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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Lily Dale: Where the Living and Dead Reconnect

This tiny village in upstate New York has been channeling spirits since the 1800s.

Anti-Semitic Incidents in U.S. Surged 57 Percent in 2017

The Anti-Defamation League identified nearly 2,000 anti-Semitic incidents throughout the U.S. in 2017 — an increase of nearly 60 percent over those in 2016. And for the first time since 2010, one occurred in every state.

What Is Einstein's 'God Letter'?

The famous 1954 letter in which Albert Einstein rejected the concept of God may soon be sold for $1 million or more at auction.

Early Scottish Monks Were Gamers

In the search for a lost monastery in Scotland, archaeologists came across an unexpected find – an ancient stone game board.

That Fat, Jolly Fella Isn't Buddha

That plump statue of a 'Laughing Buddha,' often seen in Chinese restaurants, has little to do with the ascetic founder of Buddhism. So how did the two get conflated?

10 Common Questions About Islam, Answered

Although Muslim-majority countries are often in the news, many people don't know that much about Islam. Here, we answer some often-asked questions about the world's second-largest religion.

Tulpas: Thoughts That Can Come Alive

Imaginary friends have nothing on tulpas. These are "entities" people believe will to life in their minds — complete with feelings, thoughts and experiences.

How New Religions Take Root

What moves a spiritual movement or religious sect to the big time is more predictable than you'd think.

How the Prosperity Gospel Works

The prosperity gospel is one of the most popular forms of Christianity in the entire world. But where did it come from and how did it get so big? And why do critics say it gives a false picture of Christianity?

Sex Abuse in Catholic Church Blamed on Money, Power Dynamics

Are Catholic priests more prone to becoming sexual predators because they take a vow of chastity? Or was the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the church not unique to the religious institution at all?

How Megachurches Blurred the Line Between Religion and Riches

Megachurches and prosperity gospel teach parishioners if you pray for it ... it will come.

How Faith Healing Works

Some turn to faith healing as a last resort when ill, and others rely on it solely to provide a miracle cure. But can it really treat the sick?

How Scientology Works

The Church of Scientology has a short but strange history. What is it all about, and what path are Scientologists following?

Is China's Growing Religiosity Fueling Its Emerging Environmentalism?

As more Chinese people become more religious, an environmental movement based on spiritual stewardship may grow stronger.

Why the Vatican Says No to Gluten-Free Communion Wafers

What's a Celiac or gluten-intolerant Christian supposed to do?

Goat Yoga Is Taking Zen to a Whole New Level

Yoga with cats, dogs and even baby goats is all the rage today. What is it about animals that makes the Zen process so much more profound?

How Stoicism Works

Stoicism is an ancient Greek philosophy that is now enjoying a renaissance. And practitioners aren't trying to be like Mr. Spock. Stoicism means far more than not showing emotion.

How Satanism Works

Rumors abound about Satanism. Its adherents are often portrayed as evil, bloodthirsty deviants in popular culture. But that's a mischaracterization of the philosophy of Satanists.

Christian-themed 'Hell Houses' Still Going Strong

The uniquely American church-sponsored scarefests aim to present a frightening vision of a life without their brand of religious salvation.

Committed a Super-serious Sin? Head for a Super-confessor!

More than 1,000 Catholic priests and monks are scattering around the globe, ready to forgive the kinds of sins normally only absolved by the pope or his bishops.

Why do people close their eyes to pray?

There are many rituals that surround the act of prayer, one of the most prevalent of which is closing one's eyes. Why do so many people close their eyes to pray?

India's Karni Mata Rat Temple

The temple to Karni Mata in India is home to 20,000 rats. According to believers, these rats are reincarnated members of Karni Mata's clan ... and she herself was the reincarnation of the goddess Durga.

How Yoga Works

Yoga is big business in the U.S., and its bends and twists go by names like downward-facing dog, pigeon or camel while attracting practitioners from all walks of life. But what are the breathing exercises, meditation and poses of yoga all about?

How Nuns Work

If you only know about nuns through movies and television, then you might think that all nuns wield rulers while singing, dancing and flying. In reality, nuns have set themselves apart from the world to lead a more spiritual life, one with vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.


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