Category Archives: UNDERSTANDING RELIGION

RITUALS: THEIR OVERWHELMING NATURE AND POWER

Discovered in Tel Beersheba, Palestine/Israel, this four-horned altar was probably used for animal sacrifices.  Fugitives or asylum seekers in biblical times, as part of their ritualistic practices, would grab its horns for personal protection. We Know Them When We See Them … Continue reading

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Knowing More to Live Better: What is the Purpose of Studying Religion?

The formal study of religion and its various, cultural manifestations is as justifiable an undertaking as any other seeking to comprehend other experiences or practices in our societies. Why? Ideally and for all practical purposes, it gives us the privilege … Continue reading

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Justifying what Needs no Justification: Why is the Study of Religion So Important?

As a human experience with very specific cultural characteristics or in its more institutionalized faces throughout the history of humankind, religion has caught the attention of the inquisitive, restless minds of a large number of people, especially among men and … Continue reading

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All Shapes and Sizes: Types of Religions

  There is a wide range of religions in the world.  No one really knows their exact number,[1]  and yet each one of them has its own unique, defining traits. Given this rich and overwhelming diversity, it would be impossible … Continue reading

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The Eyes of the Beholders: How Should We Interpret Religion?

Years of experience in the fields of biblical studies and religion, as well as in other walks of life, have taught me one valuable lesson: reality is what we make of it, and what we make of it is both … Continue reading

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How Does It Work? The Role of Religion in Society

More than a human phenomenon or experience, religion is one of the fundamental institutions of all societies.[1]  As a social construct, its contributions and limitations are real and undeniable.  However, there are differences of opinion regarding what roles religion play … Continue reading

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In the Beginning… The Origin of Religion

“Human existence is inexorably indebted to beginnings. Curiosity and mystery are timeless allies. Understanding is the resilient aspiration of all mortal inquiry” (AEM) For centuries, the question of how and when religion began has been one the mind-boggling enigmas that has captivated … Continue reading

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In Our Image and Likeness: How Does Religion Facilitate a Relationship with the Holy?

  If religion is to create minimum conditions for a connection with the Deity that is meaningful and somewhat real,[1] religion must necessarily be conceptualized and implemented in particular cultural contexts where such a relationship may be experienced, not in … Continue reading

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What is Religion? Naming a Faith-Driven Experience

Any formal study of religion or religions must begin with a clear understanding of the subject matter, namely, what religion is.  And and yet this task is not as easy as it seems at first glance because, in any society, … Continue reading

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