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Why ISIS Declared a Caliphate, World Religions 101: Christianity, and More
September 11, 2014
Summary: Why declaring a caliphate is a savvy propaganda move for the so-called Islamic State, and master explainer Stephen Prothero defines Christianity.
Kelson | Wikimedia Commons
ISIS' Caliphate Fantasy September 11, 2014
In the history of Islam, caliphates have existed in many forms--most of them very different from the one proclaimed by the so-called "Islamic State." The first caliphates were ruled by disciples of the prophet Muhammad and were supposed to be created by a consensus of Muslims. But the mighty empires of the next 1400 years bore little resemblance to the Islamic State. Two writers say ISIS's interpretation of Islamic law would be deeply unattractive to most caliphs of history.

Pictured: An artistic depiction of the first five caliphs of Islam. 

Reza Aslan, author of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Graeme Wood, author of the New Republic article What ISIS' Leader Really Wants
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World Religions 101: Christianity September 11, 2014
You might think you already know what Stephen Prothero is going to say in the fourth part of our series on the world's major religions. But if you think you know the most popular religion in the United States, think again. He says Christianity is always changing, a "dizzying diversity" of interpretations and practices.

Listen to our full interview.

Stephen Prothero, author of God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World and Why Their Differences Matter