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28

First, the easier part on Christianity. As the other reply says, the British were (mostly) unwilling to convert Indians in order to avoid inflaming local religious sentiments. In fact, the British were so cautious on this that they would probably even tolerated the practices of sati and child marriage had some Indian reformers (such as Ram Mohan Roy) not ...


28

Religion is a great cultural differentiator. People have been killing each other for many millenia, with a preference for targeting other people who belong to a distinct "culture", a rather loose term. From the outside, the god(s) people worship are quite easy to work out; if they are not the same as yours, then these people are "foreigners". Historically, ...


28

Judaism is very old, but it was not originally monotheistic (see below). An earlier instance of monotheistic or monotheistic-esque worship occurred in the form of Atenism, the worship of the deified sun-disk Aten in Ancient Egypt. The Pharaoh Amenhotep IV (later Akhenaten), reigning around 1353/1351-1336/1334 B.C., promoted it as an arguably monotheistic ...


25

"Is there any evidence to suggest whether either polytheism or monotheism came first, as an established form of religion? Or do we even have any way of knowing?" The oldest written records we have that mention religion are all polytheistic. The writer will sometimes claim that his god rules over the others, but this tends to have a 'my dad can beat up your ...


23

In my History of Islam classes there was some review of Pre-Islamic Arabia and a few things were covered, from my class notes we talked about: Arabia being a part of the major trade route along the Red Sea Coast, from southern Palestine to Yemen. Medina and Mecca were located along this route, Mecca was the more important city where caravans stopped and ...


20

Your examples don't really count. Yes, polytheistic religions don't consider all gods as equals. But that's simply the hierarchy of human societies applied to gods, it comes naturally with the human psyche being what it is. Nevertheless, polytheism seems to be the more obvious form of religion: a single almighty god is very abstract and hard to imagine, a ...


18

Tokugawa Ieyasu banned it in 1614 for one. You would be killed for being a practicing Christian up until the Meiji restoration. Think about it like this. You've got Europeans coming in. They are seen as a direct threat[1] to your power base built on the divine authority of the God Emperor and the Shogun, his personal representative. The Buddhists don't claim ...


18

That's an interesting question. There is a book by Michael Hesemann, a German historian, in which he is interpreting Hitlers religion (that is actually the title of the book) like this: Hitlers plans where going towards a "German pseudo-religion". Hitler got his first ideas from the "Ostara"-magazine, that was published between 1903 to 1931 and propagated ...


17

It would be very interesting to see a chart of rate of innovation over time in western civilization. Of course, this begs the question of what is "innovation". Do you count number of inventions? Do you give more weight to inventions that would have long lasting significance through history? Or ones that may have been less influential but providing a huge ...


17

You may want to check the cour des miracles (court of miracles) as a real life example of a "thieves guild". Clearly reading about the Mafia, Tong, and Yakuza should be compulsory as those are crime organisations. Look at your local law enforcement web site for further information on organised crime as well if you are looking for more modern organisations. ...


17

Actually the motivation is pretty well-known. The motivation for the invasion of Spain was similar to that of all Muslim conquest of the period. Islamic armies under the command of the "The Rightly Guided Caliphs" and the following Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs benefited from a unifying religion to form a large and motivated armed forces, out of what had ...


16

I can go into further details if requested, but "TL;DR" answer is: After Luther agitated that "Jews didn't convert to Christianity because Catholics treated them badly, and would convert if you treat them better", Jews still didn't show any great willingness to convert. Here's one supporting quote (context was Luther's refusal to intercede on Jews's ...


14

It's hard to answer since you didn't clearly define either Satanism or "organized religion". Under the most common understanding, Satanism didn't become an organized "religion" till The Church of Satan was established as an organization according to The Satanic Bible, written in 1969 by Anton Szandor LaVey. There seems to be no basis to attribute this to ...


14

No, residual paganism was not a factor in Hitler's rise to power. As far as anyone can say, that is. This theory you reference posits that the German people claimed to be Christian, yet practiced secret worship "in the dark" to pagan gods. No one can prove that any German ever worshipped a pagan god in secret. But we can say this much: Christianity was ...


13

Quite the contrary as Rodney Stark pointed out in The Victory of Reason - the Catholic church itself promoted most of the societal conditions that allowed the Middle Class to take hold, and in so doing also promote the nurture of science and industry. Chief among these were personal property rights (stemming from the idea that we were God's stewards) and ...


13

Loki and Hermes are well-known gods of thievery. As for saints, St. Nicolas is the patron of thieves. As for clans, often there was some community of people that had any normal work forbidden by the society or some inner rules. Some opressed small nation could choose non-collaboration policy and crime remained their only way of living. Gipsies or ...


12

Short answer Pre-Islamic Arabians were polytheistic, worshiping 360 gods; the chief god was the moon-god. They later became monotheistic because of Muhammad. Long answer In 1944, Gertrude Caton-Thompson (1888-1885), an influential English archaeologist, discovered a temple of the moon-god in southern Arabia. The symbols of the crescent moon and no less ...


12

The Maya did: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_religion , in most cases this seemed to be more extaordinary and in a way of trying to get the attention of the gods in extreme circumstances, such as famine, flood or alternately kings ascending the throne. As did the Aztec: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aztec#Human_sacrifice , although I have never seem much ...


12

From Wiki: Will Durant explains that certain pygmy tribes found in Africa were observed to have no identifiable cults or rites. There were no totems, no deities, and no spirits. Their dead were buried without special ceremonies or accompanying items and received no further attention. They even appeared to lack simple superstitions, according to ...


11

From: JREF The earliest origins of Shinto are lost to history, but it seems to have been established by the late Jomon period. Most likely, after the arrival of the earliest ancestors of today's Japanese, each tribe and area had its own collection of gods and rituals with no formal relationship between each of the areas. Following the ascendency of the ...


11

At the moment of his election (1641), it seems that Mazarin was in minor orders - so called "lay cardinal". After that, there seems to be little consensus and pretty much no primary sources, but if anything, he was a cardinal-priest. By the process of elimination, he was a cardinal-priest: He was definitely not a cardinal-deacon. From "The Cardinals of ...


11

Here is a Wiki page on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler's_religious_views Below is a paragraph from the article above: Persecution of the Christian Churches In 1999 attorney Julie Seltzer Mandel, while researching documents for the "Nuremberg Project", discovered 150 bound volumes collected by Gen. William Donovan as part of his ...


11

One thing readers should understand about this question (which should probably be added to the question text, hint, hint) is that lightning happens when highly charged air in the atmosphere finds a good enough conductor to the ground in order to arc there. Thus it is naturally attracted to tall pointy things. This quite well describes the steeples (or ...


11

A quick search of Google netted this entry from Wikipedia. The page says that conflict started in 711 CE with Islamic expansion, specifically by the Umayyad Caliphate. While this doesn't qualify as a riot, this marks the start of violent relationships between the two groups. This is reiterated here and here, although the time frames differ slightly from each ...


11

That Poland avoided internal wars of religion can indeed be attributed to the religious tolerance of the state at this time, a tolerance that stretches back a long time. And this has to do with it's position where many of it's neighbouring countries were not Catholic. To the east the Kievan Rus adopted Orthodoxy, and further north the areas now known as ...


11

It is a widely used epitaph of the time for beloved wives (see here and here), and seems to refer to Luke 10:38-42: (New International Version (NIV)) At the Home of Martha and Mary 38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat ...


10

I take your question as "just before the advent of Muhammad." Therefore I will not delve into ancient history, and limit the answer to late-antiquity and early Middle Ages. First of all we have to note that people in the Arabic Peninsula could (and can) be divided geographically between the (mostly) arid North (notwithstanding oases and narrow coastal ...


10

The overall "feeling" is that it is neither historical fact nor legends. It is a book of stories, many of which have real events that lies behind them, and many that do not. There is a discussion about exactly what is true, though. The well known stories such as the flood and the exodus generally have no or little evidence behind them, and often a lot of ...


10

One point to mention is that Christianity does not mix well with other religions as Noldorin notes, basically you are a Christian and that is it. Buddhism is more of a philosophy than religion (my view considering my wife's Buddhist faith) and while they pray to Buddha it's more of an ideal to shoot for, how you do that can be open to interpretation. If ...


10

Time and again India has seen some reformers who revolutionize the thoughts of the masses. When Buddhism was in full force in India, Adi Shankara was born to revive Hinduism. During the Mughal Period, Tulsidas, Surdas and others deeply imposed the faith of Hindus in God. Tulsidas wrote Ram Charitra Manas whereas Surdas composed many devotional songs about ...



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