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Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual nature and a study of inherited ancestral traditions, knowledge and wisdom related to understanding human life. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to faith as well as to the larger shared systems of belief.

In the larger sense, religion is a communal system for the coherence of belief—typically focused on a system of thought, unseen being, person, or object, that is considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine, or of the highest truth. Moral codes, practices, values, institutions, traditions, and rituals are often traditionally associated with the core belief, and these may have some overlap with concepts in secular philosophy. Religion can also be described as a way of life.

The development of religion has taken many forms in various cultures. "Organized religion" generally refers to an organization of people supporting the exercise of some religion with a prescribed set of beliefs, often taking the form of a legal entity (see religion-supporting organization). Other religions believe in personal revelation and responsibility. "Religion" is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system," but is more socially defined than that of personal convictions.

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Selected article

The Crucifixion by Diego Velázquez (17th Century)
Christianity is a monotheistic religion centered on Jesus of Nazareth and his life, death, resurrection, and teachings as presented in the New Testament. Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. With an estimated 2.1 billion adherents in 2001, Christianity is the world's largest religion. It is the predominant religion in the Americas, Europe, Philippine Islands, Oceania, and large parts of Africa (see Christianity by country). It is also growing rapidly in Asia, particularly in China and South Korea, and in Northern Africa.

Christianity began in the 1st century AD as a Jewish sect, and shares many religious texts with Judaism, specifically the Hebrew Bible, known to Christians as the Old Testament (see Judeo-Christian). Like Judaism and Islam, Christianity is classified as an Abrahamic religion because of the centrality and pre-cedence of Abraham in their shared traditions; though Jesus himself stated that he had pre-existed Abraham (John 8:58), and Christianity places Jesus as God incarnate (not Abraham) as central to the faith. The name "Christian" (Greek [Χριστιανός] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)) was first applied to the disciples in Antioch, as recorded in Acts 11:26. The earliest recorded use of the term Christianity (Greek [Χριστιανισμός] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)) is by Ignatius of Antioch.

Selected picture

A Rajastani style painting of Srimati Radharani
Credit: User:GourangaUK

Radha (Devanagari: राधा) is a famous female personality from Hindu, (Vedic) tradition, also known as Radharani, prefixed with the respectful term 'Srimati' by devout followers. Radha is almost always depicted alongside her paramour Krishna, and has a highly prominent feature within the philosophy of today's Gaudiya Vaishnava religions who believe Radha to be the original goddess Lakshmi.

Selected religious figure or deity

Laozi, from Myths and Legends of China (1922) by E.T.C. Werner
Laozi (Chinese: 老子, Pinyin: Lǎozǐ; also transliterated as Lao Tzŭ, Lao Tse, Laotze, and in other ways) was an ancient Chinese philosopher. According to Chinese tradition, Laozi lived in the 6th century BC, however many historians contend that Laozi actually lived in the 4th century BC, which was the period of Hundred Schools of Thought and Warring States period. Laozi was credited with writing the seminal Taoist work, the Tao Te Ching (also known simply as the Laozi).

Laozi's work, the Tao Te Ching, is one of the most significant treatises in Chinese philosophy. It is his magnum opus, covering large areas of philosophy from individual spirituality and inter-personal dynamics to political techniques. The Tao Te Ching is said to contain 'hidden' instructions for Taoist adepts (often in the form of metaphors) relating to Taoist meditation and breathing.

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Selected quote

Albert Einstein
Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the Old One. I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice.
Albert Einstein, in a 1926 letter to Max Born

Selected scripture

The Tao Te Ching (Chinese: 道德經 [About this sound  Listen ]), roughly translatable as The Book of the Way and its Virtue, is a Chinese classic text. According to tradition, it was written around 600 BCE by the Taoist sage Laozi (or Lao Tzu, "Old Master"), a record-keeper at the Zhou dynasty court. A careful reading of the text, however, suggests that it is a compilation of maxims sharing similar themes. The text's authenticity, authorship, and date of composition or compilation are still debated.

The Tao Te Ching is fundamental to the Taoist school (Daojia 道家) of Chinese philosophy and strongly influenced other schools as well, such as Legalism and Neo-Confucianism. This ancient book is also central in Chinese religion, not only for Taoism (Daojiao 道教) but Chinese Buddhism, which when first introduced into China was largely interpreted through the use of Taoist words and concepts. Many Chinese artists, including poets, painters, calligraphers, and even gardeners have used the Tao Te Ching as a source of inspiration. Its influence has also spread widely outside East Asia, aided by hundreds of translations into Western languages.

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