Category Archives: Essays on Religion

Islam in the United States

The population of Muslims is the third largest in America after Christianity and Judaism, representing 0.6% of the population. Muslims living in America come from several different backgrounds, and countries and are one of the most ethnically and culturally distinct religious groups in the United States,  Native-born American Muslims are mainly African Americans who make up about a quarter of the total Muslim population. Many of these have converted to Islam during the last seventy years. Conversion to Islam in large urban areas has also contributed to its growth over the years. An approximate 30% of the slaves brought to colonial America from Africa were Muslims, and their religion Islam was harshly suppressed on plantations.

Is Scientology a Religion?

Scientology is regarded the most notorious religious movement of the 20th century. The Church of Scientology is considered to be a more of a cult than a religion and it has come under frequent attack for its so-called religious practices which include brainwashing its adherent and cheating them of money and other possessions. It has also been accused of very aggressive behavior against those who criticize them and anyone that they identify as an enemy by character denouncement, psychologically abusing and expensive court cases. Scientology was founded by fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986) who characterized this as a religion and insisted that it was a regular religion like Christianity. He established the first Church of Scientology in 1953 in Camden, New Jersey.

Introduction of Christianity on the American Continent

Before the Europeans came to America, the Native Americans believed that there was a spirit for everything which influenced their concept of religion. Most of the Europeans who settled in America held staunch Christian beliefs.  Some of these settlers were Protestants while a great many of them held Catholic beliefs. Freedom of religion was guaranteed by the Constitution as a fundamental human right which encouraged many different sects to establish their version of the faith and their own churches. Many of these new movements flourished and became established and prominent because of the number of adherents which they attracted. Religion gained new prominence during the 20th century when immigrants from Europe flocked into America.

Influence of Hellenism on Second Temple Judaism

When Alexander the Great Invaded the Persian Empire of King Darius, Judea was a small town of no importance in the kingdom of Darius. Like all other smaller states within the Kingdom of Darius, Judea was allowed to conduct its own cultural and religious affairs. When Alexander and his legions marched through the narrow straits in northwestern, known as the “Hellespont” which connected Turkey to the Aegean Sea to defeat Darius, this was the first historical encounter between the Jews and the Greeks, which changed Western Civilization.  The Jews being inspired and awed by Alexander created a unique Jewish legend regarding him.