is the adherence to codified beliefs
that generally involve a faith
in a spiritual nature
and a study of inherited ancestral traditions
related to understanding human life
. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to faith as well as to the larger shared systems of belief.
In the larger sense, religion is a communal system for the coherence of belief—typically focused on a system of thought, unseen being, person, or object, that is considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine, or of the highest truth. Moral codes, practices, values, institutions, traditions, and rituals are often traditionally associated with the core belief, and these may have some overlap with concepts in secular philosophy. Religion can also be described as a way of life.
The development of religion has taken many forms in various cultures. "Organized religion" generally refers to an organization of people supporting the exercise of some religion with a prescribed set of beliefs, often taking the form of a legal entity (see religion-supporting organization). Other religions believe in personal revelation and responsibility. "Religion" is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system," but is more socially defined than that of personal convictions.
According to Abrahamic tradition
, Noah's Ark
was a vessel
built at God
's command to save Noah
, his family, and a core stock of the world's animals
from the Great Flood
. The story is contained in the Hebrew Bible
, Christian Old Testament
's Book of Genesis
, chapters 6 to 9 and in the Quran
According to the documentary hypothesis, the Ark story told in Genesis may represent several originally quasi-independent sources, and the process of composition over many centuries may help to explain apparent confusion and repetition in the text. Many Orthodox Jews and Christians reject this hypothesis, holding that the Ark story is true, that it has a single author, and that any perceived inadequacies can be explained rationally.
The Ark story told in Genesis has parallels in the Sumerian myth of Ziusudra, which tells how Ziusudra was warned by the gods to build a vessel in which to escape a flood which would destroy mankind. Less exact parallels are found in other cultures from around the world. Indeed, the deluge story is one of the most common folk stories throughout the world.
Selected religious figure or deity
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
- ...that Islam is the fastest growing religion worldwide?
- ...that the Ugaritic Yam is in many ways the mythic predecessor to the Abrahamic Satan?
Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches
is an 1899 book by Charles Godfrey Leland
. The book is an attempt to portray the beliefs and rituals
of an underground religious witchcraft
tradition in Tuscany
that had survived for centuries until Leland's claimed discovery of its existence in the 1890s. Scholars have disputed the veracity of this claim. Still, the book has become one of the foundational texts of Wicca
The text is a composite. Some of it is Leland's translation into English of an original Italian manuscript, the Vangelo (gospel). Leland reported receiving the manuscript from his primary informant on Italian witchcraft beliefs, a woman Leland called "Maddalena". The rest of the material comes from Leland's research on Italian folklore and traditions, including other related material from Maddalena. Leland had been informed of the Vangelo's existence in 1886, but it took Maddalena eleven years to provide him with a copy. After translating and editing the material, it took another two years for the book to be published. Its fifteen chapters portray the origins, beliefs, rituals and spells of an Italian pagan witchcraft tradition. The central figure of that religion is the goddess Aradia who came to Earth to teach the practice of witchcraft to oppressed peasants in order for them to oppose their feudal oppressors and the Christian church.