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Portal:Religion

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Introduction

Symbols of various religions of the world.
Tree classification of religions around the world based on geography and doctrine.

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

Aum
Hinduism (Sanskrit: Sanātana Dharma सनातन धर्म "eternal law") is a religion that originated on the Indian subcontinent. With its foundations in the Vedic civilization, it has no known founder, being itself a conglomerate of diverse beliefs and traditions. It is considered the world's "oldest extant religion," and has approximately a billion adherents, of whom about 890 million live in India, placing it as the world's third largest religion after Christianity and Islam. Other countries with large Hindu populations include Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Hinduism provides a vast body of scriptures. Divided as revealed and remembered, and developed over millennia, these scriptures expound an equally vast range of theology, philosophy, and myth, providing spiritual insights along with guidance on the practice of dharma (religious living). Among such texts, Hindus revere the Vedas along with the Upanishads as being among the foremost in authority, importance, and antiquity. Other important scriptures include the Tantras and sectarian Agamas, Purāṇas and the epics: the Mahābhārata and the Rāmāyaṇa. A deeply profound conversation excerpted from the Mahābhārata, called the Bhagavad Gītā is widely studied for summarizing the spiritual teachings of the Vedas.

Selected image

The Palliyarai of Swamithope pathi.
Credit: Paul Raj

The Palliyarai contains two oil lamps (kuthuvilakku), an elunetru, and a large mirror. On a raised pedestal, covered with kavi cloth, the temple also preserves some articles believed to have been used by Ayya Vaikundar, including a rattan cane (perampu) and a pair of wooden sandals.

Selected religious figure or deity

Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh
Mírzá Husayn-`Alí (Persian: میرزا حسینعلی‎) (b: 1817 - d: 1892), who later took the title of Bahá'u'lláh (Arabic: بهاءالله‎ "Glory of God") was the founder-prophet of the Bahá'í Faith.

He claimed to fulfill the Bábí prophecy of "He whom God shall make manifest", but in a broader sense he also claimed to be the "supreme Manifestation of God" referring to the fulfillment of the eschatological expectations of a prophetic cycle beginning with Adam, and including Abrahamic religions, as well as Zoroastrianism, the great Dharmic religions, and others. Bahá'ís see Bahá'u'lláh as the initiator of a new religion, as Jesus or Muhammad — but also the initiator of a new cycle, like that attributed to Adam.

During his lifetime, Bahá'u'lláh left a large volume of writings. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, and the Book of Certitude are recognized as primary Bahá'í theological works, and the Hidden Words and the Seven Valleys as primary mystical treatises.

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Tetragrammaton scripts.svg

On this day...

October 22:
  • 4004 BCE - The day the universe was created according to British Archbishop James Ussher after using the Bible's chronology to calculate the date.

Selected quote

the Chinese character dao (tao) in Taoism
The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao;

The name that can be named is not the eternal name.

Selected scripture

Bagua with name and nature
The I Ching (also spelled Yi Jing, Yijing, or Yi King ; also called "Book of Changes" or "Classic of Changes") is the oldest of the Chinese classic texts. A symbol system designed to identify order in what seem like chance events, it describes an ancient system of cosmology and philosophy that is at the heart of Chinese cultural beliefs. The philosophy centers on the ideas of the dynamic balance of opposites, the evolution of events as a process, and acceptance of the inevitability of change (see Philosophy, below). In Western cultures, the I Ching is regarded by some as simply a system of divination; many believe it expresses the wisdom and philosophy of ancient China.

The book consists of a series of symbols, rules for manipulating these symbols, poems, and commentary.

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