Religion

Religion is a set of common beliefs and practices pertaining to the supernatural (and its relationship to humanity and the cosmos), which are often codified into prayer, ritual, scriptures, and religious law. These beliefs and practices are typically defined in light of a shared canonical vocabulary of venerable traditions, writings, history, and mythology.

 

Religion is a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.

 

As religious traditions are often deeply embedded into specific cultural contexts, these traditions often contain moral codes that outline the relationships that a believer is expected to cultivate with respect to themselves, other believers, outsiders, and the supernatural world. Finally, a common element of many religious traditions is the division of the world in two comprehensive domains, one sacred, the other profane. In this context, religious thought and practice are aimed at delineating and reifying these two disparate realms through personal effort and/or communal ritual.

 

Articles about Religion

Religions

Religions have sacred histories and narratives, which may be preserved in sacred scriptures, and symbols and holy places, that aim mostly to give a meaning to life. Religions may contain symbolic stories, which are sometimes said by followers to be true, that have the side purpose of explaining the origin of life, the universe, and other things.

The world’s principal religions and spiritual traditions may be classified into a small number of major groups, although this is by no means a uniform practice. This theory began in the 18th century with the goal of recognizing the relative levels of civility in societies.

There are different ways of categorization of world religions.

 Relatively crude geographical schemes that distinguish Western Religions from Eastern Religions are quite common.

 Religions can be categorized by how many deities they worship. Monotheistic religions accept only one deity (predominantly referred to as God), polytheistic religions accept multiple deities. Henotheistic religions accept one supreme deity without denying other deities, considering them as aspects of the same divine principle; and nontheistic religions deny any supreme eternal creator deity but accept a pantheon of deities which live, die and may be reborn like any other being.

 Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths.

 Religious traditions fall into super-groups in comparative religion, arranged by historical origin and mutual influence.

  1. Middle Eastern religions originated in the Middle East; namely Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and Iranic religions (Zoroastrianism, Yazdanism and historical traditions of Gnosticism, Mandaeism, Manichaeism). religions and traditions related to, and descended from them (Bábísm and the Bahá’í Faith).
  2. Indian religions originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely HinduismJainism, Buddhism and Sikhism, and religions and traditions related to, and descended from them. Also called Dharmic religions that have idea of Dharma.
  3. East Asian religions originated in East Asia, also known as Taoic religions; namely Taoism, ConfucianismChinese folk religion, Shintoism, Cheondoism, Caodaism, and East Asian Buddhism, and religions and traditions related to, and descended from them.
  4. Indigenous tribal religions, formerly found on every continent, but now marginalized by the major organized faiths. Despite this, they often persist as undercurrents of Ethnic religionFolk religionPaganism, AnimismTotemism, and Shamanism. This category includes African traditional religions, African diasporic religions, Asian Shamanism, Native American religions, Mesoamerican Religion, Aztec Religion, Inuit Religion, Austronesian and Australian Aboriginal traditions and arguably Chinese folk religion (overlaps with Far Eastern religions).
  5. New religious movements, a heterogeneous group of religious faiths emerging since the nineteenth century, often syncretizing, re-interpreting or reviving aspects of older traditions (Wicca, New Age, Neopaganism, Hellenism, Hindu derived religions, Entheogenic religions, transcendentalism, polytheistic reconstructionism, and Satanism), some inspired by science-fiction (UFO religions, Scientology, Cult). Irreligion and New Thought.
  6. Historical religions of the ancient world shared many of the same patterns with each other even though the cultures may never have had any contact with each other. Such as Prehistoric religionAncient Egyptian ReligionAncient Mesopotamian religion, Brahmanism, Religion in pre-Islamic ArabiaInca mythology, ancient Greece and Rome and their Hellenistic descendants.

Atheism refers in its broadest sense to a denial of theism (the belief in the existence of a single deity or deities). Atheism has many shades and types. Some atheists strongly deny the existence of God (or any form of deity) and attack theistic claims.

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List of New religious Movements

List of New religious Movements A new religious movement (NRM) is a religious, ethical, or spiritual group or community with practices of relatively modern origins. NRMs may be novel in origin or they may exist on the fringes of a wider religion, in which case they will be distinct from pre-existing denominations. Academics identify...

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New Religious Movements: An Overview

New Religious Movements: An Overview Scholars adopted the term new religious movements (NRMs) in order to avoid the pejorative connotations of the popularly used term cult. Although the word cult originally referred to an organized system of worship (and is still used in that sense by scholars in several disciplines), cult began to take on negative connotations...

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Academic Study of New religious Movements

Academic Study of New religious Movements The academic study of new religious movements is known as new religions studies (NRS). The study draws from the disciplines of anthropology, psychiatry, history, psychology, sociology, religious studies, and theology. Eileen Barker noted that there are five sources of information on new religious movements (NRMs): the information provided by such groups themselves, that provided by...

Votive Celtic wheels thought to correspond to the cult of Taranis. Thousands of such wheels have been found in sanctuaries in Gallia Belgica, dating from 50 BCE to 50 CE. National Archaeological Museum, France

Celtic Mythology

Celtic Mythology Celtic mythology is the mythology of Celtic polytheism, the religion of the Iron Age Celts. Like other Iron Age Europeans, the early Celts maintained a polytheistic mythology and religious structure. For Celts in close contact with Ancient Rome, such as the Gauls and Celtiberians, their mythology did not survive the Roman Empire, their...

A painting with complex iconography: Hans Memling's so-called Seven Joys of the Virgin – in fact this is a later title for a Life of the Virgin cycle on a single panel. Altogether 25 scenes, not all involving the Virgin, are depicted. 1480, Alte Pinakothek, Munich.

Iconography

Iconography Iconography, as a branch of art history, studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images: the subjects depicted, the particular compositions and details used to do so, and other elements that are distinct from artistic style. The word iconography comes from the Greek εἰκών (“image”) and γράφειν (“to write” or to draw). A secondary...

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Vietnamese Folk Religion

Vietnamese Folk Religion Vietnamese folk religion or Vietnamese indigenous religion (tín ngưỡng dân gian Việt Nam, is the ethnic religion of the Vietnamese people. About 45.3% of the population in Vietnam are associated with this religion, making it dominant in Vietnam. Vietnamese folk religion is not an organized religious system, but a set of local...

Typical layout of Dravidian architecture which evolved from koyil as kings residence.

Dravidian Folk Religion

Dravidian Folk Religion The early Dravidian religion refers to a broad range of belief systems which existed in South Asia before the arrival of Indo-Aryans. Scholars do not share a uniform consensus on early Dravidian religion but many scholars associated it with Neolithic societies of South Asia which was later assimilated into...

Separation of Church and State

Separation of Church and State

Separation of Church and State The separation of church and state is a philosophic and jurisprudential concept for defining political distance in the relationship between religious organizations and the state. Conceptually, the term refers to the creation of a secular state (with or without legally explicit church–state separation) and to disestablishment,...

A wallpainting in a Laotian temple, depicting the Bodhisattva Gautama (Buddha-to-be) undertaking extreme ascetic practices before his enlightenment. A god is overseeing his striving, and providing some spiritual protection.

Buddhist Mythology

Buddhist Mythology Buddhist mythology is centered around the life of the Buddha. This is told in relatively realistic terms in the earliest texts, and was soon elaborated into a complex literary mythology. The chief motif of this story, and the most distinctive feature of Buddhist myth, is the Buddha’s renunciation: leaving his home...

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Sectarianism

Sectarianism Sectarianism is a form of prejudice, discrimination, or hatred arising from attaching relations of inferiority and superiority to differences between subdivisions within a group. Common examples are denominations of a religion, ethnic identity, class, or region for citizens of a state and factions of a political movement. The ideological underpinnings of attitudes and behaviours labelled as sectarian...

Bathing the dieties - 'Abhisheka' at Krishna Janmashtami

Abhisheka

Abhisheka Abhiṣeka or abhisheka in Sanskrit means “bathing of the divinity to whom worship is offered.” It is a religious rite or method of prayer in which a devotee pours a liquid offering on an image or murti of a God or Goddess. Abhiṣeka is common to Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Hinduism An abhiṣeka...

Kesi Ghat in vrindavan in the Yamuna River.

Yatra

Yatra Yatra (Yātrā, यात्रा, ‘journey’, ‘procession’), in Hinduism and other Indian religions, generally means a pilgrimage to holy places such as confluences of sacred rivers, places associated with Hindu epics such as the Mahabharata and Ramayana, and other sacred pilgrimage sites. Tīrtha-yātrā refers to a pilgrimage to a holy site and is generally undertaken in...

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Tirtha in Hinduism

Tirtha in Hinduism Tirtha (तीर्थ, Tīrtha) is a Sanskrit word that means “crossing place, ford”, and refers to any place, text or person that is holy. It particularly refers to pilgrimage sites and holy places in Hinduism as well as Jainism. The process or journey associated with Tirtha is called Tirtha-yatra, while alternate terms such as Kshetra, Gopitha and...

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Aarti

Aarti Aarti also spelled arti, arati, arathi, aarati, aarthi, aarthy, arthy (आरती ārtī) is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light (usually from a flame) is offered to one or more deities. Aarati(s) also refers to the songs sung in praise of the deity, when the light is being offered. Origin Aarati is derived from the...

Satguru Bodhinatha gives samaya diksha, initiation into the sacred Aum Nama Sivaya mantra, to a devotee at Tirunnavamalai in 2008.

Diksha

Diksha Diksha (दीक्ष, dīkṣā) also spelled deeksha or deeksa in common usage, translated as a “preparation or consecration for a religious ceremony”, is giving of a mantra or an initiation by the guru (in Guru–shishya tradition) of Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Diksa is given in a one-to-one ceremony, and typically includes the taking on...

Left: 19th century roundel of four-headed Brahma as a red-complexioned aged man, holding manuscript (Vedas), a ladle and a lotus; Right: 6th century Brahma in Badami cave temples holding a writing equipment, ladle, and mala.

Sanātanī

Sanātanī Sanātanī (सनातनी) is a term used to describe Hindu movements that includes the ideas from the Vedas and the Upanishads while also incorporating the teachings of sacred hindu texts such as Ramayana and Bhagavad Gita which itself is often being described as a concise guide to Hindu philosophy and a practical, self-contained guide to life. Sanatana Dharma denotes duties...

the Varna system

Varna in Hinduism

Varna in Hinduism Varṇa (वर्ण, varṇa), a Sanskrit word with several meanings including type, order, colour or class, was used to refer to social classes in Hindu texts like the Manusmriti. These and other Hindu texts classified the society in principle into four varnas:  Brahmins: priests, scholars and teachers. Kshatriyas: rulers,...

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Artha

Artha Artha (अर्थ) is one of the four aims of human life in Indian philosophy. The word artha literally translates as “meaning, sense, goal, purpose or essence” depending on the context. Artha is also a broader concept in the scriptures of Hinduism. As a concept, it has multiple meanings, all of...

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Purusartha

Purusartha Puruṣārtha (Purusartha or पुरुषार्थ) literally means an “object of human pursuit”. It is a key concept in Hinduism, and refers to the four proper goals or aims of a human life. The four puruṣārthas are Dharma (righteousness, moral values), Artha (prosperity, economic values), Kama (pleasure, love, psychological values) and Moksha (liberation, spiritual values). All four Purusarthas are important, but in cases...

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Mitahara

Mitahara Mitahara (मिताहार, Mitāhāra) literally means the habit of moderate food. Mitahara is also a concept in Indian philosophy, particularly Yoga, that integrates awareness about food, drink, balanced diet and consumption habits and its effect on one’s body and mind. It is one of the ten yamas in ancient Indian texts. Definition...

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