Tag Archives: Religion

The Emperor Julian – last ‘pagan’ ruler of the Roman Empire

The emperor Julian ruled the Roman Empire for a brief 20 months in 361-3, after a 50-year period of Christianity as the state religion under Constantine and Constantius II. Immediately on assuming the role with the death of Constantius II, … Continue reading

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Another detour: What is Shia Islam?

Before we progress deeper along the Iranian tourist trail, it’s is a good time to clarify the dominant (95%) Muslim sect in Iran, Shi’ism. To the outsider, the differences between Sunni and Shia Islam appear slight, even trivial. Both apply the confessional … Continue reading

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The Arad and Lachish Letters, and the last moments of the Kingdom of Judah

The Arad and Lachish letters are military communications that date to the final years of the Kingdom of Judah. Carefully read, they provide a valuable insight into the daily lives of the military personnel and their attitudes to events as … Continue reading

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On godlessness and ISIS

On November 23, Prime Minister Turnbull gave a speech in parliament on the atrocities committed in Paris. In it, he described ISIS as  “godless murderers … who defame and blasphemed Islam itself”. I have written to PM Turnbull in response: … Continue reading

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No Zen puns: An introduction to Zen Buddhism

““What is the sound of one hand clapping?” This short question,’or koan, sums up much of the philosophy of Zen Buddhism. What is the educated, twenty-first century man or woman to make of this seemingly irrational nonsense? Many claim that … Continue reading

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Why the study of religion is a maze, full of dead ends and bear traps

Neil Godfrey is a blogger who writes mostly on Christian origins at Vridar. As far as I know, he is a librarian who has no formal qualifications in the field. But he is deeply analytical in his approach and frequently … Continue reading

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The Rise of Religious Fundamentalism in Australian Schools

It would be very easy to argue that ‘fundamentalism’ is the most contentious religious issue facing Australian society. Islamic fundamentalism appears daily in the newspapers and constantly occupies the minds of defence and other policymakers. But what makes someone a … Continue reading

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