Secularism in French Schools
Politics / Religion / Society

Secularism in French Schools

The concept of laïcité is an ideological pillar of the French école de la République (“school of the Republic”), founded by Jules Ferry. It involves a strict separation between religion (confined to the private sphere) and the public sphere. By implying that school is not the preferable forum for discussing the comparative value or inherent relevance of various religions, laïcité willingly ignores the importance of religious belief in individual identity. Continue reading

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Do Ghosts Really Exist?
Culture & Art / Religion / Society

Do Ghosts Really Exist?

Since the ghost is, according to the general definition, the apparition of a dead person (or animal) into the world of the living, the beliefs and practices linked to ghosts and spirits are oftentimes connected with rituals paying respect to ancestors: the rites, in this case, come as a way of ensuring that the soul or spirit of the dead should remain in peace instead of restlessly haunting the living world. Continue reading

Contamination and Catharsis: Purification through Religious Rituals
Culture & Art / Religion / Society

Contamination and Catharsis: Purification through Religious Rituals

Common to all religious beliefs is a strong sense that in life, some things, events or spiritual forces can be associated with purity, that is, a state in which nothing undesirable is present, and others with impurity or dirt. This dissociation between the pure and the impure obviously entails the definition of norms that can differentiate between what is seen as “natural”, acceptable to the gods or spirits, positive, and its opposite. Continue reading