Questions in the Religion & Philosophy category.
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I'm watching ALL of star wars and have questions about the robots. Are they slaves? Are they people? The droids in star wars are confounding me! In A New Hope, the droids were treated very differently, with much less personality or respect, than by Return of the Jedi. And by Rebels, robots are treated as wholly people (or sentient) with rights.... but stilled owned by people. Is this what's actually going on? Also, are there any thoughts about why some droids can speak basic and others can't (or don't) but understand it?
To what extent do various religious (or other) prohibitions on the consumption of different animals apply to animal by-products that are not themselves food? I'm particularly interested in biogas that might be blended with utility gas used for cooking, but am interested in other cases as well. [more inside]
I came across a description of Manichaeism that went something like, "The gods hated themselves, and tried to kill themselves, which shattered them into fragments of light that became embedded in trees and rocks and animals. Manichaeans don't believe in having babies, because a baby is just a prison for that fragment of god-light" Can anyone find the original for me? And is this description even remotely accurate?
December 31, 2019
I'd like to learn more about Judaism. The main goal is to be able to attend reform services without feeling awkward. An additional goal is to be able to socialize with friends who are Orthodox without putting my foot in it. There aren't any in-person Judaism 101 classes going on now that I can attend, so I was hoping that there are podcasts out there (or possibly videos) that can teach me the basics. What are the best podcasts for learning about Judaism for a beginner? And that are specifically focused on religious practice/values/belief? [more inside]
December 22, 2019
Can anyone tell me anything about this menorah? It’s obviously a depiction of Judah Maccabee. The shamash is on the right. My grandfather gave it to me years ago. There’s no markings indicating where it was made. I’m pretty sure it’s brass. Is there a name for this particular style of art? I remember my grandparents having other, similar artwork in their home. I clearly remember the angular figures and pupil-less eyes.
December 21, 2019
Some folks in my meditation group are buzzed about Sam Harris. They are in leadership roles and are presenting his meditation guidance within our public-facing groups. I have the sense that they are unaware of how problematic he is, and would be horrified (as I am) at his views beyond meditation. Can you provide me with a concise take-down of him that I can share with them?
December 17, 2019
My mom would like a bible in Spanish. She says she wants to remember all the stories from the old testament that she's forgotten and maybe also use it for prayer and reflection. Something with some notes/comments. But in simple language. I would like the notes/comments to not be too over-the-top in their obsequiousness to the Catholic Church. Large print wouldn't hurt. I can find suggested editions for various purposes, but then none are available to buy. Suggest editions or suggested web sites or Toronto stores for browsing/purchasing welcome.
December 14, 2019
Encountering the Alter Hebrew Bible was very exciting to me. I'm wondering what similar developments have taken place for translations of the New Testament. I know of a few, but all I'm going off of is Amazon reviews, which is obviously a deficient approach. Do any of you have thoughts on which translation(s) I should read? [more inside]
What holiday/celebration is this? I believe it’s Latino/Christian. It happened within the last week. It might be “Feast of...”. There is a custom of street races. It’s celebrated in NYC. (Some of this might be wrong.)
December 10, 2019
My husband and I are interested in starting a secular Sabbath tradition for 2020. We want to learn from others who have a Sabbath tradition to hear what it looks like, how you enforce it without a religious underpinning, what your related rituals are, etc. [more inside]
November 29, 2019
What is a good short text by Carl Jung to learn about his dream theory? [more inside]
November 28, 2019
Alan Watts describes Pure Land Buddhism. He indicates something happens to followers of Amitabha. He says, "Miokonin in Japanese means a marvelous fine man. But the Miokonin in is a special type of personality who corresponds in the West to the holy fool in Russian spirituality, or to something like the Franciscan in Catholic spirituality." Where can I learn more about Miokonin? [more inside]
November 14, 2019
This question may offend if of a particular religion and if so I deeply apologize. I have been in my life deeply haunted by something and I dont know any other way to ask without sounding like a loony. I'm wondering if my belief that I am among ghosts and spirits and that I have a slight touch of ESP may be possible, or could it be proven? More on that ... [more inside]
November 11, 2019
What is the purpose of my life? - this is a question I have been thinking a lot about. [more inside]
November 10, 2019
Looking for suggestions -- books, websites, personal anecdotes -- about what to do once you realize, "I want to learn to read tarot." (Like, other than "Buy a deck," what are the literal next few steps?) [more inside]
October 30, 2019
I was quite serious about my Christian faith until my late twenties. Now I’m not sure what I believe, and I find that for me the first step is to take some time to reexamine what evidence there is for and against God’s existence/the Bible/etc. I think it would be healthy to talk to other people who are in a similar situation, but I don’t want to join a group that will try to persuade me in one direction or the other. Any suggestions? (Also open to your own stories and more general advice.) [more inside]
October 22, 2019
I have accidentally found myself to be the advisor to Lutheran friends' church library. The "Other Faiths" shelf is pretty empty. Given that I am dealing with Lutherans, explainers for other religions that take something close to the form of Luther's Small Catechism would be good (i.e., explicitly designed for children or those who are woefully ignorant of religious details). [more inside]
October 18, 2019
Some time back I remember reading an article that talked about conspiracy theories and how the people who believe them don't always actually believe them, that instead it's group signalling. I have wanted to show it to people a couple of times since then but didn't save it, please help? [more inside]
What are some good texts/resources for starting/guiding a meditation when I don't want to listen to audio? [more inside]
October 3, 2019
For a book proposal, I need to illustrate (preferably quantitatively) that people are still interested in Jungian psychology and related therapies (including narrative therapy). [more inside]