- In Christian theology, black was the color of the universe before God created light. In many religious cultures, from Mesoamerica to Oceania to India and Japan, the world was created out of a primordial darkness. In the Bible the light of faith and Christianity is often contrasted with the darkness of ignorance and paganism.
In Christianity, The Devil is considered the "prince of darkness." The term was used in John Milton's poem Paradise Lost, published in 1667, referring to Satan, who is viewed as the embodiment of evil. It is an English translation of the Latin phrase princeps tenebrarum, which occurs in the Acts of Pilate, written in the fourth century, in the 11th-century hymn Rhythmus de die mortis by Pietro Damiani, and in a sermon by Bernard of Clairvaux from the 12th century. The phrase also occurs in King Lear by William Shakespeare (c. 1606), Act III, Scene IV, l. 14: 'The prince of darkness is a gentleman."
Priests and pastors of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches commonly wear black, as do monks of the Benedictine Order, who consider it the color of humility and penitence.
- In Islam, black, along with green, plays an important symbolic role. It is the color of the Black Standard, the banner that is said to have been carried by the soldiers of the Prophet Muhammad. It is also used as a symbol in Shi'a Islam (heralding the advent of the Mahdi), and the flag of followers of Islamism and Jihadism.
- In Hinduism, the goddess Kali, goddess of time and change, is portrayed with black or dark blue skin. wearing a necklace adorned with severed heads and hands. Her name means 'The black one.'
- Black is a common clothing color worn by Wiccans, often as a robe.
Modern-day monks of the Order of Saint Benedict in New Jersey.
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