The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Religion is an organized 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. From their ideas about the cosmos and Human nature, they tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle. 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 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.
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.