Posts Tagged ‘Religion

Washing Away Sins – Whether You Know it or Not

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I am intrigued by the pervasive practice of baptism and ritual purity throughout religious history, around the world.

Before the Christian baptism that remains popular in Western culture there were ancient Babylonian and Egyptian baptism practices.  The Greek Mystery religions included baptismal rites.  For Judaism and Islam ritual cleansing has historically been of great importance as is the case with Hindu praxis as well.  A new study, however, appears to demonstrate that the psychological benefits of washing can effect an individual even when they are not consciously performing a ritual cleansing.

Spike W. S. Lee, a psychology researcher at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and his partner Norbert Schwarz devised a test in which they lead individuals participating in the study to make a decision the participant would not be happy with.  Following the decision some of the subjects washed their hands, while others did not.  The majority of those who washed their hands exhibited behavior that suggested they were at peace with having chosen something they did not like, whereas those who did not wash exhibited the expected behavior of justifying their negative choice.

The researchers admit that there are a lot of questions still to be explored in the study, but the initial results suggest that even when the cleansing is not done as a conscious act of washing away mistakes, people enjoy the psychological benefit of the ritual.

For more details on the study, check out  Nell Greenfieldboyce’s  report at


Written by Aaron Nee

May 7, 2010 at 9:57 am

George F. R. Ellis on science, ethics, and more

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One of the few things that comes close to the inspiration of sitting back and gazing at the stars above is sitting back and listening to a cosmologist talk about the same.  Earlier today I came across the marvelous George F. R. Ellis speaking at the 2008 Legacy of Einstein event.  Ellis’ views on the universe and ethics is thought provoking to say the least.

We’ve linked to George Ellis content in the past and I am happy to have come across more Ellis audio on the web.  Enjoy.

Written by Aaron Nee

March 6, 2010 at 1:35 am

Consistencies in religious/ conversion experiences/ convictions.

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I have been interested in the experiences that people have when they have a religious conversion or follow a religious conviction.  And more specifically, I am interested in the similarities or discrepancies in the claims that lead one to these spiritual experiences and the emotions that are present.  Where these things cross different faiths and ideologies (and how they compare) is what I’d really like to know more about.  For example:  Many Latter Day Saint testimonies rely heavily on the same experiences and proofs that Charismatic Christians and some mystical sects rely on.  Yet, these groups often try to discredit each other by attacking the same type of language and experiences that they rely on to bolster their own position without noticing that they are appealing to the same criteria for conversion/ “legitimate” spiritual experience.  So, if anyone comes across anything that is relevant to this, then please put up a link…but not too relevant…we don’t want to cancel each other out.


Written by blairsligar

November 18, 2008 at 11:08 pm