While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion used in religious studies courses defines it as a
[…] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.
A critique of Indian model by Tulsidas categorized religion as "an anthropological category."Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws, or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions, churches, denominations, religious bodies, faith groups, tribes, cultures, movements, ultimate concerns, which at some point in the future will be countless.
The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system", but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviours, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural) or religious texts. Certain religions also have a sacred language often used in liturgical services. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, rituals, rites, ceremonies, worship, initiations, funerals, marriages, meditation, invocation, mediumship, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and supernatural experiences.
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.One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus believes that religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.oki
Religions that originated in East Asia, also known as Taoic religions; namely Taoism, Confucianism, Shenism and Shintoism, and religions and traditions related to, and descended from them.
The four main religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism, and religions and traditions related to, and descended from them.
Religions that originated in the Middle East; namely Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and religions and traditions related to, and descended from them.
Certain Christian groups are difficult to classify as "Eastern" or "Western." Many Gnostic groups were closely related to early Christianity, for example, Valentinism. Irenaeus wrote polemics against them from the standpoint of the then-unified Catholic Church.
Religions that consist of the traditional customs and beliefs of particular ethnic groups, refined and expanded upon for thousands of years, often lacking formal doctrine.
Note: Some adherents do not consider their ways to be "religion," preferring other cultural terms.
Religions that cannot be classed as either world religions nor traditional folk religions, and are usually recent in their inception.
Feminist theology is a movement found in several religions, including Sanatan Dharma, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and New Thought, to reconsider the traditions, practices, scriptures, and theologies of those religions from a feminist perspective. Some of the goals of feminist theology include increasing the role of women among the clergy and religious authorities, reinterpreting male-dominated imagery and language about God, determining women's place in relation to career and motherhood, and studying images of women in the religion's sacred texts and matriarchal religion.
Modern Paganism, also known as Contemporary Paganism and Neopaganism, is a collective term for new religious movements influenced by or derived from the various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern peoples. Although they share similarities, contemporary Pagan religious movements are diverse, and do not share a single set of beliefs, practices, or texts. Most academics who study the phenomenon treat it as a movement that is divided into different religions; others characterize it as a single religion of which different Pagan faiths are denominations.
Paganism is a term first used pejoratively in the fourth century by early Christians for people in the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism. In the time of the Roman empire, individuals fell into the pagan class either because they were increasingly rural and provincial relative to the Christian population, or because they were not milites Christi. Alternate terms in Christian texts were hellene, gentile, and heathen. Ritual sacrifice was an integral part of ancient Graeco-Roman religion and was regarded as an indication of whether a person was pagan or Christian. Paganism has broadly connoted the "religion of the peasantry".
Religion is a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.
Religion and mythology differ in scope but have overlapping aspects. Both terms refer to systems of concepts that are of high importance to a certain community, making statements concerning the supernatural or sacred. Generally, mythology is considered one component or aspect of religion. Religion is the broader term: besides mythological aspects, it includes aspects of ritual, morality, theology, and mystical experience. A given mythology is almost always associated with a certain religion such as Greek mythology with Ancient Greek religion. Disconnected from its religious system, a myth may lose its immediate relevance to the community and evolve—away from sacred importance—into a legend or folktale.
Comparative religion is the branch of the study of religions concerned with the systematic comparison of the doctrines and practices, themes and impacts of the world's religions. In general the comparative study of religion yields a deeper understanding of the fundamental philosophical concerns of religion such as ethics, metaphysics and the nature and forms of salvation. Studying such material facilitates a broadened and more sophisticated understanding of human beliefs and practices regarding the sacred, numinous, spiritual and divine.
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Proselytism is the act or fact of religious conversion, and it also includes actions which invite such conversions. The English-language word proselytize derives from the Greek language prefix προσ- and the verb ἔρχομαι in the form of προσήλυτος. Historically, in the Koine Greek Septuagint and New Testament, the word proselyte denoted a Gentile who was considering conversion to Judaism. Though the word proselytism originally referred to converting to Judaism, it now implies an attempt of any religion or religious individuals to convert people to their beliefs.
Orthodoxy is adherence to correct or accepted creeds, especially in religion.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to spirituality:
Religion in the United States is diverse, with Christianity and specifically Protestantism being the majority religion, although declining at rapid pace. Various religious faiths have flourished within the United States. Just over 40% of Americans report that religion plays a very important role in their lives, a proportion unique among developed countries. Freedom of religion in the United States is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
In the study of religion, orthopraxy is correct conduct, both ethical and liturgical, as opposed to faith or grace. Orthopraxy is in contrast with orthodoxy, which emphasizes correct belief, and ritualism, the practice of rituals. The word is a neoclassical compound—ὀρθοπραξία (orthopraxia) meaning 'right practice'.
The Church of England is the established state church in England, whose supreme governor is the monarch. Other Christian traditions in England include Roman Catholicism, Methodism and the Baptists. After Christianity, the religions with the most adherents are Hinduism, Sikhism, Neopaganism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and the Baháʼí Faith. There are also organisations promoting irreligion, including humanism and atheism.
Historically, religion in Hungary has been dominated by forms of Christianity since the State's founding in the 11th century. Contemporary Hungary has no official religion. While the constitution "recognizes Christianity's nation-building role", freedom of religion is declared a fundamental right.
Christianity is the predominant religion in Slovakia. The majority (62%) of Slovaks belong to the Latin Church of Catholicism; with the addition of a further 4% of Greek (Byzantine) Catholics, all Catholics account for 66%. Members of a Protestant denomination, mainly Lutheran or Reformed, account for 9%. Members of other churches, including those non-registered, account for 1.1% of the population. The Eastern Orthodox Christians are mostly found in Ruthenian (Rusyns) areas. The Roman Catholic Church divides the country into 8 dioceses including 3 archdioceses in two different provinces. The Slovak Greek Catholic Church is a Metropolitan sui iuris Church with three Eparchies in Slovakia and one in Canada. Generally about one third of church members regularly attend church services.
Postmodern religion is any type of religion that is influenced by postmodernism and postmodern philosophies. Examples of religions that may be interpreted using postmodern philosophy include Postmodern Christianity, Postmodern Neopaganism, and Postmodern Buddhism. Postmodern religion is not an attempt to banish religion from the public sphere; rather, it is a philosophical approach to religion that critically considers orthodox assumptions. Postmodern religious systems of thought view realities as plural, subjective, and dependent on the individual's worldview. Postmodern interpretations of religion acknowledge and value a multiplicity of diverse interpretations of truth, being, and ways of seeing. There is a rejection of sharp distinctions and global or dominant metanarratives in postmodern religion, and this reflects one of the core principles of postmodern philosophy. A postmodern interpretation of religion emphasises the key point that religious truth is highly individualistic, subjective, and resides within the individual.
Hindu denominations are traditions within Hinduism centered on one or more gods or goddesses, such as Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti and Brahma. Sometimes the term is used for sampradayas led by a particular guru with a particular philosophy.
Religious syncretism exhibits the blending of two or more religious belief systems into a new system, or the incorporation of beliefs from unrelated traditions into a religious tradition. It is contrasted by the idea of multiple religious belonging and polytheism, respectively.
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