Religion & Spirituality

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Signs of the Zodiac: Symbols, Dates, Traits, and Planetary Rulers

What's your sign? A zodiac sign is the portion of the zodiac occupied by the Sun at the moment of your birth. Because the Sun resides in each sign of the zodiac for about a month, those signs are also [more…]

Astrology: Planetary Symbols and Influences

Astrology holds that the Sun, the Moon, and the planets represent different facets of who you are and express their energies through the signs that they occupy in your birth chart. This table shows the [more…]

Astrology For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If you want to use astrology to understand yourself and others, you need to know the astrological basics and what they represent: the 12 signs of the zodiac; the Sun, the Moon, and the planets; and the [more…]

Jewish Funeral Traditions

Jewish funerals usually take place in a synagogue, funeral home, or at a cemetery. By tradition, Jewish funerals are simple (symbolizing the belief that people are all equal in death), but they vary widely [more…]

Part of the Series: Coping with Death: 9 Ways to Deal with Funerals, Feelings, and Faith

Can Catholics Be Cremated?

The Catholic Church forbid cremation up until 1963. Catholic belief in the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit — as well as faith in the resurrection of the body — places a strong preference for entombing [more…]

Part of the Series: Coping with Death: 9 Ways to Deal with Funerals, Feelings, and Faith

Hindu Funeral Customs

Most Hindus choose to dispose of a person's body through cremation — usually within a day of the death. In Hinduism, death applies only to the physical body; there is no death of the soul. [more…]

Part of the Series: Coping with Death: 9 Ways to Deal with Funerals, Feelings, and Faith

How Is Islamic Finance Different from Conventional Finance?

Islam is more than a religion; it's also a code of life that deals with social, economic, and political matters. Every Muslim is expected to live according to the Islamic code, or [more…]

Sharia Boards and Islamic Financial Institutions

A sharia board is probably the most easily recognizable feature that distinguishes an Islamic finance institution from a conventional one. All Islamic financial institutions are expected to operate in [more…]

The Structure of Sharia Boards for Islamic Financial Institutions

The sharia board, or sharia supervisory board (SSB), sits near the top of an Islamic financial company’s governing structure. If you look at the organization of such a firm, you often find the sharia board [more…]

What Is Islamic Finance?

Islamic finance is a financial system that operates according to Islamic law (which is called sharia) and is, therefore, sharia-compliant. Just like conventional financial systems, Islamic finance features [more…]

Why Takaful Is Needed in Islamic Finance

Takaful is a new spectrum of insurance products that has emerged in recent decades. These products are based on principles, features, and structures that set them apart from conventional insurance. [more…]

The Islamic Principles behind Takaful

Takaful is a form of mutual insurance based on the principles of cooperative risk sharing, mutual responsibility, mutual protection, and solidarity among groups of participants. Each takaful model [more…]

Ten Meditations for Focus and Relaxation

Here are ten meditations that provide a range of different practices for you to sample — from elaborate visualizations to basic mindfulness techniques. With regular practice, they offer a taste of the [more…]

A Few Key Figures in the History of Atheism

The history of atheism is filled with important figures — people who have thought outside of the religious box of their times and often used their eloquence and intellect to convince other to do so as [more…]

Religious Disbelief in Places around the World

Atheism, humanism, and all the rest of the nontheistic isms show up in different ways around the world. What follows is a list of some of the most interesting places to watch for developments in religious [more…]

Words Used to Describe and Label Religious Doubt

Atheism and other kinds of religious doubt are chock-a-block with labels and terms. Some are more important than others; some are neutral or positive; others are used [more…]

Atheism For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Atheism is the simple but kind of startling idea that no god or gods exist. If you’re interested in exploring the topic, it helps to know some of the labels for different types and degrees of religious [more…]

What Is Scientology?

Scientology is a set of religious beliefs created by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard wrote a self-help book that explored the relationship between body and mind called [more…]

Who's Who in the Catholic Church?

The pope is not the only leader in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church, like every structured environment — from governments to corporations to schools to sports programs — has a chain of command. [more…]

How the College of Cardinals Chooses a New Pope

When a pope dies in office or resigns, like Pope Benedict XVI did in early 2013, the College of Cardinals (all the cardinals in the Catholic Church) gather to elect a new pope. No sooner than 15 days and [more…]

Is the Pope Really Infallible?

Catholicism maintains that the pope is infallible,incapable of error, when he teaches a doctrine on faith or morals to the universal Church in his unique office as supreme head. When the pope asserts his [more…]

What Are Extraordinary Magisterium and Ordinary Magisterium?

The pope can exercise his papal infallibility in two ways. One is called the Extraordinary Magisterium, and the other is called Ordinary Magisterium. The word magisterium is from the Latin word magister [more…]

The Job Security of Being Pope

Popes are elected for life unless they voluntarily — without pressure or coercion — resign from office. Pope Benedict XVI resigned early in 2013, claiming fading bodily and mental strength; he was the [more…]

Popes throughout History: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Catholicism regards St. Peter as the first pope, handpicked by Jesus Christ himself, according to the Gospel of St. Matthew (16:18), when Jesus said, “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church [more…]

The Catholic Pope: His Job and How He's Elected

Known worldwide and to Catholics as thepope, the bishop of Rome is the supreme and visible head of the Catholic Church. The pope has a slew of other titles, but the most common and best-known ones are [more…]

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