RELIGION

A Quick Guide to Taoism

Taoism, also called Daoism, is an ancient tradition comprising religion, philosophy, mysticism and spirituality. Its most comprehensive tenet is living in balance an harmony with the Tao. Taoism originated in China, and remains heavily influenced by Chinese folk religions and customs. For much of China’s history, Taoism was considered a state religion, but the number of followers plummeted during the Communist revolution. Today Taoism is recognized as one of China’s five official religions, and about 173 million people there say they practice some form of Taoist faith. Taoism also has sizable followings in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries. Like its closest counterparts Buddhism and Confucianism, Taoism encompasses the humanist philosophies of ethics, morality and self-actualization. The three religions have had considerable influence on one another, and most Chinese incorporate all three traditions to some degree. However, there remain stark ideological and political contrasts, particularly with Confucianism. Taoism promotes individualism, gentleness and the natural order over Confucianism’s hierarchical social order, rigidity and ritual. (more…)

By wandershare, ago
RELIGION

A Quick Guide to Rastafari

Rastafarian roots stem from a variety of African religions, Judeo-Christianity, as well as from social and political ideologies. Rastafari—about 1 million members strong—isn’t organized through a single house of worship or a succession of leaders. It does, however converge in its recognition of the importance of community, Afrocentrism and resistance to oppression. An Abrahamic faith, followers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam will find many parallels within Rastafari. One important distinction, however, is that all Rastafarian imagery of divine beings, including depictions of God and Jesus, are black or African, rather than white, Caucasian or Arab. Many Rastas, who also go by Rastafaris, Ras Tafarians or Rastafarians, view Rastafari as more of a way of life or spiritual path than as a religion. The Rastafarian belief system is inextricably intertwined with its culture, particularly in the reggae music popularized via Rasta superstar Bob Marley. Politically and geographically, the countries of Ethiopia and Jamaica hold particular significance in Rastafari. This collection of influences forge together in Rastafarian symbolism. (more…)

By wandershare, ago
RELIGION

A Quick Guide to Secularity

Secularity by definition means to be separate from religion, and the term encompasses an enormous range of beliefs and nonbeliefs. The commonality of Secularists is the disapproval of religious dogma and influence, and for most Secularists, skepticism of the supernatural, including superstition and pseudoscience. It’s difficult to estimate how many secularists there are in the world, a 2015 Gallup poll reported that 33% of the world’s population identify as not religious. Estonia has the highest percentage of Secularists, at more than 70%, followed by the Czech Republic and Vietnam. Secularity also ranks high in Scandinavia and the Far East, ranging between 42-61% of the population. Secularism is not the same as Secularity, though the terms are often used interchangeably. Secularism is the political philosophy that religion should not interfere with government. Proponents of secularism are not necessarily Secularists. (more…)

By Wandershare Editors, ago
RELIGION

A Quick Guide to Buddhism

Buddhism is one of the oldest surviving world religions, just behind Hinduism and Judaism. It’s the most pervasive religion in Asia and has more than 360 million followers around the world. Based on the teachings (or dharma) of the Buddha formerly known as Prince Siddhartha Gautama, Buddhists seek to release themselves from a cycle of rebirth and suffering by leading a moral and noble life. (more…)

By wandershare, ago
RELIGION

A Quick Guide to Hinduism

Hinduism is also the world’s oldest surviving world religion. It is unique amongst the major world religions in that it doesn’t have a single, universal doctrine or set of traditions, but is instead comprised of a variety of diverse beliefs and philosophies. Hinduism is the third largest world religion, behind Christianity and Islam, with about 900 million followers. India is the home of most Hindus, and more than 80 percent of India’s population identify as Hindu. That leaves about 30 million Hindus living outside of the country. (more…)

By wandershare, ago
RELIGION

A Quick Guide to Judaism

Judaism is not simply a religion, but also a culture and a philosophy, which is why you may hear someone say that they’re a nonreligious Jew. Judaism predates Christianity and Judaism. Although considered one of the five major world religions, only about .2% of the world population consider themselves Jewish, about 14 million people. This small number is due to systematic persecutions that have occurred throughout history that has led to forced conversions and decimation of the Jewish population, coupled with the fact that Judaism doesn’t actively seek converts. Almost half of the world’s Jewish population lives in Israel, and almost half in the United States. (more…)

By wandershare, ago
RELIGION

A Quick Guide to Christianity

The world’s largest religion, Christianity has impacted almost every facet of Western civilization, most notably politics, culture and art. Here’s a quick guide to Christianity, it’s origins and spread, and understanding the practices and faith of almost 2 billion of the world’s people. (more…)

By wandershare, ago