Muslim pilgrims pray at the Grand Mosque, ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in August 2017. AP Photo/Khalil Hamra

What is the Hajj?

Is it ethical to eat meat? Ewan Munro

What philosophers have to say about eating meat

The coworking company, WeWork, has banned meat, citing an attempt to reduce its carbon footprint. For centuries, philosophers have made a moral case against meat-eating.
How should you choose your friends? Liderina/ Shutterstock.com

What makes a good friend?

Friendship requires that we be open to our friends’ ways of seeing things, even when they differ from our own. Is being a good person necessary for a good friendship? Who is a good person?
Students at a madrasa in the Assaba region of southern Mauritania in May 2014. Michal Huniewicz

What are madrasa schools and what skills do they impart?

Madrasas, or Islam-centered schools, have long spread knowledge and literacy throughout the Muslim world. However, can they prepare students for today's tech-based economies?
Members of the team who were rescued from a flooded cave prepare to be ordained to become Buddhist novices and monks. AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

Why the rescued Thai soccer team has ordained as Buddhist novice monks

In Theravada Buddhism, ordaining to be a monk and donating the merit thus gained is one of the greatest honors that a person can give to another – in this case to the late Navy SEAL officer.
Brigham Young and other men are shown preparing women in dresses for war. Harper's Weekly, volume v. 1, November 28, 1857, p. 768. Scan from BX8609.A1a#466, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee library, Brigham Young University.

How the Mormon church’s past shapes its position on immigration today

On July 24, 1847, Mormon leader Brigham Young and 146 followers entered Salt Lake City to escape persecution. This history has implications today.
A ‘no border wall’ sign is held during a rally to oppose the wall the US government wants to build. AP Photo/Eric Gay

What exactly is the point of the border?

Conflicts about policing the border have erupted in much of the world. How people respond depends on the many distinct visions of what borders are meant to be protecting.
Illustration of Dante’s Paradiso. Giovanni di Paolo

What is heaven?

Different cultural groups respond with numerous, often conflicting, answers to questions about life after death. An expert explains the Christian idea of heaven.
Employees at a gas station in Los Angeles watch President Jimmy Carter giving his energy speech over national television on July 15, 1979. AP Photo/Mao

Revisiting Jimmy Carter’s truth-telling sermon to Americans

At at time of rising hatred and nationalism, Jimmy Carter's speech -- a sermon that cautioned against excess, offers a counterexample.
Three of the 12 rescued boys in their hospital beds. Thailand Government Spokesman Bureau via AP

Inside the sacred danger of Thailand’s caves

A scholar, who has conducted research on the Thai caves in which 12 children were recently trapped, explains their power and appeal, including the rituals and myth surrounding these sacred sites.
In June, 2009, people were invited to bring their firearms without bullets during a service at the New Bethel Church Louisville, Ky. AP Photo/Ed Reinke, Pool

Why Americans have long been fascinated by gunfighting preachers

There is a long line of well-armed American preachers -- both real and fictional -- in US history and culture, confirming perhaps the view that true justice cannot be enforced by institutions alone.
Jeff Sessions is citing the Bible in defending the Trump administration’s immigration policy. AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File

The Bible’s message on separating immigrant children from parents is a lot different from what Jeff Sessions thinks

Sessions ignored the many gospel teaching about love, and used a passagethat has been used historically to justify all manner of immoral behavior, including imperialism, slavery, Nazism and apartheid.
A mourner reads a sympathy card left for Anthony Bourdain at a makeshift memorial in New York. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Why religions of the world condemn suicide

Most religions have a fundamental belief that all human life belongs to God.

More Analysis and Comment

Just a thought

The caves of Northern Thailand are places where these religious traditions blend: There are shrines to the Buddha, Hindu hermits and the spirit lords of the mountain, all in the same space. These, as some might expect, are not three separate traditions. They blend together, especially so in cave legends Andrew Alan Johnson

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