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.

Topics to Explore

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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.

10 Deities Who Like to Party

Religious worship can serious and somber, but it can also be joyous and celebratory -- in the correct context, of course. Here are 10 deities, like that infamous Dionysus, who command their followers to party.

What is hope?

When Pandora opened the box she wasn't supposed to open, all of the evils of the world flew out: hate, pain, destructiveness, starvation. When she saw what she'd done, she closed the box before the last thing in there could escape. What was it?

How Circumcision Works

Snip, snip -- that's the sound of a baby losing his foreskin. Circumcision is a common medical practice in many parts of the world. Where did this tradition come from? And is it something we should stop?

How can a corpse be incorruptible?

Science hasn't yet explained how incorruptibles -- corpses that don't rot -- are preserved. What, if anything, do they have to do with sainthood?

Did the Beatles introduce yoga to the Western world?

In the 1960s, the Beatles joined Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in his Himalayan ashram. Their interest in meditation undoubtedly influenced their music. But are they responsible for introducing yoga to the West?

How Totem Poles Work

Totem poles are, quite literally, family trees. They're massive tree trunks carved with symbols to commemorate family history and special occasions.

How the Dalai Lama Works

The Dalai Lama is known for his compassion, wisdom and patience. But how does the 14th Dalai Lama govern his people in exile?

How Reincarnation Works

Reincarnation is the concept that the soul, or some aspect of the soul, is reborn into new lives. Has Western science proven that it really occurs?

How Karma Works

The principle behind karma is that people's actions affect their present and future lives. Is karma an idea or an actual substance that sticks to the soul?

Tai Chi

Tai chi chuan, usually referred to as tai chi, is the almost meditative exercise derived from the philosophic principles of Tai Chi. Learn about this living philosophy expressed in a series of graceful, complementary and deeply contemplated movements.

What Is Tai Chi?

Tai chi chuan means "perfect boxing," and it refers to a martial art based upon the philosophical principles of Taoism. At its highest levels, tai chi chuan is also part of a Taoist spiritual discipline that seeks to elevate the mind and purify the body.

Chi Kung Exercises

In Taoism, chi refers to the living energy in all things. Kung is a term that refers to the achievements of long practice. Together, as chi kung, these words describe a relationship between someone who cultivates the chi and the discipline they use.

Taoism and Chi

Chi, the life force, is a primal substance that animates the universe in Taoism. Learn more about chi as a Taoist concept and see how chi manifests itself in human experience.

Taoist Philosophy

Taoist philosophy attempts to illuminate the interdependency of all things, including life, art, and language. By observing the processes of nature, the Taoists say, we can come to some understanding about the meaning of our lives and about our place in the world.

How Feng Shui Works

What exactly is feng shui? Is it science or superstition? Some dismiss feng shui as Chinese myth or new age, but feng shui advocates say that it can improve everything from harmony in the home to wealth and well-being.

Meaning of Taoism

The meaning of Taoism is more subtle than most religions, arising mostly from mythology. Learn about these philophies and ideas that have survived for almost two thousand years.

9 Types of Angels

There are many types of angels that make up the spiritual world. Angels are divided into nine different types within three main groups, which are then called choirs. Find out more about these angelic intermediaries for God.

10 Little-Known Patron Saints

While Saint Peter and Saint Micheal are well-known, there are a number of little-known patron saints. Did you know that there is a patron saint for dentists, ice skaters, bachelors and difficult marriages? Find out more about obscure patron saints.


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