Posts Tagged ‘religion’
The College of Cardinals heads into session today, the latest installment in the oldest continuous democratic process in the world. As we watch for white smoke, Lapham’s Quarterly reminds us of just how momentous the results of the balloting can be.
In 1484, just three months into his pontificate, Innocent VIII issued a papal bull, naming two professors as his primary inquisitors. Heinrich Kramer, a professor of theology at the University of Salzburg, and Jacobus Sprenger, a dean of the University of Cologne, had written the new Pope complaining that their local ecclesiastical authorities were not assisting them in stamping out witchcraft. Innocent VIII put them in charge– and the prosecutions began.
Two years later, the two Dominican inquisitors published the (in)famous Malleus Maleficarum (“Hammer of the Witches”)– the book proclaiming that disbelief in witches was heresy and prescribing torture to procure confessions from the accused, that became (if readers will forgive the pun) the Bible of the Inquisition.
Read Innocent VIII”s full Papal Bull here.
And on a related note, lest we worry that the new Pope, whoever he might be, will need to scramble to find appropriate attire for that all-important first audience, the Pope’s tailors have him covered.
As we admit that Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition, we might recall that it was on this date in 1912 that The Girl Scouts were born in the U.S., as Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low (who’d met and been deeply influenced by Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell in London) organized the first Girl Scout troop meeting of 18 girls in Savannah, Georgia. The annual sale of cookies as a fund-raiser began in 1917.
Almost 30 years ago a Japanese custodian sat in front of a large A1 size sheet of white paper, whipped out a pen and started drawing the beginnings of diabolically complex maze, each twist and turn springing spontaneously from his brain onto the paper without aid of a computer. The hobby would consume him as he drew in his spare time until its completion nearly 7 years later when the final labyrinth was rolled up and almost forgotten. Twitter user @Kya7y was recently going through some of her father’s old things (he’s still a custodian at a public university) when she happened upon the maze and snapped a few photos to share on Twitter…
As we get in touch with our inner Perseus, we might recall that it was on this date in 1535 that 12 Anabaptist men and women ran nude through the streets of Amsterdam, shouting ”truth is naked”; in the event, they roused more anger than contemplation, much less fear. They were detained by authorities, tried, and put to death.
We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.
- H. L. Mencken
Adherents.com is a growing collection of over 43,870 adherent statistics and religious geography citations: references to published membership/adherent statistics and congregation statistics for over 4,200 religions, churches, denominations, religious bodies, faith groups, tribes, cultures, movements, ultimate concerns, etc. The religions of the world are enumerated here.
Basically, researchers can use this site to answer such questions as "How many Lutherans live in Wisconsin?", "What are the major religions of India?", or "What percentage of the world is Muslim?" We present data from both primary research sources such as government census reports, statistical sampling surveys and organizational reporting, as well as citations from secondary literature which mention adherent statistics…
One can also use Adherents to…
…discover the religious affiliations of influential and famous adherents of over 100 different religious groups (famous Methodists, famous Jews, famous Catholics, famous Zoroastrians, famous Jehovah’s Witnesses, famous Theosophists, etc.), and lists of prominent people (actors, politicians, authors, U.S. presidents, artists, musicians, Supreme Court justices, film directors, etc.) classified by religious affiliation. These lists are linked to thousands of detailed religious/spiritual biographies.
Plus, one can use Adherents to find the denomination of one’s favorite superhero! For instance…
As we commune with our comics, we might recall that it was on this date in 1859 that Jean François Gravelet-Blondin, the tightrope walker better known as Charles Blondin, crossed Niagara Falls for the first time on an 1100 feet high wire (160 feet above the water) near the location of the current Rainbow Bridge. He crossed the Falls several time subsequently, always with different theatrical variations: blindfolded; in a sack; trundling a wheelbarrow; on stilts; carrying his manager, Harry Colcord, on his back; and finally, sitting down midway while he cooked and ate an omelet, standing on a chair with only one chair leg on the rope.
From The Polis Center (a joint venture of Indiana University, Purdue, and Indianapolis University): the North American Religion Atlas, an interactive tool that lets one locate any one of 22 faiths by county, region, or state.
As Rachel Hatch [to whom, TotH] suggests, “an example of the new-ish field, #spatialhumanities”…
As we remember that, as ever, it’s “location, location, location,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1753 that George Washington became a “Master Mason,” the highest rank in the Fraternity of Freemasonry, in his hometown of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Freemasonry, derived from the practices and rituals of the medieval guild system, gained popularity in the Eighteenth Century, particularly in Great Britain. British Masons organized the first North American Chapter in 1731… arousing considerable suspicion in the early American republic with their mysterious rites and closely held secrets.
But indications are that, for Washington, the Masons were a rite of passage and an expression of civic responsibility. Members were required to express their belief in a Supreme Being and in the immortality of the soul, and expected to obey civil laws, hold a high moral standard, and practice acts of charity.
Besides, their ceremonial dinners routinely ended with the serving of cherry pie.
Washington the Mason (source: Library of Congress)