A term to describe an organized belief system which revolves around supernatural elements and entities.

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Are there any reasonable sources of data on numbers of religious adherents, for different religions, throughout history?

I'm interested in historical trends in religion and wondered if anyone knows of any reasonable sources of data on the number of adherents, for any/all different religions, throughout human history. ...
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3answers
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Why were there no religious wars in Poland?

During the 16th and 17th centuries, there were many religious wars in Europe. In countries, were it was very close to Rome (like Spain, Portugal, Austria, Italian states), they did not occur. In ...
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142 views

When did ancient religions start to experience dropping numbers of adherents in Europe?

I am talking about ancient Greek, Roman and Norwegian religions. When did ancient religions start to lose ground to modern religions such as Catholicism in Europe?
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235 views

What kind of incense was used by the Sumerians?

Today, there are many different kinds of aromatic substances used for incense. What kind of incense was used by the ancient Sumerians?
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2answers
208 views

Epoch of an item marked with anchor symbol with the letters N and D

I found in an antique shop in France the item seen below and would like to know more about the age and origin and material based on the logo/mark. The seller told me it is from the Napoleon III epoch ...
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2answers
137 views

Subjects of sermons in the Middle Ages

Were they more often devoted to New Testament subjects or to Old Testament subjects?
16
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2answers
596 views

How did Islam and Hinduism thrive together in Medieval India?

In countries in the Middle East, Indonesia and many North African countries, the onset of Islamic rulers spread Islam in a rapid manner, eventually wiping off the local religion. However in spite of ...
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6answers
301 views

Has scholarship shown that persecuted religious minorities have tended to be financially successful?

In this interview with Neal Stephenson, talking about the historical basis for his Baroque Cycle series of novels, he makes the remark that ... persecuted religious minorities, if they’re not ...
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3answers
658 views

How “religious” was the average person in the Middle Ages?

During Europe in the Middle Ages, how religious was the "average Joe"? Looking at the large scale politics of the time it seems religion was a major part of the elites' lives, with treaties with the ...
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1answer
205 views

Did the Indo-Greeks play a crucial role in promoting Buddhism?

Did Buddhism become a widespread religion primarily due to the political support of the Indo-Greek rulers of India who favored it in opposition to Jainism?
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1answer
62 views

St. George's Monastery in the West Bank

I was fascinated to learn about St. George's Monastery, a Greek Orthodox site that was first built in the 5th century CE. It's obviously neither Jewish nor Islamic, and is located in a disputed ...
5
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3answers
161 views

Who were the Catholic popes before Francis I who used names not of Latin, Greek or Jewish origin?

Who were the Catholic popes before the current Francis I who used names not of Latin, Greek or Jewish origin? Particularly, names of Germanic origin, like Francis.
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0answers
70 views

What were the major objections that Augustine had with Jerome's translation of the Septuagint?

I was having a discussion with someone who insisted that one of the major reasons I thought that Augustine objected to Jerome's translation of the Septuagint was completely not true. He argued that ...
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211 views

Hitler's Religion or Atheism [closed]

There seems to be even amongst some Historians and even this forum an unclear approach to Hitler and his Religion or the lack there of is there any clear history that establishes Hitler's religious ...
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3answers
425 views

Was any pope imprisoned during his service to Catholic Church?

On 11 February 2013, the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI would resign on 28 February, due to infirmity from advanced age. Earlier in the history, few popes resigned similar way, probably the ...
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4answers
313 views

Monotheism/Atheism in Polytheistic societies

I would like to know if there are any documents telling us how common (or if it even existed) among people in polytheistic societies (like ancient Greece, Rome, etc.) it was to believe that there is ...
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4answers
239 views

Was there a single ancient religion that all others sprang from?

Many religions share same stories, Christianity, Judaism and Islam for example (the ones I know of at least). Some of those stories could even be traced to earlier civilizations in the Middle East ...
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2answers
3k views

What is the first known organized religion in the world?

Which were the first religions to be created with well known scriptures, ceremonies and traditions? Was it that of the ancient Egyptians or the old kingdoms of the Middle East? What about Africa or ...
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5answers
2k views

Is there a civilization that never believed in God in the ancient times?

I'm not obviously talking about small groups or individuals but about an actual civilization that never believed about the existence of a supreme essence. Is atheism just a modern concept?
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2answers
2k views

Was there human sacrifice in ancient Crete?

Excavations on the hill of Kydonia, near Chania in Crete, where the third largest palace of the Minoan civilization was, revealed a small area fenced by rocks in the yard, with many animal bones and ...
8
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2answers
265 views

What are the historical reasons for religious and political negative attitudes towards homosexuality?

First of all, let me say that I know this is a very delicate issue. In no way should my question be seen as an attempt to endorse negative attitudes towards the LGTB community. I am seeking objective, ...
7
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2answers
289 views

Orphism's alleged influence on Christianity

I've read in Nils Johan Ringdal's delightful but ill-footnoted Love For Sale: A World History of Prostitution that the apostle Paul was influenced by Orphism when he set out to weaken women's roles in ...
5
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2answers
2k views

Where does the tradition of Christmas gifts comes from?

Where does the modern tradition of exchanging gifts from Christmas comes from? I've heard that it's inspired by a similar tradition the Ancient Romans had on one of their festivals, is that true?
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2answers
1k views

When was “diablo” first used to refer to the Devil?

I'd curious to know how and when the word diablo came to mean the Devil. In Luc Ferry's A Brief History of Thought, he states: The devil is rather one who, spiritually speaking, does everything ...
17
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2answers
323 views

How does Göbekli Tepe fit into the current picture of society development?

Göbekli Tepe is a huge archaeological site in Eastern Turkey, currently under excavation (make sure you click on "Pictures"). It is one of the oldest architectural complexes in the world, possibly the ...
3
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2answers
777 views

What was the ancient Jewish pantheon?

I have read that before the invention of monotheism, the Jews worshipped multiple gods of which traces remain in various texts. So I wonder whether it is possible to reconstruct it and what the gods ...
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2answers
300 views

When were the different stories of Hindu gods written?

I'm a Hindu by religion. And I really respect my religion like I respect others. But from my childhood, I'm listening a lot of stories about Hindu Gods and Goddess which are interrelated to each ...
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1answer
265 views

Have atheists ever been persecuted in India?

Have atheists ever been persecuted in India? Wikipedia article on persecution of atheist has nothing about India, and google did not throw up anything useful.
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2answers
534 views

What was the structure of religious beliefs among the Arabic peoples before conversion to Islam?

Other questions on this topic has addressed the pre-Islamic religious beliefs in broad detail, including the conversion of near-Arab cultures. What was the specific nature of the pre-Islamic ...
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1answer
613 views

Does a Baal human sacrifice statue from Carthage exist?

While I was reading a Roman history book, it said that people from Carthage used to sacrifice children by placing them on the arms of Baal's statue and letting them roll to the fire. What would be ...
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2answers
2k views

When did the first riots between Hindus and Muslims happen in India?

I have studied in school that the British used the Divide and Rule strategy to rule in India. But, for them to think of applying Divide and Rule, I think some sort of communal tension between Hindus ...
10
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2answers
5k views

Is there a symbol associated with Loki from the Norse pantheon?

I've been looking around for any kind of sign, symbol, sigil, or such that can be said to have anything to do with the deity Loki, of the Norse pantheon. There doesn't seem to be anything as obvious ...
7
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1answer
366 views

How far into the past was significance ascribed to the Golden Ratio?

I think everyone knows about the golden ratio or the divine proportion (I got to know more about it after reading the wikipedia article on it). It's present everywhere in nature and also in the human ...
12
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2answers
163 views

Completeness of Old Parish Registers in the 1700s

In England, local churches were required to keep registers of all baptisms, marriages and burials. Are there any studies that show how complete these records generally were, in particular in relation ...
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2answers
192 views

Was residual animism partially responsible for Hitler's rise?

Although Miller had never bothered to think about it, it was once out of these and other oceans of pine and beech that the old Germanic tribes had swarmed to be checked by Caesar at the Rhine. ...
15
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1answer
533 views

Was there any theological opposition to the lightning rod?

Apparently, there was some opposition to the lightning rod at the time of its invention because lightning was seen as "the wrath of God" and should not be controlled. I'd like to find some citations ...
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0answers
104 views

Gylfaginning a redacted worldview of Norse beliefs?

Intro Gylfaginning - a part of the Younger Edda, is one of the most important scriptural sources in defining the Norse worldview. Background Gylfe, a mythical king of Sweden, wondered how the ...
7
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2answers
200 views

Which days in the Mayan calendar were most auspicious for performing sacrifices?

In Classic Mayan civilization, human sacrifices were performed. I've read that there were days that were more and less auspicious for sacrifices, but I haven't been able to find out which days those ...
8
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1answer
148 views

Did the Mayans view the gods as antagonistic to humanity?

How did the precolonial Maya view their gods' relationship to mankind, specifically: were they considered benevolent, neutral, or antagonistic? I've seen a number of hints that they may have ...
6
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1answer
382 views

When were the heresy laws abolished in England?

We know that during the English Reformation several "heretics" were burnt at the stake. We also know that during the reign of Henry VIII both protestants and catholics were burnt or beheaded while ...
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1answer
510 views

How effective have Shariah-based Islamic Laws been at keeping the crime rate low in modern Saudi Arabia?

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is one of the strongest proponent of Shariah-based Islamic Laws. Did it have any effect on the crime statistics of the country? How effective have the criminal laws in ...
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2answers
112 views

Please provide me an example of a religious violence that was rooted at ethnic conflict [closed]

Please provide me an example of a religious violence that was rooted at ethnic conflict. Did Armenian and Turkish conflict have religious reasons or ethnic reasons? Did Tamil and Sinhalese conflict ...
15
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1answer
2k views

Why did the Moors invade the Iberian peninsula?

Almost all of the information that I can find with regards to the Moorish invasion of the Iberian Peninsula simply states when the Moors invaded. There seems to be very little on what the motivation ...
12
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4answers
643 views

Was there ever any organization of thieves or pickpockets?

Can anyone suggest any historical examples of an established group specifically dedicated to organized thievery (any combination of property based crimes such as pick-pocketing, lock-picking, fencing, ...
8
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3answers
153 views

What are other obvious samples in history where political/religious leaders try to shape religion to their need [closed]

This question is inspired by What were Hitler's religious beliefs? So they have well documented records on how Hitler actually tried to change/replace christianity. What other similar records ...
15
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4answers
291 views

Were there any well known royal dynasties that did not in some way cite religious mandate for their rule?

Most of the royal rulers in the last 2000 years seemed to be strongly relying - as one of the sources of their power - on the notion that they hold "divine rule"/"sanction of god"/"mandate of heaven" ...
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4answers
1k views

Why did Martin Luther hate the Jews?

Some suggested that Martin Luther hated the Jews because the Jews didn't believe him. Yet, some Christians think that Martin Luther is a libertarian and state that he didn't think beliefs should be ...
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2answers
246 views

Does prohibition of polygamy always correlate well with democracy? [closed]

There are only 2 countries in the Middle East where polygamy is illegal: Israel and Turkey. There are only 2 countries in the Middle East that are true democracies: Israel and Turkey. Lebanon is ...
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3answers
438 views

What are the origins of Satanism as a religion? [closed]

I've been wondering about the origins of Satanism as an organised religion. I've heard that it was originally created by the Catholic Church as a means to polarize the general population ...
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5answers
1k views

Is there any evidence that the Catholic Church slowed innovation during the Middle Ages?

I often hear that the rate of innovation was very high during ancient times in Greece and the Roman empire. I've also heard that the rate of innovation was reduced once the Catholic Church gained ...