Religion and Religious Philosophy
Religion plays a major role in most people's lives - and it has through most of recorded human history. Even the Neanderthals are believed to have had some sort of religious beliefs. Because of its penetration of most of human culture, many difficult issues arise in the context of religious beliefs and religious actions. Here, you can register your opinion on some of them.
Is Saudi Arabia Helping or Fighting Islamic Terrorism?
Saudi Arabia has done a great deal to foster the growth of extremist Islam around the world. Currently they are supposed to be partners in the fight against the Islamic terrorism that has grown out of that extremism. Is Saudi Arabia really doing enough to fight terrorists or are they actually doing more to help them?
Do Moderate Muslims Do Enough Against Islamic Extremists?
Something needs to be done about Islamic extremism and terrorism and moderate Muslims themselves must play a role. Are they doing enough, though? Should they be going more to make a case for a different sort of Islam or are they doing as much as they can, given their social and political circumstances?
Should Religious Leaders Play a Greater Role in World Affairs?
Many religious believers look up to their religious leaders as authorities not just on religious matters, but on all sorts of things in life. As a consequence, they would like to see those leaders play a greater role in world affairs, for example by having a voice at the UN. Do you agree that religious authorities should be given more attention?
Does Religion Prevent Rational Thought?
One common criticism of religion is how it so often seems to contradict or inhibit rational, logical thought. Too few religions make a virtue of rationality while many regard blind faith as virtuous. Is there something inherent in religion itself that serves as a barrier to reason, rationality, and logic?
Is Religion a Necessary Crutch?
Many nonbelievers and other critics treat religion like a crutch for those who cannot otherwise handle life without comforting beliefs. If that is at all true, however, there is still the question of whether religion is a necessary crutch. After all, some crutches are needed. Is religion one of them?
Which is More Peaceful: Christianity or Islam?
Both violent and peaceful trends can be found in all religions, including Christianity and Islam. Today, however, Islam appears far more violent than Christianity because there seems to be less violence committed by Christians in the name of Christianity. But is Islam really a more violent religion?
What are the Requirements for Religion?
There are a lot of different ways to define religion. Some insist that without a belief in some god, a belief system cannot be a religion. Others argue that religions are defined by having beliefs in things like sacred spaces and scriptures. What elements do you think are required to have a religion?
Are Beliefs like Buddhism Religion or Philosophies?
Buddhism is often categorized as a religion, but because it doesn't mandate belief in any gods some argue that it should be treated like a philosophy instead. Buddhism isn't the only 'religion' like this. Are they really philosophies, or is demand that there be a belief in some god the wrong way to define religion?
Will there be Peace in the Middle East?
The largest source of violence and conflict in the world today must be the Middle East - especially where Israel and the Palestinians are concerned. Will there be a peaceful settlement to all the various disagreements, or must there be a major war first?
Should Nontheistic Groups Get Religious Tax Exemptions?
Some people believe that the only way a group can be 'religious' is if they believe in some sort of god - thus, nontheistic groups should be denied the same tax-exempt status given to traditional religious groups. Is this position justified?
Should Bishops Punish Pro-Choice Catholics?
In America, many bishops are looking for ways to punish pro-choice Catholics - for example, by withholding communion from politicians who support legalized abortion and even from citizens who vote for such politicians. Is this justified? Is being pro-choice incompatible with being a good Catholic?
Is the Doctrine of Papal Infallibility Justified?
When the pope speaks 'ex cathedra' on matters of church doctrine or morals, whatever he asserts is believed to infallible. Thus, whatever he asserts will never be changed in Roman Catholic doctrine. Do you suppose that such a position is justified at all?
Pope John XXIII's Ecumenical Efforts: Successful?
Before he died, Pope John XXIII tried hard to promote more ecumenical understanding both between various Christian groups and between Christians and members of other religions. Whether those efforts have proven successful or not is debated by many - but what do you think?
Favorable or Unfavorable Impression of Islam?
Islamic extremists have caused people to learn more about Islam, but they have also caused people to think badly of Islam and Muslims generally. Others, however, have been more sympathetic to position of Islam in the world. What sort of impression have you acquired of Islam and Muslims.
Is Religion the Answer to Today's Problems?
There are those who feel that the only real way we will be able to solve today's problems is by turning to religion because religion (their religion, naturally) holds all the answers. Others dispute this, including people who are religious themselves. Is there anything in religion which is needed to deal with problems today?
The Bible: Supernatural or Natural Origin?
Some Christians regard the Bible as the absolute, inerrant, and infallible Word of God. Others treat the Bible as a collection of documents from Christian communities - perhaps inspired by God, but not necessarily infallible and inerrant. What do you think?
Too Much or Too Little Religion in People's Lives?
Some, most religious conservatives, argue that there is too little religion in people's lives today and that is why there are so many problems in the world. Others argue that many of the problems actually stem from religion and that with less religion things might be better. What do you think?
Is Islam a Religion of Peace or Violence?
Defenders of Islam today argue that it is really a religion of peace which has been hijacked by extremists who kill in its name. Extremists, however, see themselves as the only true and proper Muslims. Who is right? Is Islam really a religion of peace or is it as violent and brutal as the Islamic extremists?
Are Jews Today Responsible for Jesus' Death?
For the longest time Christians treated Jews as 'Christ killers' - even though they lived hundred of years after Jesus would have died, all Jews were treated as being responsible for Jesus' crucifixion. Today, that attitude is much mor rare, but not entirely gone.
Is Religion Necessary for Morality and Ethics?
For a great many religious people, their religion is significant component of their morality. Without their religion, they feel, they wouldn't have any reason to be moral in the first place - which makes them wonder about atheists. Nonbelievers, however, see no reason why morality requires religion.
Pope John Paul II: Conservative or Liberal?
Pope John Paul II is usually thought of as a conservative and it is true that he has done a great deal to bolster conservative forces within the Roman Catholic Church. However, he has also support more than one liberal cause - for example, the rights of workers. Where, in the end, does he come down?
Should Ritual Animal Sacrifices Be Allowed?
In some religions, animal sacrifices are an integral part of many religious rituals. Whether to allow this is a difficult choice. Is the fact that dominant religions don't do animal sacrifices anymore a good enough reason? Is protecting the animals a good reason?
Is Religion More a Force for Good or Evil?
Religion is definitely a mixed bag - there are aspects which inspire goodness in people, but also aspects which inspire the worst sort of atrocities. In the end, it is difficult to tell whether religion is ultimately a force for good or a force for evil. What do you think?
Does the Existence of Evil Disprove God?
One of the strongest and most popular arguments against the existence of God is the 'argument from evil.' According to this argument, the traditional God people believe in can't exist in a world with so much evil - either God would do something, or God can't be very good. Do you agree?
What Will Happen to Christianity?
There are strong liberal trends among Christians in the United States and Europe - but the same trends are not repeated everywhere in the world. In most places, the growth of Christianity is accompanied by a growth in conservatism, traditionalism, and orthodoxy. What will the next millennium bring to Christianity?
Was Pope John Paul I Murdered?
Pope John Paul I died early in his reign and under mysterious circumstances. Some say that he was murdered - either because he was going to reform to many things or because he stumbled upon corruption in the Vatican. Do these conspiracy theories have any truth to them?
What is the Role of Religion in American Politics?
Religion seems to be getting more and more important in American politics. Candidates are often asked what their religious beliefs are and politicians often refer to their religious beliefs in speeches. Is this appropriate? Should we be hearing so much about politicians' religion like this?
Where Will Religion Go Over the Next Millennium?
Religion has been with us for all of recorded history - and probably for about as long as our species has existed. Some aspects of religion have changed quite a bit while others seem to remain fairly constant. What direction might religion take over the next millennium of human history?
Is Pope John Paul II to Sick to Continue As Pope?
Pope John Paul II has grown quite ill over recent years and he is one of the longest-serving pontiffs ever. Some believe that he should step down because he is no longer healthy enough to lead the Roman Catholic Church. Should he follow this advice or remain where he is?
Is Mel Gibson's Movie "The Passion" Antisemitic?
Many people have argued that Mel Gibson's movie 'The Passion of the Christ' is antisemitic because of how it portrays the Jews and the Romans. They point out that it is filled with historical inaccuracies and relies on sources outside the gospels. Are the critics right about Gibson and antisemitism?
Did Jesus Really Exist?
Many people assume that Jesus really existed and was a historical figure - even if they don't accept the Christian claim that he was the Son of God. But is this assumption really justified? Is there any reason to think that the gospel stories are about a real person rather than a collection of legends?
Will the Next Pope be Liberal or Conservative?
Because of the age of illnesses of Pope John Paul II, there is rampant speculation about who the next pope will be - and what sorts of policies he will pursue. Many in the West hope that the next pope will be more liberal, but it seems more likely that he would continue the current, conservative course.
Vatican Behavior During World War II
During World War II, millions of Catholics participated in Germany's war against Europe, and many were also involved with the attempt to exterminate the Jews. Some people have condemned the Vatican's failure to act to stop the war or the Holocaust - even Hitler was never excommunicated. Are the critics right?
Study of Religion and Religious History
Religion has played an important role in the history of every nation and every culture. Influences can be found in art, literature, architecture, philosophy, politics, and more. It would seem, then, that studying religion (religious beliefs, religious history, etc.) would be important to the study of everything else.
The Seven Deadly Sins
The so-called Seven Deadly Sins of Christian tradition are always popular fodder for modern media. They have played important roles in movies and there are books out about them. Most people today seem to commit one or more on a regular basis - but which is your favorite Deadly Sin?
Taking Pascal's Wager
Many Christians offer "Pascal's Wager" as a reason to believe in their god. According to this argument, it's safer to "bet" that their god exists than to live as if it didn't exist. If you accepted that you had to "bet" on some god or religion, what would you bet on?