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Philosophy & Religion

Humans have long pondered not only how we came to be, but also why we came to be. The earliest Greek philosophers focused their attention upon the origin and nature of the physical world; later philosophers have theorized about the nature of knowledge, truth, good and evil, love, friendship, and much more. Thus, philosophy involves a methodical assessment of any and all aspects of human existence and experience. The realms of philosophy and religion have sometimes intersected in conducting inquiries such as these. As with philosophy, the study of religion underscores how humankind has long speculated about its origins. The possibility of a higher being (or beings) to which livings things owe their existence has long captived human thought. Many religions also offer their own views on the nature of good and evil, and they may prescribe guidelines and judgment on different kinds of human behavior.
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Featured content, May 19, 2020

The Seven Sacraments of the Roman Catholic church
Learn more about the Catholic faith.
List / Philosophy & Religion
Marriage. A couple getting married during a church wedding ceremony. (religion, ceremony, bride, groom)
Why Is Christmas in December?
No one knows when Jesus was born, so why celebrate his birth on December 25?
Demystified / Philosophy & Religion
Nativity Scene, Adoration of the Magi, Church of the Birth of the Virgin Mary, Montenegro
Plato and Aristotle: How Do They Differ?
Learn more about how these two key philosophers were related and how their teachings differed.
Companion / Philosophy & Religion
Plato (left) and Aristotle, detail from School of Athens, fresco by Raphael, 1508-11; in the Stanza della Segnatura, the Vatican. Plato points to the heavens and the realm of Forms, Aristotle to the earth and the realm of things.
Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights
Hanukkah, also called the Festival of Lights, celebrates events from more than 2,000 years ago.
Spotlight / Philosophy & Religion
Image of jewish holiday Hanukkah with drawing menorah candles (traditional Candelabra), donuts and dreidels (spinning top) over chalkboard background. Chanukah.
Judaism
Judaism, monotheistic religion developed among the ancient Hebrews. Judaism is characterized by a belief in one transcendent…
Encyclopedia / Philosophy & Religion
Jerusalem: Western Wall, Second Temple
Islam
Islam, major world religion promulgated by the Prophet Muhammad in Arabia in the 7th century ce. The Arabic term islām, literally…
Encyclopedia / Philosophy & Religion
Abu Darweesh Mosque
Daoism
Daoism, indigenous religio-philosophical tradition that has shaped Chinese life for more than 2,000 years. In the broadest…
Encyclopedia / Philosophy & Religion
Laozi
Mesopotamian religion
Mesopotamian religion, beliefs and practices of the Sumerians and Akkadians, and their successors, the Babylonians and Assyrians,…
Encyclopedia / Philosophy & Religion
Sites associated with ancient Mesopotamian history.

Philosophy & Religion Quizzes

Old Bible. Antique Bible, the bible, Christianity education literature manuscript religion text language words biblical, arts and entertainment, history and society, text philosophy, text wisdom, homepage 2010
Religion: High and Mighty Quiz
Can you name the first book of the Hebrew Bible? What Indian festival celebrates the goddess Durga? Test your knowledge of…
Drum. Buddhist monk in Luang Prabang, Laos, hitting temple drum. (Buddhism, religion, percussion)
Religion Across the Globe
Who freed the slaves in Egypt? Where is the holiest city in Islam? Sort out these geographical facts about religion.
Domes of a mosque (muslim, islam) silhouetted against the sky, Malaysia.
A Study of Religion: Fact or Fiction?
Do Sikh texts contain many images of God? Do Muslims always face north in prayer? Sort fact from fiction in this study of…
Matsya avatar of Vishnu, 19th-century lithograph. Vishnu in his avatar of Matsya, a fish. Lithograph from L'Inde Francaise, Paris, 1828. Hindu trinity, Hinduism.
World Religions: Fact or Fiction?
Is Sikhism a branch of Buddhism? Are the first five books of the Hebrew Bible called the Torah? Sort out the facts in this…
(close-up, head) The Birth of Venus, oil on canvas by Sandro Botticelli, c. 1485; in the Uffizi, Florence.
This or That?: Greek Gods vs. Roman Gods
Greek and Roman mythology borrowed heavily from each other. Match these infamous gods with their country of origin.
David Hume in the background St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland. Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism.
What’s In a Name? Philosopher Edition
Philosophers are often referred to by their surnames only. Do you remember the given names of these famous philosophers?
Ramadan. Little boy with sparklers. During the holy month of Ramadan Muslims break their fast each evening with prayer followed by festive nighttime meals called iftars. Islam
Holidays and Festivals: Which Religion?
You may know your own religion’s traditions, but do you know who celebrates these holidays and festivals?
Holy week. Easter. Valladolid. Procession of Nazarenos carry a cross during the Semana Santa (Holy week before Easter) in Valladolid, Spain. Good Friday
Christianity Quiz
What country was the first to adopt Christianity as its national religion? What is the Parousia? Test your knowledge of Christianity…
Statue of Confucius in Beijing, China
Confucianism
How much do you know about the teachings of Confucius? Test your knowledge with this quiz.
Saint Thomas Aquinas. Apotheosis of St. Thomas Aquinas, altarpiece by Francesco Traini, 1363; in Santa Caterina, Pisa, Italy. St. Thomas Aquinas (c1225-1274) Italian philosopher and theologian. Dominican order of monks (black friars).
Saints
We can’t promise you a sainthood, but improve your saintly knowledge with this quiz.
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Philosophy & Religion
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Philosophy & Religion Subcategories

Thor Ancient Religions & Mythology
What did our ancestors believe in? How did they view the possibility of an afterlife? How did their beliefs influence modern religion and spirituality?
Articles
Auguste Comte Ethical Issues
What moral precepts guide us through tricky situations that may arise in relation to friendships, family, communities, and the work environment? Right and wrong are not always defined in the same way across different cultures.
Articles
Forensic anthropologist examining a human skull found in a mass grave in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2005. Humanities
The study of humankind with an appreciation of human values and of the unique ability of the human spirit to express itself.
Articles
Immanuel Kant Philosophers
Here you'll find the thinkers and theorists who have expressed their own ideas about such topics as the nature of humankind's relationship with the metaphysical world, the definitions of truth and knowledge, and the conditions of existence. From ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle to later notable philosophers such as René Descartes and Immanuel Kant, philosophy's great thinkers have approached sensitive ethical and existential issues from a variety of different angles. Their ideas have influenced the way we look at our world and the way we relate to one another as human beings.
Articles
Laozi Philosophical Issues
Are you ready to delve into the myriad possible answers to such complex questions as "What makes an action virtuous?" or "What is the nature of consciousness?" Do you embrace weighty topics such as the relative merits of empiricism and rationalism? An inquisitive spirit is all but a prerequisite for many of the topics listed here, which deal with the different approaches to and ideas about the big questions of life.
Articles
reclining Buddha Religious Beliefs
Our religious beliefs, such as they are, can affect our lifestyle, our perceptions, and the manner in which we relate to fellow human beings. Is there a higher power (or powers) that governs the universe and judges all of us? Can committing a mortal sin mean the death of a soul, or is there a chance for forgiveness? The answers to such questions differ widely across different religions.
Articles
Pope Gregory VII, after his expulsion from Rome, laying a ban of excommunication on the clergy “together with the raging king” (Henry IV of Germany), drawing from the 12th-century chronicle of Otto of Freising; in the library of the University of Jena, Germany. Religious Personages & Scholars
This general category includes a selection of more specific topics.
Articles
subcategory placeholder Religious Places
Human beings tend to relate to their religious beliefs through symbolism. Religious and sacred places—common destinations for pilgrims—represent a physical connection that helps believers express their devotion.
Articles
Igor Stravinsky Sacred Art & Music
This general category includes a selection of more specific topics.
Articles
Krishna; Arjuna Scriptures
Sacred scriptures of all religions, viewed as the word of God or inspired by God, have influenced the moral and ethical standards of countries, peoples, and religious groups. Their interpretation has always been a subject of discussion and, at times, controversy.
Articles
Christ as Ruler, with the Apostles and Evangelists (represented by the beasts). The female figures are believed to be either Santa Pudenziana and Santa Praxedes or symbols of the Jewish and Gentile churches. Mosaic in the apse of Santa Pudenziana, Rome, AD 401–417. Spirituality
This general category includes a selection of more specific topics.
Articles
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