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

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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. Later, ...
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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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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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What happened to the Polish Calvinists?

According to the Wikipedia article on Calvinism: Although much of Calvin's work was in Geneva, his publications spread his ideas of a "correctly" reformed church to many parts of Europe. [...] It ...
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Treatment of Jewish WWI Veterans

I was just wondering if during WWII or any time during Hitler's tenure (1933-1945), did the Germans give any special consideration to Jewish veterans of the First World War? By special consideration I ...
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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 ...
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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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The decline of Buddhism in India around the 12th century

How can we explain the fall of Buddhism in India, which is the geographic origin of Buddhism? Were there ever any direct conflicts between Hinduism and Buddhism? From what I understand, the rise ...
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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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828 views

Were Puritans Prudes or Progressive?

I have recently encountered two independent assertions that Puritans were not prudes like I and most of society think they were. Either society's view of Puritans is revisionist, or the two sources I ...
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474 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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Was Ashoka motivated more by economics rather than religion in giving up war?

Is there any evidence to support the idea that Ashoka's aversion to war might have been due to inflationary economics rather than religion or remorse? Such as say the degradation in the value of coins ...
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426 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 ...
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358 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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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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349 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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188 views

What is “Mary's Part”?

The poem on this gravestone in RI refers to "Mary's part." What does this phrase mean?
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174 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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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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257 views

What were Aurangzeb Alamgir's motives for reversing much of the religious tolerance in the Mughal Empire?

Aurangzeb Alamgir's great-grandfather Akbar the Great (1556-1606) was famous for being religious tolerant, for abolishing the jizya tax, and attempting to end the ritual of Sati (where a wife must ...
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779 views

Was Buddhism the dominant religion of India for 1 thousand years?

I read in the book 'The Argumentative Indian' by Amartya Sen, that Buddhism was the dominant religion of India for about a 1000 years, and that foreigners referred to India as a Buddhist kingdom. ...
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772 views

Did Franco consider Hitler a “son of the Catholic Church” who “died while defending Christianity”?

Did Francisco Franco, who established Catholicism as the State religion of Spain, consider Hitler a "son of the Catholic Church" who "died while defending Christianity"? If so, why? Hitler acted ...
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439 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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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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624 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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150 views

Are there any written records of Norse mythology dated prior to Christianization?

As I understand it, most of what we know about Norse mythology is based on texts written in sagas by Christians in the late Middle Ages. Do we have any contemporary accounts of Norse mythology from ...
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147 views

Why didn't early modern Christians object to pagan symbolism in art?

I've been to a couple European museums recently, and a question that has been nagging at me is how a society composed of devout Christians could have been so okay with the introduction of pagan gods ...
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94 views

Diaries or writings of Cathar Perfecti in 12th Century France

The Cathars were a Gnostic sect of southern (Languedoc) France in the 12th Century. "Perfecti" were individuals in the sect who followed the most extremely austere lives, renouncing worldly pleasures ...
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438 views

What do we know ***historically*** about Jesus?

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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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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210 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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182 views

After the fall of Constantinople was there a re-evaluation of the basis of Russia's religion?

According to the Primary Chronicle, Vladimir the Great rejected Judaism in 987 with the rationale that they lost Jerusalem. When Constantinople was conquered in 1453 by the Ottomans, was there any ...
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525 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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505 views

Why was the spread of Christianity scattered compared to other major religions?

This video of the spread of world religions makes Christianity look like an anomaly. Every other religion spreads out smoothly from a central point, growing at the edges. Christianity begins as a ...
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415 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 other....
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376 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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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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405 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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442 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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432 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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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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204 views

What was the role of the Russian Orthodox church in Soviet Russia?

Considering that Soviet Union was officially atheistic and Bibles and most "Christian" denominations were banned, it is interesting to me that the government left the Russian Orthodox churches ...
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When was the Passover Seder ritual formalized?

When were the Passover Seder customs in their present form formalized? As a terminus post quem I think we can surely take 70 CE when the Second Temple was destroyed since parts of the Seder ...
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58 views

What exactly were the religious beliefs of Gemistus Plethon?

According to wikipedia: [Gemistus Plethon] was a Greek scholar of Neoplatonic philosophy. He was one of the chief pioneers of the revival of Greek learning in Western Europe. In the dying years of ...
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Are there any good examples in earth history of two religions co-existing?

Specifically I am looking at a situation where: Religion A is: Monotheistic Hierarchical (single leader atop the organization) At least slightly expansionist though not necessarily by force of arms ...
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386 views

What is known about early history of Judaism?

What do we know about early history of Judaism? Do we know the timeline when these modern traits of modern Judaism developed: 1 Lifestyle restriction that we now find in Torah, such as the ...
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934 views

Why was East Asia more religiously tolerant than Europe in medieval time?

In medieval time, different religions coexisted in China, Japan and Korea, but only Christianity was allowed in Europe. What factors made medieval East Asia more religiously tolerant than medieval ...
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713 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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342 views

Did Mohammed exist, or was he created as a figurehead afterwards?

I have been listening to a podcast, called "The History of Byzantium" and in one of the episodes there was a discussion about the lack of reference to Mohammad or Qur'an in the century after his death,...
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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 ...