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Portal:Religion

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Introduction

Religion is a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, 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.

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Porträt des Thomas Morus
Credit: Hans Holbein the Younger

Sir Thomas More, the patron saint of lawyers and statesmen, coined the word "utopia", a name he gave to an ideal, imaginary island nation.

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Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází (/ˈsjəd ˈæli mˈhæməd ʃɪˈrɑːzi/; Persian: سيد علی ‌محمد شیرازی‎; October 20, 1819 – July 9, 1850) was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia who, at the age of twenty-four (on May 23, 1844), symbolically claimed to be the promised Qá'im (or Mahdi). After his declaration he took the title of Báb (/bɑːb/; Arabic: باب‎) meaning "Gate". He composed hundreds of letters and books (often termed tablets) in which he stated his messianic claims and defined his teachings, which constituted a new sharí'ah or religious law. His movement eventually acquired tens of thousands of supporters, was opposed by Iran's Shi'a clergy, and was suppressed by the Iranian government, leading to the persecution and killing of thousands of his followers, called Bábís. In 1850, at the age of thirty, the Báb was shot by a firing squad in Tabriz.

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