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I have always imagined that Paradise would be a kind of library.
Jorge Luis Borges

So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?
Saint John, Letter to Galatians 4:16

Freedom of Religion - Freedom from Religion - Freedom of Public Display of Religion and Traditions

We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief. All are free to believe or not believe; all are free to practice a faith or not. But those who believe must be free to speak of and act on their belief.
--
Ronald Reagan (Temple Hillel Speech, 1984)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Chapter 7: African Traditional Religion

This chapter deals with traditional and ethnic religions of Africa of the indigenous people who originated from the continent. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam has had a marked influence upon the continent since early Christianity spread from Rome to those nations that were under Roman control during the Roman Empire’s eventual collapse. Mohammedism or Islam spread in the 7th century AD and competed with Christianity and Judaism, specifically in North Africa.
Most people have been misinformed about Africans concerning their culture and religion, mostly because of Hollywood films concerning the continent, especially those produced prior to 1960.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chapter 6: Asia, Far East, and Polynesian Religions-Culture

Traditional eastern religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism (Parsis), Taoism, Confucianism, Shintoism, and other eastern cults have been categorized as eastern religions, but geographically it is East Asia, South East Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Polynesia, et cetera. Within the category of eastern religions, on the basis of religion, one would have to include Islam and Judaism along with early Christianity. But this is the accepted nomenclature towards geographical description concerning religious history by theological scholars and historians. In effect, Judaism and Islam remain as traditionally eastern religions, while Christianity spread and took foothold in the western world. However, with Islam, or rather the orthodox conquering Islam that originated in the 7th century AD is increasingly spreading westward, and as in the Crusade period, endangers the established Christian sects of the western world and Islamic Fascism whose jihad and sharia ideology endangers all free nations. This will be discussed in later chapters, along with eastern sects and religions that are not in the mainstream of Eastern Asia. 

Chapter 5: Religion and Culture of the Americas

New World - Old Culture

Inca

Few ancient civilizations are as old as the Inca in Peru, the only older ones were in Egypt and Babylonia; as far as the Americas, the Inca or Tiwantinsuya is the older than Meso-America, or the various spiritual religions of the tribes of the Native Americans in North America. The Inca historic record were recorded by oral tradition, on stone, pottery, gold and silver jewelry, and woven into the tapestry of the artisans.
The Inca of Peru were fascinated by the Western visitors of over 400 years ago, called the Spanish Conquistadors, who plundered and converted them until they all but became extinct. The treasures brought back to the Old World of Europe transformed the European economy and left the Inca civilization in ruin. The Inca had a central government over the various tribes, most who hid in obscure mountain hideaways.




Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Governor Brewer, Arizona Officially Recognizes and Protects Traditional Holiday

The following is a letter from Governor Janice Brewer, Arizona:


Yesterday, I issued an Executive Order encouraging the celebration of Christmas and Hanukkah and prohibiting any censorship of these religious holidays.As you may know, in the past, state and local officials in Arizona (and elsewhere) have attempted to strip both Christmas and Hanukkah of their meaning, including establishment of policies forbidding state employees from placing religious items of celebration at their desks, re-naming of Christmas trees as “holiday” trees, and renaming of Menorahs as “candlesticks.” Under my administration, I will call things what they are...a Christmas Tree and a Menorah... and will gladly allow both Christmas and Hanukkah to be celebrated at the State Capitol.  I encourage  my colleagues and fellow elected officials to do the same.   

Finally, as I have mentioned before, this is also a season for fire safety.  Please remember to be careful with your Christmas lights and any other holiday decorations.  Remember to keep your tree watered and to keep a watchful eye on lit candles. Please be safe. May God bless you, your home, and all of Arizona. Sincerely, Jan Brewer, Governor    

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chapter 4: Hebrews: Ancient Historians - Part B


Roman Empire to Roman Catholic Church

While the history of Judea and Israel is long and complex, the Roman period of Judea is also complex in itself. Because another chapter deals with Christianity, not much is written here concerning the Jews from the Messiah era up to Constantine the Great, who was the first Christianized ruler of Rome, and after all, Jesus of Nazareth is part of Jewish history; however the background of the Christian movement and formation of the first organized Church is in the chapter concerning Christianity.
For the Jews, the medieval period began with the reign of Constantine the Great (306-337 AD). He was the first Roman emperor to issue laws that limited the rights of Jews as citizens of the Roman Empire. This was due to the Christians growing power within the Roman Empire and the influence upon its rulers. Most of the imperial laws that dealt with the Jews since the days of Constantine are found in the Latin Codex Theodosianius of 438 AD, and the Latin and Greek code of Justinian of 534 AD.  These texts allow the researcher to trace the history of the progressive deterioration of Jewish rights.
The laws of Constantius (337-361), forbade intermarriage between Jewish men and Christian women. Jews were also not allowed to have slaves. Actually, this prohibition was to keep slaves at minimum, as well as keep from slaves converting to Judaism; but whatever be the case, it was detrimental to the economic life of the Jew - giving Christians an edge as far as the economy.
The law of Theodosius II (408-410) prohibited Jews from holding any office of honor in the Roman state. The building of new synagogues was forbidden, which was really an official rule that was already established previously. In the Eastern Roman Empire anti-Christian laws were stricter against Jews and persecution was greater because they believed that the Messiah was returning in 440 and therefore stayed close to Jerusalem where they thought Christ would return. This sort of treatment of the Jews carried on into the historical period when the Muslims took over the region. The Christian Church looked upon Judaism as an old rival, mostly because it was the Pharisees that had caused the death of Jesus of Nazareth, the prophet-teacher-Messiah whose name was used for their religion. Some later would blame the Jewish people, oddly disregarding the fact that Jesus the Christ was himself, a Jew, who even followed the old ways of Passover during his preaching of a new era in the life of humanity. Just as his parents, Jesus of Nazareth heeded the tradition of Passover and encouraged it. Constantine in 325 changed the celebration of Easter on the calendar so that it did not coincide with the Jewish Passover.

Chapter 4: Hebrews: Ancient Historians - Part A


Of the three great monotheistic religions, Judaism is the oldest of the other two major monotheistic religions – Christianity and Islam; except in the case of Zoroastrianism. Christianity really an extension of the story of the Hebrews because the founder and his disciples were Jewish.

Hebrew Sacred Texts

The Hebrew, actually what the language is known as are the Jewish people, have a strong belief in one true God who is the creator, ruler of this world and the entire universe who knows everything and sees everything. He has revealed the sacred laws of Jews in the Torah and has chosen Hebrews (Jews)  and those that follow those laws and preserves the Torah and history has come to know them as the Chosen People or as Mohammed, the founder/prophet of Islam called them: “The People of the Book".   But the first issue to discuss refers to that holy book, the sacred texts of Judaism and use it in the proper terminology used to describe the 38 books that make up the Hebrew Canon (Bible),  referred to as the Old Testament. However, this is not entirely true and has been a point of a theological discussion and argument since the inception of Christianity and Islam. And as mentioned in the title page, archaeology has been a significant aid in constructing the past in human history, and validating what scholars and historians have written about in the course of examining theological history and philosophy.
The Hebrew Scriptures are: (1) Genesis, (2) Exodus, (3) Leviticus, (4) Numbers, (5) Deuteronomy, (6) Joshua, (7) Judges, (8) Ruth, (9) First Samuel, (10) Second Samuel, (11) First Kings, (12) Second Kings, (13) First Chronicles, (14) Second Chronicles, (15) Ezra, (16) Nehemiah, (17) Esther, (18) Job, (19) Psalms, (20)Proverbs, (21) Ecclesiastes, (22) Song of Solomon, (23) Isaiah, (24) Jeremiah, (25) Lamentations, (26) Ezekiel, (27) Daniel, (28) Hosea, (29) Joel, (30) Amos, (31) Obadiah, (32) Jonah, (33) Micah, (34) Nahum, (35) Habakkuk, (36) Zephaniah, (37) Haggai, and (38) Malachi. The Apocryphal or Deuterocanonical books are not in the Hebrew Bible, but can be found in the Catholic and Protestant bibles. The New Testament concerns Jesus of Nazareth, his life and his teachings, and is not found in the Hebrew Canon.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chapter 3: Religion of the Pharaohs, Part B - Dynasties

Continuation of Part A - Chapter 3, Religion of the Pharaohs

Early Dynastic Period (c.2925 to c. 2575 BC)
In the pre-dynastic period Paleolithic inhabitants settled in the fertile Nile Valley. The early period of rulers seemed to have grown and matured during the Naq√£da rulers from Badarian. By the time the 1st Dynasty between 2925 through 2775 BC came, the kings introduced writing, bureaucratic administration, and organized religion. The beginning of this historical period there are writings that were collected as documents and transferred to monuments such as the Palermo Stone. The first real king of Egyptian history, Menes, was given credit for founding the capital of Memphis and elaborates irrigation canals. He was followed by a king named Ahas whose tomb at Abydos was more elaborate than previous tombs. During the 1st Dynasty papyrus was invented for writing and there was an increase in prosperity. Thousands of tombs of the wealthy have been found throughout the country from this period. The richest tombs contained metal, ivory, and other materials, such as stone vases. The titles Golden Horus and Dual King were given to the kings during this period, which was associated with Upper and Lower Egypt. Later these would be written in a cartouche.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chapter 3: Religion of the Pharaohs, Part A

Phenomenology - Religion of the Pharaohs 

Chapter 3, Part A- Religion and Culture ©

To discuss Egypt’s religious history one must look at its overall history, for religion has been an intricate part of Egypt’s every day life since the forming of its magnificent ancient empire. The Greek Historian marveled at the Egyptian’s religious devotion and loyalty to his family and traditions. As Will Durant explains so well concerning the wonders of Egypt discovered through texts, tomb paintings, tablets and monument inscriptions in his book Our Oriental Heritage [1] 
The recovery of Egypt is one of the most brilliant chapters in archaeology. The Middle Ages knew of Egypt as a Roman colony and a Christian settlement; the Renaissance presumed that civilization had begun with Greece; even the Enlightenment, though it concerned itself intelligently with China and India, knew nothing of Egypt beyond the Pyramids. Egyptology was a by-product of Napoleonic imperialism. When the great Corsican led a French expedition to Egypt in 1798 he took with him a number of draughtsmen and engineers to explore and map the terrain, and made place also for certain scholars absurdly interested in Egypt for the sake of a better understanding of history. It was this corps of men who first revealed the temples of Luxor and Karnak to the modern world; and the elaborate Description de L'Egypte (1809-13) which they prepared for the French Academy was the first milestone in the scientific study of this forgotten civilization.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Chapter 2 - Ancient Greek, Hebrew, and Zarathustra

 Chapter 2 

Phenomenology of World Religion ©

 Ancient Greek, Hebrew, and Zarathustra

The learning and knowledge that we have, is, at the most, but little compared with that of which we are ignorant.
Plato [Philosopher, Teacher, Founder of the Athens Academy]
   In this chapter, discussion will focus on the Greek and Hebrew religions, but will occasionally contain discussion about other religious cultures of the ancient world because of their impact and cross-culture sharing of ideas, et cetera. It is basically an overview. The original biblical texts known as the Old Testament [I] were written in Hebrew and later, when the Greek civilization grew to influence other cultures in the Greek language. The Greek translated biblical texts are known as Septuagint Bible, and later when translated to Latin, Vulgate.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Chapter 1 - Intro to Phenomenology of World Religion

Chapter 1

Introduction to Phenomenology of World Religion ©

The modern world is the child of doubt and inquiry, as the ancient world was the child of fear and faith.
Clarence Darrow, 1929

Foreword: In studying the different religions as an historical investigator, one can find parallels and become entrapped in comparative theology. Historically, religion goes well into the time of prehistory – before any written account occurred.