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 religion groups, 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, including the ontological foundations of religious being and belief.
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
: , Devan?gar?
: , ?di ?a?kara
: [a:d?i k?r?]
), also known as ?a?kara Bhagavatp?d?c?rya
("the teacher at the feet of God
"), and ?di ?a?kar?c?rya
("the first Shankara in his lineage") was the first philosopher to consolidate the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta
, a sub-school of Vedanta
. His teachings are based on the unity of the soul
, in which Brahman is viewed as without attributes
. In the Sm?rta
tradition, Adi Shankara is regarded as an incarnation of Shiva
Adi Shankara toured India with the purpose of propagating his teachings through discourses and debates with other philosophers. He founded four mathas ("abbeys") which played a key role in the historical development, revival and spread of post-Buddhist Hinduism and Advaita Vedanta. Adi Shankara was the founder of the Dashanami monastic order and the Shanmata tradition of worship.
Did you know...
- ...that according to the Torah, Moses lived to be 120 years old?
The Gospel of Thomas
is a New Testament
completely preserved in a papyrus Coptic manuscript
discovered in 1945
at Nag Hammadi
. Unlike the four canonical gospels
, which combine narrative accounts of the life of Jesus
with sayings, Thomas
is a "sayings gospel". It takes the less structured form of a collection of sayings attributed to Jesus, brief dialogues with Jesus, and sayings that some of his disciples reported to Didymus Judas Thomas
. Thomas does not have a narrative framework, nor is it worked into any overt philosophical
The work comprises 114 sayings attributed to Jesus. Some of these sayings resemble those found in the four canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Others were unknown until its discovery, and a few of these run counter to sayings found in the four canonical gospels.
When a Coptic version of the complete text of Thomas was found, scholars realized that three separate Greek portions of it had already been discovered in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, in 1898. The manuscripts bearing the Greek fragments of the Gospel of Thomas have been dated to about AD 200, and the manuscript of the Coptic version to about 340. Although the Coptic version is not quite identical to any of the Greek fragments, it is believed that the Coptic version was translated from an earlier Greek version.