religion

Topics: Religion, Christianity, Sikhism Pages: 27 (7528 words) Published: October 7, 2013
This article is about a general set of beliefs about life, purpose, etc.. For other uses, see Religion (disambiguation). "Religious" redirects here. For a member of a Catholic religious institute, see Religious (Catholicism). Page semi-protected

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Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence.[note 1] Many religions have narratives, symbols, and sacred histories that are intended to explain the meaning of life and/or to explain the origin of life or the Universe. From their beliefs about the cosmos and human nature, people derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.[1]

Many religions may have organized behaviors, clergy, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, holy places, and scriptures. The practice of a religion may also include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration of a deity, gods or goddesses, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religions may also contain mythology.[2]

The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with faith, belief system or sometimes set of duties;[3] however, in the words of Émile Durkheim, religion differs from private belief in that it is "something eminently social".[4] A global 2012 poll reports that 59% of the world's population is religious, and 36% are not religious, including 13% who are atheists, with a 9 percent decrease in religious belief from 2005.[5] On average, women are more religious than men.[6] 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.[7][8][9] Contents

1 Etymology
2 Definitions
3 Theories of religion
3.1 Origins and development
3.2 Social constructionism
3.3 Comparative religion
4 Types of religion
4.1 Categories
4.2 Interfaith cooperation
5 Religious groups
5.1 Abrahamic
5.2 Iranian
5.3 Indian
5.4 Folk
5.5 New
6 Issues in religion
6.1 Economics
6.2 Health
6.3 Violence
6.4 Law
6.5 Science
6.6 Animal sacrifice
7 Related forms of thought
7.1 Superstition
7.2 Myth
8 Secularism and irreligion
8.1 Criticism of religion
9 See also
10 References
11 Notes
12 Bibliography
13 External links

Etymology
Main article: Glossary of ancient Roman religion#religio

Religion (from O.Fr. religion "religious community," from L. religionem (nom. religio) "respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods,"[10] "obligation, the bond between man and the gods"[11]) is derived from the Latin religiō, the ultimate origins of which are obscure. One possibility is derivation from a reduplicated *le-ligare, an interpretation traced to Cicero connecting lego "read", i.e. re (again) + lego in the sense of "choose", "go over again" or "consider carefully". 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....
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