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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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Damsel of the Sanct Grael
Credit: Dante Gabriel Rossetti

In Christian mythology, the Holy Grail was the dish, plate, or cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper, said to possess miraculous powers.

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Joseph Smith, Jr. profile by Bathsheba Smith circa 1843
Joseph Smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader who founded the Latter Day Saint movement, a restorationist movement giving rise to Mormonism. Smith's followers declared him to be the first latter-day prophet, whose mission was to restore original Christianity, said to have been lost after a Great Apostasy. This restoration included publication of the Book of Mormon and other new scripture in addition to the Bible, and the establishment of the Church of Christ. As a leader of his religion, he was also an important political and military leader in the American West. Although Smith's early Christian restorationist teachings were similar in many ways to other movements of his time, Smith was and remains a controversial and polarizing figure, both because of his collection of religious and social innovations, and as a result of his large and devoted following, which has continued to grow to the present day.

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