Portal:Religion
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Portal:Religion
For a topic outline on this subject, see Outline of religion

Introduction

Symbols of various religions of the world.

Religion may be defined as a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, worldviews, 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.

Selected article

Cardinals place their coat of arms in their titular church in Rome: arms of Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos at SS. Nome di Maria al Foro Traiano
Ecclesiastical heraldry is the tradition of heraldry developed by Christian clergy. Initially used to mark documents, ecclesiastical heraldry evolved as a system for identifying people and dioceses. It is most formalized within the Roman Catholic Church, where most bishops, including the Pope, have a personal coat of arms. Similar customs are followed by clergy in the Anglican Church, the Lutheran Church, the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches, and the Orthodox Churches[disambiguation needed]. Institutions such as schools and dioceses bear arms called impersonal or corporate arms.

Ecclesiastical heraldry differs notably from other heraldry in the use of special symbols around the shield to indicate rank in a church or denomination. The most prominent of these symbols is the ecclesiastical hat, commonly the Roman galero or Geneva Bonnet. The color and ornamentation of this hat carry a precise meaning. Cardinals are famous for the "red hat", but other offices are assigned a distinctive hat color. The hat is ornamented with tassels in a quantity commensurate with the office.

The papal coat of arms has its own heraldic customs, primarily the Papal Tiara (or mitre), the keys of Saint Peter, and the ombrellino (umbrella). Institutional arms have slightly different traditions, using the mitre and crozier more often than personal arms.

Selected picture

A commonly used version of the Taijitu
Credit: Gregory Maxwell

The Taijitu (Chinese: ; 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

OM
Brahman (Devanagari: , Tamil? ) is the concept of the Godhead found in Hinduism. Brahman is the unchanging, infinite, immanent, and transcendent reality which is the Divine Ground of all things in this universe. Though its nature is transpersonal it is sometimes considered anthropomorphically as Isvara, the Supreme Lord. In the Rig Veda, Brahman gives rise to the primordial being Hiranyagarbha that is equated with the creator God Brahm?. The trimurti can thus be considered a personification of hiranyagarbha as the active principle behind the phenomena of the universe. The seers who inspired the composition of the Upanisads asserted that the liberated soul (jivanmukta) has realized his identity with Brahman as his true self (see Atman).

Did you know...

  • ...that the Qur'an is believed by Muslims and traditional Islamic scholars to have remained unchanged since its revelation?
  • ...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...

July 18:

Selected quote

Gnostic Cross
The Kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.

Selected scripture

Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library of Congress.
The word "Bible" refers to the canonical collections of sacred writings of Judaism and Christianity.

Judaism's Bible is often referred to as the Tanakh, or Hebrew Bible, which includes the sacred texts common to both the Christian and Jewish canons.

The Christian Bible is also called the Holy Bible, Scriptures, or Word of God. It is divided into two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament; some versions also have an Apocrypha section. The Old Testament includes all the contents of the Jewish Tanakh. In addition, Old Testaments published by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches contain books not found in the Tanakh, but which are found in the Greek Septuagint.

More than 14,000 manuscripts and fragments of the Hebrew Tanakh exist, as do numerous copies of the Septuagint, and 5,300 manuscripts of the Greek New Testament, more than any other work of antiquity.

In scholarly writing, ancient translations are frequently referred to as "versions", with the term "translation" being reserved for medieval or modern translations. The original texts of the Tanakh were in Hebrew, although some portions were in Aramaic. In addition to the authoritative Masoretic Text, Jews still refer to the Septuagint, the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, and the Targum Onkelos, an Aramaic version of the Bible. The primary Biblical text for early Christians was the Septuagint or (LXX).

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