Portal:Religion

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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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A Bharatanatyam dancer
Credit: Anitaa

Bharatanatyam is a classical dance form originating from Tamil Nadu, a state in Southern India. This popular Tamil dance form is a gentrified version of Cathir, the art of temple dancers.

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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)

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Zoroaster (Greek Ζωροάστρης, Zōroastrēs) or Zarathustra (Avestan: Zaraθuštra), also referred to as Zartosht (Persian: زرتشت‎), was an ancient Iranian prophet and the founder of Zoroastrianism, a religion that was the national religion of the Sassanid Empire of Persia; it is predominantly practiced today by the Parsi community of India.

Zoroaster is generally accepted as an authentic historical figure, but the period in which he lived remains unclear. Many scholarly estimates place him circa 1200 B.C., making him a candidate to be the founder of the earliest religion based on revealed scripture, while others place him anywhere between the 18th and the 6th centuries B.C.

The teachings of Zoroaster are presented in the yasna, seventeen liturgical texts or "hymns," which is divided into groups called Gāthās. The basic precept of Zoroastrianism is the maxim "Humata, Hukhta, Huvarshta" Sanskrit sumata, sukta, suvartana) — “Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds.”

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