An essential fact about the Hebrew Bible is that most of its narrative prose as well as its poetry manifests a high order of sophisticated literary fashioning.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is a Babylonian poem composed in ancient Iraq, millennia before Homer. It tells the story of Gilgamesh, king of the city of Uruk.
This month marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark “Humanae Vitae,” Pope Paul VI’s strict prohibition against artificial contraception, issued in the aftermath of the development of the birth control pill.
Some people say, If there are all these angels waiting to help us, then why haven't they already done something about this problem in my life? But what they don't realize is that the universe doesn't work in a top-down management style; it's based on free will and team work.
Just be what you are and don't care a bit about the world. Then you will feel a tremendous relaxation and a deep peace within your heart. This is what Zen Buddhists call your "original face" - In this essay Osho, through parables and narratives, helps you understand how to find yourself.
The power of affirmation, prayer, and blessing has been used for thousands of years in both spiritual and folk rites, by priestesses and priests, and by people trying to bring health, harmony, and happiness into their lives. In earlier times at the gigantic stone temples that dot the English countryside...
Pope Francis faced a testing year in 2018, which culminated in a spate of resignations that challenged his authority as the head of the Catholic Church.
An estimated 3.3 million American Muslims celebrate Ramadan. The month of Ramadan marks the time when Prophet Muhammad is believed to have first received revelations from God and has been celebrated at the White House since 1996.
You might think that digital technologies, often considered a product of ‘the West’, would hasten the divergence of Eastern and Western philosophies.
In the winter of 1566, 30 children in Amsterdam began to show signs of a disturbing affliction.
Zen is concerned with the problem of the nature of mind, so it necessarily includes an element of philosophical speculation. However, in Zen we are never separated from our personal practice, which we carry out with our body and mind. Zen aims at overthrowing our distorted view of the world...
Dear tiny Jesus, with your golden fleece diapers, with your tiny little fat balled-up fists … Dear 8 pound 6 ounce newborn infant Jesus, don’t even know a word yet, just a little infant so cuddly …
Charles Dickens popularised the traditional, English Christmas in 1843 in his novel A Christmas Carol, when Bob Cratchit and his family sit down on Christmas Day to eat a dinner of goose with mashed potatoes and apple sauce accompanied by sage and onion stuffing and followed by Christmas pudding.
As the West becomes more and more secular, and the discoveries of evolutionary biology and cosmology shrink the boundaries of faith, the claims that science and religion are compatible grow louder.
“The Exorcist,” a horror film released 45 years ago, is a terrifying depiction of supernatural evil. The film tells the story of a young American girl who is possessed by a demon and eventually exorcised by a Catholic priest.
For many, channeling is a buzz word and it seems that everyone is doing it and many people are talking about it, reading about it and indeed relying upon it. But what is channeling and of what use and purpose is it? Does it have a spiritual role for humanity at this time? Is it a dangerous pastime that can mislead and create...
On the day of winter solstice, many Native American communities will hold religious ceremonies or community events.The winter solstice is the day of the year when the Northern Hemisphere has the fewest hours of sunlight and the Southern Hemisphere has the most.
It is possible for the mind to become disempowered. It feels then as if reality is just a given, and all we can do is try to deal with it. The disempowered mind feels it has no choice about what it attends to. Training the attention is definitely one way to begin empowering the mind.
A woman told me that gratitude was her constant prayer, and I was impressed. But, I realized that her gratitude was actually a defense against life. 'I am so grateful for sunshine, health, my wonderful family'. 'Do you express gratitude for the storms, for the illness, for the down times too?'...
Prayer can be a most difficult and trying task. The experiences of our century with its massive blind destruction, suffering, and carnage cast doubt on the concept of a God involved in the welfare of the created universe.
‘The theory produces a good deal but hardly brings us closer to the secret of the Old One,’ wrote Albert Einstein in December 1926. ‘I am at all events convinced that He does not play dice.’
The Buddha is a documentary by David Grubin and narrated by Richard Gere that tells the story of the Buddha's life, and attempts to answer the questions Who is the Buddha. What is the Buddha. It also features the work of some of the world's greatest artists and sculptors
It's very easy for you to be wholesome and virtuous and spiritual when things are going right. But as soon as a little bit of adversity arises, then the real test begins, especially when you look at how you deal with your family life..
Beginning on the evening of Dec. 2, 2018, Jews are celebrating the eight-day festival of Hanukkah, perhaps the best-known and certainly the most visible Jewish holiday.
When Loren Jacobs, member of the Shma Yisrael Congregation, offered a prayer for the victims of the Tree of Life congregation at a campaign rally attended by Mike Pence, it left many Jews feeling very upset. The vice president’s office later denied inviting Jacobs to the event.
All disease, illness, unhappiness, misery, and self-punishment could be healed if we apply two principles of truth into our daily consciousness. The first is that there is a single, divine God that is All in all; and the second, that the Divinity which we call God lives inside of each and every one of us. Knowing deeply and believing completely at every level of our being that we are not separate from God, that we are one with the Divine, will heal us.
Religion does not help us to explain nature. It did what it could in pre-scientific times, but that job was properly unseated by science. Most religious laypeople and even clergy agree: Pope John Paul II declared in 1996 that evolution is a fact and Catholics should get over it. No doubt some extreme anti-scientific thinking lives on, but it has become a fringe position.
Flying through the skies on a broomstick, the popular image of a witch is as a predominantly female figure – so much so that the costume has become the go-to Halloween outfit for women and girls alike.
Although many of us now associate hell with Christianity, the idea of an afterlife existed much earlier. Greeks and Romans, for example, used the concept of Hades, an underworld where the dead lived, both as a way of understanding death and as a moral tool.
As an Anglican priest teaching in philosophy and in climate change at two universities, I am often asked about the difference between science and my own faith convictions.
This summer, during the FIFA World Cup, I went with some friends to watch a soccer game at the house in Turin of the Italian philosopher and former member of the EU parliament Gianni Vattimo. As soon as our team began to lose, Vattimo said: ‘Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you, the pope called me yesterday.’
A new film, “Trump Prophecy,” will be shown in some limited theaters on Oct. 2 and 4. The film is an adaptation of a book, co-authored by Mark Taylor, a retired firefighter, who claimed he received a message from God in 2011 that the Trump presidency is divinely ordained.
Many atheists think that their atheism is the product of rational thinking. They use arguments such as “I don’t believe in God, I believe in science” to explain that evidence and logic, rather than supernatural belief and dogma, underpin their thinking. But just because you believe in evidence-based, scientific research – which is subject to strict checks and procedures – doesn’t mean that your mind works in the same way.
The seven directions and the seven chakras reveal seven paths to God. Although we will discuss these paths in a sequence that may seem linear, one path is no more "advanced" than another. They are simply different expressions, distinct rays of energy that each of us embody.
A throng of Trinidadians line up along the streets of St. James and Cedros to admire the vibrant floats with beautifully bedecked models of mausoleums. Their destination is the waters of the Caribbean, where the crowds will push them out to float.
The 'Way of the Circle' is passed down from generation to generation, from Native American Elders to the children in the form of stories, traditions, customs, and teachings. What follows is a general collection of these teachings, which can be embraced by anyone seeking the way of...
As an academic - a researcher and senior lecturer at a university in the UK - people are often surprised by my unorthodox views on the nature of life, and of the world. For example, when I mention to colleagues that I’m open-minded about the possibility of some form of life after death, or that I believe in the possibility of paranormal phenomena such as telepathy or pre-cognition, they look at me as if I’ve told them I’m going to give up academia and become a truck driver.
In the years after Jesus was crucified at Calvary, the story of his life, death and resurrection was not immediately written down. The experiences of disciples like Matthew and John would have been told and retold at many dinner tables and firesides, perhaps for decades, before anyone recorded them for posterity.
If anything seems self-evident in human culture, it’s the widespread presence of religion. People do ‘religious’ stuff all the time; a commitment to gods, myths and rituals has been present in all societies. These practices and beliefs are diverse, to be sure, from Aztec human sacrifice to Christian baptism, but they appear to share a common essence. So what could compel the late Jonathan Zittell Smith, arguably the most influential scholar of religion of the past half-century, to declare in his bookImagining Religion: From Babylon to Jonestown (1982) that ‘religion is solely the creation of the scholar’s study’, and that it has ‘no independent existence apart from the academy’?
Spiritual creativity is a way of life, a way of wholeness. It is a path of integrity. Integrity entails not just a few beliefs or specific acts, but an attitude that we adopt and practice in our everyday lives...an ongoing process that can bring you much joy.
Compassion is not a thought or a sentimental feeling, but is rather a movement of the heart. Compassion is born out of lovingkindness. But we may get distracted, we forget, we get caught up in something else, or we confuse another feeling for the state of compassion.
New Jersey’s first Sikh attorney general, Gurbir Singh Grewal, was a target of disparaging remarks recently.
For many non-Muslims, the fast food carts that line the streets of New York City and San Francisco are their primary point of contact with halal foods.
Claims about supernatural phenomena, including weeping statues, have historically been common in Catholicism.
Most religious people think their morality comes from their religion. And deeply religious people often wonder how atheists can have any morality at all.
Identity can compel you to reject the truth – even when you have evidence proving it. We see this today with the US political establishment: Trump supporters can look at two photos of his inauguration and say the largely empty Mall is full.
When a family member or a friend passes away, we often find ourselves reflecting on the question “where are they now?” As mortal beings, it is a question of ultimate significance to each of us.
Americans have debated what it means to be religious in politics throughout American history. Because a wide majority of Americans have claimed some form of Christian belief, these debates focused on Christianity. And they continue today.
The kind of Christianity that makes headlines today is the Mike Pence brand – conservative and aligned with the United States Republican party – leaving many people to believe, including progressive Christians, the religion is politically irredeemable.
Run through as large an inventory as you can of the things that you would like to define your life. Then make the shift in your imagination from an "I am not" or "I am hoping to become" to "I am". Beginning with your inner dialogue, simply change the words that define your concept of yourself.
Sicilian priest and long-time exorcist Father Benigno Palilla recently told Vatican Radio that requests for exorcisms had tripled in the past few years.
When I came to the United States, people did not seem to know very much about Buddhism. We Tibetans realized that it would be beneficial to teach and explain the dharma. We began to talk to people about how to create peace within their heart and peace within the world. We taught how to move beyond suffering.
It is fair to say that many folks today are abandoning traditional religion in favor of a deeper, more contemplative spiritual life. Mysticism is becoming more mainstream, and religious dogma is less likely to be accepted without question.
I grew up in a Christian home, where a photo of Jesus hung on my bedroom wall. I still have it. It is schmaltzy and rather tacky in that 1970s kind of way, but as a little girl I loved it. In this picture, Jesus looks kind and gentle, he gazes down at me lovingly. He is also light-haired, blue-eyed, and very white.
Christians will be celebrate Easter, the day on which the resurrection of Jesus is said to have taken place. The date of celebration changes from year to year.
On March 17, people around the world will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by parading in green hats, sporting images of shamrocks and leprechauns
Who was Mary Magdalene? What do we know about her? And how do we know it?
It would be easy to conclude that there’s a deficit of morality in the world today. That if only people were more motivated to behave ethically, if only they made morality more prominent in their thinking, then the world would be a better place. But, I’d argue that there’s not a lack of morality in the world; there’s too much.
Buddhist teachings are often summarized in terms of the "three principle aspects of the path": renunciation, compassion, and the wisdom realizing emptiness. The first step on the path of renunciation is to begin searching for happiness within. Renouncing the world does not mean rejecting the world...
The new TV series Britannia, which has won plaudits as heralding a new generation of British folk-horror, is clearly not intended to be strictly historical. Instead director Jez Butterworth gives us a graphic re-imagining of Britain on the eve of the Roman conquest.
When we talk about “human values” we tend to mean important abstract ideals. Things like freedom, equality, security, tradition and peace.
Certain attitudes are automatically more magnetic than others. Willingness, cheerfulness, kindness—all wholesome, spiritual attitudes are magnetic. Unwillingness, discouragement, and similar negative attitudes, on the other hand, impair the free flow of energy.
Savior archetypal figures reflect a common longing for a new Divine Human. Rather than being copycat myths, they represent allegories of humanity’s universal mystical potential for divine incarnation and the restoration of a sacred universe. The Divine Human comes to heal the culture’s abandonment of the realized divine.
The perfect parking place shows up every time. Teeth with cavities grow new gold fillings seconds after a healer prays. The perfect house becomes available, a job opens, money multiplies, the right people appear... I don’t “believe” in miracles like these; I see them in my daily life...
Realizing that we create everything we experience - no matter how positive or negative it may seem - is the first step in spiritual mastery. But it's only the beginning. Trying to satisfy the endless needs of the ego leads to complete disillusionment. I'm a strong proponent of viewing acts of service as a...
I might be about to ruin your Christmas. Sorry. But the reality is those nativity plays in which your adorable children wear tinsel and angel wings bear little resemblance to what actually happened.
Even if you don’t believe in Christ or a God, religion can still be a powerful force. Research shows that even nonreligious people may hold unconscious beliefs linked to religion that can affect their psychology.
President Trump’s announcement on Wednesday, Dec. 6 that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel received widespread criticism.
American families blend a mix of religious identities and traditions today more than ever. These interfaith dynamics appear in day-to-day life, but the holidays can add extra emphasis.
Charles Manson, who died Nov. 19, famously attracted a coterie of men and women to do his bidding, which included committing a string of murders in the late-1960s.
There is a large billboard sign along the Saw Mill River Parkway north of New York City that reads in big bold letters, “Prayer Works.” There are no other words on the sign. A man named Tom rode by that sign every single day on his way to work. He did not believe in prayer and he scoffed at the sign each day.
I ask you to think about this question: do you really ask for help when you need it? If the answer is yes, do you ask for assistance with the little things in your life or only the big-ticket items? And who or what defines little...
Type “Holy Grail” into Google and … well, you probably don’t need me to finish that sentence. The sheer multiplicity of what any search engine throws up demonstrates that there is no clear consensus as to what the Grail is or was.
Throughout American history, religion has played a significant role in promoting social reform.
Each of us creates our own karma. Our past thoughts, speech and behavior have shaped our present reality, and our actions (and thoughts and speech) in the present will in turn affect our future. The Buddhist doctrine of karma is not fatalistic. Karma is...
The deepest mystery, and perhaps the one for which there will never be an answer that will completely satisfy the itch of the intellect, is the miracle of Life itself. In his book The Living Universe, Duane Elgin writes, “American Indian lore speaks of three miracles. The first miracle is that...
Halloween is the time of year when interest in the paranormal peaks and people celebrate all things supernatural. Of particular fascination are stories and tales of ghosts and ghouls and poltergeists.
For every study that suggests a research link between prayer and healing, there are countless counter-arguments, rejoinders, rebuttals, and denials from legions of well-meaning “authorities,” whose principal motivation seems to be to save people from their own faith.
A recent study we conducted, led by psychologist Will Gervais, found widespread and extreme moral prejudice against atheists around the world.
On Oct. 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Germany’s Wittenberg Castle Church and inadvertently ushered in what came to be known as the Reformation.
Our ego, which is that fearful, judgmental voice in our head, that never feels satisfied, that constantly feels inferior or superior to others, that always wants more, more, more in order to feel ‘happy’, well that ego can often try to hijack our spiritual journey...
At stake here is the language used for the Mass and the question of who has the responsibility for translating the Catholic liturgy into regional languages.
From Oct. 6 to 9, 2017, the National Mall in Washington, D.C. was filled with tents, worship music and prayer for the “Awaken the Dawn” rally. The purpose of the event, according to organizer Lou Engle, was to “gather around Jesus,” to pray for the nation and its government. It ended with a day of prayer by Christian women.
Millennials, we are told, have a different attitude to work than their elders. They want to work for organisations committed to values and ethics, where there is a higher purpose than simply making a profit.
Some religious teachings may start out as lessons in Oneness but, over time, they become distorted, reinterpreted to be a lesson that justifies duality. The ancient story of Adam and Eve is one example. A common version of the story explains that humankind is doomed to live in misery because...
The Ecstasy of St Teresa of Avila (1647-52) by 17th-century Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini is one of the most famous images of the Baroque period. Located in the Cornaro Chapel, Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome, the marble sculpture represents Saint Teresa of Ávila, a Spanish nun canonised in 1622, sprawled on a cloud with an angel.
Religion has been a divisive force for thousands of years. Yet religions have done much good. They have offered comfort and hope to the masses at a time when their consciousness was closed to true spirituality.
We do live in a spiritual universe, a universe that is intelligent and creative, and it is a thing of law and order. The universal Mind contains all knowledge. It is the potential ultimate of all things. To It all things are possible...
Can religion and spirituality promote ethical behaviour in the workplace? It’s a contentious issue, but our research comprising interviews with forty Indian top level executives suggests it might.
A 2017 letter from the Vatican reminded the world’s Catholic bishops of a rule mandating the use of wheat gluten for the celebration of the Eucharist, a Christian liturgical service called the Mass by Catholics.
Conservative Christian pastor John McTernan argued recently that “God is systematically destroying America” out of anger over “the homosexual agenda.” There were others who disagreed over the reasons for God’s anger, but not necessarily with the assumption that God can be wrathful.
Soul retrieval is one of the most effective and well-known practices to restore lost life force. The loss of life force is known as soul loss, and this can take place when we suffer a trauma—an accident, separation from a partner, the death of a loved one--or go through a pervasive period of difficult circumstances.
The fact that we do not have a well-developed science of happiness today is really quite bizarre. We have an embryonic start in positive psychology, but why weren’t scientists studying happiness from the beginning, when Copernicus was studying the stars? This lack was demonstrated vividly in 1989, when the Dalai Lama...
Is God a terrorist? No, obviously not. God is love. But not everyone agrees with that. “God is on our side” has been a rallying battle cry since religion was invented. But it’s inaccurate to blame religious differences for our bloody history of killing each other.
The journey to enlightenment is the removal of the seven veils of illusion. They can more easily be removed during moments of cosmic light or in special meditations. Alternatively you may wake up one morning feeling that things are different. A veil may have been released during your spiritual journey of the night...
I was about to have my evening meditation at about nine o'clock. I reached to turn out the light when a voice spoke to me, as if a real person were standing close to me. The voice said, "Robert, it is time we had a long talk..."
I was for a number of years the choir director of a First United Methodist choir while all the while remaining, in my own offbeat way, a practicing Jew. Some may see my actions as hypocritical, but I do not. I learned a lot by becoming involved in the music and ritual of another religion.
I realized that peace was the complete absence of fear. It was the feeling of true, pure, untarnished love, the light that shines in all of us, free of any fear-based thoughts or beliefs.So I ask the question: Is it possible to experience that peace on earth? I’m not sure, but I think it’s worth asking for.
The words 'We are ALL One' have reverberated through the hearts and minds of Humanity in one form or another since the beginning of time. They do not express a lofty platitude or a sweet cliché even though our lower human egos have often perceived them as such. They profess a profound Truth.
Sharia in Arabic means “the way,” and does not refer to a body of law.