There is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a
religion. It may be defined as a cultural system of designated
behaviors and practices, world views, texts, sanctified places,
prophesies, ethics, or organizations, that relate humanity to the
supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual.
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 religions, namely Christianity, Islam, Hinduism,
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
The study of religion encompasses a wide variety of academic
disciplines, including theology, comparative religion and social
Theories of religion
Theories of religion offer various explanations
for the origins and workings of religion.
1 Concept and etymology
2.1 Modern western
3.3 Social organisation
4 Academic study
4.1.1 Origins and development
4.1.2 Cultural system
4.1.3 Social constructionism
4.1.4 Cognitive science
5.1 Morphological Classification
5.2 Demographical Classification
5.3 Geographical Classification
5.3.2 East Asian
Taoism and Confucianism
18.104.22.168 Chinese folk religion
5.3.4 Indigenous and folk
5.3.5 Traditional African
6 Related aspects
6.7.1 Animal sacrifice
Secularism and atheism
Agnosticism and atheism
8 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
Concept and etymology
Religion (from O.Fr. religion religious community, from L. religionem
(nom. religio) "respect for what is sacred, reverence for the
gods", "obligation, the bond between man and the gods") is
derived from the
Latin religiō, the ultimate origins of which are
obscure. 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. The definition of religio by
Cicero is cultum
deorum, "the proper performance of rites in veneration of the
gods." 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. Augustine, following the interpretation
Lactantius in Divinae institutiones, IV, 28. 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'".
In the ancient and medieval world, the etymological
Latin root religio
was understood as an individual virtue of worship, never as doctrine,
practice, or actual source of knowledge. Furthermore, religio
referred to broad social obligations to family, neighbors, rulers, and
even towards God. When religio came into English around the 1200s
as religion, it took the meaning of "life bound by monastic vows".
The compartmentalized concept of religion, where religious things were
separated from worldly things, was not used before the 1500s. The
concept of religion was first used in the 1500s to distinguish the
domain of the church and the domain of civil authorities.
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. For example,
there is no precise equivalent of religion in Hebrew, and
not distinguish clearly between religious, national, racial, or ethnic
identities. 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. The Greek word
threskeia, which was used by Greek writers such as Herodotus and
Josephus, is found in the New Testament. Threskeia is sometimes
translated as religion in today's translations, however, the term was
understood as worship well into the medieval period. 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. 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. The
Sanskrit word dharma, sometimes
translated as religion, also means law. Throughout classical South
Asia, the study of law consisted of concepts such as penance through
piety and ceremonial as well as practical traditions. Medieval Japan
at first had a similar union between imperial law and universal or
Buddha law, but these later became independent sources of
The modern concept of religion, as an abstraction that entails
distinct sets of beliefs or doctrines, is a recent invention in the
English language since such usage began with texts from the 17th
century due to 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. Some argue that regardless of its definition, it is
not appropriate to apply the term religion to non-Western
cultures. Others argue that using religion on non-western
cultures distorts what people do and believe.
It was in the 19th century that the terms Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism,
Confucianism, and World Religions first emerged. No one
self-identified as a
Hindu or Buddhist or other similar identities
before the 1800s. 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 Western idea.
According to the philologist
Max Müller in the 19th century, the root
of the English word religion, the
Latin religio, was originally used
to mean only reverence for
God or the gods, careful pondering of
divine things, piety (which
Cicero further derived to mean
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. What is called
ancient religion today, they would have only called law.
Main article: Definition of religion
Scholars have failed to agree on a definition of religion. There are
however two general definition systems: the sociological/functional
and the phenomenological/philosophical.
Religion is a modern Western concept. Parallel concepts are not
found in many current and past cultures; there is no equivalent term
for religion in many languages. Scholars have found it
difficult to develop a consistent definition, with some giving up on
the possibility of a definition. Others argue that regardless
of its definition, it is not appropriate to apply it to non-Western
An increasing number of scholars have expressed reservations about
ever defining the essence of religion. 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). The MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religions states:
The very attempt to define religion, to find some distinctive or
possibly unique essence or set of qualities that distinguish the
religious from the remainder of human life, is primarily a Western
concern. The attempt is a natural consequence of the Western
speculative, intellectualistic, and scientific disposition. It is also
the product of the dominant Western religious mode, what is called the
Judeo-Christian climate or, more accurately, the theistic inheritance
from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The theistic form of belief in
this tradition, even when downgraded culturally, is formative of the
dichotomous Western view of religion. That is, the basic structure of
theism is essentially a distinction between a transcendent deity and
all else, between the creator and his creation, between
Clifford Geertz defined religion as a
[…] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive,
and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating
conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these
conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and
motivations seem uniquely realistic."
Alluding perhaps to Tylor's "deeper motive", Geertz remarked that
[…] we have very little idea of how, in empirical terms, this
particular miracle is accomplished. We just know that it is done,
annually, weekly, daily, for some people almost hourly; and we have an
enormous ethnographic literature to demonstrate it.
Antoine Vergote took the term supernatural simply to
mean whatever transcends the powers of nature or human agency. He also
emphasized the cultural reality of religion, which he defined as
[…] the entirety of the linguistic expressions, emotions and,
actions and signs that refer to a supernatural being or supernatural
Peter Mandaville and Paul James intended to get away from the
modernist dualisms or dichotomous understandings of
immanence/transcendence, spirituality/materialism, and
sacredness/secularity. They define religion as
[…] a relatively-bounded system of beliefs, symbols and practices
that addresses the nature of existence, and in which communion with
others and Otherness is lived as if it both takes in and spiritually
transcends socially-grounded ontologies of time, space, embodiment and
According to the MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religions, there is an
experiential aspect to religion which can be found in almost every
[…] almost every known culture [has] a depth dimension in cultural
experiences […] toward some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that
will provide norms and power for the rest of life. When more or less
distinct patterns of behavior are built around this depth dimension in
a culture, this structure constitutes religion in its historically
Religion is the organization of life around the
depth dimensions of experience—varied in form, completeness, and
clarity in accordance with the environing culture.
Budazhap Shiretorov (Будажап Цыреторов), the head
shaman of the religious community Altan Serge (Алтан Сэргэ)
Friedrich Schleiermacher in the late 18th century defined religion as
das schlechthinnige Abhängigkeitsgefühl, commonly translated as "the
feeling of absolute dependence".
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel disagreed thoroughly,
defining religion as "the Divine
Spirit becoming conscious of Himself
through the finite spirit."
Edward Burnett Tylor
Edward Burnett Tylor defined religion in 1871 as "the belief in
spiritual beings". 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". He
also argued that the belief in spiritual beings exists in all known
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". 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.
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". 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".
Sacred things are not, however, limited to gods or
spirits.[note 1] 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". 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
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".
Similarly, for the theologian Paul Tillich, faith is "the state of
being ultimately concerned", which "is itself religion.
the substance, the ground, and the depth of man's spiritual life."
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.
Main article: Religious beliefs
Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a
source of religious beliefs. 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.
Main article: Mythology
The word myth has several meanings.
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;
A person or thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence;
A metaphor for the spiritual potentiality in the human being.
Ancient polytheistic religions, such as those of Greece, Rome, and
Scandinavia, are usually categorized under the heading of mythology.
Religions of pre-industrial peoples, or cultures in development, are
similarly called myths in the anthropology of religion. The term myth
can be used pejoratively by both religious and non-religious people.
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.
Joseph Campbell remarked, "
often thought of as other people's religions, and religion can be
defined as mis-interpreted mythology."
In sociology, however, the term myth has a non-pejorative meaning.
There, myth is defined as a story that is important for the group
whether or not it is objectively or provably true. 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. But from a mythological outlook, whether or not the
event actually occurred is unimportant. Instead, the symbolism of the
death of an old life and the start of a new life is what is most
significant. Religious believers may or may not accept such symbolic
Religions have sacred histories, narratives, and mythologies which may
be preserved in sacred scriptures, and symbols and holy places, that
aim to explain the meaning of life, the origin of life, or the
Religious behaviour and
Cult (religious practice)
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, music, art, dance,
public service, or other aspects of human culture.
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.
Religious studies and Classifications of religious
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.
Daniel L. Pals mentions eight classical theories of religion, focusing
on various aspects of religion: animism and magic, by E.B. Tylor and
J.G. Frazer; the psycho-analytic approach of Sigmund Freud; and
further Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Mircea Eliade, E.E.
Evans-Pritchard, and Clifford Geertz.
Michael Stausberg gives an overview of contemporary theories of
religion, including cognitive and biological approaches.
Theories of religion
Sociological and anthropological theories of religion generally
attempt to explain the origin and function of religion. These
theories define what they present as universal characteristics of
religious belief and practice.
Origins and development
Yazılıkaya sanctuary in Turkey, with the twelve gods of the
The origin of religion is uncertain. There are a number of theories
regarding the subsequent origins of religious practices.
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.
Charismatic individuals have emerged at many times and places in the
world. 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."
The development of religion has taken different forms in different
cultures. Some religions place an emphasis on belief, while others
emphasize practice. Some religions focus on the subjective experience
of the religious individual, while others consider the activities of
the religious community to be most important. 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. In many places religion has been
associated with public institutions such as education, hospitals, the
family, government, and political hierarchies.
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. 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
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". A critique of Geertz's
Talal Asad categorized religion as "an anthropological
category". 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.
Main article: Social constructionism
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. Among the main proponents of this theory of religion are
Daniel Dubuisson, Timothy Fitzgerald, Talal Asad, and Jason Ānanda
Josephson. The social constructionists argue that religion is a modern
concept that developed from
Christianity and was then applied
inappropriately to non-Western cultures.
Main article: Cognitive science of religion
Cognitive science of religion is the study of religious thought and
behavior from the perspective of the cognitive and evolutionary
sciences. 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. Scholars in this
field seek to explain how human minds acquire, generate, and transmit
religious thoughts, practices, and schemas by means of ordinary
Hallucinations and delusions related to religious content occurs in
about 60% of people with schizophrenia. While this number varies
across cultures, this had led to theories about a number of influental
religious phenomenon and possible relation to psychotic disorders. A
number of prophetic experiences are consistent with psychotic
symptoms, although retrospective diagnoses are practically
impossible. Schizophrenic episodes are also experienced by
people who do not have belief in gods.
Religious content is also common in temporal lobe epilepsy, and
obsessive-compulsive disorder. Atheistic content is also found
to be common with temporal lobe epilepsy.
Main article: Comparative religion
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. 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. 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.
In the field of comparative religion, a common geographical
classification of the main world religions includes Middle Eastern
Zoroastrianism and Iranian religions), Indian
religions, East Asian religions, African religions, American
religions, Oceanic religions, and classical Hellenistic religions.
Main article: History of religions
A map of major denominations and religions of the world
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the academic practice of comparative
religion divided religious belief into philosophically defined
categories called world religions. Some academics studying the subject
have divided religions into three broad categories:
world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international
indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or
nation-specific religious groups; and
new religious movements, which refers to recently developed
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. 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.
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. Others reject the distinction, pointing
out that all religious practices, whatever their philosophical origin,
are ethnic because they come from a particular culture.
Major religious groups
Major religious groups and List of religious
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
Hinduism dependent on the extent of syncretism) and
traditional folk religion.
Five largest religions
Christianity by country
Islam by country
Hinduism by country
Buddhism by country
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. A
follow up poll in 2015 found that 63% of the globe identified as
religious, 22% as not religious, and 11% as convinced atheists. On
average, women are more religious than men. 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.
Abraham (by József Molnár)
Abrahamic religions are monotheistic religions which believe they
descend from Abraham.
Torah is the primary sacred text of Judaism.
Judaism is the oldest Abrahamic religion, originating in the people of
ancient Israel and Judea. The
Torah is its foundational text, and is
part of the larger text known as the
Tanakh or Hebrew Bible. It is
supplemented by oral tradition, set down in written form in later
texts such as the
Midrash and the Talmud.
Judaism includes a wide
corpus of texts, practices, theological positions, and forms of
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. The
Jewish people were scattered after the destruction
Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE. Today there are about 13 million
Jews, about 40 per cent living in Israel and 40 per cent in the United
States. The largest
Jewish religious movements are Orthodox
Judaism and Modern Orthodox Judaism), Conservative
Judaism and Reform Judaism.
Jesus is the central figure of Christianity.
Christianity is based on the life and teachings of
Jesus of Nazareth
(1st century) as presented in the New Testament. The Christian faith
is essentially faith in
Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, and as
Savior and Lord. 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. Most
Christians can describe their faith
with the Nicene Creed. As the religion of
Byzantine Empire in the
first millennium and of
Western Europe during the time of
Christianity has been propagated throughout the world.
The main divisions of
Christianity are, according to the number of
The Catholic Church, led by the
Bishop of Rome
Bishop of Rome and the bishops
worldwide in communion with him, is a communion of 24 Churches sui
iuris, including the
Latin Church and 23 Eastern Catholic churches,
such as the
Maronite Catholic Church.
Eastern Christianity, which include Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental
Orthodoxy, and the Church of the East.
Protestantism, separated from the
Catholic Church in the 16th-century
Protestant Reformation and is split into thousands of denominations.
Major branches of
Protestantism include Anglicanism, Baptists,
Calvinism, Lutheranism, and Methodism, though each of these contain
many different denominations or groups.
There are also smaller groups, including:
Restorationism, the belief that
Christianity should be restored (as
opposed to reformed) along the lines of what is known about the
apostolic early church.
Latter Day Saint movement, founded by
Joseph Smith in the late 1820s.
Jehovah's Witnesses, founded in the late 1870s by Charles Taze
Muslims circumambulating the Kaaba, the most sacred site in Islam
Islam is 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.
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. 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. There are also several Islamic republics, including Iran,
Pakistan, Mauritania, and Afghanistan.
Islam is the largest denomination within
Islam and follows the
Quran, the hadiths which record the sunnah, whilst placing emphasis on
Islam is the second largest denomination of
Islam and its
adherents believe that
Muhammad and further places
emphasis on Muhammad's family.
Ahmadiyya adherents believe that the awaited Imam
Mahdi and the
Messiah has arrived, believed to be
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad by
There are also
Muslim revivalist movements such as
Other denominations of
Islam include Nation of Islam, Ibadi, Sufism,
Quranism, Mahdavia, and non-denominational Muslims.
Wahhabism is the
Muslim schools of thought in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Faith is an Abrahamic religion founded in 19th century
Iran and since then has spread worldwide. It teaches unity of all
religious philosophies and accepts all of the prophets of Judaism,
Islam as well as additional prophets including its
founder Bahá'u'lláh. One of its divisions is the Orthodox Bahá'í
Smaller regional Abrahamic groups also exist, including Samaritanism
(primarily in Israel and the West Bank), the
(primarily in Jamaica), and
Druze (primarily in Syria and Lebanon).
Main article: East Asian religions
East Asian religions
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). They
Taoism and Confucianism
Taoism and Confucianism, as well as Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese
religion influenced by Chinese thought.
Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion: the indigenous religions of the Han Chinese,
or, by metonymy, of all the populations of the Chinese cultural
sphere. It includes the syncretism of Confucianism,
Buddhism, Wuism, as well as many new religious movements such as Chen
Falun Gong and Yiguandao.
Other folk and new religions of
East Asia and
Southeast Asia such as
Korean shamanism, Chondogyo, and
Jeung San Do
Jeung San Do in Korea; Shinto,
Shugendo, Ryukyuan religion, and
Japanese new religions
Japanese new religions in Japan;
Satsana Phi in Laos; Cao Đài, Hòa Hảo, and Vietnamese folk
religion in Vietnam.
Hindu statue of
Lord Rama in Kalaram
The Buddha, in a
Sanskrit manuscript, Nālandā, Bihar, India
Indian religions are practiced or were founded in the Indian
subcontinent. 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.
Hinduism is a synecdoche describing the similar philosophies of
Vaishnavism, Shaivism, and related groups practiced or founded in the
Indian subcontinent. Concepts most of them share in common include
karma, caste, reincarnation, mantras, yantras, and darśana.[note 2]
Hinduism is one of the most ancient of still-active
religions, with origins perhaps as far back as prehistoric
Hinduism is not a monolithic religion but a religious
category containing dozens of separate philosophies amalgamated as
Sanātana Dharma, which is the name by which
Hinduism has been known
throughout history by its followers.
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
hence to attain freedom from the cycle of birth and death (nirvana).
Jains are found mostly in India. According to Dundas, outside of the
Jain tradition, historians date the
Mahavira as about contemporaneous
Buddha in the 5th-century BC, and accordingly the historical
Parshvanatha, based on the c. 250-year gap, is placed in 8th or 7th
Buddhism was founded by Siddhattha Gotama in the 6th century BCE.
Buddhists generally agree that Gotama aimed to help sentient beings
end their suffering (dukkha) by understanding the true nature of
phenomena, thereby escaping the cycle of suffering and rebirth
(saṃsāra), that is, achieving nirvana.
Theravada Buddhism, which is practiced mainly in
Sri Lanka and
Southeast Asia alongside folk religion, shares some characteristics of
Indian religions. It is based in a large collection of texts called
the Pali Canon.
Buddhism (or the Great Vehicle) under which are a multitude
of doctrines that became prominent in China and are still relevant in
Vietnam, Korea, Japan and to a lesser extent in Europe and the United
Buddhism includes such disparate teachings as Zen,
Pure Land, and Soka Gakkai.
Buddhism first appeared in
India in the 3rd century CE.
It is currently most prominent in the Himalaya regions and
extends across all of Asia (cf. Mikkyō).
Two notable new Buddhist sects are
Hòa Hảo and the
Buddhist movement), which were developed separately in the 20th
Guru Nanak at
Goindwal Sahib Gurdwara
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
enjoined to engage in social reform through the pursuit of justice for
all human beings.
Indigenous and folk
Incense burner in China
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…". 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. Some faiths are syncretic,
fusing diverse religious beliefs and practices.
Australian Aboriginal religions.
Folk religions of the Americas: Native American religions
Folk religions are often omitted as a category in surveys even in
countries where they are widely practiced, e.g. in China.
Orisha (god) of fire, lightning, and thunder, in the
Yoruba religion, depicted on horseback
Main article: Traditional African religion
Further information: African diasporic religions
African traditional religion encompasses the traditional religious
beliefs of people in Africa. In north Africa, these religions have
included traditional Berber religion, ancient Egyptian religion, and
Waaq. West African religions include Akan religion, Dahomey (Fon)
mythology, Efik mythology,
Odinani of the Igbo people, Serer religion,
and Yoruba religion, while Bushongo mythology, Mbuti (Pygmy)
mythology, Lugbara mythology, Dinka religion, and Lotuko mythology
come from central Africa. Southern African traditions include Akamba
mythology, Masai mythology, Malagasy mythology, San religion, Lozi
mythology, Tumbuka mythology, and Zulu mythology.
Bantu mythology is
found throughout central, southeast, and southern Africa.
There are also notable
African diasporic religions
African diasporic religions practiced in the
Americas, such as Santeria, Candomble, Vodun, Lucumi, Umbanda, and
Zoroastrian Fire Temple
Iranian religions are ancient religions whose roots predate the
Islamization of Greater Iran. Nowadays these religions are practiced
only by minorities.
Zoroastrianism is based on the teachings of prophet
Zoroaster in the
6th century BCE. Zoroastrians worship the creator Ahura Mazda. In
Zoroastrianism good and evil have distinct sources, with evil trying
to destroy the creation of Mazda, and good trying to sustain it.
Mandaeism is a monotheistic religion with a strongly dualistic
worldview. Mandaeans are sometime labeled as the Last Gnostics.
Kurdish religions include the traditional beliefs of the Yazidi,
Alevi, and Ahl-e Haqq. Sometimes these are labeled Yazdânism.
Main article: New religious movement
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,
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
Hindu reform movements, such as Ayyavazhi, Swaminarayan
Ananda Marga, are examples of new religious movements within Indian
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
Eckankar is a pantheistic religion with the purpose of making
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
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,
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).
Sociological classifications of religious movements
Sociological classifications of religious movements suggest that
within any given religious group, a community can resemble various
types of structures, including churches, denominations, sects, cults,
Law and religion
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.
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. Exponents look at canon law,
natural law, and state law, often in a comparative
perspective. Specialists have explored themes in western
Christianity and justice and mercy, rule and equity,
and discipline and love. Common topics of interest include
marriage and the family and human rights. Outside of
Christianity, scholars have looked at law and religion links in the
Muslim Middle East and pagan Rome.
Studies have focused on secularization. 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.
Faith and rationality, Relationship between religion
and science, and Epistemology
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. 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
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. 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. It was
in the 19th century that the terms Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and
Confucianism first emerged. In the ancient and medieval world, the
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
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. It develops theories of
the world which best fit physically observed evidence. All scientific
knowledge is subject to later refinement, or even rejection, in the
face of additional evidence. 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 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. 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. Furthermore, religious models,
understanding, and metaphors are also revisable, as are scientific
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, 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. 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." 
Main article: Morality and religion
Many religions have value frameworks regarding personal behavior meant
to guide adherents in determining between right and wrong. 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,
Religion and morality are not synonymous. Morality
does not necessarily depend upon religion although this is "an almost
automatic assumption." According to The Westminster Dictionary of
Christian Ethics, religion and morality "are to be defined differently
and have no definitional connections with each other. Conceptually and
in principle, morality and a religious value system are two distinct
kinds of value systems or action guides."
The study of religion and morality is contentious due to conceptual
differences between the two topics. Ethnocentric views on morality,
failure to distinguish between ingroup and outgroup altruism, and
inconsistent definitions of religiosity all contribute to conflicting
According to Hobson and Inzlitcht, membership of a religious group can
accentuate biases in behavior toward in group versus out group
members, which may explain the lower number of interracial friends and
greater approval of torture among church members. While behavior
towards in group members may be prosocial, out group derogation may
lead to antisocial behavior. According to Noreenzayan and
Shariff, sociological studies on prosociality with respect to religion
sometimes rely on self-reports which may or may not be accurate if
there are prosocial expectations at stake. Peer ratings can be
biased by stereotypes, and indications of a persons lack of religoous
affiliation are sufficient to bias reporting. The motivation of
altruism can differ between groups, with a major factor contributing
to religious altruism being the desire to appear altruistic.
According to Hall et al.'s study on racism which was based on mostly
Christians in the United States; religious humanitarianism is
largely directed at in-group members. Greater religious
identification, greater extrinsic religiosity and greater religious
fundamentalism were associated with racial prejudice. However, greater
intrinsic religiosity and greater quest were negatively related to
racism, a relation that reflected racial tolerance.
According to global research done by Gallup on people from 145
countries, adherents of all the major world religions who attended
religious services in the past week have higher rates of generosity
such as donating money, volunteering, and helping a stranger than do
their coreligionists who did not attend services (non-attenders). Even
for people who were nonreligious, those who said they attended
religious services in the past week exhibited more generous
behaviors. Another global study by Gallup on people from 140
countries showed that highly religious people are more likely to help
others in terms of donating money, volunteering, and helping strangers
despite them having, on average, lower incomes than those who are less
religious or nonreligious.
One study by Saslow et al. on pro-social sentiments showed that
non-religious people were more inclined to show generosity in random
acts of kindness, such as lending their possessions and offering a
seat on a crowded bus or train. Religious people were less inclined
when it came to seeing how much compassion motivated participants to
be charitable in other ways, such as in giving money or food to a
homeless person and to non-believers. Dacety et al. conducted a
study on altruistic behavior in children across multiple nations by
using a game with stickers. There was a negative association between
religion and altruism, although the parents usually reported altruism
was associated with religious upbringing.
A study by
Harvard University professor
Robert Putnam found that
religious people are more charitable than their irreligious
counterparts. The study reported that forty percent of
worship service attending Americans volunteer regularly to help the
poor and elderly as opposed to 15% of Americans who never attend
services. Moreover, religious individuals are more likely than
non-religious individuals to volunteer for school and youth programs
(36% vs. 15%), a neighborhood or civic group (26% vs. 13%), and for
health care (21% vs. 13%). Other research has shown similar
correlations between religiosity and giving.
Religious belief was found in one study to be the strongest predictor
of charitable giving. One study found that
average charitable giving in 2000 by religious individuals ($2,210)
was over three times that of secular individuals ($642). Giving to
non-religious charities by religious individuals was $88 higher.
Religious individuals are also more likely to volunteer time, donate
blood, and give back money when accidentally given too much
change. A 2007 study by
The Barna Group found that active-faith
individuals (those who had attended a church service in the past week)
reported that they had given on average $1,500 in 2006, while no-faith
individuals reported that they had given on average $200. Active-faith
adults claimed to give twice as much to non-church-related charities
as no-faith individuals claimed to give. They were also more likely to
report that they were registered to vote, that they volunteered, that
they personally helped someone who was homeless, and to describe
themselves as active in the community.
Some scientific studies show that the degree of religiosity is
generally found to be associated with higher ethical
attitudes — for example, surveys suggesting a
positive connection between faith and altruism. Survey research
suggests that believers do tend to hold different views than
non-believers on a variety of social, ethical and moral questions.
According to a 2003 survey conducted in the
United States by The Barna
Group, those who described themselves as believers were less likely
than those describing themselves as atheists or agnostics to consider
the following behaviors morally acceptable: cohabitating with someone
of the opposite sex outside of marriage, enjoying sexual fantasies,
having an abortion, sexual relationships outside of marriage,
gambling, looking at pictures of nudity or explicit sexual behavior,
getting drunk, and having a sexual relationship with someone of the
Religion has a significant impact on the political system in many
countries. Notably, most Muslim-majority countries adopt various
aspects of sharia, the Islamic law. Some countries even define
themselves in religious terms, such as The Islamic Republic of Iran.
The sharia thus affects up to 23% of the global population, or
1.57 billion people who are Muslims. However, religion also
affects political decisions in many western countries. 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
Christians make up 92% of members of the US Congress,
compared with 71% of the general public (as of 2014). 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. In most European countries,
however, religion has a much smaller influence on politics
although it used to be much more important. For instance, same-sex
marriage and abortion were illegal in many European countries until
recently, following Christian (usually Catholic) doctrine. Several
European leaders are atheists (e.g. France’s former president
Francois Hollande or Greece's prime minister Alexis Tsipras). In Asia,
the role of religion differs widely between countries. 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. By contrast, countries
such as China or Japan are largely secular and thus religion has a
much smaller impact on politics.
Average income correlates negatively with (self-defined)
Main article: Economics of religion
Religion and business and Wealth and religion
One study has found there is a negative correlation between
self-defined religiosity and the wealth of nations. 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).
Sociologist and political economist
Max Weber has argued that
Protestant Christian countries are wealthier because of their
Protestant work ethic.
According to a study from 2015,
Christians hold the largest amount of
wealth (55% of the total world wealth), followed by
Hindus (3.3%) and
Jewish (1.1%). 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.
Main article: Impacts of religion on health
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. 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
The authors of a subsequent study concluded that the influence of
religion on health is largely beneficial, based on a review of related
literature. According to academic James W. Jones, several studies
have discovered "positive correlations between religious belief and
practice and mental and physical health and longevity." 
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. 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.
Main article: Religious violence
Islam and violence,
Christianity and violence, and Judaism
United Airlines Flight 175
United Airlines Flight 175 hits the South Tower during the September
11 attacks of 2001 in New York City. The
September 11 attacks
September 11 attacks (also
referred to as 9/11) were a series of four coordinated terrorist
attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda on the United States
on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
Critics like Hector Avalos Regina Schwartz, Christopher
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.[page needed][page needed]
Anthropologist Jack David Eller asserts that religion is not
inherently violent, arguing "religion and violence are clearly
compatible, but they are not identical." He asserts that "violence is
neither essential to nor exclusive to religion" and that "virtually
every form of religious violence has its nonreligious
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. It has been banned in India.
Further information: Superstition, Magical thinking, and Magic and
Superstition has been described as the incorrect establishment of
cause and effect or a false conception of causation.
more complex and is mostly composed of social institutions and
morality. But some religions may include superstitions or make use of
magical thinking. Adherents of one religion sometimes think of other
religions as superstition. Some atheists, deists, and
skeptics regard religious belief as superstition.
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. The Romans called such fear of the
Ancient greek historian
Polybius described superstition in Ancient
Rome as an instrumentum regni, an instrument of maintaining the
cohesion of the Empire.
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. The
Catechism of the
Catholic Church states that superstition "in some
sense represents a perverse excess of religion" (para. #2110).
"Superstition," it says, "is a deviation of religious feeling and of
the practices this feeling imposes. 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. 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. Cf. Matthew 23:16–22"
Secularism and atheism
Ranjit Singh established secular rule over Punjab in the early 19th
Main articles: Secularism, Secularization, and Irreligion
Secularization is the transformation of a society from close
identification with religious values and institutions toward
nonreligious values and secular institutions. The term secularization
is also used in the context of the lifting of the monastic
restrictions from a member of the clergy.
Agnosticism and atheism
Main articles: Atheism, Agnosticism, Antireligion, and Humanism
Criticism of atheism
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. There
are religions (including Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism), in fact,
that classify some of their followers as agnostic, atheistic, or
nontheistic. The true opposite of religious is the word irreligious.
Irreligion describes an absence of any religion; antireligion
describes an active opposition or aversion toward religions in
Because religion continues to be recognized in Western thought as a
universal impulse, many religious practitioners[who?]
have aimed to band together in interfaith dialogue, cooperation, and
religious peacebuilding. 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. The 20th century has been
especially fruitful in use of interfaith dialogue as a means of
solving ethnic, political, or even religious conflict, with
Jewish reconciliation representing a complete reverse in
the attitudes of many Christian communities towards Jews.[citation
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".
Criticism of religion
Criticism of religion
Criticism of religion is criticism of the ideas, the truth, or the
practice of religion, including its political and social
Every exclusive religion on Earth that promotes exclusive truth claims
necessarily denigrates the truth claims of other religions.
Index of religion-related articles
List of foods with religious symbolism
List of religious texts
Outline of religion
Philosophy of religion
Religion and happiness
Religion and peacebuilding
Religions by country
Timeline of religion
Why is there something rather than nothing?
^ That is how, according to Durkheim,
Buddhism is a religion. "In
default of gods,
Buddhism admits the existence of sacred things,
namely, the four noble truths and the practices derived from
Hinduism is variously defined as a religion, set of religious
beliefs and practices, religious tradition etc. For a discussion on
the topic, see: "Establishing the boundaries" in Gavin Flood (2003),
René Guénon in his Introduction to the Study of the
Hindu doctrines (1921 ed.), Sophia Perennis, ISBN 0-900588-74-8,
proposes a definition of the term religion and a discussion of its
relevance (or lack of) to
Hindu doctrines (part II, chapter 4, p. 58).
^ Morreall, John; Sonn, Tamara (2013). "Myth 1: All Societies Have
Religions". 50 Great Myths of Religion. Wiley-Blackwell.
pp. 12–17. ISBN 9780470673508.
^ a b c d e f g Nongbri, Brent (2013). Before Religion: A History of a
Modern Concept. Yale University Press. ISBN 030015416X.
^ a b James 1902, p. 31.
^ a b Durkheim 1915.
^ a b Tillich, P. (1957) Dynamics of faith. Harper Perennial; (p. 1).
^ a b Vergote, A. (1996) Religion, Belief and Unbelief. A
Psychological Study, Leuven University Press. (p. 16)
^ a b James, Paul & Mandaville, Peter (2010). Globalization and
Culture, Vol. 2: Globalizing Religions. London: Sage
^ a b
Reason by James Swindal, in the Internet Encyclopedia
^ Association, African Studies; Michigan, University of (2005).
History in Africa (Volume 32 ed.). p. 119.
^ a b "The Global Religious Landscape". Retrieved 18 December
^ "Religiously Unaffiliated". The Global Religious Landscape. Pew
Religion & Public Life. 18 December 2012.
^ Harper, Douglas. "religion". Online Etymology Dictionary.
^ Shorter Oxford English Dictionary
^ Cicero, De natura deorum II, 28.
^ In The
Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light. Toronto. Thomas
Allen, 2004. ISBN 0-88762-145-7
^ In The Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers, ed. Betty Sue Flowers, New
York, Anchor Books, 1991. ISBN 0-385-41886-8
^ Johan Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages (1919) 1924:75.
^ a b c d e f g h Harrison, Peter (2015). The Territories of Science
and Religion. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 022618448X.
^ a b c d e f g h Morreall, John; Sonn, Tamara (2013). 50 Great Myths
about Religions. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 12–17.
^ Nongbri, Brent (2013). Before Religion: A History of a Modern
Concept. Yale University Press. p. 152. ISBN 030015416X.
Although the Greeks, Romans, Mesopotamians, and many other peoples
have long histories, the stories of their respective religions are of
recent pedigree. The formation of ancient religions as objects of
study coincided with the formation of religion itself as a concept of
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
^ Harrison, Peter (1990). 'Religion' and the Religions in the English
Enlightenment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 1.
ISBN 0521892937. That there exist in the world such entities as
'the religions' is an uncontroversial claim...However, it was not
always so. The concepts 'religion' and 'the religions', as we
presently understand them, emerged quite late in Western thought,
during the Enlightenment. Between them, these two notions provided a
new framework for classifying particular aspects of human life.
^ Hershel Edelheit,
Abraham J. Edelheit, History of Zionism: A
Handbook and Dictionary, p. 3, citing Solomon Zeitlin, The Jews. Race,
Nation, or Religion? (Philadelphia: Dropsie College Press, 1936).
^ Whiteford, Linda M.; Trotter II, Robert T. (2008).
Anthropological Research and Practice. Waveland Press. p. 22.
^ Kuroda, Toshio and Jacqueline I. Stone, translator. "The Imperial
Law and the Buddhist Law" (PDF). Archived from the original on 23
March 2003. Retrieved 2010-05-28. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url
status unknown (link) . Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 23.3–4
^ Neil McMullin.
Buddhism and the State in Sixteenth-Century Japan.
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1984.
^ Harrison, Peter (1990). 'Religion' and the Religions in the English
Enlightenment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
^ a b Dubuisson, Daniel (2007). The Western Construction of
Religion : Myths, Knowledge, and Ideology. Baltimore, Md.: Johns
Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0801887569.
^ a b c Fitzgerald, Timothy (2007). Discourse on Civility and
Barbarity. Oxford University Press. pp. 45–46.
^ Smith, Wilfred Cantwell (1991). The Meaning and End of Religion.
Minneapolis: Fortress Press. ISBN 0800624750.
^ a b Josephson, Jason Ananda (2012). The Invention of
Japan. University of Chicago Press. pp. 1, 11–12.
^ Zuckerman, Phil; Galen, Luke; Pasquale, Frank (2016). "2. Secularity
around the World". The Nonreligious: Understanding
Secular People and
Societies. Oxford University Press. pp. 39–40.
ISBN 0199924945. It was only in response to Western cultural
contact in the late nineteenth century that a Japanese word for
religion (shukyo) came into use. It tends to be associated with
foreign, founded, or formally organized traditions, particularly
Christianity and other monotheisms, but also
Buddhism and new
^ Max Müller, Natural Religion, p. 33, 1889
^ Lewis & Short, A
^ Max Müller. Introduction to the science of religion. p. 28.
^ Vgl. Johann Figl: Handbuch Religionswissenschaft: Religionen und
ihre zentralen Themen. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2003,
ISBN 3-7022-2508-0, S. 65.
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Neuropsychology. Oxford University Press. p. 488.
ISBN 9780195384871. Studies that claim to show no difference in
emotional makeup between temporal lobe and other epileptic patients
(Guerrant et. al., 1962; Stevens, 1966) have been reinterpreted
(Blumer, 1975) to indicate that there is, in fact, a difference: those
with temporal lobe epilepsy are more likely to have more serious forms
of emotional disturbance. This typical personality of temporal lobe
epileptic patient has been described in roughly similar terms over
many years (Blumer & Benson, 1975; Geschwind, 1975, 1977; Blumer,
1999; Devinsky & Schachter, 2009). These patients are said to have
a deepening of emotions; they ascribe great significance to
commonplace events. This can be manifested as a tendency to take a
cosmic view; hyperreligiosity (or intensely professed atheism) is said
to be common.
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Universalism Was Preserved in the Language of Pluralism. Chicago:
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Soul Searching:The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American
Teenagers – p. 77, Christian Smith, Melina Lundquist Denton – 2005
Christ in Japanese Culture: Theological Themes in Shusaku Endo's
Literary Works, Emi Mase-Hasegawa – 2008
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Doniger, M. Webster, Merriam-Webster, Inc
^ p. 219 Faith,
Theology By Brennan Hill, Paul F.
Knitter, William Madges
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Gurney Champion, Dorothy Short
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^ Stenmark, Mikael (2004). How to Relate
Science and Religion: A
Multidimensional Model. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.
^ Cahan, David, ed. (2003). From Natural
Philosophy to the Sciences:
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of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226089282.
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Religion and morality".
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^ Galen, LW (September 2012). "Does religious belief promote
prosociality? A critical examination". Psychological Bulletin. 138
(5): 876–906. doi:10.1037/a0028251. PMID 22925142.
^ Hobson, NM; Inzlicht, M (January 2016). "Recognizing religion's dark
side: Religious ritual increases antisociality and hinders
self-control". Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 39: e14.
doi:10.1017/S0140525X15000448. PMID 26948731.
^ Norenzayan, A; Shariff, AF (3 October 2008). "The origin and
evolution of religious prosociality". Science. 322 (5898): 58–62.
PMID 18832637. Although religions continue to be powerful
facilitators of prosociality in large groups, they are not the only
ones. The cultural spread of reliable secular institutions, such as
courts, policing authorities, and effective contract-enforcing
mechanisms, although historically recent, has changed the course of
human prosociality. Consequently, active members of modern secular
organizations are at least as likely to report donating to charity as
active members of religious ones.
^ Galen, LW (September 2012). "The complex and elusive nature of
religious prosociality: reply to Myers (2012) and Saroglou (2012)".
Psychological Bulletin. 138 (5): 918–923. doi:10.1037/a0029278.
^ Hall, Deborah L.; Matz, David C.; Wood, Wendy (16 December 2009).
"Why Don't We Practice What We Preach? A Meta-Analytic Review of
Religious Racism". Personality and Social Psychology Review. 14 (1):
126–139. doi:10.1177/1088868309352179. Consistent with our
hypotheses, greater religious identification, greater extrinsic
religiosity, and greater religious fundamentalism were all positively
related to racism. Greater intrinsic religiosity and greater quest
were negatively related to racism, a relation that reflected racial
tolerance. Suggesting that these effects reflected the specific
social-cognitive motives tapped by each form of religiosity, scales
assessing orthodoxy and other aspects of religious belief content did
not reliably correlate with racism.
^ Stark, Rodney; Smith, Buster G. (4 September 2009). "Religious
Attendance Relates to Generosity Worldwide". Gallup.
^ Crabtree, Steve; Pelham, Brett (8 October 2008). "Worldwide, Highly
Religious More Likely to
Help Others". Gallup.
^ Laura R. Saslow, Robb Willer, Matthew Feinberg, Paul K. Piff,
Katharine Clark, Dacher Keltner and Sarina R. Saturn My Brother's
Keeper? Compassion Predicts Generosity More Among Less Religious
^ Decety, Jean; Cowell, Jason M.; Lee, Kang; Mahasneh, Randa;
Malcolm-Smith, Susan; Selcuk, Bilge; Zhou, Xinyue (November 2015).
"The Negative Association between Religiousness and Children's
Altruism across the World". Current Biology. 25 (22): 2951–2955.
^ a b c "Religious citizens more involved – and more scarce?". USA
Today. The scholars say their studies found that religious people are
three to four times more likely to be involved in their community.
They are more apt than nonreligious Americans to work on community
projects, belong to voluntary associations, attend public meetings,
vote in local elections, attend protest demonstrations and political
rallies, and donate time and money to causes – including secular
ones. At the same time, Putnam and Campbell say their data show that
religious people are just nicer: they carry packages for people, don't
mind folks cutting ahead in line and give money to panhandlers.
^ Campbell, David; Putnam, Robert (14 November 2010). "Religious
people are 'better neighbors'". USA Today. Retrieved 18 October 2007.
However, on the other side of the ledger, religious people are also
"better neighbors" than their secular counterparts. No matter the
civic activity, being more religious means being more involved. Take,
for example, volunteer work. Compared with people who never attend
worship services, those who attend weekly are more likely to volunteer
in religious activities (no surprise there), but also for secular
causes. The differences between religious and secular Americans can be
dramatic. Forty percent of worship-attending Americans volunteer
regularly to help the poor and elderly, compared with 15% of Americans
who never attend services. Frequent-attenders are also more likely
than the never-attenders to volunteer for school and youth programs
(36% vs. 15%), a neighborhood or civic group (26% vs. 13%), and for
health care (21% vs. 13%). The same is true for philanthropic giving;
religious Americans give more money to secular causes than do secular
Americans. And the list goes on, as it is true for good deeds such as
helping someone find a job, donating blood, and spending time with
someone who is feeling blue. Furthermore, the religious edge holds up
for organized forms of community involvement: membership in
organizations, working to solve community problems, attending local
meetings, voting in local elections, and working for social or
political reform. On this last point, it is not just that religious
people are advocating for right-leaning causes, although many are.
Religious liberals are actually more likely to be community activists
than are religious conservatives.
^ Brooks, Arthur. "Religious
Faith and Charitable Giving".
^ Brooks, Arthur C. "Religious faith and charitable giving" Archived 1
January 2016 at the Wayback Machine., Policy Review, Oct–Dec 2003.
^ Will, George F. "Bleeding Hearts but Tight Fists", Washington Post,
27 March 2008; p. A17
^ a b Gose, Ben. "Charity's Political Divide" Archived 29 April 2009
at the Wayback Machine., The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 23 November
^ Brooks, Arthur C. Who Really Cares: The Surprising
Compassionate Conservatism, Basic Books, 27 November 2006.
^ Stossel, John; Kendall, Kristina (28 November 2006). "Who Gives and
Who Doesn't? Putting the Stereotypes to the Test". ABC News.
Atheists and Agnostics Take Aim at Christians" Archived 4 November
2015 at the Wayback Machine., The Barna Update, The Barna Group, 11
^ Kerley, Kent R.; Matthews, Todd L.; Blanchard, Troy C. (2005).
"Religiosity, Religious Participation, and Negative Prison Behaviors".
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 44 (4): 443–457.
^ Saroglou, Vassilis; Pichon, Isabelle; Trompette, Laurence;
Verschueren, Marijke; Dernelle, Rebecca (2005). "Prosocial Behavior
and Religion: New
Evidence Based on Projective Measures and Peer
Ratings" (PDF). Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 44 (3):
^ Regnerus, Mark D.; Burdette, Amy (2006). "Religious Change and
Family Dynamics". The Sociological Quarterly. 47 (1):
^ Conroy, S. J.; Emerson, T. L. N. (2004). "Business
Religion: Religiosity as a Predictor of Ethical Awareness Among
Students". Journal of Business Ethics. 50 (4): 383–396.
^ e.g. a survey Archived 8 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine. by
Robert Putnam showing that membership of religious groups was
positively correlated with membership of voluntary organizations
^ "The Barna Update: Morality Continues to Decay" (archive copy at the
Internet Archive), The Barna Group, 3 November 2003 ("The Barna
Update: Morality Continues to Decay" – Summary version posted on the
^ The Economist explains: The role of religion in America’s
presidential race, The Economist, 25 February 2016
^ Lipka, Michael (27 Aug 2015). "10 facts about religion in America".
Pew Research Center. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
^ Europe, religion and politics:Old world wars, The Economist, 22
^ Lobo, L. 2000
Politics in India, America Magazine, 19
^ a b WIN-Gallup. "Global Index of religion and atheism" (PDF).
Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 12 July
^ Max Weber,  1920. The Protestant Ethic and the
Christians hold largest percentage of global wealth: Report".
^ Mueller, MD, Paul S.; Plevak, MD, David J.; Rummans, MD, Teresa A.
"Religious Involvement, Spirituality, and Medicine: Implications for
Clinical Practice" (PDF). Retrieved 13 November 2010. We reviewed
published studies, meta-analyses, systematic reviews, and subject
reviews that examined the association between religious involvement
and spirituality and physical health, mental health, health-related
quality of life, and other health outcomes. We also reviewed articles
that provided suggestions on how clinicians might assess and support
the spiritual needs of patients. 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
^ Seybold, Kevin S.; Hill, Peter C. (February 2001). "The Role of
Spirituality in Mental and Physical Health". Current
Directions in Psychological Science. 10 (1): 21–24.
^ Jones, James W. (2004). "Religion, Health, and the Psychology of
Religion: How the Research on
Religion and Health Helps Us Understand
Religion". Journal of
Religion and Health. 43 (4): 317–328.
^ Maselko, J. and Kubzansky, L. D. (2006) Gender differences in
religious practices, spiritual experiences and health: Results from
the US General Social Survey" Social
Science & Medicine, Vol
62(11), June 2848–2860.
^ Avalos, Hector (2005). Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious
Violence. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books.
^ The Curse of Cain: The Violent Legacy of
Monotheism By Regina M.
Schwartz. University of Chicago Press. 1998.
^ Hitchens, Christopher (2007).
God is not Great. Twelve.
^ Dawkins, Richard (2006). The
God Delusion. Bantam Books.
^ Eller, Jack David (2010). Cruel Creeds, Virtuous Violence: Religious
Culture and History. Prometheus Books.
ISBN 978-1-61614-218-6. As we have insisted previously, religion
is not inherently and irredeemably violent; it certainly is not the
essence and source of all violence.
^ Eller, Jack David (2010). Cruel Creeds, Virtuous Violence: Religious
Culture and History. Prometheus Books.
Religion and violence are clearly
compatible, but they are not identical. Violence is one phenomenon in
human (and natural existence), religion is another, and it is
inevitable that the two would become intertwined.
Religion is complex
and modular, and violence is one of the modules—not universal, but
recurring. As a conceptual and behavioral module, violence is by no
means exclusive to religion. There are plenty of other groups,
institutions, interests, and ideologies to promote violence. Violence
is, therefore, neither essential to nor exclusive to religion. Nor is
religious violence all alike... And virtually every form of religious
violence has its nonreligious corollary.
^ France-Presse, Agence. "Indian court bans animal sacrifice".
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Interfaith Harmony Week
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ISBN 978-1-86287-653-8. In some belief systems, religious leaders
and believers maintain the right to both emphasise the benefits of
their own religion and criticise other religions; that is, they make
their own claims and deny the truth claims of others.
Michael Herz; Peter Molnar (9 April 2012). The Content and Context of
Hate Speech: Rethinking Regulation and Responses. Cambridge University
Press. ISBN 978-1-107-37561-1. people of every religion, as well
as of no religion, have a reason for wanting it to be possible to face
other people with challenges to their faith, namely that this is the
only way those people can be brought to see the truth.
"No Compulsion in Religion: An Islamic Case Against Blasphemy Laws"
(PDF). Quilliam Foundation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4
March 2016. Due to the nature of religious belief, one person's faith
often implies that another's is wrong and perhaps even offensive,
constituting blasphemy. For example, the major world religions often
have very different formulations and beliefs concerning god or gods,
Buddha and the
Hindu deities, as well as about
various ethical and social matters
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Wikiquote has quotations related to: Religion
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Video: 5 Religions spreading across the world
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Anselm of Canterbury
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