Western Spirituality

Western Spirituality observes spiritual practices of the West. Find information on topics related to angels, sainthood or the Papacy.

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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

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

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

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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

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

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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

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

By Samuel L. Boyd

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

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

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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

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

This short four-line prayer is one of the best-known in the world. But who wrote it and how did it come to be associated with AA?

By Dave Roos

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It's the oldest (and probably most obscure) monotheistic religion. So, how did it influence so many of the better-known ones? And will Zoroastrianism survive?

By Dave Roos

The first man and woman are formed from clay to live in paradise until they are forced to leave because of deceit. It's a biblical story but also one found in many other cultures.

By Dave Roos

Many Christians believe Jesus Christ will return to Earth to judge and rule it; they refer to it as the Second Coming. For centuries people have hoped it would happen in their lifetimes. So when — if ever — will it take place?

By Dave Roos

Originally, 'Pagan' was a putdown for the country folk who continued to worship the old Roman gods, rather than embracing Christianity. Today, paganism is having a resurgence but with a modern twist.

By Dave Roos

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The most famous Quaker (the one on the oats box) is not even a real person. And this religious group, best known for its pacifism, has had much success in a sweeter area of food: chocolate!

By Dave Roos

In TV shows and movies, sometimes an angel of death appears to tell some unfortunate soul their time on Earth is over. But where did this idea come from? And what if you tell the angel, "I'm not ready?"

By Dave Roos