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.

More about religion...

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The Chinese character 道 (pinyin Dào, Wade-Giles Tao4) "Way".
Taoism (sometimes written as and actually pronounced as Daoism (dow-ism)) is the English name for: Dao Jia (philosophical tao) philosophical school based on the texts the Tao Te Ching (ascribed to Laozi (Lao Tzu) and alternately spelled Dào Dé Jīng) and the Zhuangzi; a family of organized Chinese religious movements such as the Zhengyi ("Orthodoxy") or Quanzhen ("complete reality") sects, which collectively trace back to Zhang Daoling in the late Han Dynasty; and a Chinese folk religion.

The English word "Taoism" is used to translate the Chinese terms Daojiao (道教 "teachings/religion of the Dao") and Daojia (道家 "school of the Dao"). The character Tao 道 (or Dao, depending on the romanisation scheme) means "path" or "way", but in Chinese religion and philosophy it has taken on more abstract meanings. The compound Daojiao refers to Daoism as a religion; Daojia refers to the activity of scholars in their studies. It must be noted that this distinction is itself controversial and fraught with hermeneutic difficulty. Many scholars believe that there is no distinction between Daojia and Daojiao, and that the distinction is propagated by people who are not familiar with Taoism.

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Golden temple
Credit: Paulrudd

Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib (also Hari Mandi', Harimandar and other variants; Punjabi: ਹਰਿਮੰਦਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ or ਹਰਿਮੰਦਿਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ) is the most sacred shrine in Sikhism, located in Amritsar, Punjab, India. It is widely known as the Golden Temple. Literally, Harimandir means "the Temple of God", 'Hari' being a term for God and 'Mandir' meaning Temple. Sikh devotees, for whom the Temple is a symbol of freedom and spiritual independence, come to the Temple from all over the world to enjoy its environs and offer their prayers.

Selected religious figure or deity

"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 the Qur'an is the only book that has been completely memorized by Muslims (hafiz) all around the world for nearly 14 centuries?

On this day...

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Bhagavad Gita 11:32 - Sanskrit
The Blessed Lord said: Time I am, destroyer of the worlds, and I have come to engage all people. With the exception of you, all the soldiers here on both sides will be slain.
Bhagavad Gita, 11:32

Selected scripture

The Norse gods were mortal, and only through Iðunn's apples could they hope to live until Ragnarök. Image by J. Penrose, 1890.
The Poetic Edda is a collection of Old Norse poems primarily preserved in the Icelandic mediaeval manuscript Codex Regius. Along with Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda the Poetic Edda is the most important extant source on Norse mythology and Germanic heroic legends.

Codex Regius was written in the 13th century but nothing is known of its whereabouts until 1643 when it came into the possession of Brynjólfur Sveinsson, then Bishop of Skálholt. At that time versions of Snorri's Edda were well known in Iceland but scholars speculated that there once was another Edda—an Elder Edda—which contained the pagan poems which Snorri quotes in his book. When Codex Regius was discovered it seemed that this speculation had proven correct. Brynjólfur attributed the manuscript to Sæmundr the Learned, a larger-than-life 12th century Icelandic priest. While this attribution is rejected by modern scholars the name Sæmundar Edda is still sometimes encountered.

Bishop Brynjólfur sent Codex Regius as a present to the Danish king, hence the name. For centuries it was stored in the Royal Library in Copenhagen but in 1971 it was returned to Iceland.

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