From Wikipedia for FEVERv2
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This article is about a cultural system of behaviors, practices and ethics. Religion_sentence_0

For other uses, see Religion (disambiguation). Religion_sentence_1

Not to be confused with Religious denomination. Religion_sentence_2

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, and spiritual elements. Religion_sentence_3

However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. Religion_sentence_4

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". Religion_sentence_5

Religious practices may include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration (of deities and/or saints), sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religion_sentence_6

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. Religion_sentence_7

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. Religion_sentence_8

Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs. Religion_sentence_9

There are an estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide. Religion_sentence_10

About 84% of the world's population is affiliated with Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or some form of folk religion. Religion_sentence_11

The religiously unaffiliated demographic includes those who do not identify with any particular religion, atheists, and agnostics. Religion_sentence_12

While the religiously unaffiliated have grown globally, many of the religiously unaffiliated still have various religious beliefs. Religion_sentence_13

The study of religion encompasses a wide variety of academic disciplines, including theology, comparative religion and social scientific studies. Religion_sentence_14

Theories of religion offer various explanations for the origins and workings of religion, including the ontological foundations of religious being and belief. Religion_sentence_15

Concept and etymology Religion_section_0

See also: Religio and History of Religion Religion_sentence_16

Religion (from O.Fr. Religion_sentence_17

religion religious community, from L. religionem (nom. Religion_sentence_18

religio) "respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods, sense of right, moral obligation, sanctity", "obligation, the bond between man and the gods") is derived from the Latin religiō, the ultimate origins of which are obscure. Religion_sentence_19

One possible interpretation traced to Cicero, connects lego read, i.e. re (again) with lego in the sense of choose, go over again or consider carefully. Religion_sentence_20

The definition of religio by Cicero is cultum deorum, "the proper performance of rites in veneration of the gods." Religion_sentence_21

Julius Caesar used religio to mean "obligation of an oath" when discussing captured soldiers making an oath to their captors. Religion_sentence_22

The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder used the term religio on elephants in that they venerate the sun and the moon. Religion_sentence_23

Modern scholars such as Tom Harpur and Joseph Campbell favor the derivation from ligare bind, connect, probably from a prefixed re-ligare, i.e. re (again) + ligare or to reconnect, which was made prominent by St. Religion_sentence_24 Augustine, following the interpretation given by Lactantius in Divinae institutiones, IV, 28. Religion_sentence_25

The medieval usage alternates with order in designating bonded communities like those of monastic orders: "we hear of the 'religion' of the Golden Fleece, of a knight 'of the religion of Avys'". Religion_sentence_26

In classic antiquity, 'religio' broadly meant conscientiousness, sense of right, moral obligation, or duty to anything. Religion_sentence_27

In the ancient and medieval world, the etymological Latin root religio was understood as an individual virtue of worship in mundane contexts; never as doctrine, practice, or actual source of knowledge. Religion_sentence_28

In general, religio referred to broad social obligations towards anything including family, neighbors, rulers, and even towards God. Religion_sentence_29

Religio was most often used by the ancient Romans not in the context of a relation towards gods, but as a range of general emotions such as hesitation, caution, anxiety, fear; feelings of being bound, restricted, inhibited; which arose from heightened attention in any mundane context. Religion_sentence_30

The term was also closely related to other terms like scrupulus which meant "very precisely" and some Roman authors related the term superstitio, which meant too much fear or anxiety or shame, to religio at times. Religion_sentence_31

When religio came into English around the 1200s as religion, it took the meaning of "life bound by monastic vows" or monastic orders. Religion_sentence_32

The compartmentalized concept of religion, where religious things were separated from worldly things, was not used before the 1500s. Religion_sentence_33

The concept of religion was first used in the 1500s to distinguish the domain of the church and the domain of civil authorities. Religion_sentence_34

In the ancient Greece, the Greek term threskeia was loosely translated into Latin as religio in late antiquity. Religion_sentence_35

The term was sparsely used in classical Greece but became more frequently used in the writings of Josephus in the first century CE. Religion_sentence_36

It was used in mundane contexts and could mean multiple things from respectful fear to excessive or harmfully distracting practices of others; to cultic practices. Religion_sentence_37

It was often contrasted with the Greek word deisidaimonia which meant too much fear. Religion_sentence_38

The modern concept of religion, as an abstraction that entails distinct sets of beliefs or doctrines, is a recent invention in the English language. Religion_sentence_39

Such usage began with texts from the 17th century due to events such as the splitting of Christendom during the Protestant Reformation and globalization in the age of exploration, which involved contact with numerous foreign cultures with non-European languages. Religion_sentence_40

Some argue that regardless of its definition, it is not appropriate to apply the term religion to non-Western cultures. Religion_sentence_41

Others argue that using religion on non-Western cultures distorts what people do and believe. Religion_sentence_42

The concept of religion was formed in the 16th and 17th centuries, despite the fact that ancient sacred texts like the Bible, the Quran, and others did not have a word or even a concept of religion in the original languages and neither did the people or the cultures in which these sacred texts were written. Religion_sentence_43

For example, there is no precise equivalent of religion in Hebrew, and Judaism does not distinguish clearly between religious, national, racial, or ethnic identities. Religion_sentence_44

One of its central concepts is halakha, meaning the walk or path sometimes translated as law, which guides religious practice and belief and many aspects of daily life. Religion_sentence_45

Even though the beliefs and traditions of Judaism are found in the ancient world, ancient Jews saw Jewish identity as being about an ethnic or national identity and did not entail a compulsory belief system or regulated rituals. Religion_sentence_46

Even in the 1st century CE, Josephus had used the Greek term ioudaismos, which some translate as Judaism today, even though he used it as an ethnic term, not one linked to modern abstract concepts of religion as a set of beliefs. Religion_sentence_47

It was in the 19th century that Jews began to see their ancestral culture as a religion analogous to Christianity. Religion_sentence_48

The Greek word threskeia, which was used by Greek writers such as Herodotus and Josephus, is found in the New Testament. Religion_sentence_49

Threskeia is sometimes translated as religion in today's translations, however, the term was understood as worship well into the medieval period. Religion_sentence_50

In the Quran, the Arabic word din is often translated as religion in modern translations, but up to the mid-1600s translators expressed din as law. Religion_sentence_51

The Sanskrit word dharma, sometimes translated as religion, also means law. Religion_sentence_52

Throughout classical South Asia, the study of law consisted of concepts such as penance through piety and ceremonial as well as practical traditions. Religion_sentence_53

Medieval Japan at first had a similar union between imperial law and universal or Buddha law, but these later became independent sources of power. Religion_sentence_54

Though traditions, sacred texts, and practices have existed throughout time, most cultures did not align with Western conceptions of religion since they did not separate everyday life from the sacred. Religion_sentence_55

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the terms Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, and world religions first entered the English language. Religion_sentence_56

No one self-identified as a Hindu or Buddhist or other similar terms before the 1800s. Religion_sentence_57

"Hindu" has historically been used as a geographical, cultural, and later religious identifier for people indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. Religion_sentence_58

Throughout its long history, Japan had no concept of religion since there was no corresponding Japanese word, nor anything close to its meaning, but when American warships appeared off the coast of Japan in 1853 and forced the Japanese government to sign treaties demanding, among other things, freedom of religion, the country had to contend with this idea. Religion_sentence_59

According to the philologist Max Müller in the 19th century, the root of the English word religion, the Latin , was originally used to mean only reverence for God or the gods, careful pondering of divine things, piety (which Cicero further derived to mean diligence). Religion_sentence_60

Max Müller characterized many other cultures around the world, including Egypt, Persia, and India, as having a similar power structure at this point in history. Religion_sentence_61

What is called ancient religion today, they would have only called law. Religion_sentence_62

Definition Religion_section_1

Main article: Definition of religion Religion_sentence_63

Scholars have failed to agree on a definition of religion. Religion_sentence_64

There are, however, two general definition systems: the sociological/functional and the phenomenological/philosophical. Religion_sentence_65

Modern Western Religion_section_2

The concept of religion originated in the modern Western era. Religion_sentence_66

Parallel concepts are not found in many current and past cultures; there is no equivalent term for religion in many languages. Religion_sentence_67

Scholars have found it difficult to develop a consistent definition, with some giving up on the possibility of a definition. Religion_sentence_68

Others argue that regardless of its definition, it is not appropriate to apply it to non-Western cultures. Religion_sentence_69

An increasing number of scholars have expressed reservations about ever defining the essence of religion. Religion_sentence_70

They observe that the way we use the concept today is a particularly modern construct that would not have been understood through much of history and in many cultures outside the West (or even in the West until after the Peace of Westphalia). Religion_sentence_71

The MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religions states: Religion_sentence_72

The anthropologist Clifford Geertz defined religion as a Religion_sentence_73

Alluding perhaps to Tylor's "deeper motive", Geertz remarked that Religion_sentence_74

The theologian Antoine Vergote took the term supernatural simply to mean whatever transcends the powers of nature or human agency. Religion_sentence_75

He also emphasized the cultural reality of religion, which he defined as Religion_sentence_76

Peter Mandaville and Paul James intended to get away from the modernist dualisms or dichotomous understandings of immanence/transcendence, spirituality/materialism, and sacredness/secularity. Religion_sentence_77

They define religion as Religion_sentence_78

According to the MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religions, there is an experiential aspect to religion which can be found in almost every culture: Religion_sentence_79

Classical Religion_section_3

Friedrich Schleiermacher in the late 18th century defined religion as das schlechthinnige Abhängigkeitsgefühl, commonly translated as "the feeling of absolute dependence". Religion_sentence_80

His contemporary Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel disagreed thoroughly, defining religion as "the Divine Spirit becoming conscious of Himself through the finite spirit." Religion_sentence_81

Edward Burnett Tylor defined religion in 1871 as "the belief in spiritual beings". Religion_sentence_82

He argued that narrowing the definition to mean the belief in a supreme deity or judgment after death or idolatry and so on, would exclude many peoples from the category of religious, and thus "has the fault of identifying religion rather with particular developments than with the deeper motive which underlies them". Religion_sentence_83

He also argued that the belief in spiritual beings exists in all known societies. Religion_sentence_84

In his book The Varieties of Religious Experience, the psychologist William James defined religion as "the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine". Religion_sentence_85

By the term divine James meant "any object that is godlike, whether it be a concrete deity or not" to which the individual feels impelled to respond with solemnity and gravity. Religion_sentence_86

The sociologist Émile Durkheim, in his seminal book The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, defined religion as a "unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things". Religion_sentence_87

By sacred things he meant things "set apart and forbidden—beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them". Religion_sentence_88

Sacred things are not, however, limited to gods or spirits. Religion_sentence_89

On the contrary, a sacred thing can be "a rock, a tree, a spring, a pebble, a piece of wood, a house, in a word, anything can be sacred". Religion_sentence_90

Religious beliefs, myths, dogmas and legends are the representations that express the nature of these sacred things, and the virtues and powers which are attributed to them. Religion_sentence_91

Echoes of James' and Durkheim's definitions are to be found in the writings of, for example, Frederick Ferré who defined religion as "one's way of valuing most comprehensively and intensively". Religion_sentence_92

Similarly, for the theologian Paul Tillich, faith is "the state of being ultimately concerned", which "is itself religion. Religion_sentence_93

Religion is the substance, the ground, and the depth of man's spiritual life." Religion_sentence_94

When religion is seen in terms of sacred, divine, intensive valuing, or ultimate concern, then it is possible to understand why scientific findings and philosophical criticisms (e.g., those made by Richard Dawkins) do not necessarily disturb its adherents. Religion_sentence_95

Aspects Religion_section_4

Beliefs Religion_section_5

Main article: Religious beliefs Religion_sentence_96

Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs. Religion_sentence_97

The interplay between faith and reason, and their use as perceived support for religious beliefs, have been a subject of interest to philosophers and theologians. Religion_sentence_98

The origin of religious belief as such is an open question, with possible explanations including awareness of individual death, a sense of community, and dreams. Religion_sentence_99

Mythology Religion_section_6

Main article: Mythology Religion_sentence_100

The word myth has several meanings. Religion_sentence_101


  1. A traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon;Religion_item_0_0
  2. A person or thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence; orReligion_item_0_1
  3. A metaphor for the spiritual potentiality in the human being.Religion_item_0_2

Ancient polytheistic religions, such as those of Greece, Rome, and Scandinavia, are usually categorized under the heading of mythology. Religion_sentence_102

Religions of pre-industrial peoples, or cultures in development, are similarly called myths in the anthropology of religion. Religion_sentence_103

The term myth can be used pejoratively by both religious and non-religious people. Religion_sentence_104

By defining another person's religious stories and beliefs as mythology, one implies that they are less real or true than one's own religious stories and beliefs. Religion_sentence_105

Joseph Campbell remarked, "Mythology is often thought of as other people's religions, and religion can be defined as mis-interpreted mythology." Religion_sentence_106

In sociology, however, the term myth has a non-pejorative meaning. Religion_sentence_107

There, myth is defined as a story that is important for the group whether or not it is objectively or provably true. Religion_sentence_108

Examples include the resurrection of their real-life founder Jesus, which, to Christians, explains the means by which they are freed from sin, is symbolic of the power of life over death, and is also said to be a historical event. Religion_sentence_109

But from a mythological outlook, whether or not the event actually occurred is unimportant. Religion_sentence_110

Instead, the symbolism of the death of an old life and the start of a new life is what is most significant. Religion_sentence_111

Religious believers may or may not accept such symbolic interpretations. Religion_sentence_112

Practices Religion_section_7

Main articles: Religious behaviour and Cult (religious practice) Religion_sentence_113

The practices of a religion may include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration (of a deity, gods, or goddesses), sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, religious music, religious art, sacred dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religion_sentence_114

Social organisation Religion_section_8

Religions have a societal basis, either as a living tradition which is carried by lay participants, or with an organized clergy, and a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership. Religion_sentence_115

Academic study Religion_section_9

Main articles: Religious studies and Classifications of religious movements Religion_sentence_116

A number of disciplines study the phenomenon of religion: theology, comparative religion, history of religion, evolutionary origin of religions, anthropology of religion, psychology of religion (including neuroscience of religion and evolutionary psychology of religion), law and religion, and sociology of religion. Religion_sentence_117

Daniel L. Pals mentions eight classical theories of religion, focusing on various aspects of religion: animism and magic, by E.B. Religion_sentence_118 Tylor and J.G. Religion_sentence_119 Frazer; the psycho-analytic approach of Sigmund Freud; and further Émile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Mircea Eliade, E.E. Religion_sentence_120 Evans-Pritchard, and Clifford Geertz. Religion_sentence_121

Michael Stausberg gives an overview of contemporary theories of religion, including cognitive and biological approaches. Religion_sentence_122

Theories Religion_section_10

Main article: Theories of religion Religion_sentence_123

Sociological and anthropological theories of religion generally attempt to explain the origin and function of religion. Religion_sentence_124

These theories define what they present as universal characteristics of religious belief and practice. Religion_sentence_125

Origins and development Religion_section_11

Main article: History of religion Religion_sentence_126

The origin of religion is uncertain. Religion_sentence_127

There are a number of theories regarding the subsequent origins of religious practices. Religion_sentence_128

According to anthropologists John Monaghan and Peter Just, "Many of the great world religions appear to have begun as revitalization movements of some sort, as the vision of a charismatic prophet fires the imaginations of people seeking a more comprehensive answer to their problems than they feel is provided by everyday beliefs. Religion_sentence_129

Charismatic individuals have emerged at many times and places in the world. Religion_sentence_130

It seems that the key to long-term success—and many movements come and go with little long-term effect—has relatively little to do with the prophets, who appear with surprising regularity, but more to do with the development of a group of supporters who are able to institutionalize the movement." Religion_sentence_131

The development of religion has taken different forms in different cultures. Religion_sentence_132

Some religions place an emphasis on belief, while others emphasize practice. Religion_sentence_133

Some religions focus on the subjective experience of the religious individual, while others consider the activities of the religious community to be most important. Religion_sentence_134

Some religions claim to be universal, believing their laws and cosmology to be binding for everyone, while others are intended to be practiced only by a closely defined or localized group. Religion_sentence_135

In many places, religion has been associated with public institutions such as education, hospitals, the family, government, and political hierarchies. Religion_sentence_136

Anthropologists John Monoghan and Peter Just state that, "it seems apparent that one thing religion or belief helps us do is deal with problems of human life that are significant, persistent, and intolerable. Religion_sentence_137

One important way in which religious beliefs accomplish this is by providing a set of ideas about how and why the world is put together that allows people to accommodate anxieties and deal with misfortune." Religion_sentence_138

Cultural system Religion_section_12

While religion is difficult to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who simply called it a "cultural system". Religion_sentence_139

A critique of Geertz's model by Talal Asad categorized religion as "an anthropological category". Religion_sentence_140

Richard Niebuhr's (1894–1962) five-fold classification of the relationship between Christ and culture, however, indicates that religion and culture can be seen as two separate systems, though not without some interplay. Religion_sentence_141

Social constructionism Religion_section_13

Main article: Social constructionism Religion_sentence_142

One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings. Religion_sentence_143

Among the main proponents of this theory of religion are Daniel Dubuisson, Timothy Fitzgerald, Talal Asad, and Jason Ānanda Josephson. Religion_sentence_144

The social constructionists argue that religion is a modern concept that developed from Christianity and was then applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures. Religion_sentence_145

Cognitive science Religion_section_14

Main article: Cognitive science of religion Religion_sentence_146

Cognitive science of religion is the study of religious thought and behavior from the perspective of the cognitive and evolutionary sciences. Religion_sentence_147

The field employs methods and theories from a very broad range of disciplines, including: cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, cognitive anthropology, artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience, neurobiology, zoology, and ethology. Religion_sentence_148

Scholars in this field seek to explain how human minds acquire, generate, and transmit religious thoughts, practices, and schemas by means of ordinary cognitive capacities. Religion_sentence_149

Hallucinations and delusions related to religious content occurs in about 60% of people with schizophrenia. Religion_sentence_150

While this number varies across cultures, this had led to theories about a number of influential religious phenomenon and possible relation to psychotic disorders. Religion_sentence_151

A number of prophetic experiences are consistent with psychotic symptoms, although retrospective diagnoses are practically impossible. Religion_sentence_152

Schizophrenic episodes are also experienced by people who do not have belief in gods. Religion_sentence_153

Religious content is also common in temporal lobe epilepsy, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Religion_sentence_154

Atheistic content is also found to be common with temporal lobe epilepsy. Religion_sentence_155

Comparativism Religion_section_15

Main article: Comparative religion Religion_sentence_156

Comparative religion is the branch of the study of religions concerned with the systematic comparison of the doctrines and practices of the world's religions. Religion_sentence_157

In general, the comparative study of religion yields a deeper understanding of the fundamental philosophical concerns of religion such as ethics, metaphysics, and the nature and form of salvation. Religion_sentence_158

Studying such material is meant to give one a richer and more sophisticated understanding of human beliefs and practices regarding the sacred, numinous, spiritual and divine. Religion_sentence_159

In the field of comparative religion, a common geographical classification of the main world religions includes Middle Eastern religions (including Zoroastrianism and Iranian religions), Indian religions, East Asian religions, African religions, American religions, Oceanic religions, and classical Hellenistic religions. Religion_sentence_160

Classification Religion_section_16

Main article: History of religion Religion_sentence_161

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the academic practice of comparative religion divided religious belief into philosophically defined categories called world religions. Religion_sentence_162

Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: Religion_sentence_163


  1. world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international religions;Religion_item_1_3
  2. indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; andReligion_item_1_4
  3. new religious movements, which refers to recently developed religions.Religion_item_1_5

Some recent scholarship has argued that not all types of religion are necessarily separated by mutually exclusive philosophies, and furthermore that the utility of ascribing a practice to a certain philosophy, or even calling a given practice religious, rather than cultural, political, or social in nature, is limited. Religion_sentence_164

The current state of psychological study about the nature of religiousness suggests that it is better to refer to religion as a largely invariant phenomenon that should be distinguished from cultural norms (i.e. religions). Religion_sentence_165

Morphological classification Religion_section_17

Some scholars classify religions as either universal religions that seek worldwide acceptance and actively look for new converts, or ethnic religions that are identified with a particular ethnic group and do not seek converts. Religion_sentence_166

Others reject the distinction, pointing out that all religious practices, whatever their philosophical origin, are ethnic because they come from a particular culture. Religion_sentence_167

Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Jainism are universal religions while Hinduism and Judaism are ethnic religions. Religion_sentence_168

Demographical classification Religion_section_18

Main articles: Major religious groups and List of religious populations Religion_sentence_169

The five largest religious groups by world population, estimated to account for 5.8 billion people and 84% of the population, are Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism (with the relative numbers for Buddhism and Hinduism dependent on the extent of syncretism) and traditional folk religion. Religion_sentence_170


Five largest religionsReligion_header_cell_0_0_0 2010 (billion)Religion_header_cell_0_0_1 2010 (%)Religion_header_cell_0_0_2 2000 (billion)Religion_header_cell_0_0_3 2000 (%)Religion_header_cell_0_0_4 DemographicsReligion_header_cell_0_0_5
ChristianityReligion_cell_0_1_0 2.2Religion_cell_0_1_1 32%Religion_cell_0_1_2 2.0Religion_cell_0_1_3 33%Religion_cell_0_1_4 Christianity by countryReligion_cell_0_1_5
IslamReligion_cell_0_2_0 1.6Religion_cell_0_2_1 23%Religion_cell_0_2_2 1.2Religion_cell_0_2_3 19.6%Religion_cell_0_2_4 Islam by countryReligion_cell_0_2_5
HinduismReligion_cell_0_3_0 1.0Religion_cell_0_3_1 15%Religion_cell_0_3_2 0.811Religion_cell_0_3_3 13.4%Religion_cell_0_3_4 Hinduism by countryReligion_cell_0_3_5
BuddhismReligion_cell_0_4_0 0.5Religion_cell_0_4_1 7%Religion_cell_0_4_2 0.360Religion_cell_0_4_3 5.9%Religion_cell_0_4_4 Buddhism by countryReligion_cell_0_4_5
Folk religionReligion_cell_0_5_0 0.4Religion_cell_0_5_1 6%Religion_cell_0_5_2 0.385Religion_cell_0_5_3 6.4%Religion_cell_0_5_4 Religion_cell_0_5_5
TotalReligion_cell_0_6_0 5.8Religion_cell_0_6_1 84%Religion_cell_0_6_2 4.8Religion_cell_0_6_3 78.3%Religion_cell_0_6_4 Religion_cell_0_6_5

A global poll in 2012 surveyed 57 countries and reported that 59% of the world's population identified as religious, 23% as not religious, 13% as convinced atheists, and also a 9% decrease in identification as religious when compared to the 2005 average from 39 countries. Religion_sentence_171

A follow-up poll in 2015 found that 63% of the globe identified as religious, 22% as not religious, and 11% as convinced atheists. Religion_sentence_172

On average, women are more religious than men. Religion_sentence_173

Some people follow multiple religions or multiple religious principles at the same time, regardless of whether or not the religious principles they follow traditionally allow for syncretism. Religion_sentence_174

Specific religions Religion_section_19

Main article: List of religions and spiritual traditions Religion_sentence_175

Abrahamic Religion_section_20

Abrahamic religions are monotheistic religions which believe they descend from Abraham. Religion_sentence_176

Judaism Religion_section_21

Judaism is the oldest Abrahamic religion, originating in the people of ancient Israel and Judea. Religion_sentence_177

The Torah is its foundational text, and is part of the larger text known as the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible. Religion_sentence_178

It is supplemented by oral tradition, set down in written form in later texts such as the Midrash and the Talmud. Religion_sentence_179

Judaism includes a wide corpus of texts, practices, theological positions, and forms of organization. Religion_sentence_180

Within Judaism there are a variety of movements, most of which emerged from Rabbinic Judaism, which holds that God revealed his laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of both the Written and Oral Torah; historically, this assertion was challenged by various groups. Religion_sentence_181

The Jewish people were scattered after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE. Religion_sentence_182

Today there are about 13 million Jews, about 40 per cent living in Israel and 40 per cent in the United States. Religion_sentence_183

The largest Jewish religious movements are Orthodox Judaism (Haredi Judaism and Modern Orthodox Judaism), Conservative Judaism and Reform Judaism. Religion_sentence_184

Christianity Religion_section_22

Christianity is based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth (1st century) as presented in the New Testament. Religion_sentence_185

The Christian faith is essentially faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, and as Savior and Lord. Religion_sentence_186

Almost all Christians believe in the Trinity, which teaches the unity of Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead. Religion_sentence_187

Most Christians can describe their faith with the Nicene Creed. Religion_sentence_188

As the religion of Byzantine Empire in the first millennium and of Western Europe during the time of colonization, Christianity has been propagated throughout the world via missionary work. Religion_sentence_189

It is the world's largest religion, with about 2.3 billion followers as of 2015. Religion_sentence_190

The main divisions of Christianity are, according to the number of adherents: Religion_sentence_191


There are also smaller groups, including: Religion_sentence_192


Islam Religion_section_23

Islam is a monotheistic religion based on the Quran, one of the holy books considered by Muslims to be revealed by God, and on the teachings (hadith) of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, a major political and religious figure of the 7th century CE. Religion_sentence_193

Islam is based on the unity of all religious philosophies and accepts all of the Abrahamic prophets of Judaism, Christianity and other Abrahamic religions before Muhammad. Religion_sentence_194

It is the most widely practiced religion of Southeast Asia, North Africa, Western Asia, and Central Asia, while Muslim-majority countries also exist in parts of South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Europe. Religion_sentence_195

There are also several Islamic republics, including Iran, Pakistan, Mauritania, and Afghanistan. Religion_sentence_196


  • Sunni Islam is the largest denomination within Islam and follows the Qur'an, the ahadith (ar: plural of Hadith) which record the sunnah, whilst placing emphasis on the sahabah.Religion_item_4_12
  • Shia Islam is the second largest denomination of Islam and its adherents believe that Ali succeeded Muhammad and further places emphasis on Muhammad's family.Religion_item_4_13
  • Ahmadiyya adherents believe that the awaited Imam Mahdi and the Promised Messiah has arrived, believed to be Mirza Ghulam Ahmad by the Ahmadi.Religion_item_4_14
  • There are also Muslim revivalist movements such as Muwahhidism and Salafism.Religion_item_4_15

Other denominations of Islam include Nation of Islam, Ibadi, Sufism, Quranism, Mahdavia, and non-denominational Muslims. Religion_sentence_197

Wahhabism is the dominant Muslim schools of thought in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Religion_sentence_198

Other Religion_section_24

Whilst Judaism, Christianity and Islam are commonly seen as the only three Abrahamic faiths, there are smaller and newer traditions which lay claim to the designation as well. Religion_sentence_199

For example, the Baháʼí Faith is a new religious movement that has links to the major Abrahamic religions as well as other religions (e.g. of Eastern philosophy). Religion_sentence_200

Founded in 19th-century Iran, it teaches the unity of all religious philosophies and accepts all of the prophets of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as well as additional prophets (Buddha, Mahavira), including its founder Bahá'u'lláh. Religion_sentence_201

It is an offshoot of Bábism. Religion_sentence_202

One of its divisions is the Orthodox Baháʼí Faith. Religion_sentence_203

Even smaller regional Abrahamic groups also exist, including Samaritanism (primarily in Israel and the West Bank), the Rastafari movement (primarily in Jamaica), and Druze (primarily in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel). Religion_sentence_204

The Druze faith originally developed out of Isma'ilism, and it has sometimes been considered an Islamic school by some Islamic authorities, but Druze themselves do not identify as Muslims. Religion_sentence_205

East Asian Religion_section_25

Main article: East Asian religions Religion_sentence_206

East Asian religions (also known as Far Eastern religions or Taoic religions) consist of several religions of East Asia which make use of the concept of Tao (in Chinese) or Dō (in Japanese or Korean). Religion_sentence_207

They include: Religion_sentence_208

Taoism and Confucianism Religion_section_26


  • Taoism and Confucianism, as well as Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese religion influenced by Chinese thought.Religion_item_5_16

Folk religion Religion_section_27


Indian religions Religion_section_28

Indian religions are practiced or were founded in the Indian subcontinent. Religion_sentence_209

They are sometimes classified as the dharmic religions, as they all feature dharma, the specific law of reality and duties expected according to the religion. Religion_sentence_210

Hinduism Religion_section_29


Jainism Religion_section_30


  • Jainism, taught primarily by Rishabhanatha (the founder of ahimsa) is an ancient Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence, truth and anekantavada for all forms of living beings in this universe; which helps them to eliminate all the Karmas, and hence to attain freedom from the cycle of birth and death (saṃsāra), that is, achieving nirvana. Jains are found mostly in India. According to Dundas, outside of the Jain tradition, historians date the Mahavira as about contemporaneous with the Buddha in the 5th-century BCE, and accordingly the historical Parshvanatha, based on the c. 250-year gap, is placed in 8th or 7th century BCE.Religion_item_8_20

Buddhism Religion_section_31


Sikhism Religion_section_32


  • Sikhism is a panentheistic religion founded on the teachings of Guru Nanak and ten successive Sikh gurus in 15th-century Punjab. It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world, with approximately 30 million Sikhs. Sikhs are expected to embody the qualities of a Sant-Sipāhī—a saint-soldier, have control over one's internal vices and be able to be constantly immersed in virtues clarified in the Guru Granth Sahib. The principal beliefs of Sikhi are faith in Waheguru—represented by the phrase ik ōaṅkār, meaning one God, who prevails in everything, along with a praxis in which the Sikh is enjoined to engage in social reform through the pursuit of justice for all human beings.Religion_item_10_28

Indigenous and folk Religion_section_33

Indigenous religions or folk religions refers to a broad category of traditional religions that can be characterised by shamanism, animism and ancestor worship, where traditional means "indigenous, that which is aboriginal or foundational, handed down from generation to generation…". Religion_sentence_211

These are religions that are closely associated with a particular group of people, ethnicity or tribe; they often have no formal creeds or sacred texts. Religion_sentence_212

Some faiths are syncretic, fusing diverse religious beliefs and practices. Religion_sentence_213


Folk religions are often omitted as a category in surveys even in countries where they are widely practiced, e.g. in China. Religion_sentence_214

Traditional African Religion_section_34

Main article: Traditional African religion Religion_sentence_215

Further information: African diasporic religions Religion_sentence_216

African traditional religion encompasses the traditional religious beliefs of people in Africa. Religion_sentence_217

In West Africa, these religions include the Akan religion, Dahomey (Fon) mythology, Efik mythology, Odinani, Serer religion (A ƭat Roog), and Yoruba religion, while Bushongo mythology, Mbuti (Pygmy) mythology, Lugbara mythology, Dinka religion, and Lotuko mythology come from central Africa. Religion_sentence_218

Southern African traditions include Akamba mythology, Masai mythology, Malagasy mythology, San religion, Lozi mythology, Tumbuka mythology, and Zulu mythology. Religion_sentence_219

Bantu mythology is found throughout central, southeast, and southern Africa. Religion_sentence_220

In north Africa, these traditions include Berber and ancient Egyptian. Religion_sentence_221

There are also notable African diasporic religions practiced in the Americas, such as Santeria, Candomble, Vodun, Lucumi, Umbanda, and Macumba. Religion_sentence_222

Iranian Religion_section_35

Iranian religions are ancient religions whose roots predate the Islamization of Greater Iran. Religion_sentence_223

Nowadays these religions are practiced only by minorities. Religion_sentence_224

Zoroastrianism is based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster in the 6th century BCE. Religion_sentence_225

Zoroastrians worship the creator Ahura Mazda. Religion_sentence_226

In Zoroastrianism, good and evil have distinct sources, with evil trying to destroy the creation of Mazda, and good trying to sustain it. Religion_sentence_227

Mandaeism is a monotheistic religion with a strongly dualistic worldview. Religion_sentence_228

Mandaeans are sometime labeled as the Last Gnostics. Religion_sentence_229

Kurdish religions include the traditional beliefs of the Yazidi, Alevi, and Ahl-e Haqq. Religion_sentence_230

Sometimes these are labeled Yazdânism. Religion_sentence_231

New religious movements Religion_section_36

Main article: New religious movement Religion_sentence_232

See also: List of new religious movements Religion_sentence_233


  • The Baháʼí Faith teaches the unity of all religious philosophies.Religion_item_12_31
  • Cao Đài is a syncretistic, monotheistic religion, established in Vietnam in 1926.Religion_item_12_32
  • Eckankar is a pantheistic religion with the purpose of making God an everyday reality in one's life.Religion_item_12_33
  • Epicureanism is a Hellenistic philosophy that is considered by many of its practitioners as a type of (sometimes non-theistic) religious identity. It has its own scriptures, a monthly "feast of reason" on the Twentieth, and considers friendship to be holy.Religion_item_12_34
  • Hindu reform movements, such as Ayyavazhi, Swaminarayan Faith and Ananda Marga, are examples of new religious movements within Indian religions.Religion_item_12_35
  • Japanese new religions (shinshukyo) is a general category for a wide variety of religious movements founded in Japan since the 19th century. These movements share almost nothing in common except the place of their founding. The largest religious movements centered in Japan include Soka Gakkai, Tenrikyo, and Seicho-No-Ie among hundreds of smaller groups.Religion_item_12_36
  • Jehovah's Witnesses, a non-trinitarian Christian Reformist movement sometimes described as millenarian.Religion_item_12_37
  • Neo-Druidism is a religion promoting harmony with nature, and drawing on the practices of the druids.Religion_item_12_38
  • There are various Neopagan movements that attempt to reconstruct or revive ancient pagan practices. These include Heathenry, Hellenism, and Kemeticism.Religion_item_12_39
  • Noahidism is a monotheistic ideology based on the Seven Laws of Noah, and on their traditional interpretations within Rabbinic Judaism.Religion_item_12_40
  • Some forms of parody religion or fiction-based religion like Jediism, Pastafarianism, Dudeism, "Tolkien religion", and others often develop their own writings, traditions, and cultural expressions, and end up behaving like traditional religions.Religion_item_12_41
  • Satanism is a broad category of religions that, for example, worship Satan as a deity (Theistic Satanism) or use Satan as a symbol of carnality and earthly values (LaVeyan Satanism and The Satanic Temple).Religion_item_12_42
  • Scientology teaches that people are immortal beings who have forgotten their true nature. Its method of spiritual rehabilitation is a type of counseling known as auditing, in which practitioners aim to consciously re-experience and understand painful or traumatic events and decisions in their past in order to free themselves of their limiting effects.Religion_item_12_43
  • UFO Religions in which extraterrestrial entities are an element of belief, such as Raëlism, Aetherius Society, and Marshall Vian Summers's New Message from GodReligion_item_12_44
  • Unitarian Universalism is a religion characterized by support for a free and responsible search for truth and meaning, and has no accepted creed or theology.Religion_item_12_45
  • Wicca is a neo-pagan religion first popularised in 1954 by British civil servant Gerald Gardner, involving the worship of a God and Goddess.Religion_item_12_46

Related aspects Religion_section_37

Law Religion_section_38

Main article: Law and religion Religion_sentence_234

The study of law and religion is a relatively new field, with several thousand scholars involved in law schools, and academic departments including political science, religion, and history since 1980. Religion_sentence_235

Scholars in the field are not only focused on strictly legal issues about religious freedom or non-establishment, but also study religions as they are qualified through judicial discourses or legal understanding of religious phenomena. Religion_sentence_236

Exponents look at canon law, natural law, and state law, often in a comparative perspective. Religion_sentence_237

Specialists have explored themes in Western history regarding Christianity and justice and mercy, rule and equity, and discipline and love. Religion_sentence_238

Common topics of interest include marriage and the family and human rights. Religion_sentence_239

Outside of Christianity, scholars have looked at law and religion links in the Muslim Middle East and pagan Rome. Religion_sentence_240

Studies have focused on secularization. Religion_sentence_241

In particular, the issue of wearing religious symbols in public, such as headscarves that are banned in French schools, have received scholarly attention in the context of human rights and feminism. Religion_sentence_242

Science Religion_section_39

Main articles: Faith and rationality, Relationship between religion and science, and Epistemology Religion_sentence_243

Science acknowledges reason, empiricism, and evidence; and religions include revelation, faith and sacredness whilst also acknowledging philosophical and metaphysical explanations with regard to the study of the universe. Religion_sentence_244

Both science and religion are not monolithic, timeless, or static because both are complex social and cultural endeavors that have changed through time across languages and cultures. Religion_sentence_245

The concepts of science and religion are a recent invention: the term religion emerged in the 17th century in the midst of colonization and globalization and the Protestant Reformation. Religion_sentence_246

The term science emerged in the 19th century out of natural philosophy in the midst of attempts to narrowly define those who studied nature (natural science), and the phrase religion and science emerged in the 19th century due to the reification of both concepts. Religion_sentence_247

It was in the 19th century that the terms Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and Confucianism first emerged. Religion_sentence_248

In the ancient and medieval world, the etymological Latin roots of both science (scientia) and religion (religio) were understood as inner qualities of the individual or virtues, never as doctrines, practices, or actual sources of knowledge. Religion_sentence_249

In general the scientific method gains knowledge by testing hypotheses to develop theories through elucidation of facts or evaluation by experiments and thus only answers cosmological questions about the universe that can be observed and measured. Religion_sentence_250

It develops theories of the world which best fit physically observed evidence. Religion_sentence_251

All scientific knowledge is subject to later refinement, or even rejection, in the face of additional evidence. Religion_sentence_252

Scientific theories that have an overwhelming preponderance of favorable evidence are often treated as de facto verities in general parlance, such as the theories of general relativity and natural selection to explain respectively the mechanisms of gravity and evolution. Religion_sentence_253

Religion does not have a method per se partly because religions emerge through time from diverse cultures and it is an attempt to find meaning in the world, and to explain humanity's place in it and relationship to it and to any posited entities. Religion_sentence_254

In terms of Christian theology and ultimate truths, people rely on reason, experience, scripture, and tradition to test and gauge what they experience and what they should believe. Religion_sentence_255

Furthermore, religious models, understanding, and metaphors are also revisable, as are scientific models. Religion_sentence_256

Regarding religion and science, Albert Einstein states (1940): "For science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgments of all kinds remain necessary. Religion_sentence_257

Religion, on the other hand, deals only with evaluations of human thought and action; it cannot justifiably speak of facts and relationships between facts…Now, even though the realms of religion and science in themselves are clearly marked off from each other, nevertheless there exist between the two strong reciprocal relationships and dependencies. Religion_sentence_258

Though religion may be that which determine the goals, it has, nevertheless, learned from science, in the broadest sense, what means will contribute to the attainment of the goals it has set up." Religion_sentence_259

Morality Religion_section_40

Main article: Morality and religion Religion_sentence_260

Many religions have value frameworks regarding personal behavior meant to guide adherents in determining between right and wrong. Religion_sentence_261

These include the Triple Jems of Jainism, Judaism's Halacha, Islam's Sharia, Catholicism's Canon Law, Buddhism's Eightfold Path, and Zoroastrianism's good thoughts, good words, and good deeds concept, among others. Religion_sentence_262

Religion and morality are not synonymous. Religion_sentence_263

While it is "an almost automatic assumption." Religion_sentence_264

in Christianity, morality can have a secular basis. Religion_sentence_265

The study of religion and morality can be contentious due to ethnocentric views on morality, failure to distinguish between in group and out group altruism, and inconsistent definitions of religiosity. Religion_sentence_266

Politics Religion_section_41

Impact Religion_section_42

Religion has had a significant impact on the political system in many countries. Religion_sentence_267

Notably, most Muslim-majority countries adopt various aspects of sharia, the Islamic law. Religion_sentence_268

Some countries even define themselves in religious terms, such as The Islamic Republic of Iran. Religion_sentence_269

The sharia thus affects up to 23% of the global population, or 1.57 billion people who are Muslims. Religion_sentence_270

However, religion also affects political decisions in many western countries. Religion_sentence_271

For instance, in the United States, 51% of voters would be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who did not believe in God, and only 6% more likely. Religion_sentence_272

Christians make up 92% of members of the US Congress, compared with 71% of the general public (as of 2014). Religion_sentence_273

At the same time, while 23% of U.S. adults are religiously unaffiliated, only one member of Congress (Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona), or 0.2% of that body, claims no religious affiliation. Religion_sentence_274

In most European countries, however, religion has a much smaller influence on politics although it used to be much more important. Religion_sentence_275

For instance, same-sex marriage and abortion were illegal in many European countries until recently, following Christian (usually Catholic) doctrine. Religion_sentence_276

Several European leaders are atheists (e.g. France's former president Francois Hollande or Greece's prime minister Alexis Tsipras). Religion_sentence_277

In Asia, the role of religion differs widely between countries. Religion_sentence_278

For instance, India is still one of the most religious countries and religion still has a strong impact on politics, given that Hindu nationalists have been targeting minorities like the Muslims and the Christians, who historically belonged to the lower castes. Religion_sentence_279

By contrast, countries such as China or Japan are largely secular and thus religion has a much smaller impact on politics. Religion_sentence_280

Secularism Religion_section_43

Main articles: Secularism and Secularization Religion_sentence_281

Secularization is the transformation of the politics of a society from close identification with a particular religion's values and institutions toward nonreligious values and secular institutions. Religion_sentence_282

The purpose of this is frequently modernization or protection of the populations religious diversity. Religion_sentence_283

Economics Religion_section_44

Main article: Economics of religion Religion_sentence_284

Further information: Religion and business and Wealth and religion Religion_sentence_285

One study has found there is a negative correlation between self-defined religiosity and the wealth of nations. Religion_sentence_286

In other words, the richer a nation is, the less likely its inhabitants to call themselves religious, whatever this word means to them (Many people identify themselves as part of a religion (not irreligion) but do not self-identify as religious). Religion_sentence_287

Sociologist and political economist Max Weber has argued that Protestant Christian countries are wealthier because of their Protestant work ethic. Religion_sentence_288

According to a study from 2015, Christians hold the largest amount of wealth (55% of the total world wealth), followed by Muslims (5.8%), Hindus (3.3%) and Jews (1.1%). Religion_sentence_289

According to the same study it was found that adherents under the classification Irreligion or other religions hold about 34.8% of the total global wealth. Religion_sentence_290

Health Religion_section_45

Main article: Impacts of religion on health Religion_sentence_291

Mayo Clinic researchers examined the association between religious involvement and spirituality, and physical health, mental health, health-related quality of life, and other health outcomes. Religion_sentence_292

The authors reported that: "Most studies have shown that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better health outcomes, including greater longevity, coping skills, and health-related quality of life (even during terminal illness) and less anxiety, depression, and suicide." Religion_sentence_293

The authors of a subsequent study concluded that the influence of religion on health is largely beneficial, based on a review of related literature. Religion_sentence_294

According to academic James W. Jones, several studies have discovered "positive correlations between religious belief and practice and mental and physical health and longevity." Religion_sentence_295

An analysis of data from the 1998 US General Social Survey, whilst broadly confirming that religious activity was associated with better health and well-being, also suggested that the role of different dimensions of spirituality/religiosity in health is rather more complicated. Religion_sentence_296

The results suggested "that it may not be appropriate to generalize findings about the relationship between spirituality/religiosity and health from one form of spirituality/religiosity to another, across denominations, or to assume effects are uniform for men and women. Religion_sentence_297

Violence Religion_section_46

Main article: Religious violence Religion_sentence_298

See also: Islam and violence, Christianity and violence, and Judaism and violence Religion_sentence_299

Critics like Hector Avalos Regina Schwartz, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins have argued that religions are inherently violent and harmful to society by using violence to promote their goals, in ways that are endorsed and exploited by their leaders. Religion_sentence_300

Anthropologist Jack David Eller asserts that religion is not inherently violent, arguing "religion and violence are clearly compatible, but they are not identical." Religion_sentence_301

He asserts that "violence is neither essential to nor exclusive to religion" and that "virtually every form of religious violence has its nonreligious corollary." Religion_sentence_302

Animal sacrifice Religion_section_47

Done by some (but not all) religions, animal sacrifice is the ritual killing and offering of an animal to appease or maintain favour with a deity. Religion_sentence_303

It has been banned in India. Religion_sentence_304

Superstition Religion_section_48

Further information: Superstition, Magical thinking, and Magic and religion Religion_sentence_305

Greek and Roman pagans, who saw their relations with the gods in political and social terms, scorned the man who constantly trembled with fear at the thought of the gods (deisidaimonia), as a slave might fear a cruel and capricious master. Religion_sentence_306

The Romans called such fear of the gods superstitio. Religion_sentence_307

Ancient Greek historian Polybius described superstition in ancient Rome as an instrumentum regni, an instrument of maintaining the cohesion of the Empire. Religion_sentence_308

Superstition has been described as the non-rational establishment of cause and effect. Religion_sentence_309

Religion is more complex and is often composed of social institutions and has a moral aspect. Religion_sentence_310

Some religions may include superstitions or make use of magical thinking. Religion_sentence_311

Adherents of one religion sometimes think of other religions as superstition. Religion_sentence_312

Some atheists, deists, and skeptics regard religious belief as superstition. Religion_sentence_313

The Roman Catholic Church considers superstition to be sinful in the sense that it denotes a lack of trust in the divine providence of God and, as such, is a violation of the first of the Ten Commandments. Religion_sentence_314

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that superstition "in some sense represents a perverse excess of religion" (para. Religion_sentence_315

  1. 2110). Religion_sentence_316

"Superstition," it says, "is a deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. Religion_sentence_317

It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. Religion_sentence_318

To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand is to fall into superstition. Religion_sentence_319

Cf. Religion_sentence_320

Matthew 23:16–22" (para. Religion_sentence_321

  1. 2111) Religion_sentence_322

Agnosticism and atheism Religion_section_49

Main articles: Atheism, Agnosticism, Irreligion, Antireligion, and Humanism Religion_sentence_323

See also: Criticism of atheism Religion_sentence_324

The terms atheist (lack of belief in any gods) and agnostic (belief in the unknowability of the existence of gods), though specifically contrary to theistic (e.g. Christian, Jewish, and Muslim) religious teachings, do not by definition mean the opposite of religious. Religion_sentence_325

There are religions (including Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism), in fact, that classify some of their followers as agnostic, atheistic, or nontheistic. Religion_sentence_326

The true opposite of religious is the word irreligious. Religion_sentence_327

Irreligion describes an absence of any religion; antireligion describes an active opposition or aversion toward religions in general. Religion_sentence_328

Interfaith cooperation Religion_section_50

Main article: Interfaith dialogue Religion_sentence_329

Because religion continues to be recognized in Western thought as a universal impulse, many religious practitioners have aimed to band together in interfaith dialogue, cooperation, and religious peacebuilding. Religion_sentence_330

The first major dialogue was the Parliament of the World's Religions at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, which affirmed universal values and recognition of the diversity of practices among different cultures. Religion_sentence_331

The 20th century has been especially fruitful in use of interfaith dialogue as a means of solving ethnic, political, or even religious conflict, with Christian–Jewish reconciliation representing a complete reverse in the attitudes of many Christian communities towards Jews. Religion_sentence_332

Recent interfaith initiatives include A Common Word, launched in 2007 and focused on bringing Muslim and Christian leaders together, the "C1 World Dialogue", the Common Ground initiative between Islam and Buddhism, and a United Nations sponsored "World Interfaith Harmony Week". Religion_sentence_333

Culture Religion_section_51

Culture and religion have usually been seen as closely related. Religion_sentence_334

Paul Tillich looked at religion as the soul of culture and culture as the form or framework of religion. Religion_sentence_335

In his own words: Religion_sentence_336

Ernst Troeltsch, similarly, looked at culture as the soil of religion and thought that, therefore, transplanting a religion from its original culture to a foreign culture would actually kill it in the same manner that transplanting a plant from its natural soil to an alien soil would kill it. Religion_sentence_337

However, there have been many attempts in the modern pluralistic situation to distinguish culture from religion. Religion_sentence_338

Domenic Marbaniang has argued that elements grounded on beliefs of a metaphysical nature (religious) are distinct from elements grounded on nature and the natural (cultural). Religion_sentence_339

For instance, language (with its grammar) is a cultural element while sacralization of language in which a particular religious scripture is written is more often a religious practice. Religion_sentence_340

The same applies to music and the arts. Religion_sentence_341

Criticism Religion_section_52

Main article: Criticism of religion Religion_sentence_342

Criticism of religion is criticism of the ideas, the truth, or the practice of religion, including its political and social implications. Religion_sentence_343

See also Religion_section_53

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: