Mar
26
2014
0

Stoning: why does it exist?

Stoning of St Stephan by Nicolas Fontaine (PD-EXP)This article is about the historical background behind stoning as a form of execution. It is not an apologia for the practice. I am absolutely not a supporter of stoning or other forms of capital punishment, but it is interesting to try to understand why it exists. These days, stoning is often assumed to be [more...]

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Jan
19
2012
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Who are some prominent agnostics?

bill-gatesMany people wear their religion on their sleeve, and others keep it private, but some people don’t have a religion. Atheists do not believe in the existence of deities, while agnostics neither believe nor disbelieve in the existence of deities. Here are seven well-known agnostics: Warren Buffet – One of the world’s richest men, he [more...]

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Feb
24
2011
2

Is Creationism Treason?

creationism as treasonA growing movement in the U.S. is stemming from the concept of “creationism.” Creationism holds two premises. 1 is that science does not hold all the answers to the questions we have about our universe and 2 the teaching of science in schools should be augmented or replaced by literal passages from the Christian Bible. [more...]

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Nov
24
2010
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What is Christmas vs Xmas?

chi-rhoWell folks, it is the Christmas Season again and the annual argument about the spelling of the holiday, Christmas vs Xmas is well underway. I actually support the more widespread use of Xmas over Christmas as it is more traditional and has the weight of history behind it. The annual argument often goes along the [more...]

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Nov
07
2010
1

What is the Great Thurible?

great thuribleWhat is the Great Thurible? A – A long lost uncle by marriage that just left you wealthy. B – A Norse godling. C – A new super-hero with the ability to throw lighting bolts. D – None of the above. The answer is D.  I’m sure most of you knew from the beginning that [more...]

Jun
23
2010
1

Why do diaspora communities tend to be more conservative than their homeland?

african-diasporaDiaspora is used not only with reference to the scattering of the Jews by the Romans in 70 AD (or by the Assyrians in 722 BC, or other events that dispersed them from Judea). It can also be used to describe other communities separated from their homeland, be they immigrant settlements, religious exclaves, colonial and [more...]

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May
13
2010
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Which English church has its copy in Japan?

brockhampton church arts and craftsNestled in the quite English countryside in the county of Herefordshire, near the market town of Ross-on-Wye, lies All Saint’s Church, the parish church of the village of Brockhampton. Meanwhile, on the other side of world, on the 21st and 22nd floor of a tower block in Osaka, Japan, can be seen its replica. Why? [more...]

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May
02
2010
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What is a simultaneum?

west-park-churchThe Latin word simultaneum can refer to the simultaneous occurrence of unrelated events, but when it came into use in the 16th century it had—and still has—a specific meaning, describing churches that were used by both Roman Catholics and the new Protestants. Many still are. “What?! That happened?” you might ask. It did, and very [more...]

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Apr
16
2009
2

What was the Burned-Over District of New York state?

This old home is at Lily Dale, a Spiritualist community in western New York. ~Sage~ photo. CC-BY.Historians interested in innovative social organizations and offbeat religious movements would have difficulty finding places more interesting than western and central New York state in the first half of the 19th century. The great Protestant evangelist Charles Finney called it the “burnt district” because it was so hard to find converts there after years of [more...]

Mar
13
2009
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What is a megachurch?

statue of jesusAlthough churches with a large membership and attendance are nothing new, the term “megachurch” has come to refer to something more than numbers, usually referring to a type of evangelical Protestant church with not only a large membership but also with a worship style and outreach designed to appeal people who might not find traditional [more...]

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