Tag Archives: religion

Religion {1} ~ What Is It?

Religion is a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.

Different religions may or may not contain various elements ranging from the divine, sacred things, faith, a supernatural being or supernatural beings or “some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life”. Religious practices may include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration (of deities and/or saints), sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religions have sacred histories and narratives, which may be preserved in sacred scriptures, and symbols and holy places, that aim mostly to give a meaning to life. Religions may contain symbolic stories, which are sometimes said by followers to be true, that may also attempt to explain the origin of life, the universe, and other phenomena. Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs.

There are an estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide. About 84% of the world’s population is affiliated with Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or some form of folk religion. The religiously unaffiliated demographic includes those who do not identify with any particular religion, atheists, and agnostics. While the religiously unaffiliated have grown globally, many of the religiously unaffiliated still have various religious beliefs.

The study of religion comprises a wide variety of academic disciplines, including theology, comparative religion and social scientific studies. Theories of religion offer various explanations for the origins and workings of religion, including the ontological foundations of religious being and belief.

Source ~ https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion

Symbols {47} ~ Star & Crescent

The star and crescent symbol originated in Sumeria. The moon was associated with the god Sin and the star with the goddess Ishtar. The star was set beside the crescent moon. The star represents Venus and the crescent represents the moon. The star crescent symbolized power.

The star crescent was also found in Greece where it was used to represent the moon goddesses, Luna and Diana. The crescent is pointed upward and the star is directly above the moon. It was a symbol of virginity and female chastity.

In the early Roman period, the star crescent was associated with the goddess Hecate.

The star crescent symbol was also used in early Christianity. It was found on coins and seals used by the crusaders.

The star crescent symbol became prevalent in the Ottoman Empire after 1757. The national flag bore a crescent with a star beside it. This symbol was used in mosques and minarets which led to the association with Islam. However, not all Muslims associate the star and crescent with Islam.

Today the star and crescent can be found on flags in Turkey, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Malaysia, Mauritania, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Northern Cyprus, and Um al-Quwain. It also appears on numerous coats of arms.

Symbols {45} ~Bahà’

The word Bahá’ has a numerical equivalence of 9, according to the to the Abjad system, and therefore this 9 pointed star is frequently used to represent the faith. The number 9 is associated with perfection, unity and Bahá’, as shown in the following quote by Shoghi Effendi, who was head of the religion in 1944.

“Concerning the number nine: the Bahá’ís reverence this for two reasons, first because it is considered by those interested in numbers as the sign of perfection. The second consideration, which is the more important one, is that it is the numerical value of the word “Bahá’”…
“Besides these two significances the number nine has no other meaning. It is, however, enough to make the Bahá’ís use it when an arbitrary number is to be chose.”

Mythology {3} ~ Gods & Goddesses {7} ~ The Mayan

The ancient Maya had over 150 Gods in their complex religion, each with clearly defined characteristics and purposes.

1. Itzamn (or Zamn )
Itzamn, the lord of the heavens as well as night and day; could be called upon in hard times or calamities.

2. Chac
Although second in power, Chac was first in importance as the god of rain, and by association, the weather and fertility.

3. Ah Mun
Ah Mun was the corn god and the god of agriculture. He was always represented as a youth, often with a corn ear headdress.

4. Ah Puch
The god of death, ruled over the ninth and lowest of the Maya underworlds. He was always malevolent.

5. Ek Chuah
Ek was the god of war, human sacrifice, and violent death. Not the kind of god you’d want to meet in person.

In addition to these, there were patron gods, 13 of the upper world and nine of the lower, plus numerous calendar gods who posed for glyphs. Other deities, such as Kukulcan and Chac Mool, came into the line-up as the society changed in Post Classic times. The religious hierarchy became so bewildering that it was beyond the comprehension of the average Maya, who relied on priests to interpret the religion (so what’s new?). To the common man, who lives or dies by the cycle of rain and drought, Chac remains the god most frequently involved in daily life.

Source: https://www.tulum.com/information/mayan-history/

Symbols {17} ~ Hamsa

The hamsa symbol depicts an open right hand, symmetrically drawn, and often with an eye in the palm’s center. Seen throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa, it’s also known as the Hand of Fatima and the Hand of Miriam. The hamsa represents strength and power and is widely regarded as a token of protection. Worn as an amulet or hung in the home, the hamsa is said to ward off the Evil Eye, a malevolent stare which brings harm and misfortune.

No one is entirely sure of the hamsa’s origins. Some date it back to the ancient Phoenicians, who used hands to represent the lunar goddess, Tanit. Today, it holds significance in multiple traditions. In Judaism, its five fingers represent the five books of the Torah. In Islam, they stand for the Five Pillars of Islam. The hamsa is also reminiscent of Buddhist and Hindu mudras, with the five fingers representing the five senses.