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

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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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1k views

Have famous rabbis ever converted to Islam?

By "famous rabbi" I mean someone who was actually known in at least one community as an authority on Jewish law, not just one who successfully completed rabbinical training.
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555 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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1answer
99 views

Origin of the Subdivisons of Hell/Heaven

Isra and Mi'raj is the name of the journey of the prophet Muhammad, where he witnessed heaven and hell, describing their structure as well as the punishment and rewards that lay beyond. Hell and ...
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1answer
269 views

Why were Arians outnumbered on the First Council of Nicaea?

Constantine was baptized by an Arian bishop a few years after the Council of Nicaea. His sons were Arians. At least the leadership of the Visigoths that sacked Rome where Arians. That was in 410, only ...
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576 views

How did ancient mystery religions impact Christianity?

I recently learned about the existence of mystery religions while listening to lectures by Robert Garland about Daily Life in the Ancient World. Wikipedia seems to imply that the mystery religions ...
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4answers
293 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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696 views

Did Akhenaten's religion influence early Judaism?

There were some claims, for example in the 1st 2 chapters of Moses and Monotheism by Freud, that early Judaism was basically a spin-off of Akhenaten's religion. There are indeed some remarkable ...
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1answer
44 views

Why did the Dutch West India Company allow Quakers in the New Netherlands?

In 1657 a group of English Quakers arrived in New Amsterdam (the Dutch colonial town that became modern New York City). They were persecuted by the colonial government there for their religion. Then ...
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202 views

Why, during the Spanish reconquista, did King Ferdinand not take over Portugal?

After unifying Castile, Leon, Navarre, and Aragon through marriage, Ferdinand I proceeded to conquer Grenada, and almost unify the Iberian peninsula, but left Portugal alone. Is there any satisfying ...
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161 views

Why did Christianity disappear in North-Western Africa?

During Roman times North-Western Africa had a thriving Christian community, giving birth to Saint Augustine and a long lasting heresy. This is similar to many Christian communities of the time, from ...
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1answer
247 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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201 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
132 views

To what extent were religious groups persecuted in the Soviet Union?

I understand that many churches were destroyed and even many priests arrested and executed, but how widespread was the violence across the entirety of the Soviet Union?
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0answers
96 views

What is the role of towers in Romanesque architecture?

I'm currently reading some books about romanesque architecture. I would like to know the roles of towers that many religious buildings have. I have some guesses, so I would like you to tell me if ...
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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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3answers
397 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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1answer
249 views

Does the ancient Egyptian religion still have followers? [closed]

The Ancient Egyptian religion was 3000 years old, and one of the oldest religion in the world. The religion had numerous gods and practices and flourished until the spread of Christianity in 4th ...
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2answers
726 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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1answer
204 views

Ancient Christianity

Around the 1st century AD, the three biggest religions in the Roman empire were the Roman pantheon, Judaism, and Christianity. Why was Christianity so much more successful in gaining and keeping ...
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1answer
46 views

Power over the centuries: spiritual vs. political vs. economic

I recently attended a presentation on the shift in power over the centuries. The speaker argued that ... the power in the middle ages was in the churches, i.e., the priests and, thus, in the ...
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1answer
147 views

Why are some Americans more religious than European counterparts? [closed]

What are some of the historical reasons for why certain Americans are more religious than similar Europeans? For example, there are pronounced differences in Church attendance; Extent of belief in ...
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1answer
138 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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3k views

How did the Catholic Pope manage to become more powerful than Kings in old Europe?

In medieval Europe, the Roman Catholic Pope seemed to hold more power than the European kings. This is strange because monarchs can raise armies. Pope and their bishops are not exactly military men. ...
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47 views

Were the Puritans for a State Church?

In a book titled America's Providential History it states on page 84 that The major Puritan weakness was their holding to the idea of a State Church. They saw nothing wrong with a National ...
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81 views

Contemporary objections to the Bill of Rights's 1st Amendment / Declaration of the Rights of Man, art. 10? [closed]

What were the objections to the Bill of Rights's 1st Amendment when it was first published? Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise ...
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3answers
383 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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2answers
90 views

In a broad sense, what are the reasons for the history-spanning persecution of Jews? [closed]

Throughout history, Jews have almost always been persecuted in every culture they try to co-exist with. The act is so common that we even have a term for it - anti-semitism - even though semites ...
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4answers
225 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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1answer
192 views

Devastating air strike over Middle Eastern country during religious holiday

I'm trying to remember a historical incident I read about but have a foggy recollection of. As far as I recall, during a religious holiday, a neighboring country launched an air strike against ...
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2answers
134 views

Subjects of sermons in the Middle Ages

Were they more often devoted to New Testament subjects or to Old Testament subjects?
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2answers
661 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 ...
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2answers
124 views

What specifc training occurred for members of medieval military orders?

What were the dominant martial and clerical themes to the training of knights in medieval military orders? Were there specific fighting or training techniques, or weapons, adopted to meet religious ...
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1answer
69 views

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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0answers
110 views

Is there a timeline showing the various (known) religions and their birthdates? [closed]

I'm trying to establish origins for the worlds major religions, but eager to research some minor ones as well. I am hoping to find a correlation between several religions based on the timetable of ...
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65 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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2answers
150 views

What historical evidence do we have for the Prophet Muhammed? [closed]

In the Sahih-Bukhari, a generally accepted collection of the times and sayings of the Prophet, there are a number of reports of contacts with other nations & empires; for example: Allah's ...
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1answer
477 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
130 views

Could a nobleman / lord join the clergy in the middle ages? [closed]

First of all, perhaps my terminology is dodgy here, but by nobleman I mean A member of a noble family, of noble birth and by lord I mean a ruler -- that is, the Duke of Somewhere would be a lord; his ...
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108 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 ...
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2answers
124 views

Were ancient Israel's neighbors henotheistic?

Chemosh seem to be the god of the Moabites. Moloch was the god of the Amonites. Do they worship only one God too, like Israel?
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1answer
40 views

Origins of Baptist colonists

What part of England did the Baptist colonists come from to North America? As in the regions of England, Wales or Scotland.
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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 ...
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0answers
68 views

Was any Medieval state ever “partially” Roman Catholic? [closed]

It is my understanding that in most of (if not all) the states in western medieval Europe the Roman Catholic church was the only recognized religious body. I'm looking for an example of a state with ...
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0answers
97 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 ...
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2answers
176 views

What do we know ***historically*** about Jesus? [closed]

How do historians study the events of Jesus' life, and the person he was? I read a book on the topic, and it held the position that the gospels were revised to appease the Romans - especially the ...
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2answers
350 views

Do more Britons than Americans profess Christianity?

If so, why? And if not, when was it not the case that a greater percentage of Americans believe in Christianity than Britons? And what caused the subsequent divergence? Definitions. (For the ...
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2answers
243 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
173 views

Which one is ancient Hinduisam or Dravidiasm [closed]

As per the history Hinduisam is Oldest and ancient on the earth... As per my research... Hinduthvam is from Aryan Race and their Language was Sanskrit and Pakrit... Dravidians are different Race.. ...
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1answer
136 views

Why is Jewish God so Popular? [closed]

The jews do not prolyselytes at all. In fact, originally, Yahweh, is Jewish national god. Jewish scripture almost never claim unambiguously that Yahweh is god of all beings. He never complains about ...