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Catholics and Protestants: what they believe and why it matters

Some 76% of Americans identify themselves a Christians: 25% are Catholics, while 51% are Protestants. What is the difference? Why does it matter today?

Catholic history

During the "apostolic" era (AD 30-100), the Christian movement was confronted by three significant religious powers. Roman religion insisted on the worship of the emperor, embraced an eclectic, polytheistic theology, and emphasized form and ceremony over moral standards. Greek religion separated the spiritual from the material, with a strong rationalism and an impoverished morality. Judaism had been scattered out of Palestine for generations and especially after the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, establishing synagogues as it spread. The expanding Church took advantage of these settlements and the universal peace, roads, language, and hunger for truth and morality which pervaded the Empire.

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World Religions: what do they believe?

Intelligence officials have been warning Congress that a terrorist plot is coming against Europe and America. FBI Director Robert Mueller recently told a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, "Despite the significant counterterrorism pressure abroad, al Qaeda continues to be committed to high-profile attacks directed at the West, including plans against Europe as well as the homeland."

Mueller also told the Committee that groups and people inspired by al-Qaida are switching to smaller-scale attacks which are easier to plan and carry out. They understand, according to Mueller, that "launching a large attack, perhaps a more devastating attack, is not worth the additional effort when you can get substantial coverage and impact with smaller attacks."

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The Abrahamic Faiths: why can't Jews, Christians and Muslims get along?

Intelligence officials have been warning Congress that a terrorist plot is coming against Europe and America. FBI Director Robert Mueller recently told a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, "Despite the significant counterterrorism pressure abroad, al Qaeda continues to be committed to high-profile attacks directed at the West, including plans against Europe as well as the homeland."

Mueller also told the Committee that groups and people inspired by al-Qaida are switching to smaller-scale attacks which are easier to plan and carry out. They understand, according to Mueller, that "launching a large attack, perhaps a more devastating attack, is not worth the additional effort when you can get substantial coverage and impact with smaller attacks."

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Why do they still hate us?

Supporters of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed on Monday in a U.S. special forces assault on a Pakistani compound, burn a replica of a U.S. flag during a rally of more than 100 people in Multan May 4, 2011. (Credit: Reuters/Stringer)On September 11, 2001, 19 terrorists flew planes into New York City's World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. The worst terrorism attack in U.S. history killed 2,973 people. We have now been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan longer than any war in American history.

Ten years after 9/11, most Americans still don't understand why Muslim terrorists hate us.

Islam is front-page news every day. 1.4 billion people, 19% of the world's population, are followers of the Muslim faith. There are more Muslims in America than Episcopalians or Presbyterians. Muslims now outnumber Jews in our country and constitute the second-largest religion in America. There are more than 1,100 mosques around the country.

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Explaining the Arab Spring

An opposition supporter flashes the victory sign as he holds an Egyptian flag atop a lamp post near a mosque in Tahrir Square in Cairo February 7, 2011. (Credit: Reuters/Yannis Behrakis)At the first of 2011, who of us would have imagined that Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak would be displaced by a pro-democracy movement fueled by social media? Or that activists would oust the dictator of Tunisia, force the leader of Jordan to replace his government, and fill the streets of Tehran and Tripoli with demonstrators? How did this unprecedented uprising in the Arab world begin? What is its relevance to the rest of the world? What is its spiritual significance?

In 2005, a group in Egypt organized "Youth for Change," but many tried working through established parties without success. In 2008 the group attempted to organize isolated labor strikes, but bad weather and police crackdowns defeated their efforts. A year ago, their movement gained a strategic ally when Wael Ghonim, the now-famous Google marketing executive, joined their ranks.

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