Portal:Religion

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For a topic outline on this subject, see Outline of religion

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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) was first applied to the disciples in Antioch, as recorded in Acts 11:26. The earliest recorded use of the term Christianity (Greek Χριστιανισμός) is by Ignatius of Antioch.

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Kids dancing in 'The Great Masi Procession' during Ayya Vaikunda Avataram.
Credit: Vaikunda Raja

The Ayya Vaikunda Avataram (Tamil: அய்யா வைகுண்ட அவதாரம் - Incarnation of Vaikundar), is a festival celebrated by the followers of Ayyavazhi on the 20th day of the Tamil Month of Masi, the date on which the Ayyavazhi followers believe that Lord Vaikundar arose from the sea at Thiruchendur. And the 'Tha Great Masi Procession' is the Procession from Nagercoil to Swamithope.

Selected religious figure or deity

The sacrifice of Abraham (Genesis 22:10-12).
Abraham (Hebrew: אַבְרָהָם, Standard Avraham Ashkenazi Avrohom or Avruhom Tiberian ʾAḇrāhām ; Arabic: ابراهيم, Ibrāhīm ; Ge'ez: አብርሃም, ʾAbrəham) is regarded as the founding patriarch of the Israelites and of the Arabic people in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. In that tradition, Abraham is brought by God from his home in the ancient city of Ur into a new land, Canaan, where he enters into a covenant: in exchange for sole recognition of Yahweh as supreme universal authority, Abraham will be blessed through innumerable progeny. His life as narrated in the Book of Genesis (chapters 11–25) probably reflects traditions as told through a number of writers and redactors.

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The syllable gu means shadows

The syllable ru, he who disperses them,
Because of the power to disperse darkness
the guru is thus named.

Upanishads, Advayataraka Upanishad, 14—18, verse 5

Selected scripture

Rigveda manuscript in Devanagari, early 19th century
The Rigveda (Sanskrit: ऋग्वेद ṛgveda, a tatpurusha compound of ṛc "praise, verse" and veda "knowledge") is an ancient Indian religious book, that is a collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns dedicated to Rigvedic deities. It is counted among the four Hindu sacred texts (shruti) known as the Vedas. Geographical and ethnological passages in the Rigveda provide evidence that the Rigveda was composed between 1700–1100 BCE (the early Vedic period) in the Punjab (Sapta Sindhu) region of the Indian subcontinent. The Rig Veda is the oldest of all known religious books, and the oldest book in Vedic Sanskrit or any Indo-European language. The composition of the Rigveda is conventionally dated to before 1500 BCE. Some writers have traced astronomical references in the Rigveda dating it to as early as 4000 BC, a date well within the late Mehrgarh culture.

There are astounding similarities between the locations and characters in RigVeda, Avestan (Old Iranian language texts) and the Mittani civilization. For example, Rigvedic characters like Indra, Varuna, Mitra, Vrtra, and the Ashwins also occur in the Avestan texts and the Mittani civilization. Moreover, the Andronovo civilization which has been found to be the site of the earliest chariot culture (around 2500BC) is thought to have been the home of the RigVedic Aryans.

Today, this text is revered by Hindus around the world, primarily in India and Nepal. Its verses are recited at prayers, religious functions and other auspicious occasions.

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