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69 votes

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

A very astute observation. If you compare linguistic maps to sectarian maps (McEvedy's Penguin Atlas series are great for this), you'll notice something else: they have a distinct tendency to align. ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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67 votes

What is the significance behind "40 days" that often appears in the Bible?

There seems to be a bit of pushback on Pieter's (correct) answer, so perhaps a bit more detail is in order. It is not at all uncommon in languages to have words that, while technically a specific ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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64 votes

What is the significance behind "40 days" that often appears in the Bible?

I believe it to be an euphemism similar to how today one might say something like gazillions for a large number. In a society that is mostly innumerate as well as illiterate, where neither pencils ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
51 votes
Accepted

What is the pre-schism Christian church called today?

This is incredibly complicated and almost always misleading. For example, in many countries the Catholic Church is called strictly the Roman-Catholic church. The higher up members of that community ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
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50 votes

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

To expand on Kirsch's answer (see: quote in the question), a single god doesn't only remove the safety valve of multiplicity (where any doctrinal dispute about the intentions of one god can just be ...
tbrookside's user avatar
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46 votes
Accepted

Would colonial Maryland have been tolerant to all religions?

No. You can read some on the Maryland Toleration Act in the wiki article, but it basically was for Christians, whether Protestant or Catholic, Anglican, Puritan or Quaker. The Maryland Toleration ...
justCal's user avatar
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43 votes

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

I personally think that there might be something in the premise of "single god leads to wanting to have a single answer for everything, leading to sectarian violence". Nevertheless, I'm a little ...
stochastic's user avatar
30 votes

What is the pre-schism Christian church called today?

First of all, @LangLangC's answer is excellent. I intend only to expand on it. The unified Eastern (Greek-speaking) and Western (Latin-speak) churches called themselves "orthodox" as opposed to the ...
Mark Olson's user avatar
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25 votes
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Why did Ancient Greek religious monument (herms) have genitalia?

Sex and nudity weren't as taboo then as they are now - particularly since the puritan Victorian days. Olympic athletes, for instance, raced naked. Homosexuality was pervasive enough to have been ...
Denis de Bernardy's user avatar
25 votes
Accepted

Were lay people ever forbidden to read the Bible in the Christian world?

This question suffers under a couple of misapprehensions I think. The first one is that there's a single unitary "The Bible" out there somewhere. What we have is translations drawn from ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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25 votes

Was Yahweh one of the Moloch Gods?

Q: Was Yahweh one of the Moloch Gods? In short: NO! It would be too generous an interpretation to assume the author means 'moloch' to stand in pars pro toto for 'Canaanite gods'. Vivekananda uses ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
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22 votes
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Are there historic references to sorcerers and their scrolls?

It is pretty much correct to expect this roughly along the lines of Dungeons & Dragons, or any such games you might know. In the sense of the ritual involved and the outcomes (expected): one ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
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15 votes

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

The question can be restated as: Why do only religions that have doctrine fight doctrinal wars? With no disrespect intended, I believe that OP's question relies on unstated assumptions. If I were ...
MCW's user avatar
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14 votes
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How did the Swedish soldiers pray during the Thirty Years' War?

Swedish army I have one word for you in this case: hymns. Religion and prayer were very systematically organized in the Swedish army: [Gustavus Adolphus] led troops in singing hymns as they ...
Felix Goldberg's user avatar
14 votes
Accepted

Can history shed any light on the "secret arts" of the Egyptian magicians who turned their staffs into serpents as claimed by Exodus 7:11-12?

Westcar Papyrus According to the World History Encyclopedia there are ancient Egyptian writings named the Westcar Papyrus and regarding magic and miracles dating as far back as approximately 2040 BC. ...
John Strachan's user avatar
13 votes

What is the significance behind "40 days" that often appears in the Bible?

Biblically, Forty is a number associated with testing and trials https://www.thoughtco.com/biblical-numerology-700168 Jesus wandered in the wilderness 40 days, Israel wandered in the desert for 40 ...
David D's user avatar
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13 votes

How often would monks leave their monasteries in the Middle Ages?

Typically, a significant minority of the monks were priests. But each order would have its own rules about the movement of its members. The more strict orders would not accept that one of his ...
Luiz's user avatar
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13 votes

Was Yahweh one of the Moloch Gods?

[I]s Moloch a single God or a group of Gods? As far as I know (and I admit this is not my field of study), there are very few (if any) sources of Moloch outside the eight mentions of the name in the ...
DevSolar's user avatar
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13 votes
Accepted

How could nonconformist Protestants be buried in graveyards controlled by the established Church before 1880?

The answer seems to be that it was not explicitly prohibited before 1880; the key phrase is "without the conformist rites of that Church", so before 1880 they simply had to choose to accept ...
Andrew is gone's user avatar
12 votes
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References or accounts in historical Egyptian literature about the Exodus

I will answer this in two parts, concerning historical tradition and actual historical documents. Historical Tradition and Writings None of the stories from the Hebrew Book of Names, which you know ...
Tyler Durden's user avatar
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11 votes
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In Canada, is it true that when Mormons first arrived (1887) they weren't allowed to settle within 50km of Lethbridge?

If the restriction was applicable only to Lethbridge and not the surrounding communities, then any official action would have been a community by-law or ordinance. But according to Wikipedia, ...
bgwiehle's user avatar
  • 410
11 votes

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

Religions are essentially power networks, means of influence/indoctrination and community creators. Religious conflicts are disguised turf wars/power struggles. Monotheistic religions are more ...
ivan_pozdeev's user avatar
11 votes

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

I think the premise is basically false. Buddhism is neither Western nor monotheistic. Yet there are enormous doctrinal differences between different schools. On the one hand, consistent with what ...
Chozang's user avatar
  • 210
10 votes
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What attributes did Yahweh have before becoming a monotheistic deity?

Early Israelite religion was not monotheistic, and it remained in that classification for at least several hundred years. YHWH was developed very slowly in a syncretistic process were he was ascribed ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
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10 votes

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

This could be a totally false premise. In all my time reading history I have never read of such doctrinal conflicts occurring in societies that were polytheistic. I think your premise is false: ...
Martin Rosenau's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

What is the historical origin of the Jewish Sabbath?

I think we can have an answer based on the two comments by @MarkC.Wallace and @Spencer under the question, linking to The Mysterious Origins of the Sabbath on ReformJudaism.org, and Wikipedia ...
cipricus's user avatar
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9 votes
Accepted

Is biblical Joseph story historically valid?

First: A warning. What you're going to get on this website is going to be the fruits of the Documentary Hypothesis and similar historical approaches. This often clashes with some folks' "fixed beliefs"...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
9 votes
Accepted

Did ancient people understand divinity in the same way we do today?

"Ancient people" are a very broad group culturally, geographically, and temporally. Their beliefs were extremely varied and rich, and probably included most things people think today, ...
Luke Sawczak's user avatar
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