I saw about ten people in NYC on the A train this weekend who claimed to be the "true Jews." One of them told me that their beliefs include: (1) no conversion is accepted and (2) the people I'm used to thinking of as Jews are actually a Turkic tribe that tried to convert in the 8th century A.D. (but see (1) of course). Notably, all of them were extremely large black men (one of them had to duck to get off the train) wearing dark robes, headbands and head cloths, and carrying shoulder-height wooden sticks wrapped in black tape. Their shirts and headbands had hexagonal stars on them, and one of them had a few letters of Hebrew written on his head cloth. They were having this free-wheeling discussion from which I recognized several references to events in the Old Testament. Weirdly enough, the guy sitting next to me told me they were actually some kind of Muslim, although I don't know how much I trust that guy's opinion. Does anyone know what religion these people were from?
posted by d. z. wang
on Mar 16, 2014 -
Kid BlahLaLa's getting to be around bar mitzvah age and I want to know what alternative, newfangled options there are out there. Is there any kind of modern bar mitzvah movement happening? Alternative bar mitzvahs? Hipster bar mitzvahs? [more inside]
posted by BlahLaLa
on Mar 11, 2014 -
My partner's 18 year old sister wants to marry her boyfriend of one year. They both live at home with their respective parents, are not planning to pursue post-secondary school, and are financially insecure (she does not work, he works part time). They have recently converted to a fundamentalist version of a new faith, and their plan is to rely on her disabled mother who would lose her benefits by caring for them - the mother is against this but of course loves her daughter. Their religious community is encouraging them (but not offering financial aid). What can we do to support her but not her decision? [more inside]
posted by partly squamous and partly rugose
on Mar 9, 2014 -
How does Arizona's SB 1062 work to protect those seeking to discriminate against others based on religious grounds? [more inside]
posted by rocketpup
on Feb 24, 2014 -
So, I've been trying to hash out my philosophic and intangible beliefs and I realized that the only thing I really, truly connect with in a belief sense is Nothing, the dark. To be clear, I don't mean this melodramatically, I simply mean this in the sense that I find the fact that when I close my eyes at night that the idea that, as Roger Ebert put it, "I was perfectly content before I was born" comes to mind. That there is more that does not exist in this world than does. From John Locke (blank slate ideas) to Nietzche and religion, can you good people point me very broadly in the direction of thoughts on the nothing that surrounds us? Thanks!
posted by sendai sleep master
on Feb 17, 2014 -
My eight-year old was talking about god the other day, and she said something that my first impulse was to correct, but instead I ignored it. She said, "like you, I believe in god." Problem is, I kinda don't. But I'm pretty much the only one in the family with doubts, and I'm not sure when it makes sense to reveal it, specifically to this child. The reason I have doubts about talking to her specifically about it is because she's on the spectrum, and I think that makes it harder for her, especially so young, to sustain her own beliefs. I envy people of faith, but I do not share their faith. Have you dealt with this issue? How do you handle it when you're kid's a believer, but you're not. Special snowflake details inside [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Jan 17, 2014 -
I graduated from college about 8 months ago and have since moved back to my home town to work. In those 8 months, I haven't really spent any time with folks my own age (outside of a little online dating), and to be frank, I've been lonely. By a crazy coincidence, I ran into a girl I knew in high school at a coffee shop recently, we caught up over lunch, and she invited me to her "20 somethings" bible group. Not being a religious guy, I was expecting to leave with a bad taste in my mouth and a funny story but... [more inside]
posted by johnpoe50
on Jan 7, 2014 -
I’m trying to find a short story I read a long time ago, but google is coming up short. The story is about two strangers who meet on the road and begin talking. Through a series of questions and answers, they discover that they are both Christians, both Protestants, both from the same denomination, both from the same branch of that particular denomination, etc etc.
It keeps going on this way, with the strangers discovering that they belong to the same increasingly obscure religious sect. With each new discovery, they become more friendly and excited.
At the end of the story, they realize there is one small difference between them (something like one belongs to the parish across the street from the other), at which point the strangers hate each other and nearly come to blows.
What is this story, and where does it come from?
posted by helloimjohnnycash
on Dec 1, 2013 -
So we are hosting Thanksgiving. Neither one of us believe in God, and our families are very religious. Please help me with a toast. [more inside]
posted by floweredfish
on Nov 25, 2013 -
There's a lot of advice out there for getting over someone but I can't wrap my head around being left unexpectedly when I still feel loved. First time being broken up with at 30 doesn't help either... [more inside]
posted by Valkyrie21
on Nov 16, 2013 -
I know that Islam requires followers to perform the Hajj at least once in their lives if able... but what determines that ability? I presume it's a matter of health and financial concerns, but even so, I imagine many Muslims make great sacrifices and take significant risks for this. Are there generally-accepted measures of when it's understandable for someone not to make the Hajj, or is it all a matter of personal faith & judgment? I also know there was a time when one could send someone to more or less take their place... is that still an accepted practice? [more inside]
posted by scaryblackdeath
on Nov 12, 2013 -
Is there evidence of either Orphism or the Eleusinian Mysteries in archaic Lydia? Do we have knowledge of the religion practiced by, say, Croesus, and whether or not the Lydian kings of that time were especially pious? I read somewhere that Dionysus had Anatolian roots, and I am wondering where I can learn more.
posted by jwhite1979
on Oct 23, 2013 -
I am applying for disability and just received mail that informed be that I would have to have a mental and physical exam. I understand that this is the usual procedure. What I am not happy about is that my "mental exam" is taking place in a mega church. [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Oct 20, 2013 -
Can anyone tell me what this bumper sticker
is about. I mean, clearly it's a riff on the Jesus fish, but I would like to know what the joke is (if there is one).
Thanks in advance!
posted by LizardOfDoom
on Sep 11, 2013 -
How have you gone about investigating your moments of childhood religious doubt as an adult? Interested in why I "gave up" Christianity but cannot remember my actual process of thoughts and feelings. Snowflake details inside. [more inside]
posted by elephantsvanish
on Aug 21, 2013 -
An older family member has died. We'll be traveling to attend the viewing and funeral, which will be heavily religious. My 7-year-old daughter didn't know this family member, but has reacted very negatively to the idea of death in the past (long stretches spent sobbing in my arms). We are agnostic, with one of us leaning heavily towards atheism. I could use suggestions on how to talk with my little girl about these things. [more inside]
posted by moira
on Aug 2, 2013 -
I am looking to find out what this tag reads in English: http://oi44.tinypic.com/w2j8t0.jpg
Thanks very much to anyone who speaks Arabic and can translate this.
posted by bostonhill
on Jul 24, 2013 -
How did classical philosophers or ethicists handle the fact that attachment to oaths, creeds, promises, allegiances, etc, can (and often must) evolve and change over time? You swear an oath and uphold it until such time as you discard it for something better or more useful. Did any famous philosopher ever outline how that process should work when it's appropriate?
posted by Cool Papa Bell
on Jun 26, 2013 -
Why is lust, pornography, masturbation and unregulated sexuality (i.e., sleeping around) seen as an unfavorable thing for many (if not most) of the world's various philosophies and religions? [more inside]
posted by The ____ of Justice
on Jun 23, 2013 -
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..
posted by thewolfandewe
on Jun 16, 2013 -
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.
posted by mermaidcafe
on Jun 6, 2013 -
I'm studying various religious dances, but especially the Chinese "Dance of a Thousand Hands" and the rituals of whirling dervishes. I don't know how if these dances are taught orally or how they're handed down, but I would like to read English-language instructions of these or other special religious dances. I don't need to perform any; I just want to be able to follow what's going on.
posted by mermaidcafe
on May 26, 2013 -
I want to read nonfiction about ritualistic/magical/occult/religious practices or events in a historical/cultural context that will learn me real good without sacrificing the fun factor. More interested in things like druid sacrifice or the Salem witch trials than modern-day ghostbusters or psychics, but all cultures are welcome.
posted by goosechasing
on May 20, 2013 -
Sometime in the late 80s I saw a comedy sketch on TV which combined all the major world religions into one quasi-rap song (or madrigal-chant). The only parts I remember are "Sister Mary Elizabeth, hit me with a stick!" "Oh by the way, have you been born again?" and "Hare Krishna Hare Rama, here's your cookbook, where's my dollar?" Anyone know what this was? I promise I didn't make it up.
posted by pammeke
on May 16, 2013 -
I was born in a very, very devout Christian family. Went to Christian schools and church. For a long time my faith was the most important thing to me and then as I started getting older (18) I began to doubt. This doubt only increased to the point that by the time I was 25 or 26 (I'm 33 now) I became"atheist". Now, I see that faith played a very important role in emotionally stabilizing me and giving me hope and I want something like that back. My question is why did I lose my faith (when all my family still holds it dear)? And how do I find something equally as helpful in my life?
Thank you so much!
posted by learninguntilidie
on Apr 22, 2013 -
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]
posted by parkbench
on Apr 4, 2013 -
Does the term "homegoing" have a wide use across Christian denominations? [more inside]
posted by psoas
on Mar 20, 2013 -
I am a scientifically-minded person who is trying to sort out my religious beliefs. I think it would be helpful to read some debates between deism, atheism, pantheism (Spinozism), and/or a scientifically-grounded theism. Can anyone recommend me books or essays that discuss these topics in ways that are engaging, well-thought-out, and thorough? [more inside]
posted by capricorn
on Mar 19, 2013 -
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?
posted by mmf
on Mar 4, 2013 -
Roomies' religious convictions are colliding with my lifestyle. They're saying no sex in the house, period. They want overnight guests to sleep in a separate room. I really need the house. How do I manage this? [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Feb 15, 2013 -
I'm from the U.S. and I've been invited to an academic conference on "Religion in Modern Society" at a university in PRC. I need a visa. [more inside]
posted by reverend cuttle
on Feb 1, 2013 -
Where can I find the George Carlin quote, "Before every football game, both teams pray they'll win. One team always loses." [more inside]
posted by incandescentman
on Jan 30, 2013 -
How do atheist or otherwise non-religious parents teach their kids about the Abrahamic mythology? [more inside]
posted by looli
on Jan 24, 2013 -
I am a first-year religion teacher at a middle school. I am currently teaching christianity, and am planning on teaching Judaism and Islam to my sixth grade class. I have been looking for a textbook or curriculum I could use to help guide me. Does anybody know of one? I have seen college textbooks, but generally they are too complicated to even pull readings from.
posted by Lee Shore
on Jan 14, 2013 -
Why does Mircea Eliade get short shrift in Robert N. Bellah's Religion in Human Evolution
? [more inside]
posted by ibmcginty
on Dec 18, 2012 -
I'm looking for some good armageddons. I'm MCing an End-of-the-World poetry reading on December 21st and I want to read a few short passages from apocalyptic texts. I've already settled on the Book of Revelations and Ragnarök, but I'd like to cast a wide net and find some non-Western and/or non-religious/mythological descriptions of the end times. Can you recommend a good doomsday for me to read?
posted by Kattullus
on Dec 17, 2012 -
I am trying to find some reputable graduate schools that offer masters degrees in Christian theology which can be completed mostly or completely online. [more inside]
posted by michellenoel
on Nov 21, 2012 -
I feel a calling to learn more about my religious faith and lead a more spiritual life. How can I do this in a meaningful way when my partner does not share this interest? [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Oct 19, 2012 -
Did the Catholic Church actively suppress literacy and education during the Middle Ages, or was it simply a byproduct of the era? [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Oct 4, 2012 -