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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 religions, 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.

Selected article

In Tibet, many Buddhists carve mantras into rocks as a form of devotion.
A mantra (Devanagari मन्त्र) is a religious or mystical syllable or poem, typically from the Sanskrit language. The Sanskrit word mantra- (m. मन्त्रः, also n. मन्त्रं) consists of the root man- "to think" (also in manas "mind") and the suffix -tra meaning, tool, hence a literal translation would be "instrument of thought". The Chinese translation is zhenyan 眞言, 真言, literally "true words", the Japanese on'yomi reading of the Chinese being shingon.

Their use varies according to the school and philosophy associated with the mantra. They are primarily used as spiritual conduits, words or vibrations that instill one-pointed concentration in the devotee. Other purposes have included religious ceremonies to accumulate wealth, avoid danger, or eliminate enemies. Mantras originated in the Vedic religion of India, later becoming an essential part of the Hindu tradition and a customary practice within Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. The use of mantras is now widespread throughout various spiritual movements which are based on, or off-shoots of, the practices in the earlier Eastern religions.

Mantras are interpreted to be effective as sound (vibration), to the effect that great emphasis is put on correct pronunciation (resulting in an early development of a science of phonetics in India). They are intended to deliver the mind from illusion and material inclinations. Chanting is the process of repeating a mantra.

Selected image

Abbey of Senanque, located in France, Provence, Vaucluse, Gordes village.
Credit: Greudin

The Cistercian Abbey of Senanque, home of a Roman Catholic order of enclosed monks looking to cultivate a monastic community in which they could carry out their lives in stricter observance of The Rules of Saint Benedict.

Selected religious figure or deity

Mausoleum of Rumi
Mawlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī was a 13th century Persian poet, jurist, and theologian. His name literally means "Majesty of Religion", Jalal means "majesty" and Din means "religion".

Rumi's importance is considered to transcend national and ethnic borders. Throughout the centuries he has had a significant influence on Persian as well as Urdu and Turkish literatures. His poems are widely read in the Persian speaking countries of Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan and have been widely translated into many of the world's languages in various formats.

After Rumi's death, his followers founded the Mevlevi Order, better known as the "Whirling Dervishes", who believe in performing their worship in the form of dance and music ceremony called the sema.

Did you know...

  • ...that more than ten of the prophesies in Arul Nool had been fulfilled in the world?
  • ...that cosmology is the study of the universe in its totality and by extension humanity's place in it?

News

Latest religion/spirituality Wikinews
  • 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
  • June 11: India: Jodhpur police arrests man for 'sacrifice' of four-year-old daughter for Allah

On this day...

August 22:

Selected quote

Book of Mormon
1 I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.

2Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.
3And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.

Book of Mormon, First Book of Nephi Chapter 1:1-3
More quotes...

Selected scripture

Bahai star
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is the central book of the Bahá'í Faith, written by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion. The work was written in Arabic under the Arabic title al-Kitáb al-Aqdas (Arabic: الكتاب الاقدس‎), but it is commonly referred to by its Persian title, Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Persian: كتاب اقدس‎), which was given to the work by Bahá'u'lláh himself. It is sometimes also referred to as "the Aqdas", "the Most Holy Book", "the Book of Laws" and occasionally "the Book of Aqdas".

It is usually stated that the book was completed around 1873, although there is evidence to suggest that at least some of the work was written earlier. Bahá'u'lláh had manuscript copies sent to Bahá'ís in Iran some years after the revelation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, and in the year 1308 A.H. (1890-91 A.D.), he arranged for the publication of the original Arabic text of the book in Bombay.

The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is referred to as "the Mother-Book" of the Bahá'í teachings, and the "Charter of the future world civilization" (God Passes By, p. 213). It is not, however, only a ‘book of laws’, much of the content deals with other matters, notably ethical exhortations and addresses to various individuals, groups, and places. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas also discusses the establishment of Bahá'í administrative institutions, Bahá'í religious practices, laws of personal status, criminal law, ethical exhortations, social principles, miscellaneous laws and abrogations, and prophecies.

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