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    Religious activities around the world

A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence.<ref group="note">While religion is difficult to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who simply called it a "cultural system" (Clifford Geertz, Religion as a Cultural System, 1973). A critique of Geertz's model by Talal Asad categorized religion as "an anthropological category". (Talal Asad, The Construction of Religion as an Anthropological Category, 1982.)</ref> Many religions have narratives, symbols, and sacred histories that aim to explain the meaning of life, the origin of life, or the Universe. From their beliefs about the cosmos and human nature, people may derive morality, ethics, religious laws, or a preferred lifestyle.

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 include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration (of a deity, gods, or goddesses), sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religions may also contain mythology.<ref>Oxford Dictionaries mythology, retrieved 9 September 2012</ref>

The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with faith or set of duties;<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> however, in the words of Émile Durkheim, religion differs from private belief in that it is "something eminently social".<ref>Émile Durkheim|Durkheim, E. (1915) The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. London: George Allen & Unwin, p.10.</ref> A global 2012 poll reports 59% of the world's population as "religious" and 23% as not religious, including 13% who are atheists, with a 9% decrease in religious belief from 2005.<ref name="gia">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Another 2015 poll similarly found that 22% of the world population are not religious, including 11% who were atheists.<ref name=GallupInt2015>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> On average, women are "more religious" than men.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Some people follow multiple religions or multiple religious principles at the same time, regardless of whether or not the religious principles they follow traditionally allow for syncretism.<ref>Soul Searching:The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers - Page 77, Christian Smith, Melina Lundquist Denton - 2005</ref><ref>Christ in Japanese Culture: Theological Themes in Shusaku Endo's Literary Works, Emi Mase-Hasegawa - 2008 </ref><ref> New poll reveals how churchgoers mix eastern new age beliefs retrieved 26 July 2013 </ref>


Religion sections
Intro  Etymology  Definitions  Theories  Types  Religious groups  Issues  Related forms of thought  Secularism and irreligion  See also  References  Bibliography  Further reading  External links  

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