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

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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
1k 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 ...
7
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2answers
235 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, ...
6
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1answer
220 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 ...
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2answers
483 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?
7
votes
2answers
668 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 ...
16
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2answers
279 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
634 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 ...
6
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2answers
253 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
238 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
455 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
501 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 ...
7
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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 ...
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2answers
4k 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
votes
1answer
345 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 ...
7
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2answers
183 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
421 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
87 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
179 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
136 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
310 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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vote
1answer
433 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
105 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 ...
13
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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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5answers
543 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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1answer
117 views

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

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 ...
14
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4answers
268 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
975 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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1answer
196 views

Does prohibition of polygamy always correlate well with democracy?

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 ...
2
votes
3answers
330 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
823 views

Is there any evidence that the catholic church reduced 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 ...
37
votes
6answers
3k views

Which came first: polytheism or monotheism?

It seems a common position that monotheism tends to evolve out of polytheism. Wikipedia offers a few historical examples of this. However, many polytheistic religions seem to have monotheistic ...
26
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4answers
3k views

What was the religion of the Arabic people before conversion to Islam?

What was the dominant religion of the Arabic people when Prophet Muhammed started the Islamic religion?
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2answers
580 views

Is the Bible considered a reliable historical resource? [closed]

I realize there is probably a large spectrum of opinions on this matter. Nevertheless, what is the general consensus among academics on the historical reliability of the Bible? Is it a sound ...
15
votes
9answers
2k views

What cultures did, or do, perform human sacrifice on a regular basis?

Looking at the Area 51 commitment page, I realized that some of the questions that were originally suggested there never got asked here, so I thought I'd add some of them. Something else I would like ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

What were Hitler's religious beliefs?

Hitler is often cited as an example of an evil atheist (along with Stalin and Mao). But there are several quotes from him that seem to indicate he believed in the Christian God - and even used this to ...
16
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6answers
578 views

What factors permitted Buddhism to be successful in Japan but Christianity less so?

From reading The Samurai and the Sacred, it looks like Buddhism achieved acceptance into Japanese culture due to its willingness to assimilate with the (already present) Shinto religion. Conversely, ...
7
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1answer
375 views

What are the origins of the Shinto religion?

Shinto's recorded history is typically dated to the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, but most sources suggest that oral traditions go back much further than this. What evidence is there to support this - ...
7
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2answers
473 views

What sort of Cardinals were Richelieu and Mazarin?

Cardinals can belong to one of three orders: Cardinal-deacon Cardinal-bishop Cardinal-priest. What were the ranks of Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin?