Patheos Watermark

You are running a very outdated version of Internet Explorer. Patheos and most other websites will not display properly on this version. To better enjoy Patheos and your overall web experience, consider upgrading to the current version of Internet Explorer. Find more information HERE.

  • What is the creation story in Hinduism

    Because of its cyclical notions of time, Hinduism holds that the world is created many times, over and over again, and not just once and for all.   more

  • What is the role of celibacy in Hinduism

    In general, celibacy in Hinduism is associated with increased physical power, strength, concentration, well-being, and longevity and is also associated with the control of desire (and ultimately the control of oneself).   more

  • Is Hinduism polytheistic

    Hindus are not polytheists because most Hindus are nondualists and believe that all of the gods and goddesses are manifestations/embodiments of the one Ultimate Brahman/Bhagvan.   more

  • Do Hindus worship cows

    Hindus do not worship cows, but instead hold them in high regard, respecting the gifts that they give to humankind.   more

  • Why do Hindus worship images

    God, out of grace, manifests as particular embodied forms (in temples, homes, etc.) so that people can easily worship and form a relationship with God.   more

  • Does the LDS Church have paid clergy

    The LDS Church at all levels has a lay, non-professional clergy, of which a very small percentage receives a living stipend.   more

  • Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses pretty much the same thing

    Though many people associate Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses -- because both groups engage in door-to-door evangelism -- there is, in reality, very little in common.   more

  • The 5 most-frequently quoted scriptures from the LDS Canon

    Bible: John 17:3, Matt 6:33; Matthew 5:48; John 3:16; John 14:27   more

  • How do Mormons view education

    Education at all levels and of all types (formal and informal) is encouraged by church leaders.   more

  • Where did the Book of Mormon come from

    According to Mormon theology, the Book of Mormon is a translation of a record telling of three relatively small groups that came to the Americas, by boat, from the ancient Middle East.   more

  • Do all Mormons live in Utah

    Although the LDS Church came to be centered in Utah in the mid-1800s, there have always been members of the Church elsewhere.   more

  • How do Mormons integrate their theology with politics

    Though the LDS Church officially forbids the endorsement of specific candidates or political parties from its pulpits, it encourages political participation on all levels.   more

  • What is the Joseph Smith Translation or JST

    Also referred to by some as the "Inspired Version", the JST represents a textual record of Joseph Smith’s interaction with the Bible.   more

  • Why are you called Mormons

    Mormons have other canonical books besides the Bible. One of these is called the Book of Mormon, the story of several small groups from the ancient Middle East that came to the Americas.   more

  • What is the difference between a Protestant and a Catholic

    A Protestant and a Catholic belong to the same Christian family tree but belong to two distinct branches. A Roman Catholic is a member of what has traditionally been considered the "western" wing of Christianity, churches and bishops aligned with the Bishop of Rome/the Pope.   more

  • What do Pagans believe

    Paganism is a term that encompasses a diverse group of religious paths, so it is difficult--if not impossible--to list "Pagan beliefs" held by "all Pagans." With that caveat in mind, many Pagans believe in some or all of the following things:   more

  • Are Mormons Christian(s)?

    The answer depends upon the definition. In contrast to other religious traditions that hold Jesus to be nothing more than a human prophet, such as Islam, Mormons certainly consider themselves to be Christian in the sense that they read and believe the Bible's teaching that redemption and atonement come through Jesus the Messiah, who is the Son of God. Mormonism's unique scriptures, such as the Book of Mormon, also teach these doctrines. However, Mormonism rejects or starkly redefines several traditional Christian doctrines, interpretations, and creeds that post-date the New Testament, and for this reason has never claimed to fall within the historical tradition of Christianity, as most Catholic and Protestant churches do.   more

  • First Communion

    First Communion (Eucharist) is one of the three Catholic sacraments of initiation, which along with baptism and Confirmation, make someone a Catholic.   more

  • Do Pagans follow any kind of code of ethics

    Many Pagans (and most Wiccans) follow two main guidelines that can be seen as the core of Pagan ethics: the Law of Return (or Threefold Law) and the Wiccan Rede.   more

  • Is Paganism a nature religion

    Some branches of Paganism may identify more with the phrase "nature religion" than others do, as the importance of nature in Paganism varies according to the specific tradition.   more

  • How does someone convert to Paganism

    Rarely is there a “conversion” process in Paganism of the type seen in some other religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam).   more

  • What is the significance of the pentagram

    The pentagram, a five-pointed star, is often used as a symbol for contemporary Paganism (much like Christians use the symbol of the cross).   more

  • How many Pagans are there

    Determining the number of practicing or self-identified Pagans is difficult for a number of reasons.   more

  • Do Pagans worship Satan

    The simple answer is "no.""Satan" is considered a Jewish and/or Christian figure by most Pagans worldwide, and as such has no relationship to the practice of Paganism.   more

  • What do Pagans believe

    Paganism is a term that encompasses a diverse group of religious paths, so it is difficult--if not impossible--to list "Pagan beliefs" held by "all Pagans."   more

  • Does pagan just mean not Christian

    "Pagan" likely comes from the Latin paganus, but how or why that term was used early in its history remains unclear: suggestions include "country dweller," or "civilian."   more

  • Are all Pagans polytheists

    Paganism is a group of widely varied religions, and different groups have different views on the importance (or even the existence) of gods and goddesses.   more

  • Are all Pagans Witches

    The term "Paganism" encompasses a wide variety of religions; Wiccans, Druids, Discordians, Goddess worshippers, and Odinists are some of the many groups that are often considered "Pagan."   more

  • How many other commonalities does the bible share with religions that pre-date Christianity?

    Some stories, such as that of the flood, and some versions of creation, and other seemingly "mythological" events in the Hebrew Bible, seem to have been influenced by, or even borrowed from, pre Israelite (and thus pre Christian) stories.   more

  • I see Sikhism was omitted from your list of religions. Any reason it was left out?

    Sikhism is included in the Paths - we will be releasing more paths throughout the Summer, and Sikhism will be among them.   more

  • What do Christians believe happens during the Second Coming? Does the world end?

    Some believe that the world will end and all of those judged positively will be "saved" and enjoy eternal life.Some Christians, however, believe that the second coming has already occurred.   more

  • What is the most liberal of Protestant denominations?

    Protestant denominations are, like any other group of humans, incredibly diverse, so each and every one has both conservative and liberal elements to it.   more

  • Do Muslims believe that Islam was established on Mt. Moriah?

    Yes, on one level, Islam "begins" with Abraham and his covenant with god.   more

  • I always hear about Islamic law? What is that?

    Like Judaism, Islam is a religion in which distinctly religious laws of conduct and ritual play a large part and cover every detail of daily life.   more

  • Does Islam advocate violence, and what is jihad?

    The sources of Islamic law and dogma, namely the Quran, the teachings of Muhammad and the interpretations of these sources by Muslim scholars, were all produced in environments of war.   more

  • Who was Muhammad and what does he mean to Muslims?

    Muhammad was born in around 570 CE to a leading clan of the tribe controlling his native city of Mecca in western Arabia.   more

  • What is the relationship between reason, revelation and free will in Islam?

    The Quran explains that humans go astray when they turn away from revealed scriptures and begin taking their own speculations and customs as religious beliefs or rites.   more

  • How does Islam view women?

    In responding to this question, we distinguish between the questions ‘what does the high religious tradition of Islam say about women?   more

  • What is the relationship between Islam, Christianity and Judaism?

    According to the Quran, there is only one religion: submission to God (in Arabic, Islam). Those who ‘submit' are muslims (literally, submitters).   more

  • Is the Quran the source of Islamic doctrine and law?

    Although Muslims consider the Quran the literal word of God, the focal point of ritual and the well-spring of Islamic law and dogma, most of the details of Islamic law and doctrine are not found in the holy book.   more

  • What is the Quran?

    The Quran (which means "the Recitation" in Arabic) is the sacred scripture of Muslims, who believe that it is the literal word of God revealed in Arabic to Muhammad.   more

  • What is the difference between Sunni and Shiite Islam?

    Sunnism and Shiism are two competing visions of religious and political authority in Islam.   more

  • Is there salvation outside of Islam?

    Islam is the belief in the one God, the creator and sustainer of universe, and a belief in the prophets and revelations sent by God to mankind.   more

  • If there are women rabbis, then why are there synagogues where women are not allowed to sit with men?

    The place of women in Judaism is a fascinating study in the message of Judaism catching up with the society in which Jews live.   more

  • What is a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah?

    The term Bar Mitzvah is a Jewish legal term that means essentially, “of majority age.”   more

  • Why do Jews not believe in Jesus?

    Almost any educated Jew from any part of the spectrum of Judaism acknowledges the fact that Jesus lived and died a Jew.   more

  • How did the laws of kosher and non-kosher animals emerge?

    In Leviticus 11:3-12, there is an exhaustive list of animals that are permitted and forbidden to be eaten.   more

  • When Jews mourn they do something called shiva; what is that all about?

    Shiva, from the Hebrew word for seven, refers to the first seven days of mourning beginning with the day of the burial (not the day of the death).   more

  • Since the Holocaust was so evil, why is not there a desire to move on, to distance all of us, Jew and Gentile alike, from the event?

    For Jews, remembering is a central religious act.   more

  • The Holocaust happened over 60 years ago; why does it still get so much attention from Jews?

    Historian Lucy Dawidowicz called the Holocaust the war against the Jews.   more

  • Do Jews believe in Heaven and Hell?

    Among Jews there is certainly endless speculation about what happens after death, but, as with most anything concerning the future, Judaism offers no certainty.   more

  • Do Jews believe in life after death?

    As we move along the spectrum we get, on one end, absolutely!, and at the other end, absolutely not!   more

  • Who is a Jew?

    The answer to this question, depends, like most things Jewish, on where you stand.   more

  • What does it mean to be saved?

    "Salvation" comes from the Greek word "soteria."   more

  • Are all evangelicals politically conservative?

    While the popular picture of American evangelical politics usually focuses on participation in the Republican Party and conservative social causes, numerous studies have demonstrated that their political commitments are far more diverse than usually believed.   more

  • Can somebody be evangelical and liberal?

    Usually theologically liberal would be a mutually exclusive term from evangelical.   more

  • What are doctrines and do all Christian churches have them?

    Literally “teaching,” the word “doctrine” can have a range of meanings.   more

  • Is evangelical the same as fundamentalist?

    Although these terms are often used as synonyms in the popular press, fundamentalists and evangelicals are actually two different streams within conservative Protestantism.   more

  • What were the main differences between Calvin and Luther?

    In general, Calvin and Luther were mostly in agreement in their reform efforts.   more

  • What do Catholics believe about war?

    Jesus' teaching about violence is very clear-cut: "I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you."   more

  • What is the difference between an evangelical and a Protestant?

    In brief, most evangelicals are Protestants, but not all Protestants are evangelical.   more

  • How and why did the Reformation happen?

    Whole volumes of research have been committed to this question over the centuries and will continue to be committed to this question for as long as people are asking questions about Christianity, probably.   more

  • What is the difference between a deacon and a priest?

    There are three Orders in the Church: the Order of Bishop, Priest, and Deacon.   more

  • When and where did evangelicalism begin?

    In a long term sense, evangelicalism traces its roots to Jesus of Nazareth   more

  • What is the status of the Bible in the mainline churches?

    Mainline Protestantism of course represents a vast diversity of religious practices and beliefs, so any general answer to this question will of course reduce the complexity of the relationship of between the Bible and the mainline churches.   more

  • What do Catholics believe about the death penalty?

    The Catholic Church's belief regarding the death penalty has changed dramatically since the papacy of Pope John Paul II.   more

  • What are evangelical distinctives?

    Scholars have developed multiple ways of identifying evangelicals based on shared beliefs or common practices.   more

  • Is there any real difference among the mainline denominations?

    Yes and no.Of course there are distinct theological differences.   more

  • Do Catholics believe in exorcism?

    In Biblical times, being possessed by demons was a way to describe any sort of mental or physical condition that no one could explain.   more

  • Who are evangelicals?

    Most evangelicals are theologically conservative Protestant Christians.   more

  • What is the difference between mainline Protestants and evangelical Protestants?

    In some sense, there’s no difference between the two.   more

  • What is the difference between Catholics and Jews?

    There are lots of similarities and differences between Catholics and Jews.   more

  • What happens when we die?

    When we die, Catholics believe that our life and all our choices become clear to us.   more