I'm an atheist trying to take the question of secular morality in society seriously. In debates about whether a secular society is better than a religious one, theists often allude to Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc -- the mass murders of the 20th century who were motivated by secular beliefs. Are theists right that atheists killed more people in the 20th century than religious leaders did? What notable examples of this exist, besides the three mentioned above? [more inside]
Did English peasants in the Late Middle Ages--say, 14th c.--take Communion? If so, how often? How about the other sacraments?
In the bible we have the example of the Prophet Samuel, whose mother is so grateful for him that she gives him to God to be raised by the priest Eli. Has this ever been a common practice – children being given over to an organized religious organization? Can anyone give me examples? More specifically, has the Vatican ever done this? [I'm not interested in the Philomena type of stories, with young girls getting pregnant, just because I'm already aware of them.]
Coincidence or something real? Two "relatives" have contacted me with a similar story: born to teenage mothers in Indianapolis in the 1960s or 1970s. Was there a home for unwed mothers there? [more inside]
I just finished reading Zealot, by Reza Aslan, and I found it to be a fascinating book. I'm looking for similar books! [more inside]
Hi Metafilter. Recommendations, please? Recently I had ended a cycle of medication that was likely to affect my memory. It has. I feel as though I've gone from a quick, engaged conversationalist, to a bit of an observant, less inclined platform of speaking. Mostly, it's because I can't seem to recall things as quickly as before. It's so, so uncomfortable. I've been told my memory will return over time, but in the meantime, I can read and participate in exercises in an attempt to jar it. Can anyone offer some comprehensive overviews of religion, history, philosophy, or politics? Really basic stuff would be just find - Any texts going over the religions of the world, introductions to politic, lists of notable philosophers or historic figures.. Thank you!
My current poetry project is poems that deal with subjects fitting into the above categories. Mata Hari's body never being collected and donated to medical school? Check. Evita's body being hidding away in a casket named Maria Maggi in Italy for years? Check. Poem about the relics of St. Therese going into space? Check. Female sideshow freaks? Check. Elvira as death incarnate? Check. You (kinda) get the idea now of what I'm trying to write about--weird stuff that's happened to women's bodies, especially when that brushes up against pop culture. I can try to explain more if this admittedly vague criteria is still unclear. Anyway, I'm looking for more topics to write about. Please throw out anything that might fit. Thank you!
Why/how did this idea actually start? [more inside]
I am looking for books investigating the occult as a phenomenon, its history, and its possibilities. Maybe that sounds simple, but I'm also picky. [more inside]
How does Brigham Young University teach American History? Do they tell students that Jesus actually came to America? And how do they deal with the story that Missouri was the real Garden of Eden?
Why does Mircea Eliade get short shrift in Robert N. Bellah's Religion in Human Evolution? [more inside]
Did the Catholic Church actively suppress literacy and education during the Middle Ages, or was it simply a byproduct of the era? [more inside]
Reading about the Great Awakening (first or second) and history of American religion? [more inside]
What book should I read to get an overview-level understanding of the current state of biblical scholarship? [more inside]
During the Vedic period in India, before the Upanishads, were the Brahmans the only ones who could conduct rituals and sacrifices to the gods?
How do you write about religion historically? I'm writing my history honors thesis on evangelical Christians, but all of my drafts sound theological and not historical. When I try to fix the problem, I end up just reciting facts. [more inside]
What politically neutral book(s) should I read on multiculturalism and Islam, immigration/integration politics and/or ethnic/religious tensions in Europe? [more inside]
Turkey/Istanbul/Constantinople/19th Century History question. I need some help discovering some basic cultural info - naming conventions, religious practices and beliefs, headwear details. All specific to Istanbul/Constantinople between 1790s and 1820s. Specific questions inside. [more inside]
Everyone knows about the Greeks and the Romans and the Norse, but what are some of the less well known pantheons and pagan religions from Europe? [more inside]
Where are all the camp meeting grounds in the United States? Is there a comprehensive directory anywhere? [more inside]
Sacrifice, speech, writing and art: I am interested in the different ways in which a sacrifice, a sacrament, a spoken word and a written word act as signifiers. The notion for instance that the sacrament, at the point of its acceptance, is understood as becoming the signified. What can you tell me / what has been written about the notions of sacrifice and their relationship to speech, art and the technologies of writing? [more inside]
I'd like to read a book about the Dreamtime of the Australians. I was kind of thinking about reading Chatwin, but these comments have made a little wary; I don't particularly want to read about another outsider's spiritual journey, and I don't want a New Agey attempt-at-universal-religion haphazardly mixed in with basic anthropological records. Can you recommend a solid book about Dreamtime?
How exactly did Christianity come to dominate the Western world to such an extent? [more inside]
Is there an evolutionary family tree for religions? [more inside]
I've never read the Bible, and I'd like to. Which version should I read and what resources are good ones to help me understand and historically contextualize what I'm reading?
Does America's religious history have a parallel in England? Give me the details. [more inside]
Good books on Shaker history? [more inside]
I am searching for examples of The Infinite, or the immeasurably large, in our mythologies and archetypes. I am also interested in the categories of Truth which came out of the emergence of Western, ontological thought. Does the trust in a rationally conceivable reality deny us the infinity of the mythological realm? By rooting ourselves in the present, and denying atemporal mythologies, do we also deny the infinite origins from where we came? [more inside]
Has religion ever helped to end a war? [more inside]
Has there ever been a war that hasn't had religion or religious persecution at its heart? [more inside]
I'm looking for a book I read back in 1999/2000 about Jesus. [more inside]
There are no contemporary extra-biblical references to Jesus. Has there ever been a count of the historical references of individuals during new-testament times to see where he ranks? [more inside]
I'm interested in picking up an annotated Bible--something that treats it as a cultural document rather than the revealed word of God. [more inside]
Has data ever been assembled showing the religous convictions of Americans over time, starting at the countries conception? A sort of compendium of the religious history of the United States... It seems as though such a thing should certainly exist, but I've yet to find it.
AncientHistoryFilter: When did the worship of the gods of the ancient Greeks - Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, and so on - die out? (+) [more inside]