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History

Learn about how different alternative religions developed and changed with time, along with important events that shaped individual faiths.

Did Haitians Ever Make a Pact with the Devil?
On January 13, 2010, in the wake of a massive earthquake in Haiti, Christian Evangelist Pat Robertson publicly stated that 200 years ago Haitians "got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.' True story. And so, the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.'" Robertson continued by stating that Haiti has been "cursed by one thing after t…

Vodou Ceremony at Bois Caiman
Controversy surrounds the history of the ceremony held at Bois Caiman in 1791 on the eve of slave revolution against the white colonists. Those wishing to speak ill of either revolutionaries or Vodou practitioners encouraged the notion that this ceremony involved a pact with the devil, although there is no evidence that such a demonic ritual ever occurred.

Historical Christian Gnosticism
Christians have flirted with Gnostic thought since the early centuries of Christianity. After the 4th century, these movements were systematically ruled as heretical by the established Church, which then moved to isolate and wipe them out through a variety of methods. Each movement had its own specific beliefs, but there were also many qualities held in common by many of them, qualities they al…

Monotheism or Dualism? Zurvanite Confusions with Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism today is monotheistic, acknowledging only a single divine being. However, many people today are familiar with stories – often from world history or comparative religion classes – that portray Zoroastrianism as a dualism featuring two opposing deities. This is actually a reflection of a set of beliefs called Zurvanism.

Baha'i and Babi Roots in Shi'a Islam
Developing in Iran, the Baha'i and Babi Faiths can trace their roots back to Shi'a Islam. The similarities and differences between the two religions led to considerable conflict in the 19th century - including the execution of the Bab - and continues to influence Baha'i-Muslim relations today.

Why Are Zoroastrian Figures Referred To By Multiple Names?
Zoroastrianism has evolved considerably over time, and important writings on the faith were generated over many centuries in multiple languages. As such, different source materials may provide conflicting doctrines as well as reference supernatural beings by varying names.

The Religion In Africa and Cuba: How Different Are They Really?
A comparison of Cuban Santeria and the original Yoruban tribal religion of Africa from which is descends.

Operation Snow White - The Snow White Program in Scientology
The infamous Snow White program, commonly referred to as Operation Snow White, is one of the blackest marks on the Church of Scientology and led to the arrest and incarceration of several highly placed members, including the founder's wife.

History of The Baha'i Faith - A Timeline of Events
A timeline of events leading up to the formation of the Baha'i faith and its further development.

Review of Bill Yenne's Hitler's Master of the Dark Arts
Yenne's book on the "occult origins of the SS" is a disappointment, focusing more on fairly well-known politics, and lacking much discussion of the occult at all. Topics which Yenne might consider "occult" are really more about paganism and folklore: an interesting read but still a disappointment in light of what the title promises. Finally,...

Jonestown
The Jonestown Massacre took the single largest number of lives of any cult suicide event. In 1978, Jim Jones convinced or forced over 900 Peoples Temple members to kill themselves and their children in a compound commonly called Jonestown.

History of Deism
Deism is a religious movement that grew out of the Age of Enlightenment in Europe in the 18th century as an alternative to traditional Christianity.

The Death of L. Ron Hubbard
In life, L. Ron Hubbard was the founder and prophet of the Church of Scientology. Many of his actions were controversial, and the events of his death were no less so, depending on who you ask.

Why Do So Many People Connect Halloween and Samhain?
While some consider Halloween to be a modern extension of the Celtic Samhain, the truth is far more complicated. Halloween traditions and meanings have changed dramatically over the centuries through the interaction between religion, culture, and folklore.

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