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Portal:Religion

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Introduction

Symbols of various religions of the world.

Religion may be defined as a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, 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.

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. 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. Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs.

There are an estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide, but about 84% of the world's population is affiliated with one of the five largest religion groups, namely Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or forms of folk religion. The religiously unaffiliated demographic includes those who do not identify with any particular religion, atheists and agnostics. While the religiously unaffiliated have grown globally, many of the religiously unaffiliated still have various religious beliefs.

The study of religion encompasses a wide variety of academic disciplines, including theology, comparative religion and social scientific studies. Theories of religion offer various explanations for the origins and workings of religion, including the ontological foundations of religious being and belief.

Selected article

Seat of the Universal House of Justice in Haifa, Israel, governing body of the Bahá'ís
The Bahá'í Faith is a religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th century Persia. Bahá'ís number around 6 million in more than 200 countries around the world.

According to Bahá'í teachings, religious history is seen as an evolving educational process for mankind, through God's messengers, which are termed Manifestations of God. Bahá'u'lláh is seen as the most recent, pivotal, but not final of these individuals. He claimed to be the expected redeemer and teacher prophesied in Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions, and that his mission was to establish a firm basis for unity throughout the world, and inaugurate an age of peace and justice, which Bahá'ís expect will inevitably arise.

"Bahá'í" (/baˈhaːʔiː/) can be an adjective referring to the Bahá'í Faith, or the term for a follower of Bahá'u'lláh (Bahá'í is not a noun meaning the religion as a whole). The term comes from the Arabic word Bahá’ (بهاء), meaning "glory" or "splendor".

Selected image

Four-armed Tibetan Chenrezig form of Avalokiteśvara
Credit: ShahJahan

Avalokiteśvara or Avalokiteshvara (Sanskrit, lit. "Lord who looks down") is the bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. He is the most widely revered bodhisattva in Buddhism.

Selected religious figure or deity

Ganesha
Ganesha is one of the best-known and most-worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon; his image is found throughout India. Hindu sects worship him regardless of other affiliations. Although he is known by many attributes, Ganesha's elephant head makes him easy to identify. Ganesha is widely revered as the Remover of Obstacles and more generally as Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles, patron of arts and sciences, and the deva of intellect and wisdom. He is honoured at the start of rituals and ceremonies and invoked as Patron of Letters during writing sessions. Several texts relate mythological anecdotes associated with his birth and exploits and explain his distinct iconography. Ganesha emerged as a distinct deity in clearly-recognizable form in the 4th and 5th centuries, during the Gupta Period, although he inherited traits from Vedic and pre-Vedic precursors. His popularity rose quickly, and he was formally included among the five primary deities of Smartism (a Hindu denomination) in the 9th century. A sect of devotees called the Ganapatya, who identified Ganesha as the supreme deity, arose during this period. The principal scriptures dedicated to Ganesha are the Ganesha Purana, the Mudgala Purana, and the Ganapati Atharvashirsa. (more...)

Did you know...

  • ...that the Book of Mormon is claimed to be another Testament of Jesus Christ?
  • ...that in Shinto, the family is seen as the main mechanism by which traditions are preserved? Their main celebrations relate to birth and marriage.

News

Latest religion/spirituality Wikinews
  • November 3: Pakistan Supreme Court acquits Asia Bibi from blasphemy charges after eight years of confinement
  • July 22: Israeli Knesset passes 'Jewish nation-state' bill
  • July 21: Indian Supreme Court: unconstitutional to bar women of certain age group from entering Sabarimala temple
  • July 1: India: Kerala police registers case against bishop for allegedly raping nun more than a dozen times
  • June 29: Dutch senate votes in favour of face veil ban

On this day...

November 12:

Selected quote

The Meister Eckhart portal of the Erfurt Church
If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "Thank You", that would suffice.
More quotes...

Selected scripture

Book of Mormon 1830 edition reprint
The Book of Mormon (originally, The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi) is one of the sacred texts of the Latter Day Saint movement, named after the prophet/historian Mormon, who according to the text compiled most of the book. It was published by the founder of the movement, Joseph Smith, Jr., in March 1830 in Palmyra, New York, USA. The purpose of the Book of Mormon, as stated on its title page, "is to show the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord has done for their fathers" and to convince "Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself to all nations."

Joseph Smith, Jr. said the book was a translation of Golden Plates. He related that he was shown the location of the plates by an angel at the Hill Cumorah, a hill near his home. Smith had no knowledge of ancient languages, but he said he received the translation through the power of God, with aid of the Urim and Thummim, which he said were with the plates. During the production of the work (which Mormons regard as a translation), Smith obtained the affidavits of Three Witnesses and Eight Witnesses who testified they saw the plates. These affidavits are published as part of the Book of Mormon. When the book was complete, he said he returned the plates to the angel Moroni.

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