Categories
History of religion

Threat from religious fundamentalism

Published in Grail World 22/2001) SEPTEMBER 11, 2001: In Grail World 14/2000, under the headline "Where is the hope for the poor of the world?", I expressed the view that after the collapse of communism, from which many people living in hopeless poverty hoped for the solution of their problems, a gap remained, which [...]

Categories
History of religion

Religion and power

How long have religions existed? (Published 2019) No one can say how long religions have existed on earth. Some, like biologist Alister Hardy (1896-1985), see humans as "praying animals"[i] and assume that religions, or at least religiosity, existed as early as the Paleolithic. Burial rites of the Neanderthals 30,000 years ago can be interpreted religiously. [...]

Categories
History of religion

Modern Atheism

(Published 2015) Atheism is "as old as human thought, as old as faith, and the conflict between the two is a constant feature of Western civilization" (2). In fact, doubts about religions existed in antiquity, and early philosophers, such as the pre-Socratic Xenophanes, expressed their reservations. (See box). At the same time [...]

Categories
History of religion

The first monotheist?

Published in GrailWorld 85/2014 Was the Old Testament Abraham the first to spread the one-god faith? A biblical historical approach to the life of the legendary progenitor. According to historians, many parts of the Bible are not reliable accounts, and of the majority of biblical characters - especially in the Old Testament - it is uncertain if and when they lived. [...]

Categories
History of religion

The apocalypse as hope?

(Published 2014) The world is not coming to an end yet... At the beginning of the nineties of the last century, in a small, private circle around Carl Friedrich v. Weizsäcker (1912-2007), I listened to a lecture by Marion Gräfin Dönhoff (1909-2002), the grand old lady of German political journalism. Her presentation was characterized by the greatest optimism: the Iron Curtain had just [...]

Categories
History of religion

A wise advice of the Bible

(Published in GralsWelt 85/2014) In almost all religious groups there are fanatics who - with dogmatic intolerance - discriminate against, defame, even threaten with death dissenters from their doctrine or those who believe differently. This narrow-minded thinking has forced centuries of suffering, violence, oppression, expulsion and wars. Christianity, too, often did not follow the philosophy associated with charity [...].

Categories
History of religion

The view over the threshold

Published in Grail World Special Issue 24 In the life of a human being there is one certainty: that the earthly life cycle is limited. Living beings are - from a physical point of view - unstable systems which have to be maintained by continuous energy supply. In the process, they change continuously and at some point come to their inevitable end. The maximum lifetime of a living organism on [...]

Categories
History of religion

Hexentanzplatz in the mountains

Witnesses to prehistoric cultures in the Alps (Published in Grail World 76/2013) Anyone who hikes through the Alps with open eyes will be reminded again and again that the history of the Alpine region did not begin with the invasion of the Roman conquerors. For despite their forbidding climate, the valleys of the Alps have been populated for millennia. Hunters, shepherds and traders crossed [...]

Categories
History of religion

The Christian mission - a failed utopia

In the past it was Christian missionaries, today it is the preachers of neo-liberalism who fail to address the concerns of the peoples "to be converted". (Published in GralsWelt 66/2011) For centuries, the churches of the West saw it as their task to spread Christian teachings all over the world. The call for this can be found in the Bible for [...]

Categories
History of religion

Trip to the snake festival

(Published in GralsWelt 62/2010) Fairy tales, legends, myths, and fables often revolve around animals. These then serve as symbols, are related to human behavior, or are supposed to express the concerns or virtues of the bearer of the coat of arms as heraldic animals. Everyone sees e.g. in the lion a symbol for a ruler, knows the fox as sly and cunning, [...]