Questions tagged [religion]

Use this tag for questions about religious practices. Do not ask questions about religious beliefs, though. Those are off-topic and there is no tag to use.

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Is the Old Testament based on Bronze-Age myths?

Lately I have been reading a lot about the origins biblical stories, and I have noticed that a lot of people mock the bible and the christians by telling them that they follow bronze age myths/beliefs....
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7 votes
3 answers
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Does Gallup assume people answer honestly in their creationist vs. evolution polls?

A recent Gallup poll claims that 46% of Americans believe : God created human beings pretty much in their present form within the last 10,000 years or so It seems to me possible that, when asked ...
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Do the key Abrahamic holy books claim that their god is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent?

The claim that the Abrahamic god is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent is popular among theologians, practitioners of Abrahamic religions and atheists alike (I am referring to the idea of god, ...
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Was Jesus crucified?

Assuming Jesus was a real person, it is a generally accepted fact that he died on a cross. On the other hand, Jehovah's Witnesses are of the belief that the crucifixion of Jesus is a mistranslation ...
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Are a high percentage of scientists atheist?

When I was an engineering student, I had many friends who were atheist, or otherwise became so as the years progressed, including myself. Because I grew up with a religious background, I tend to ...
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Is atheism the fastest growing "religion" in the history of the United States?

First of all, yes, atheism isn't a religion. Taking from the Wikipedia link, atheism is defined as Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. Penn Jillette ...
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Was there an organized early Jerusalem church?

In the period between AD 30 and AD 70, many historians claim that there was an Early Jerusalem Church active and preaching in Palestine. The mainstream historical narrative can be found in this pdf. I ...
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Did George Bernard Shaw convert on his death bed?

I've seen this quote floating around all over the place. It's often used in popular Christian-lite reading (see the first page of the Google Books search for the quote), but is it true? I have never ...
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Have 98% of Catholic women used birth control?

An NPR article on the debate about contraceptive coverage makes the following claim: In fact, 98 percent of Catholic women use birth control at some point in their lifetimes. Is this claim true?
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Did Mahatma Gandhi say “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians."?

I have widely heard that Gandhi has said, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Is there any evidence of this? Where is this recorded?
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Is there a place in the world where two oceans meet and they don't mix?

This picture is currently being spread virally: Some Muslims were saying that this is mentioned in the Quran where it is said: He has set free the two seas meeting together. There is a barrier ...
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Does Santa Claus get more mail than any other fictional or divine entity?

Source I was listening to the 2008 Christmas Special of the BBC radio programme The Unbelievable Truth, where the following was said to be true: Santa has more mail than any other fictional or divine ...
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Are there no camels in the Qur'an?

It seems to be an often-repeated saying that "there are no camels in the Koran". But I just repeated this factoid in the presence of a guy from Syria who insisted it's not true and that there is a ...
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Are pet RFID chips (eg: "HomeAgain") capable of fulfilling Revelations 13:16-17?

Regardless of the veracity of the Christian bible in general, could the technology behind the microchips (RFID tags) implanted into pets--used to re-unite lost pets with their owners--be used to track ...
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Are men "wired differently" so that they "can't control themselves"?

It seems like such an obviously false claim, but I keep running into the claim that men are "Wired differently" than women and therefore can't control their lust. The claim in conversation ...
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Does the Torah-encoded age of the universe match science?

Dr. Gerald Schroeder published an article in Aish.com about the age of the Universe and the Jewish bible: So the only data I use as far as Biblical commentary goes is ancient commentary. That ...
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16 votes
1 answer
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Is Islam based on a moon worshiping cult?

I've heard this claim many times, mostly from anti-Islamic sources such as this one. Basically, they attempt to refute the way Islam views itself as an "Abrahamic" faith that is basically a newer ...
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Are non-religious people smarter than religious people?

There are quite a few studies that confirm this, the most recent one: http://onefuriousllama.com/2011/09/11/another-study-links-intelligence-to-lack-of-religiosity/ Are non-religious people smarter ...
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Is "Jesus" based on the Egyptian sun god Horus? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Claimed similarities between Jesus Christ and Horus and other Gods I've seen and read a lot of information about this. Take this article for example, and this video. I ...
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Do the majority of Americans take the Noah's ark story from the Bible literally?

From Most Americans take Bible stories literally: An ABC News poll released Sunday found that... ...Sixty percent believe in the story of Noah’s ark and a global flood This claim is often repeated,...
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1 answer
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Do the Salvation Army policies discriminate against homosexuals?

I have seen several articles and read several blogs stating that the Salvation Army is "homophobic", and that they actively discriminate against gay and lesbian people: The Salvation Army does not ...
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Fasting for 40 days - is it possible?

According to Deuteronomy 9:9, Moses did not eat or drink anything for 40 days. When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD ...
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Do atheists have a better knowledge of religion than theists in the United States?

A Pew Survey from 2010 seems to indicate that this could be the case, with the atheist/agnostic group outscoring all others on a 32-question quiz of religious knowledge. Obviously, this lone survey ...
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Is radiometric dating performed on sacred relics?

Having read St. Philip the Apostle Tomb's discovered in Turkey, I wondered about the claims of antiquity of similar relics. Are radiometric dating tests (i.e. like radiocarbon dating, but for 2000 ...
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Is Christianity responsible for the scientific method?

I've heard at least a few times now from apologists that Christianity is responsible for science. For some examples: From a commercial for the site, Catholics Come Home (video LINK that opens right ...
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Has the Catholic Church ever retracted an "ex cathedra" statement?

Question: Has the Catholic Church ever made a proclamation ex cathedra (as in, one which it declares is infallible) that it later retracted? This could literally be any form of the following: Some ...
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Is the religious population declining?

Different groups argue that the numbers of religious people are either shrinking or growing, often depending on which group they are from. One example of the shrinking religious viewpoint is the ...
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Are there any psychological benefits from participating in a religion?

I have a friend who told me that one of the reasons why he participates actively in his religion is because praying helps him get through tough times in his life, mainly because he can believe that ...
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19 votes
1 answer
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Was the character of Lilith written out of the Bible?

I came across Lilith in the graphic novel Lucifer, but it seems she is mentioned in Jewish mythology Babylonian Talmud among other texts. The story goes Lillith was in the original creational ...
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Does a miracle of spontaneous "holy fire" occur in a Jerusalem church every year?

Has there been any scientific investigation into the nature of Holy Fire, to either clearly debunk it or be determined inconclusive (thus allowing for a margin of plausibility)? Patriarch Diodoros ...
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11 votes
1 answer
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Does religious influence at young age affect later development of general critical faculties?

Does anybody know if there is any study of a link between being religiously influenced at a young age and later general ability for critical thinking? I mean ASIDE from the context of the specific ...
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Cause of Catholic clergy sexual abuse is the attitude of the 60's and 70's

Is there corroborating evidence to support the arguments put forward in a recent study by the U.S. Conference of Bishops that neither celibacy nor homosexuality can be blamed for the clerical abuse ...
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Are there incorruptible corpses?

The Roman Catholic Church claims that some corpses have supernaturally slow decomposition. Were those bodies examined by skeptics?
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Did Harold Camping profit from his false prediction that the world would end?

We all joke about it but there's probably lots of people that took him seriously. Now that the world hasn't ended, many are claiming he is a fraud and a con man. Did Harold Camping or his Family ...
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Did Moses live?

Moses is, arguably, the most significant prophet in Judaism and is credited with leading the enslaved Jewish population out of Egypt and into the promised land. Aside from the Torah, are there any ...
10 votes
1 answer
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Do any Jewish organizations lobby for destruction of Israel?

I recently was in a discussion where one of the people, as an argument, claimed that Jews have been known to participate in what's activities clearly detrimental to Jews as a whole (the argument ...
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2 answers
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Was there an eclipse when Jesus was crucified?

I've heard it claimed from various people that we have historical records for the darkness that was said to engulf the earth when Jesus was crucified. In the bible, it claims that there was, but I ...
57 votes
3 answers
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Are human beings naturally predisposed to believe in God?

My girlfriend sent me this article from the Telegraph. This is an excerpt: Led by two academics at Oxford University, the £1.9 million study found that human thought processes were “rooted” to ...
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1 answer
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Was the Vatican bailed out from bankruptcy by private interests in the 1980s?

I read an article years ago about the Vatican City going bankrupt and subsequently being bailed out by the CEO of a large sneaker company (Nike, Adidas or Reebok, etc. - I can't remember which). I ...
34 votes
1 answer
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Are atheists strongly underrepresented in US prison communities?

This popularly referenced survey gives statistics about the number of atheists in US prisons. It suggests just 0.21% of the prison population is atheist. There are more scientologists! This is ...
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Did Pope John Paul II perform a miracle?

The catholic church has very recently beatified late Pope John Paul II. As one of the requirements for this, the church required at least one miracle attributed to the candidate. In this case, a nun ...
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Did any satanic cult ever commit organised ritual murders or sacrifices?

In Manhattan Beach, CA in 1983 members of the McMartin family were accused of a variety of abuse charges against the children in their care. It was reported that the children: "were ...
28 votes
2 answers
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Are there no atheists in foxholes?

As Merlin Mann once said, There are no atheists in foxholes and firmware updates. Okay, scratch the firmware part, but you see the core sentiment expressed quite commonly. I've never fully ...
16 votes
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Do bar-codes contain "The Number of the Beast"?

I've encountered lots of people and some other sources that claim that every bar-code contains the number 666 and is therefore "The Number of the Beast"? The first thing a scanner looks for when ...
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1 answer
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Why is the smell of flowers sensed in some situations?

Some people report sensing a flowery smell in some places or situations in which there are no flowers present. Those sensations are sometimes related to religious experiences. There are also claims ...
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27 votes
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Is there systemic sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests?

Is there a systemic relationship between Catholic priests and sexual abuse of children? I ask because I grew up in Newfoundland, which was at the time engrossed in the abuse at Mount Cashel ...
23 votes
4 answers
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Are religious people happier?

This video discusses the idea that religious people are happier. Are there: any sources that support or contradict the claims? any scientific papers that address the issue?
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Did Einstein as a student debate with his professor about God and Evil?

There has been numerous videos online claiming that Einstein as a student had a debate with an atheist professor about God. I read the text version of this story in forums and via hearsay, but I just ...
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Does prayer help to heal?

It's not hard to find claims like these in the media or on the web from time to time. Is there any scientifically verifiable evidence that prayer (in addition to appropriate medical/surgical ...
63 votes
3 answers
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Claimed similarities between Jesus Christ and Horus and other Gods

The 2007 conspiracy theory film Zeitgeist: The Movie (Website, Watch online, Wikipedia Entry) states in Part I "The Greatest Story Ever Sold" that major points of the story about Jesus Christ's birth,...