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Portal:Religion

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Religion may be defined as a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, world views, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.

Different religions may or may not contain various elements ranging from the divine, sacred things, faith, a supernatural being or supernatural beings or "some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life". Religious practices may include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration (of deities), sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religions have sacred histories and narratives, which may be preserved in sacred scriptures, and symbols and holy places, that aim mostly to give a meaning to life. Religions may contain symbolic stories, which are sometimes said by followers to be true, that have the side purpose of explaining the origin of life, the universe, and other things. Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs.

There are an estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide, but about 84% of the world's population is affiliated with one of the five largest religions, namely Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or forms of folk religion. The religiously unaffiliated demographic includes those who do not identify with any particular religion, atheists and agnostics. While the religiously unaffiliated have grown globally, many of the religiously unaffiliated still have various religious beliefs.

The study of religion encompasses a wide variety of academic disciplines, including theology, comparative religion and social scientific studies. Theories of religion offer various explanations for the origins and workings of religion.

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Creationism
Creationism is the religious belief that humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe were created in some form by a supernatural being or beings. However the term is more commonly used to refer to religiously motivated rejection of certain biological processes, in particular evolution, in favour of a Biblical explanation as an accounting for the history, diversity, and complexity of life on earth (the creation–evolution controversy). In Christian sects such creationism is usually based on a literal reading of the creation myth found in the book of Genesis. Other religions have deity-led creation myths which are quite different. In many countries, belief in creationism has decreased as scientific theories have been presented that support more naturalistic explanations for the universe and for life. While some have tried to refute these theories, others believe in types of creationism that do not exclude all of these theories. When mainstream scientific research produces conclusions which contradict a strict creationist interpretation of scripture, creationists often reject the conclusions of the research and/or its underlying scientific theories and/or its methodology. The most notable disputes concern the evolution of living organisms, the idea of common descent, the geological history of the Earth, the formation of the solar system and the origin of the universe.

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A commonly used version of the Taijitu
Credit: Gregory Maxwell

The Taijitu (Chinese: 太極圖; pinyin: Taìjí tú; Wade–Giles: T'ai4 chi2 t'u2; literally: "diagram of the supreme ultimate"), often incorrectly called a yin-yang, is a well known symbol deriving from Chinese culture which represents the principle of yin and yang from Taoist and Neo-Confucian philosophy. The term Taijitu itself refers to any of several schematic diagrams representing these principles.

Selected religious figure or deity

Ra
Ra (Arabic: رع‎)(sometimes spelled based on the attested Coptic name and reconstructed as *Rīʕu (ree-uh-uh) ) is the sun-god of Heliopolis in ancient Egypt. In later Egyptian dynastic times, Ra was subsumed into the god Horus, as Re-Horakhty (and many variant spellings).

The sun is either the symbolic interpretation of Ra, his entire body, or just his eye. The symbols of Ra are the solar symbols of a golden disk or the symbol ⊙ (circle with a point at its centre). He was also associated with the Phoenix, as he rose again each morning in flames. According to E. A. Wallis Budge he was the One god of Egyptian Monotheism, of which all other gods and goddesses were aspects, manifestations, phases, or forms of the god.

 :D

Did you know...

  • ...that according to the Torah, Moses lived to be 120 years old?

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June 23:

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Gutenberg Bible
16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Bible, John 3:16

Selected scripture

The Tao Te Ching (Chinese: 道德經 [About this sound  Listen ]), roughly translatable as The Book of the Way and its Virtue, is a Chinese classic text. According to tradition, it was written around 600 BCE by the Taoist sage Laozi (or Lao Tzu, "Old Master"), a record-keeper at the Zhou dynasty court. A careful reading of the text, however, suggests that it is a compilation of maxims sharing similar themes. The text's authenticity, authorship, and date of composition or compilation are still debated.

The Tao Te Ching is fundamental to the Taoist school (Daojia 道家) of Chinese philosophy and strongly influenced other schools as well, such as Legalism and Neo-Confucianism. This ancient book is also central in Chinese religion, not only for Taoism (Daojiao 道教) but Chinese Buddhism, which when first introduced into China was largely interpreted through the use of Taoist words and concepts. Many Chinese artists, including poets, painters, calligraphers, and even gardeners have used the Tao Te Ching as a source of inspiration. Its influence has also spread widely outside East Asia, aided by hundreds of translations into Western languages.

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