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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 Raëlism is a new religious movement founded in Read the latest articles and commentary on religion at US News. Breaking religion news articles headlines, blog & service covering Atheist, Buddhism, Christian, Catholic, Muslim/Islam, Mormon, Hindu, Scientology, Shinto, Sikh.

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Religion is a social- cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, moralsworldviewstextssanctified placespropheciesethicsor organizationsthat relates humanity to supernaturaltranscendentalor spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. Different religions may or may not contain various elements ranging from the divinereligious article, [3] sacred things[4] faith[5] a supernatural being or supernatural beings [6] or "some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life".

Religions have sacred histories and narrativeswhich may be preserved in sacred scriptures, and symbols and holy placesthat 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 lifethe universeand other things, religious article.

Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs. While the religiously unaffiliated have grown globally, many of the religiously unaffiliated still have various religious beliefs. The study of religion encompasses a wide variety of academic disciplines, including theologycomparative religion and social scientific studies, religious article. Theories of religion offer various explanations for the origins and workings of religion, including religious article ontological foundations of religious being and belief.

Religion from O. One possible interpretation traced to Ciceroconnects lego read, i. The definition of religio by Cicero is cultum deorum"the proper performance of rites in veneration of the gods, religious article.

Augustinefollowing the interpretation given by Lactantius in Divinae institutionesIV, In classic antiquity, 'religio' broadly meant conscientiousness, sense of right, moral obligation, or duty to anything. In the ancient Greece, the Greek term threskeia was loosely translated into Latin as religio in late antiquity, religious article. The term was sparsely used in classical Greece but became more frequently used in the writings of Josephus in the first century CE.

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. It was often contrasted with the Greek word deisidaimonia which meant too much fear. The modern concept of religion, religious article, as an abstraction that entails distinct sets of religious article or doctrines, is a recent invention in religious article English language, religious article.

Such usage began with texts from the 17th century due to events such 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. The concept of religion was formed in the 16th and 17th centuries, [31] [32] despite the fact that ancient sacred texts like the Bible, the Quran, and religious article did not have a word or even a concept of religion in the original languages religious article neither did the people or the religious article in which these sacred texts were written.

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

The Sanskrit word dharmasometimes translated as religion, also means law. Throughout classical South Asiathe study of law consisted of concepts such as penance through piety religious article ceremonial as well as practical traditions, religious article. Medieval Japan at first had a similar union between imperial law and universal or Buddha law, but these later became independent sources of power. Throughout the Americas, Native Americans never had a concept of "religion" and any suggestion otherwise is a colonial imposition by Christians.

Though traditions, religious article, 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.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the terms Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, and world religions first entered the English language, religious article. What is called ancient religion today, they would have only called law. Scholars have failed to agree on a definition of religion.

Religion is a modern Western concept. An increasing number of scholars have expressed reservations about ever defining the essence of religion. The religious article 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 religious article deity and all else, between the creator and his creation, between God and man. The anthropologist Clifford Geertz defined religion as a, religious article. We just know that it is done, religious article, annually, weekly, daily, for some people almost hourly; and we have an enormous ethnographic literature to demonstrate it.

The theologian 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. Religious article define religion as. According to the MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religions, there is an experiential aspect to religion which can be found in almost every culture:.

When more or less distinct patterns of behavior are religious article around this depth dimension in a culture, this structure constitutes religion in religious article historically recognizable form, religious article. Religion is the organization of life around the depth dimensions of experience—varied in form, religious article, completeness, and clarity in accordance with the environing culture, religious article.

His contemporary Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel disagreed thoroughly, defining religion as "the Divine Spirit becoming conscious of Himself through the finite spirit. Edward Burnett Tylor defined religion in as "the belief in spiritual beings". He also argued that the belief in spiritual beings exists in all known societies.

In his book The Varieties of Religious Experiencethe 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 religious article consider the divine". Sacred things are not, however, limited to gods or spirits.

Religion is the substance, religious article, 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 religious article possible to understand why scientific findings and philosophical criticisms e, religious article. Traditionally, faithin addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs. The interplay between faith and reason, and their use as perceived religious article for religious beliefs, have been a subject of interest to philosophers and theologians.

Ancient polytheistic religions, such as those of GreeceRomeand Scandinaviaare 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. Religious article 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 religious article than one's own religious stories and beliefs.

Joseph Campbell remarked, "Mythology is often thought of as other people's religions, and religion can be defined as mis-interpreted mythology. In sociology, religious article, 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. But from a mythological outlook, whether or not the event actually occurred is unimportant. Instead, the religious article 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 interpretations. Religions have sacred historiesnarrativesreligious article, and mythologies which may be preserved in sacred scripturesand symbols and holy placesthat aim to explain the meaning of lifethe origin of lifeor the Universe, religious article. The practices of a religion may include ritualsreligious article, sermonscommemoration or veneration of a deitygodsreligious article, or goddessessacrificesreligious article, festivalsfeaststrancesinitiationsfunerary servicesmatrimonial servicesreligious article, meditationprayerreligious musicreligious artreligious article, sacred religious articlepublic serviceor 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 clergyreligious article, and a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership. A number of disciplines study the phenomenon of religion: theologyreligious article, comparative religionhistory of religionevolutionary origin of religionsreligious article, anthropology of religionreligious article, psychology religious article religion including neuroscience of religion and evolutionary psychology of religionlaw and religionand sociology of religion.

Daniel L. Pals mentions eight classical theories of religion, focusing on various aspects of religion: animism and magicreligious article E. Tylor and J. Evans-Pritchardand Clifford Geertz. Michael Stausberg gives an overview of contemporary theories of religion, including cognitive and biological approaches. Sociological and anthropological theories of religion generally attempt to explain the origin and function of religion.

Religious article 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, religious article, while others are intended to religious article practiced only by a closely defined or localized group.

In many places, religion has been associated with public institutions such as educationhospitalsthe familygovernmentand 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 misfortune. While religion is difficult to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Religious article Geertzreligious article, who simply called it a "cultural system". One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionismsays 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.

The social constructionists argue that religion is a modern concept that developed from Christianity and was then applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures. 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 religious article a very broad range of disciplines, including: cognitive psychologyevolutionary psychologyreligious article, cognitive anthropologyreligious article, artificial intelligencecognitive neuroscienceneurobiologyzoology religious article, and ethology.

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

While this number varies across cultures, this had religious article to theories about a number of influential religious phenomenon and possible relation to psychotic disorders. A number of prophetic experiences are consistent with psychotic symptoms, although retrospective diagnoses are practically impossible. Religious content is also common in temporal lobe epilepsyand obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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, religious article.

In general, the comparative study of religion yields a deeper understanding of the fundamental philosophical concerns of religion such as ethicsmetaphysicsand the nature and form of salvation, religious article. Studying such material is meant to give one a richer and more religious article understanding of human beliefs and practices regarding the sacrednuminousspiritual and divine. In the field of comparative religion, a common geographical classification [96] of the main world religions includes Middle Eastern religions including Zoroastrianism and Iranian religionsIndian religionsEast Asian religionsAfrican religions, American religions, Oceanic religions, and classical Hellenistic religions.


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Read the latest articles and commentary on religion at US News. 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 Raëlism is a new religious movement founded in CNN Belief covers the faith angles of the world's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from CNN's worldwide.