February 23, 2021

Which countries are the least religious countries in the world? How do we assess least religious — is it the countries where fewer people believe in God, or where fewer people participate in religious activities? Watch this video to learn more! Read more

February 15, 2021

Animal sacrifice was an important part of Ancient Greek religion. But why did they ritually slaughter animals? What did this do for their society? The intricacy of the rituals may surprise you. Watch this video to learn more. Read more

February 9, 2021

When did Christianity officially part ways from Judaism? Early Christianity and Judaism were incredibly diverse communities in the first century, which a variety of theological beliefs and practices. As a result, it is hard to pinpoint an exact time when the early Christians emerged as a distinct and separate community from Judaism. What we do know is that almost every Jesus follower from the first century was Jewish. What this means is that, at least in the first century, the… Read more

February 1, 2021

The Devil’s Number. The Mark of the Beast. But what does the number ‘666’ REALLY mean? Research suggests that it is actually a secret code.  The number ‘666’ is originates in the Book of Revelation, the last book in the New Testament, known for its dramatic and apocalyptic imagery. The number comes up in the context of a beast who rises up and distributes ‘the mark of the beast’ and whose number is named as 666. Here are the verses in… Read more

January 25, 2021

Can you teach the Bible in public school? Are you allowed to read it? Pray in school? You might be surprised to hear what the courts have decided over the years. The arguments over teaching the Bible in public school have been important for many religious communities in the US. The issue ultimately came to the Supreme Court in 1963 in a case known as Abington School District vs Schempp. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that public schools are… Read more

January 19, 2021

Is a secular ritual comparable to a religious ritual? Can we equate national symbols like flags and parades to religious symbols? This video argues: “yes.” The American flag functions like a sacred symbol in American public life today. But the history of the American flag in American history is a little more complicated than just a straightforward story about symbolism and reverence. The US flag wasn’t always seen as a sacred symbol. Its symbolic significance developed over the centuries, as did… Read more

January 11, 2021

Do you think ‘In God We Trust’ has been the US motto since the earliest days of the country? If you do, you’re not alone. A lot of people assume that ‘In God We Trust’ has been stamped onto American coins and buildings for hundreds of years, simply because the motto has become so ubiquitous across U.S. institutions. But the motto actually entered U.S. institutional life at a very particular moment. In 1956, President Eisenhower signed two different laws which… Read more

January 4, 2021

  Religions around the world include rituals that require physical pain. Self-flagellation. Body mortification. Fire-walking. These are just some of the most painful religious rituals in the world. But why do humans engage in these extreme, painful rituals? Most people want to avoid the trauma of physical pain. But for participants in extreme religious rituals, and for the onlookers, the pain is an inherent part of the appeal of these rituals.  Whether it is dragging altars hooked through their own… Read more

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