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Religion


Religion is a cultural system of behaviors and practices, world views, sacred texts, holy places, ethics, and societal organisation that relate humanity to what an anthropologist has called "an order of existence". 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 God or 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. About 84% of the world's population is affiliated with one of the five largest religions, namely Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or forms of folk religion.


Five largest religions 2010 (billion) 2010 (%) 2000 (billion) 2000 (%) Demographics
Christianity 2.2 32% 2.0 33% Christianity by country
Islam 1.6 23% 1.2 19.6% Islam by country
Hinduism 1.0 15% 0.811 13.4% Hinduism by country
Buddhism 0.5 7% 0.360 5.9% Buddhism by country
Folk religion 0.4 6% 0.385 6.4%
Total 5.8 84% 4.8 78.3%

Primary
Secondary
  • Sunni Islam is the largest denomination within Islam and follows the Quran, the hadiths which record the sunnah, whilst placing emphasis on the sahabah.
  • 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.
  • Ahmadiyya adherents believe that the awaited Imam Mahdi and the Promised Messiah has arrived, believed to be Mirza Ghulam Ahmad by Ahmadis.
  • There are also Muslim revivalist movements such as Muwahhidism and Salafism.
  • Shinshūkyō 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.
  • Cao Đài is a syncretistic, monotheistic religion, established in Vietnam in 1926.
  • Raëlism is a new religious movement founded in 1974 teaching that humans were created by aliens. It is numerically the world's largest UFO religion.
  • Hindu reform movements, such as Ayyavazhi, Swaminarayan Faith and Ananda Marga, are examples of new religious movements within Indian religions.
  • 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.
  • Noahidism is a monotheistic ideology based on the Seven Laws of Noah, and on their traditional interpretations within Rabbinic Judaism.
  • 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.
  • Eckankar is a pantheistic religion with the purpose of making God an everyday reality in one's life.
  • Wicca is a neo-pagan religion first popularised in 1954 by British civil servant Gerald Gardner, involving the worship of a God and Goddess.
  • Druidry is a religion promoting harmony with nature, and drawing on the practices of the druids.
  • There are various Neopagan movements that attempt to reconstruct or revive ancient pagan practices. These include Heathenry, Hellenism, and Kemeticism.
  • 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).
  • Saint Augustine; The Confessions of Saint Augustine (John K. Ryan translator); Image (1960), .
  • Lao Tzu; Tao Te Ching (Victor H. Mair translator); Bantam (1998).
  • The Holy Bible, King James Version; New American Library (1974).
  • The Koran; Penguin (2000), .
  • The Origin of Live & Death, African Creation Myths; Heinemann (1966).
  • Poems of Heaven and Hell from Ancient Mesopotamia; Penguin (1971).
  • Selected Work Marcus Tullius Cicero
  • United States Constitution
  • Barzilai, Gad; Law and Religion; The International Library of Essays in Law and Society; Ashgate (2007),
  • Borg, J. (November 2003), "The Serotonin System and Spiritual Experiences", American Journal of Psychiatry, 160: 1965–1969, doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.160.11.1965, PMID 14594742  Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  • Brodd, Jefferey (2003). World Religions. Winona, MN: Saint Mary's Press. ISBN . 
  • Yves Coppens, Origines de l'homme - De la matière à la conscience, De Vive Voix, Paris, 2010
  • Yves Coppens, La preistoria dell'uomo, Jaka Book, Milano, 2011
  • Descartes, René; Meditations on First Philosophy; Bobbs-Merril (1960), .
  • Dow, James W. (2007), A Scientific Definition of Religion
  • Durant, Will (& Ariel (uncredited)); Our Oriental Heritage; MJF Books (1997), .
  • Durant, Will (& Ariel (uncredited)); Caesar and Christ; MJF Books (1994),
  • Durant, Will (& Ariel (uncredited)); The Age of Faith; Simon & Schuster (1980), .
  • Durkheim, Emile (1976) The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. London: George Allen & Unwin (in French 1912, English translation 1915)
  • Geertz, Clifford. 1993 [1966]. Religion as a cultural system at the Wayback Machine (archived 25 September 2007). pp. 87–125 in Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. London: Fontana Press.
  • Marija Gimbutas 1989. The Language of the Goddess. Thames and Hudson New York
  • Gonick, Larry; The Cartoon History of the Universe; Doubleday, vol. 1 (1978) , vol. II (1994) , W. W. Norton, vol. III (2002) .
  • Haisch, Bernard The God Theory: Universes, Zero-point Fields, and What's Behind It All—discussion of science vs. religion (Preface), Red Wheel/Weiser, 2006,
  • Khanbaghi, A., The Fire, the Star and the Cross: Minority Religions in Medieval and Early Modern Iran (IB Tauris; 2006) 268 pages. Social, political and cultural history of religious minorities in Iran, c. 226-1722 AD.
  • King, Winston, Religion [First Edition]. In: Encyclopedia of Religion. Ed. Lindsay Jones. Vol. 11. 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. p7692-7701.
  • Korotayev, Andrey, World Religions and Social Evolution of the Old World Oikumene Civilizations: A Cross-cultural Perspective, Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2004, .
  • Lynn, Richard; Harvey, John; Nyborg, Helmuth (2009). "Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations". Intelligence. 37: 11–15. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2008.03.004. 
  • McKinnon, Andrew M. (2002), "Sociological Definitions, Language Games and the 'Essence' of Religion". Method & theory in the study of religion, vol 14, no. 1, pp. 61–83.
  • Marx, Karl; "Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right", Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, (1844).
  • Palmer, Spencer J., et al. Religions of the World: a Latter-day Saint [Mormon] View. 2nd general ed., tev. and enl. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 1997. xv, 294 p., ill.
  • Pals, Daniel L. (2006), Eight Theories of Religion, Oxford University Press 
  • Ramsay, Michael, Abp. Beyond Religion? Cincinnati, Ohio: Forward Movement Publications, (cop. 1964).
  • Saler, Benson; "Conceptualizing Religion: Immanent Anthropologists, Transcendent Natives, and Unbounded Categories" (1990),
  • Schuon, Frithjof. The Transcendent Unity of Religions, in series, Quest Books. 2nd Quest ... rev. ed. Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993, cop. 1984. xxxiv, 173 p.
  • Smith, Wilfred Cantwell (1962), The Meaning and End of Religion
  • Stausberg, Michael (2009), Contemporary Theories of religion, Routledge 
  • Wallace, Anthony F. C. 1966. Religion: An Anthropological View. New York: Random House. (p. 62-66)
  • The World Almanac (annual), World Almanac Books, .
  • The World Almanac (for numbers of adherents of various religions), 2005
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