What is 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.
Different religions may or may not contain various elements ranging from the divine, sacred things, faith, a supernatural being or supernatural beings or “some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life”. Religious practices may include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration (of deities), sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture.
Theology is the critical study of the nature of the divine. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries.
Science and religion are complex social and cultural endeavors that vary across cultures and have changed over time. Most scientific and technical innovations prior to the scientific revolution were achieved by societies organized by religious traditions.
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.
♥ 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.
The East Asian religions or Taoic religions form a subset of the Eastern religions. This group includes Chinese religion overall, which further includes ancestral worship, Chinese folk religion, Confucianism, Taoism and so-called popular salvationist organisations, as well as elements drawn from Mahayana Buddhism that form the core of Chinese Buddhism and East Asian Buddhism at large. The group also includes Japanese Shintoism and Korean Sindoism, which have received influences from Chinese religions throughout the centuries.
Indian religions, sometimes also termed as Dharmic faiths or Dharmic religions (Dharma), are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduism (2 schools Vedanta and Yoga, and 7 denominations Ayyavazhi, Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, Smartism, and Śrauta), Jainism (Digambara, Śvētāmbara), Buddhism (Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana) and Sikhism. These religions are also all classified as Eastern religions.
New Buddhist movements
Global variants of Buddhism
Nāstik (Heterodox Indian)
Middle Eastern religions originated in the Middle East; namely Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and Iranian religions (Zoroastrianism, Yazdanism and historical traditions of Gnosticism, Mandaeism, Manichaeism). See also: Western Religions
Indigenous Religions or Nature Religion that consist of the traditional customs and beliefs (Paganism, Animism, Totemism, Shamanism) of particular ethnic groups, refined and expanded upon for thousands of years, often lacking formal doctrine.
Traditional African religions
New religious movements, a heterogeneous group of religious faiths emerging since the nineteenth century, often syncretizing, re-interpreting or reviving aspects of older traditions such as Western esotericism, Modern Paganism, Hindu derived religions, New ethnic religions, Entheogenic religions, New Thought, some inspired by science-fiction (UFO religions, Scientology), Political Religions, and Parody religions.
New ethnic religions
Post-theistic and naturalistic religions
New Hindu derived religions
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 religion, Ancient Egyptian Religion, Ancient Mesopotamian Religion, Brahmanism, Religion in pre-Islamic Arabia, Inca mythology, ancient Greece and Rome and their Hellenistic descendants.
Main article: Religions of The Ancient Near East
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.
General atheism concepts
What type of thing is atheism?
Types of atheism
History of atheism
Persons influential in atheism
FAQ on Atheism