Religion & Spirituality

Religion and Spirituality is an important element of every culture. Learn more about world religions and spiritual practices in both Eastern and Western cultures.

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When you hear the word "Samaritan," you might think of a hospital or charity or the Bible story about the Good Samaritan. But "real" Samaritans still exist in Israel, though their numbers are small.

By Dave Roos

You've probably seen Tibetan prayer flags fluttering in the breeze, but what do they symbolize and who should hang them?

By Tara Yarlagadda

John Calvin is best known for his doctrine of predestination, a controversial belief that continues to be popular in some churches. But what who was he, and what is predestination?

By Dave Roos

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The Bible doesn't say exactly when Jesus was born but a close reading of the text gives us clues to a more correct date than Dec. 25. And why was that date chosen away? It has nothing to do with pagan religions.

By Dave Roos

Buddhist nuns and female scholars are gaining new leadership roles, in a tradition that began with the ordination of Buddha's foster mother.

By Jue Liang

President Biden's menorah lighting promises to prioritize ritual over reception, focusing on the lighting of the traditional Hanukkah candelabrum itself.

By Jonathan D. Sarna

Papa Legba is a figure that stands as a mysterious link between the human and spirit worlds in the religion of Vodou, but who is he and what's his story?

By Tara Yarlagadda

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Prayer apps are not new — they've been around since 2010. But how effective are they and can they replace the value of a religious community?

By Dorian Llywelyn

The biblical King Solomon is depicted as being very rich, very wise and very married to hundreds of women. But there is little evidence outside of the Bible that he existed. So what has been found so far?

By Dave Roos

The process requires a rigorous examination of the life and holiness of a candidate and involves several stages that can last years or even centuries.

By Dorian Llywelyn

Shabbat is the holiday that is central to Jewish life, occurring every Friday at sunset to Saturday night. But what is it and how is it observed?

By Dave Roos

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The Jewish High Holy Days commemorate concepts such as renewal, forgiveness, freedom and joy.

By Samuel L. Boyd

The roots of the Taliban's religious beliefs – Deobandi Islam – can be traced to 19th century colonial India.

By Sohel Rana & Sumit Ganguly

Sharia, which is Islamic law, can strike some people in the West as draconian and harsh. Is this an accurate portrayal?

By Dave Roos

A scholar of religion explains why the Islamic New Year never falls on the same date and depends on the sighting of the moon.

By Igbal Akhtar

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In both Hebrew and Greek, letters have numerical values, so many people, both in the past and today, saw hidden meanings in words as well as numbers found in the Bible. Here are just a few examples.

By Dave Roos

He makes just one brief appearance in Genesis, yet he's been seen as a precursor of Jesus Christ. What was he really and how did he become associated with Jesus?

By Dave Roos

The New Testament is full of tense exchanges between Jesus and the Pharisees, who often tried to trip him up in legalistic debates. But who were the Pharisees really and what did they believe?

By Dave Roos

‌It's one of the largest religions on Earth but little-known in the West, where its practitioners are often mistaken for Muslims or Hindus. What else should we know about the Sikh faith?

By Dave Roos

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Many Jewish people will affix a mezuzah, a decorative case, to the doorframe of their houses. What's the significance of this?

By Dave Roos

Lao-tzu was the legendary Taoist philosopher whose words sound profoundly modern. They help us maintain a sense of harmony in an often-chaotic world. Here are five of his sayings to ponder.

By Dave Roos

An obscure passage in Genesis mentions a group of superhumans who were the offspring of angels and women. Why was this included and what does that have to do with the Watchers?

By Dave Roos

Cain and Abel are depicted in the Bible as the first pair of brothers and also the first case of murder on Earth. But what does the story really mean?

By Dave Roos

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The black-haired "demoness" of folklore turns up in the legends of many ancient cultures but in the 20th century she has been recast as a feminist symbol. This is her story.

By Dave Roos

Nonviolence is central to the core of Jainism, as everything has a soul – animals, flowers and even bacteria, as well as people. How do Jainists practice this in daily life?

By Dave Roos