Zoroastrian New Year

WEB VIDEO Bahai and Zoroastrian New Year is called Norooz and occurs at the spring equinox. The Zoroastrian faith began in ancient Persia, now Iran. Zoroastrians live mostly in India, Iran, Europe, and North America. Zoroastrianism teaches that people should do good to help the one God in his cosmic struggle with the power of evil.

A Brief Introduction to Jainism

WEB RESOURCE Jainism is an ancient religion, which originates from Eastern India. Its advent in the 6th century BC was expected as many people were beginning to oppose the hierarchical organization and formalized rituals of Hinduism, the dominant religion in India. This site was developed by Commisceo Global, a firm specializing in intercultural education.

Introduction to Jainism

WEB RESOURCE Part of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University website, the introduction toe Jainism is based on a series of short essays. Each describes some aspect of the faith and its practices.

The Gnostic World View: A Brief Summary of Gnosticism

WEB RESOURCE This scholarly article by Stephan A. Hoeller provides a description of the gnostic worldview and how it contrasts with most creator God religious worldviews.

What Is The Ancient Japanese Religion Shinto?

WEB VIDEO This short video gives a brief and interesting overview of Shinto rituals and ideas so important in Japanese culture. It is part of the Seekers educational web video collection.

Religions of Japan: Buddhism and Shintoism

WEB VIDEO This video is organized as a personal investigation of Japanese culture and how it relates to ideas, beliefs, and practices of Shintoism and Zen Buddhism.

Avesta - Zoroastrian Scripture

WEB RESOURCE This Encyclopedia Britannica article provides an overview of Avesta, the sacred book of Zoroastrianism containing its cosmogony, law, and liturgy, the teachings of the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathushtra).

Zoroastrian Heritage

WEB RESOURCE This highly recommended site has a rich collection of articles about Zoroastrian beliefs, way of life, and history.


WEB RESOURCE Zoroastrianism,one of the world's oldest monotheistic religions was founded by the Prophet Zoroaster in ancient Iran approximately 3500 years ago. For 1000 years Zoroastrianism was one of the most powerful religions in the world. Now it has a very small following but nonetheless is important to understand because Zoroastrianism influenced the religions of the ancient Middle East.

Shinto Religion

WEB RESOURCE This Britannica article provides a definition of Shinto supported by cultural and historical information and examples.

Internet Sacred Text Archive - African Religions

SACRED & TRADITIONAL TEXTS This section of the Sacred Text Archive has texts on the traditional spirituality of Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as their descendants in the New World. These books have a great amount of useful information on this topic, some of it written before colonialism destroyed or greatly modified aspects of traditional culture. The problem with these works is that they were for the large part written by Europeans with their particular biases and agendas. For this reason, we encourage you to 'read between the lines.'

Global Religious Landscape: Other Religions

WEB RESOURCE Worldwide, there are an estimated 58 million members of "other religions," accounting for nearly 1% of the global population. This category is diverse and comprises followers of religions that are not specifically measured in surveys and censuses in most countries: the Baha'i faith, Taoism, Jainism, Shintoism, Sikhism, Tenrikyo, Wicca, Zoroastrianism and many others.

Religion Library: Paganism

WEB RESOURCE This (Neo) Patheos Library website has information about Pagan beliefs, history, origins, and sacred texts. Paganism represents a wide variety of traditions that emphasize reverence for nature and a revival of ancient polytheistic and animistic religious practices. Some modern forms of Paganism have their roots in 19th century C.E. European nationalism (including the British Order of Druids), but most contemporary Pagan groups trace their immediate organizational roots to the 1960s, and have an emphasis on archetypal psychology and a spiritual interest in nature.

Ancient African Religion Finds Roots In America

WEB RESOURCE This National Public Radio interview by Christopher Johnson includes both and audio file and a transcript. It features an often ignored issue of religious expression, in this case the flowering of the ancient Yoruba faith from West Africa in modern Seattle.

Religion Library: Jainism

WEB RESOURCE This fairy extensive encyclopedic entry on Jainism includes information about the beliefs, history, founders, sacred texts, schisms and sects, and major beliefs.

Alcoholics Anonymous

WEB RESOURCE This resource from World Religions and Spirituality provides a history and an overview of the beliefs of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Thomas Paine:Of the Religion of Deism Compared with the Christian Religion

PRIMARY SOURCE Thomas Paine defines deism as the beief of a God. He argues against an understanding of God based on sacred texts, and church teaching and rituals. He instead argues that 'creation' is the true evidence of God. Deism "honors reason as the choicest gift of God to man, and the faculty by which he is enabled to contemplate the power, wisdom and goodness of the Creator displayed in the creation based on rational interpretation of the laws of nature."

The Obscure Religion that Shaped the West

WEB RESOURCE It is generally believed by scholars that the ancient Iranian prophet Zarathustra (Zoroaster) lived sometime between 1500 and 1000 BC. The idea of a single god was not the only essentially Zoroastrian tenet to find its way into other major faiths such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The concepts of Heaven and Hell, Judgment Day, and angels and demons all may have originated in the teachings of Zarathustra. Even the idea of Satan was a fundamentally Zoroastrian one.

Gnosticism: Ancient and Modern

WEB RESOURCE Gnosticism is a philosophical and religious movement which started in pre-Christian times. Some religious historians believe that it had is source in the Jewish community of Alexandria and was later picked up by some Christian groups in Judea and the Galilee. 1 The name is derived from the Greek word "gnosis" which literally means "knowledge." Gnostics believe that they have secret knowledge about God, humanity and the rest of the universe of which the general population was unaware.


WEB RESOURCE This BBC educational site provides and overview of Shintoism though a series oa short articles. The essence of Shinto is the Japanese devotion to invisible spiritual beings and powers called kami, to shrines, and to various rituals. The rituals enable human beings to communicate with kami.

Traditional African American Religion

WEB RESOURCE This Wikipedia article on Afro-American religions (also known as African diasporic religions or New World traditions) is a brief overview. It links to more information on a number of related religions that developed in the Americas in various nations of Latin America, the Caribbean, and the southern United States which derived from traditional African religions with some influence from Christianity.


WEB RESOURCE Rastafarian is a major religion in Jamaica that began in the 1920s-30s. Its beliefs include worship of the Judeo-Christian God, who is called Jah. In general, Rastafarian beliefs are based in Judaism and Christianity, with an emphasis on Old Testament laws and prophecies and the Book of Revelation. This site has documents and detailed support material on Rastafarian adherents, beliefs and history.

"Santeria," The Lucumi Way

WEB RESOURCE This is a brief but well-respected overview of Santeria that made its way to North America from Cuba. Of all the New World societies, Cuba received captives from the greatest mix of African origins. They came from all parts of the coast and interior of western Africa, their numbers dwarfing all reliable estimates of the number of captives brought to the entire United States. Santeria emerged from the traditional beliefs and practices of this group of enslaved Africans.

Aboriginal Elder Sings Ancient Creation Song

WEB VIDEO This NOVA video shows an elder of the Aboriginal Wardaman people singing a Creation Story. He describes the environment as made up of plants and animals that were were once people the world.

Religious Philosophy - Deism

WEB RESOURCE Deism is a relatively recent concept within religion but is important because it had a significant impact on early American thinking that was recorded in our founding documents. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the word Deism was used by some theologians in contradistinction to theism, the belief in an immanent God who actively intervenes in the affairs of men. Deism represented the idea that the role of God was a mere act of creation in accordance with rational laws discoverable by humans. After creation God withdrew from interfering in the processes of nature and the ways of man.

Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah (1993)

WEB RESOURCE This material is based the The First Amendment Encyclopedia from the First Amendment Center. Learn how the Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520 (1993), the Supreme Court affirmed the principle that laws targeting specific religions violate the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.


WEB RESOURCE Zoroastrianism is the monotheistic faith established by the Persian prophet Zoroaster (also given as Zarathustra, Zartosht) between c. 1500-1000 BCE. It holds that there is one supreme deity, Ahura Mazda (Lord of Wisdom), creator and sustainer of all things, and encourages adherents to express their faith through the principle of Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds. The religion is also known as Mazdayasna ("devotion to Mazda") and Mazdaism. This belief system developed from the polytheistic ancient Persian religion, which regarded Ahura Mazda as the greatest of a large pantheon of gods and, like the later Zoroastrianism, saw life as a struggle between the forces of light and goodness and those of darkness and evil.