While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, who defined 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, etc
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 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.
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.
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 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.
The history of religion refers to the written record of human religious feelings, thoughts, and ideas. This period of religious history begins with the invention of writing about 5,220 years ago. The prehistory of religion involves the study of religious beliefs that existed prior to the advent of written records. One can also study comparative religious chronology through a timeline of religion. Writing played a major role in standardizing religious texts regardless of time or location, and making easier the memorization of prayers and divine rules. A small part of the Bible involves the collation of oral texts handed down over the centuries.
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 in the fourth century by early Christians for people in the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism. This was 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 for the same group 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.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to religion:
Magical thinking in various forms is a cultural universal and an important aspect of religion. Magic is prevalent in all societies, regardless of whether they have organized religion or more general systems of animism or shamanism. Religion and magic became conceptually separated with the development of western monotheism, where the distinction arose between supernatural events sanctioned by mainstream religious doctrine (miracles) and magic rooted in folk belief or occult speculation. In pre-monotheistic religious traditions, there is no fundamental distinction between religious practice and magic; tutelary deities concerned with magic are sometimes called hermetic deities or spirit guides.
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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In religious studies, an ethnic religion is a religion or belief associated with a particular ethnic group. Ethnic religions are often distinguished from universal religions, such as Christianity or Islam, which are not limited in ethnic, national or racial scope.
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'.
Religion in Russia is diverse with Christianity, especially Russian Orthodoxy being the most widely professed faith, but with significant minorities of non-religious people and adherents of other faiths. A 1997 law on religion recognises the right to freedom of conscience and creed to all the citizenry, the spiritual contribution of Orthodox Christianity to the history of Russia, and respect to "Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and other religions and creeds which constitute an inseparable part of the historical heritage of Russia's peoples", including ethnic religions or Paganism, either preserved or revived. According to the law, any religious organisation may be recognised as "traditional" if it was already in existence before 1982, and each newly founded religious group has to provide its credentials and re-register yearly for fifteen years, and, in the meantime until eventual recognition, stay without rights.
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 Bahá'í Faith. There are also organisations promoting irreligion, including humanism and atheism.
A holy city is a city important to the history or faith of a specific religion. Such cities may also contain at least one headquarters complex which constitutes a major destination of human traffic, or pilgrimage to the city, especially for major ceremonies and observances. A holy city is a symbolic city, representing attributes beyond its natural characteristics. Marketing experts have suggested that holy cities may be the oldest brands, and more specifically, place brands because they have value added via the perception of religious adherents.
Italy, Spain, and Portugal are traditionally Roman Catholic and according to the 2005 Eurobarometer Poll retain an above-average belief in God. France is traditionally Roman Catholic as well and has an above-average fraction of atheists. Romania and Moldova are Eastern Orthodox countries and both are very religious.
Neopaganism in Hungary is very diverse, with followers of the Hungarian Native Faith and of other religions, including Wiccans, Kemetics, Mithraics, Druids and Christopagans.
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.
Religious texts are texts related to a religious tradition. They differ from literary texts by being a compilation or discussion of beliefs, mythologies, ritual practices, commandments or laws, ethical conduct, spiritual aspirations, and for creating or fostering a religious community. The relative authority of religious texts develops over time and is derived from the ratification, enforcement, and its use across generations. Some religious texts are accepted or categorized as canonical, some non-canonical, and others extracanonical, semi-canonical, deutero-canonical, pre-canonical or post-canonical.
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.
Religious syncretism exhibits blending of two or more religious belief systems into a new system, or the incorporation into a religious tradition of beliefs from unrelated traditions. It is contrasted by the idea of multiple religious belonging and polytheism, respectively.
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