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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, June 21, 2020

How did St. Francis Xavier shape Catholicism?
Learn about his missionary legacy.
Companion / Philosophy & Religion
Saint Francis Xavier baptizing the infidels by an unknown painter, 18th century; in the collection of the Museo Nacional de Arte, Mexico City, Mexico.
Philosophers to Know, Part II
Five of the most important thinkers in the history of Western philosophy.
List / Philosophy & Religion
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), German philosopher. Print published in London, 1812. Profile portrait surrounded by Ouroboros ancient Egyptian-Greek symbolic serpent with tail in mouth devouring itself representing unity of material and spiritual in eternal...
Our Lady of Fátima
Over one hundred years ago three young children claimed to have witnessed six apparitions of the Virgin Mary.
Spotlight / Philosophy & Religion
The three children, Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia, who saw the vision of Fatima in Portugal. Our lady of Fatima, saint, Christianity.
What is the Difference Between Daoism and Confucianism?
How do China’s two great philosophical and religious traditions compare?
Demystified / Philosophy & Religion
Confucius statue at a Confucian Temple in Shanghai, China. Confucianism religion
Confucius
Confucius, China’s most famous teacher, philosopher, and political theorist, whose ideas have influenced the civilization...
Biography
Confucius.
Hinduism
Hinduism, major world religion originating on the Indian subcontinent and comprising several and varied systems of philosophy,...
Encyclopedia / Philosophy & Religion
Ravana, the 10-headed demon king, detail from a Guler painting of the Ramayana, c. 1720.
Indian philosophy
Indian philosophy, the systems of thought and reflection that were developed by the civilizations of the Indian subcontinent....
Encyclopedia / Philosophy & Religion
The Hindu deity Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, mounted on a horse pulling Arjuna, hero of the epic poem Mahabharata; 17th-century illustration.
Political philosophy
Political philosophy, branch of philosophy that is concerned, at the most abstract level, with the concepts and arguments...
Encyclopedia / Philosophy & Religion
Diorite stela inscribed with the Code of Hammurabi, 18th century bce.

Philosophy & Religion Quizzes

Omar Ali Saifuddin mosque, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.
World Religions & Traditions
Do you believe you know all there is to know about faith around the globe? From temples to festivals, this quiz explores...
Buddha. Temple mural in Thailand of the Buddha founder of a major religions and philosophical system Buddhism.
Buddha and Buddhism
Founded by one man, this religion now inspires millions. Test your "enlightenment" in this quiz about Buddha and Buddhism.
Crowds reach for beads as the Jester float in the traditional Rex parade rolls down Canal Street on Mardi Gras March 8, 2011, New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday aka Shrove Tuesday final day of Carnival, day before Ash Wednesday, first day of Lent.
World Religions Quiz
What holiday comes before Lent? Where is the holiest Islamic city located? Sort out world religions in this quiz that will...
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?

Philosophy & Religion Videos

Middle Ages: religion
Gutenberg Bible
questions and answers about St. Augustine
Avignon papacy
Samoa: Sunday church service
Bernard of Clairvaux, St.
Top Questions: Muhammad
Top Questions: Thomas Hobbes
Image Gallery
Philosophy & Religion
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Philosophy & Religion Subcategories

Thor Ancient Religions & Mythology
What did our ancestors believe in? What myths and stories did they use to explain the world around them and find meaning in it? How have their beliefs influenced modern religion and spirituality? Explore these questions and more while discovering notable traditions, figures, and legends that figured prominently in ancient religion and mythology.
Articles
Immanuel Kant 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 anthropology: examining skull Humanities
The study of humankind with an appreciation of human values and 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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