Religion is a collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the Universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.
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 god, 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.
The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with faith or belief system; however, in the words of Émile Durkheim, religion differs from private belief in that it is "something eminently social". A global 2012 poll reports that 59% of the world's population is religious, 23% are not religious, and 13% are atheists.
Famous quotes containing the word religion:
“To sum up:
1. The cosmos is a gigantic fly-wheel making 10,000 revolutions a minute.
2. Man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on it.
3. Religion is the theory that the wheel was designed and set spinning to give him the ride.”
—H.L. (Henry Lewis)
“In the latter part of the seventeenth century, according to the historian of Dunstable, Towns were directed to erect a cage near the meeting-house, and in this all offenders against the sanctity of the Sabbath were confined. Society has relaxed a little from its strictness, one would say, but I presume that there is not less religion than formerly. If the ligature is found to be loosened in one part, it is only drawn the tighter in another.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“A man has no religion who has not slowly and painfully gathered one together, adding to it, shaping it; and ones religion is never complete and final, it seems, but must always be undergoing modification.”
—D.H. (David Herbert)