Questions tagged [religion]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
81
votes
15answers
15k views

Why do western monotheistic religions seem to be so full of conflict over dogma?

This could be a totally false premise. But clearly when Christianity was starting (and even to this day) there were serious conflicts about ideology. You had the Arians, Monophysites, etc. all at each ...
73
votes
12answers
51k views

Why weren't Indians converted en masse to Islam or Christianity?

India was ruled by Muslims from around the 12th century until 1857, and then by the British till 1947. However, India still has a large number of Hindus. Countries like Indonesia, Afghanistan, ...
60
votes
5answers
13k views

How did the general population of England convert so smoothly to Protestantism?

The rise of Protestantism among English monarchs from Henry VIII is well documented. However, after a bit of light research, I have been unable to find many resources on how the general population ...
56
votes
6answers
14k 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 ...
50
votes
6answers
22k views

When did worshipping of ancient Greek gods come to an end?

The ancient Greeks had their pantheon of gods whose significance vanished with the civilization. Some individual gods entered the belief systems of later cultures, but such mutations are not what I am ...
41
votes
6answers
6k views

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 ...
40
votes
10answers
5k 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 ...
39
votes
6answers
9k views

What is the pre-schism Christian church called today?

I've come upon numerous instances where a pre-11th century person or artifact is associated with either the Orthodox or Catholic church. The most recent example is in Francis Fukuyama's "The Origins ...
38
votes
1answer
11k views

Why does this London Underground poster from 1924 have a Star of David atop a Christmas tree?

There is currently an exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago displaying posters promoting London Underground transit from the 1920's and 30's. This interesting piece comes from 1924. A full ...
37
votes
6answers
16k 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?
30
votes
9answers
49k views

Which religion was the first monotheistic one?

Which religion was the first monotheistic one? Was it Judaism or a religion which disappeared from practice?
28
votes
3answers
4k views

What advantages did Catholic missionaries to the Indians have over Protestant missionaries in old Oregon Country?

I remember reading that Catholic missionaries in old Oregon Country made more converts per capita than Protestant missionaries, besides being in general better-received by the Native Americans. What ...
27
votes
7answers
8k views

Why in most German places is the church the tallest building?

A coworker from another country asked me today if it is true that we have a law prohibiting any building in a place from being taller than their church. I told him I don't know if we still have any ...
27
votes
1answer
406 views

Relation between Afroamerican religions and colonial metropoles?

In most of Brazil, Afroamerican religion is Candomblé, which is rooted in Yoruba traditional religion, with influences of Angola-Congo traditions. The main exception is the Northeastern state of ...
25
votes
9answers
40k views

Why were Albanians the only nation in the Balkans who converted to Islam during the Ottoman occupation?

The Ottoman Empire conquered the Balkans and occupied it for half a millennium. They managed to convert most of the Albanians to Islam, however, all the other nations in the area remained Christian. ...
24
votes
5answers
76k views

What was Muhammad's religion before becoming a Muslim prophet?

According to this question, the predominant religion in Arabia before Islam was some kind of polytheism. While according to Muhammad's Wikipedia page, According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad ...
23
votes
8answers
5k 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 ...
23
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
23
votes
2answers
970 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 ...
22
votes
7answers
10k views

Why are the majority of Dresden inhabitants atheists or agnostics?

German Wikipedia says that Four fifths of the inhabitants of Dresden do not belong to any religious community. Approx. 20 % of the population is predominantly Christian. Original German text: ...
22
votes
8answers
4k 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 ...
22
votes
3answers
2k views

Was the concept of religious freedom in the early United States applied to native American faiths?

When the nascent United States was drafting and adopting its supreme laws, several references to religion were made. For example, in the Bill of Rights: Congress shall make no law respecting an ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Robin Hood: Muslims in England in the 12th century

Ever since the 1984 ITV adaptation of Robin Hood, the addition of a Muslim warrior to the band of Merry Men has been a staple of the mythology. From a storytelling perspective, the benefits are clear: ...
20
votes
6answers
22k 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?
20
votes
3answers
2k views

Did the Romans install offensive statues in the temples of conquered territories?

In her book Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation, Princeton professor and religious scholar Elaine Pagels notes that when the Romans conquered a new territory, ...
20
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the last historical mention of people worshipping the Roman gods?

Today, there are many polytheists and neopagans who worship the ancient Roman gods. They are, however, a very new development, and not the descendants of an unbroken line stretching back to the Roman ...
20
votes
2answers
805 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 ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

How common was it for monasteries to attack other monasteries in the early medieval period in western Europe?

Recently, I saw this passage in M & H. Whittock, ‘The Viking Blitzkrieg’ (referring to Ireland) of the 113 attacks on monasteries between 795 and 820, only twenty-six were carried out by ...
19
votes
4answers
4k views

How did Christianity replace Roman Paganism and other ancient religions?

Christianity seems to have been the first world religion that was interested in and successful with establishing itself as not only the state religion of but practically the only in an empire - namely,...
18
votes
6answers
2k 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, ...
18
votes
7answers
8k views

What is the earliest reference to “space aliens”?

If we go back sufficiently far in human history we will most likely see that any descriptions of (supposed) "aliens" are described solely in religious terms. So in the distant past, any weird or "...
18
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is Indonesia a Muslim country?

As the title implies I am wondering as to the reasons why Indonesia is a Muslim country? When visiting Indonesia a few years back, I surprisingly learnt that the country had the largest Muslim ...
18
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
5k views

Why did the French nobility adopt Calvinism?

The Wikipedia article on the French Wars of Religion says that the Calvinist form of Protestantism, in particular, spread into the nobility. Now, I'd like to know why is that, and not Lutheranism for ...
17
votes
2answers
559 views

Was there an ancient cult of worshiping one's own reflection?

Are there any sources about an ancient cultic worship of one's own reflection (in water)? Have historians found any evidence of such a phenomenon? The idea is found in some early Jewish commentaries: ...
16
votes
6answers
11k 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

Were there punishments in the Roman Empire for not believing in the official religion?

In popular culture Christians were being killed in the Colosseum because they did not want to accept the Emperor as a god. An example can be Quo vadis novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz, who won the Nobel ...
15
votes
4answers
2k 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, ...
15
votes
4answers
661 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" ...
14
votes
4answers
5k views

Is there evidence Muslim soldiers fought in the Continental Army?

It is said that Muslims fought for the American Revolution, by serving in the Continental Army. Wikipedia cites a few names: Records from the American Revolutionary War indicate that at least a few ...
14
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
5k views

Were there any wars in ancient Greece where religion played a major part?

I know that the Greeks had a god of war and many other deities associated with warfare in some respect. I also know that the Greeks would consult the oracles for advice prior to their military ...
13
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
815 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, ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there any evidence besides the scriptures that the Ark of the Covenant existed?

Is there any historical evidence that the Ark of the Covenant really existed? What physical or written evidence is there, excluding the scriptures? Note: I am not discounting the writings of the ...
13
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
199 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
374 views

Was there a rule against non-Muslims wearing the colour green in the Ottoman empire?

On the wikipedia page titled Green in Islam, it is stated that: In the Ottoman Empire, the wearing of a green turban was a privilege afforded to the descendants of Muhammad Also, in the book ...
13
votes
2answers
332 views

What were the religious effects of the initial Arab conquests in the Byzantine Empire?

I've been reading some articles and books about the early Islamic conquests that started at about 634 CE, mainly in areas that belonged to the Byzantine Empire. Problem is, the majority of works I've ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

Why did people die for their religion in the 400s CE (or even now)?

Before the institution of Christianity and the evolution of Buddhism into Mahayana Buddhism, people never felt quite so strongly about religion. Suddenly, people feel ready to die for it and die ...