track down a short story he remembered reading as a kid (in Johannesburg, 1970). He thought it might be by Roald Dahl. I told him that I'm 99.9% sure it's not by Dahl, just on the basis that I've read everything he ever published. The story sounds interesting though (something about a doll's house and playing God), and I'd like to try to help him track it down if I can. Does it ring a bell for anybody? Plot description follows. [more inside]
Can “modern” people actively believe in God? How do they integrate their believes with their “conservative” religion? How do they practice their believes? [more inside]
At regular intervals, I get "press releases" from email@example.com. Full text of one such email below the fold. Is this a joke, spam, art, a trojan or ?? [more inside]
How and why does meditation work? How does one do it properly (that is, in the way in which one may extract the most benefits)? [more inside]
What short stories have further defined your conceptual understanding of "the meaning of life?" [more inside]
Looking for: Religious conversion stories in literature, from Paul onward. Specifically: from non-belief to belief. William James covers this nicely. And I seem to recall Dostoyevsky addresses the issue at least once in his novels (which?). Also C.S. Lewis, I think, somewhere. Other thoughts?
What if you don't believe in God anymore? What then? [more inside]
Looking for recommendations for books on Christian apologetics that take seriously the reality of evolution rather than denying it in favor of the argument from design. [more inside]
I have a colleague who is a lovely person. We get on quite well and have a fairly productive professional relationship. This person is an evangelical Christian, and has broached the topic of his god and his belief to me on a few occasions. I am always polite, telling him that I do not have religious beliefs. I have not invited the discussion, and I would have thought my attitude would have been sufficient to ensure that he left the topic alone. I returned from holidays to discover that he has bought me three ebooks for my kindle – Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ and Case for a Creator – and some other book about god. [more inside]
What are the "rules" for "God told me...," "The voice of god," and other hard to believe personal experiences in creative non-fiction writing? [more inside]
My ex-boyfriend's schizophrenia turned me into an atheist (more or less), but that loss of faith kind of took me by surprise. I'm still thinking about it sometimes, and wondering how religious people reconcile themselves with the idea of a mental illness that produces religious experiences? [more inside]
Found a song on the God Hand soundtrack that makes me really happy! Looking for others like it... [more inside]
Does religion prevent humanity from knowing God? [more inside]
My father unexpectedly passed away last weekend from a heart attack. I am not religious. Part of my family, and most of our community of friends & extended family, are. Help me navigate the religious talk without either going on the defensive, or being complacent. [more inside]
I am not Christian, and often feel seriously awkward and uncomfortable talking to faithful people on/around/about Christian holidays. How can I avoid or lessen this feeling? [more inside]
Spirituality filter: What does "union with God" or "unity" mean to you? Mystics and religious figures often talk about how union with God/ unity is the final end/ realization in the spiritual path. I have heard many different ideas and interpretations about what this means but am unsure how to think about it. [more inside]
Beautiful, uplifting, Christian hymn or music for a memorial service? [more inside]
Religion filter: I'm really trying to understand religion and why people regularly attend services. [more inside]
Is there a quote about how a vastly superior creature who isn't a god could appear as if they were one? [more inside]
Does the Bible ever state categorically that God is (a) omnipotent and (b) omnibenevolent? [more inside]
I am thinking about a title of the book (film), "God is my copilot". What does it mean, actually? I think God is your guide. Then he might be the main pilot, not the copilot? Or does the copilot mainly work? Or does it have a sort of ironic meaning? Please tell me!
I am not a religious person, but I would like to begin praying and make prayer a part of my life. I have never prayed before. Any thoughts on how to begin? [more inside]
I'm trying to find a quote from a book I read way back in my English Lit. days. The general gist of the quote is that the best or only way to avoid the angry fist of God is to make sure that you remain in the palm of His hand. It is a quote from a book written by an African American. I'm thinking Zora Neale Hurston or Toni Morrison maybe. I can't remember the actual wording of the quote, so google is not helping. Sound familiar to anyone? Thanks much.
Please help me find the name of the novel where God literally falls to Earth, stone dead, from Heaven.
I'm looking for the name of a novel in which God, portrayed as a gigantic being thousands of feet tall and weighing millions of pounds wearing robes and having a flowing white beard, quite literally falls to earth from heaven, stone dead. The story is all about the repercussions on Earth after this event.
Are free will and an omnipotent/omniscient God possible in the same universe? [more inside]
Is it possible for a rather hardcore atheist to find some sort of spirituality again? Long, but I attempted to keep it concise. [more inside]
A couple of years ago, I read a review of a book that sounded really interesting, but I can't find it now. The book was about a man who found some ancient documents that proved that Satan was good and God was evil (for instance, God denied Adam and Eve access to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil). Apparently many people took this book to be non-fiction, and it caused a bit of hue & cry. Does anyone know the name of the book?? Thank you.
Please link me to Sci-Fi or Fantasy stories involving God--especially "surprise" God. [more inside]
My mother is under the impression that a wedding ring (ie the band that you add in addition to the engagement ring) is the only way to "consummate the marriage in the eyes of God" ... where is she getting this from? I've never heard such a thing. [more inside]
Is there a word that describes a situation where you *technically* have free will, but don't REALLY have the option to choose otherwise? [more inside]
Letting go of God: Help me deal with my atheism and the five stages of grief. I'm in the fourth stage now.
Please give advice on how to accept my atheism, let go of God and the need for one, how to get over the fourth stage of grief/letting go (depression), and how to find my passion for life again! [more inside]
Help me find a quote I have forgotten. [more inside]
How do I convince [the more liberal] Christians to become atheists? (Issues you have with the wording of this question are likely addressed inside.) [more inside]
A religious war in space, with chits. [more inside]
What is the quote about god that goes something like: "Can god intervene but chooses not to? Then he is _____. Can he intervene but is not able? Then he is _____" I can't find the exact quote. [more inside]
You may very well recognize this song. It is from this movie. What does it mean? Does the first stanza and/or chorus spell something? Please help! [more inside]
I am currently writing a paper on where to place humankind on the spectrum between God and animals. Is there a commonly-used name for this philosophical topic? Googling around has failed me. [more inside]
I vaguely remember a Jewish quip about the questions God asks a Rabbi at the end of his life. It is something like 1. Did you follow my commandments? (yes, all of them) 2. Did you study my Word well? (yes, every day) 3. Did you dance enough? Or something to that effect. Has anyone heard of this or know how it really goes?
Whenever someone says "I turned my life over to God," it seems everyone just nods and acts like they understand, so I just act like I understand, too. But I don't. [more inside]
Have I transformed an insanely great and clear-cut early relationship into a friendship? [more inside]
Other than Rambam's "Mishnah Torah: Sefer Madah," what other famous book or work begins with the Tetragrammaton? In "hilchot yesode hatorah," the first four words of the chapter begin with the letters yud hay vav hay. Our teacher said there is some other famous book/chapter/text that uses words with the same four letters? Anyone know what it is? Thanks!
My dad recently read The Shack and really liked it. Can you recommend other books with a spiritual leaning (not necessarily Christian) that he might also like? [more inside]
I believe in God. The strange thing is that God does seem to give me everything I ask for. Even stranger, I don't actually believe that a God can exist. The question: If you are a believer in God, do you notice yourself having your requests consistently answered? [more inside]
StoryresearchFilter: Information needed on relations between superstar Cambridge dons of the 1930s-1950s. i.e. Russell, Wittgenstein, Turing, Keynes. [more inside]
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