Portal:Religion
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Portal:Religion

Introduction

Religion is a social-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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The 'Sahasrara' Thangal.
Credit: Vaikunda Raja

An Octo-circular Ayyavazhi Nizhal Thangal constructed in Tamil Nadu with the 'Sahasrara' Architecture, the symbol of Ayyavazhi.

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In the news

2 October 2019 -
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks out about China's religious freedom violations during a visit to the Vatican. (Catholic News Agency)

Selected religious figure or deity

An 1886 depiction of Odin by Georg von Rosen.
Odin (Old Norse Óðinn) is considered the chief god in Norse mythology and Norse paganism, like the Anglo-Saxon Woden it is descended from Proto-Germanic *W?dinaz or *Wanaz. His name is related to óðr, meaning "excitation," "fury" or "poetry," and his role, like many of the Norse pantheon, is complex: he is god of wisdom, war, battle, and death. He is also attested as being a god of magic, poetry, prophecy, victory, and the hunt.

Odin is an ambivalent deity. Old Norse (Viking Age) connotations of Odin lie with "poetry, inspiration" as well as with "fury, madness." Odin left one of his eyes in the purifying waters of Mímir's spring in order to gain the wisdom of the ages. Odin gives to worthy poets the mead of inspiration, made by the dwarves, from the vessel Óð-roerir.

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