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A Series on Religion, Part 4: The J-Word

In high school, I learned my kind had a name: Cashews. We were that not-so-rare half-breed, part Catholic, part Jewish. I quibbled with the "sh" sound (shouldn't we really be Cajews?) but mostly embraced the label. In Malawi, however, I have made few attempts to explain that my parents come ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

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Insider Tips

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Churches harder to come by

Because Henry VIII broke from Catholicism in the 1500s and created the Church of England, London's not really a hub for Catholics. Not surprisingly, I found it MUCH more ... read more

Ann Clark


Catholic but not crusaders

A high percentage of Chileans claim to be Catholic, but those who regularly attend church are much smaller in number. People are generally more religious than I'm accustomed to ... read more

Matthew Hintsa


Find Yahweh into the forest

Eighty percent of Norwegians are registered Lutherans, but as my roommates and I made our way into the forest for some tranquility on a Sunday morning, we estimated that we ... read more

Patrick McCue


Religious overtones

“Muslim or Christian?” you’ll often be asked—an indication that religion plays a significant role in Jordanian culture. Indeed, Middle Eastern society is heavily informed by Islam; the call ... read more

Adam Lichtenheld


Awkward agnosticism

Most people in northern Uganda are Christians. If you’re agnostic like me and not comfortable discussing it, you may want to pick a denomination to fib about. I was ... read more

Pete  Muller


What is your "holy book" called?

Bangladesh is a majority Muslim country (with a minority of Hindus and even fewer Buddhists and Christians). Islam has permeated most facets of life in Bangladesh as there is no ... read more

Amy Adoyzie Lam


What religion are you?

Living in a country that's 95 percent Catholic, I often find it a little awkward to tell people that I'm Jewish. Most people assume that you're Catholic ... read more

Jon Brandt


Don't Declare

Declare a religion when you register to live in Switzerland and you've just set yourself up to pay extra taxes. After all, nothing is free in Switzerland. Not even ... read more

Chantal  Panozzo


Wake up early!

The mornings in India are the holy times. Sikh temples begin to wake up their holy book around 2 a.m., and really get going around sunrise. You may wake ... read more

Emily Strasser


Know who the supreme leader is

Shia Islam is the official religion of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has been run by clerics since the Islamic revolution in 1979. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the supreme ... read more

Mimi Hanaoka


Prepare for bible quotes, missionaries, and mega churches

Christianity is definitely the biggest (and practically the only) religion in Swaziland. On Sundays you’ll see baakies (pick-up trucks) full of worshipers dressed in their church uniform, which varies ... read more

Mallory Primm


Granada: The "praying pot" of Spain

As the last Moorish kingdom in Spain and with a long history of Jewish presence, coupled with the modern day presence of Catholicism, Granada is a veritable melting pot of ... read more

Mike Mian


Go with it!

In Singapore I volunteered at a children's orphanage sponsored by an Islamic organization called Jamiyah. I, along with two other students, were invited to a religious conference where many ... read more

Shawn Campbell


Religious harmony in Singapore

Singapore is almost as religiously diverse as the United States. While Singapore has fewer Christian denominations, many religions are represented, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. Since Singapore is so much ... read more

Shawn Campbell


Religious sensory overload

In Malaysia, the prominent religions are Buddhism and Islam. In villages and cities, several different calls to prayer sound out from the many mosques in each neighborhood. The sounds will ... read more

Anna Schwaber


Show your respect by keeping your distance

Luang Prabang is quite a religious city. Each village provides food and funding for its individual temple on a daily basis. It is perfectly acceptable and sometimes even encouraged for ... read more

Gabriel Shaya


Long skirts are required in Touba!

Any woman visiting the traditional and very religious city of Touba should note that pants are not allowed. Women must wear ankle-length skirts, and are encouraged to dress conservatively. The ... read more

Mary Slosson


Throwing rocks at pit stops

Hire a driver and head out of the city and you’ll likely make a few pit-stops along the way. Ovoos are shamanist rock cairns that are erected on mountaintops ... read more

Lindsay Myron


Explore the diverse faiths of the Andes

Catholicism is the dominant religion in Peru, but it can't compete with the diversity of the religious traditions and practices of native peoples in the Andes and rainforest. There ... read more

Courtney Ng


Walk-in church services

In the Turkish-speaking North of Cyprus, you can visit a mosque by taking off your shoes (women, they give you a headscarf) and walking in, except during prayer hours. In ... read more

Madeline Blount



If you visit a temple during a puja, be sure to take a helping of prasad, often a sweet dish or fruit that has been blessed by the local priest ... read more

Valerie Hohman


Finding my religion

You can not come to Israel without noticing the presence of large numbers of religious people, or without sensing the incredibly rich religious traditions. Judaism is of course the national ... read more

Jonathan Amerikaner


This stranger wants to know if you believe in God

Most Malawians are Christian, and many will ask about your religious convictions. I tend to answer honestly, explaining that I don’t belong to any congregation (though I try not ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

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God save the Queen

I’ve been attending Sunday morning services at the chapel at Magdalen College, where C.S. Lewis was a Fellow. Most of the colleges in Oxford and Cambridge have really ... read more

Marshall Worsham


Catholics + Muslims = Uganda

Every Sunday, whether I want to or not, I wake up at 8:00 am to the clanging of church bells from the nearby Catholic church. Most everyone I meet ... read more


Revitalizing, Diversifying

When I stopped in for a meal at the sole restaurant in the small village where I used to live, the owner would often sit at my table to chat ... read more

Andrew Cullen

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