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Portal:Religion

Introduction

Religion is a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or 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 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. About 84% of the world's population is affiliated with either Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or some form 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 religious beliefs.

The study of religion encompasses a wide variety of academic disciplines, including theology, comparative religion and social scientific studies. Theories of religion offer various explanations for the origins and workings of religion, including the ontological foundations of religious being and belief.

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Creationism is the religious belief that nature, and aspects such as the universe, Earth, life, and humans, originated with supernatural acts of divine creation. In its broadest sense, creationism includes a continuum of religious views, which vary in their acceptance or rejection of scientific explanations such as evolution that describe the origin and development of natural phenomena.

The term creationism most often refers to belief in special creation; the claim that the universe and lifeforms were created as they exist today by divine action, and that the only true explanations are those which are compatible with a Christian fundamentalist literal interpretation of the creation myths found in the Bible's Genesis creation narrative. Since the 1970s, the commonest form of this has been young Earth creationism which posits special creation of the universe and lifeforms within the last 10,000 years on the basis of Flood geology, and promotes pseudoscientific creation science. From the 18th century onwards, old Earth creationism accepted geological time harmonized with Genesis through gap or day-age theory, while supporting anti-evolution. Modern old-Earth creationists support progressive creationism and continue to reject evolutionary explanations. Following political controversy, creation science was reformulated as intelligent design and neo-creationism.

Mainline Protestants and the Catholic Church reconcile modern science with their faith in Creation through forms of theistic evolution which hold that God purposefully created through the laws of nature, and accept evolution. Some groups call their belief evolutionary creationism. Read more...
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St. Joan of Arc at the Notre Dame Cathedral, where she was beatified.
Credit: Steven G. Johnson

Joan of Arc, also known as Jeanne d'Arc, was a national heroine of France and is a canonized saint of the Roman Catholic Church. She asserted that she had visions from God which told her to recover her homeland from English domination late in the Hundred Years' War.

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