Category Archives: UNDERSTANDING RELIGION

Meaningful, Extraordinary Stories: Religious Myths

An old, popular story among orthodox Christians in present day Palestine states that, before Jesus ascended up to heaven, he left his footprint engraved in this stone located at the Ascension Chapel on the Mount of Olives.  Because of their … Continue reading

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Their Overwhelming Nature and Power: Religious Rituals

Discovered in Tel Beersheba, Palestine, 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 … 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 attempt  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 an increasing number of people, especially among men and … Continue reading

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In All Shapes and Sizes: Types of Religions

Located at the agora of Bet She’an, Palestine, these are the remains of a temple built in honor of Dionysus, the protecting god of wine, theaters, emotions, sensuality, and excesses.  This deity is part of the polytheism that characterized Greco-Roman … Continue reading

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

Inspired by belief and trust, our understandings of religion(s) are adventurous, finite pathways to the thresholds of the Absolute Unknown…             Years of experience in the fields of biblical studies and world religion, as well … Continue reading

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How Does It Work? The Functions of Religion in Society

More than a cultural phenomenon or experience, religion is one of the fundamental institutions of all societies.  As a social construct with spiritual or abstract dimensions, its contributions and limitations are real, undeniable, and subject to different interpretations.  Differences of opinion are also real regarding the roles religion … Continue reading

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In the Beginning… The Origins of Religion

Human existence has always been inexorably tied and indebted to its beginnings… Understanding the past is the resilient aspiration of all mortal inquiry, for which mystery, curiosity, creativity, and imagination are timeless allies.   For centuries, the question of how and … Continue reading

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In Our Image and Likeness? How Does Religion Facilitate a Relationship with The Mystery?

  If religion is to create minimum conditions for a connection with the Unknown Mystery to develop a relationship with it, that is viable, meaningful, and somewhat real,[1] religion must necessarily be conceived and implemented in particular settings where such a … Continue reading

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What is Religion? Naming a Faith-Driven Experience

Any formal study of religion or world religions must begin with a clear understanding of what religion is.  And yet this task is not as easy as it seems.  In any society, the meaning of words is not complete, absolute … Continue reading

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