• Submitted By: jenn14
  • Date Submitted: 12/16/2013 11:30 AM
  • Category: Religion
  • Words: 262
  • Page: 2
  • Views: 64

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]

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