Portal:Religion

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The Religion Portal

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Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual nature and a study of inherited ancestral traditions, knowledge and wisdom 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.

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Rasta, or the Rastafari movement, is a religion and philosophy that accepts Haile Selassie I, the former (and last) emperor of Ethiopia, as Jah (the Rasta name for God incarnate, from a shortened form of Jehovah found in Psalms 68:4 in the King James Version of the Bible), and part of the Holy Trinity as the messiah promised in the Bible to return. The name Rastafari comes from Ras (Duke or Chief) Tafari Makonnen, the pre-coronation name of Haile Selassie I.

The movement emerged in Jamaica among working-class and peasant black people in the early 1930s, arising from an interpretation of Biblical prophecy partly based on Selassie's status as the only African monarch of a fully independent state, and his titles of King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and Conquering Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5). Other factors leading to its rise include the sacred use of marijuana, and various Afrocentric social and political aspirations, such as the teachings of Jamaican publicist and organiser Marcus Garvey (also often regarded as a prophet), whose political and cultural vision helped inspire a new world view. The movement is called Rastafarianism by some non-Rastas although some Rastas themselves regard that term as improper and offensive.

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A Bharatanatyam dancer
Credit: Anitaa

Bharatanatyam is a classical dance form originating from Tamil Nadu, a state in Southern India. This popular Tamil dance form is a gentrified version of Cathir, the art of temple dancers.

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"Muhammad" in Arabic calligraphy.
Muhammad (Arabic محمد muḥammad; also Mohammed, Mohamet, and other variants), (570-632 CE), was an Arab religious, political, and military leader who established Islam and the Muslim community (Ummah, Arabic: أمة). He united the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula into a federation of allied tribes with its capital at Medina.

For the last 23 years of his life, beginning at the age of forty (around 610), Muhammad claimed that he was receiving revelations from God delivered through the angel Gabriel. The content of these revelations, known as the Qur'an, was memorized and recorded by his followers and compiled into a single volume shortly after his death. The Qur'an, along with the details of Muhammad’s life as recounted by his biographers and his contemporaries, forms the basis of Islamic theology. Within Islam, he is considered the last and most important prophet of God (Arabic Allah). Muslims do not regard him as the founder of a new religion but as the restorer of the original monotheistic faith of Adam, Abraham and other prophets whose messages had become misinterpreted or corrupted over time.

Did you know...

  • ...that Krishna (pictured) literally means "black" or "dark one" in Sanskrit?
Tetragrammaton scripts.svg
  • ...that Wicca was previously an Old English word (pronounced: 'witcha'), meaning a male witch or wizard and 'wicce' was a female witch?

On this day...

April 21:

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Aum
 Sanskrit: एकम् सत् विप्राः बहुधा वदन्ति

Transliteration: Ekam Sat Viprāha Bahudhā Vadanti
English: Truth is One, though the Sages know it as many.

Rigveda, (Book I, Hymn CLXIV, Verse 46)

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Rigveda manuscript in Devanagari, early 19th century
Hindu scripture, which is known as "Shastra" is predominantly written in Sanskrit. Indeed, much of the morphology and linguistic philosophy inherent in the learning of Sanskrit is inextricably linked to study of the Vedas and relevant Hindu texts. Hindu scripture is divided into two categories: Śruti – that which is heard (i.e. revelation) and Smriti – that which is remembered (i.e. tradition, not revelation). The Vedas constituting the former category are considered scripture by all Hindus. The post-Vedic Hindu scriptures form the latter category; the Mahabharata and the Ramayana are notable epics considered scripture by many sects. A sort of cross-over between the religious epics and Upanishads of the Vedas is the Bhagavad Gita, considered to be revealed scripture by almost all Hindus today. The Puranas are a vast literature of stories and allegory. Eighteen are considered to be Mahapuranas, or Great Puranas, and thus authoritative references on the Gods and Goddesses, religious rites and holy places (most of which are in the Indian subcontinent, known as Bharat).

Hindu texts are typically seen to revolve around many levels of reading, namely the gross or physical, the subtle, and the supramental. This allows for many levels of understanding as well, implying that the truth of the texts can only be realized with the spiritual advancement of the reader.

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