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 01, 2020

11 Egyptian Gods and Goddesses
Worship like an Egyptian.
List / Philosophy & Religion
An ancient egyptian hieroglyphic painted carving showing the falcon headed god Horus seated on a throne and holding a golden fly whisk. Before him are the Pharoah Seti and the goddess Isis. Interior wall of the temple to Osiris at Abydos, Egypt.
Roman Catholic Saints
“All you holy men and women pray for us.”
Companion / Philosophy & Religion
Agnes with a lamb near her feet. St. Agnes (Saint Agnes) design drawing for stained glass window by J&R Lamb Studios, ink, mount size 10.5 x 14.5 in.
Celebrating Ramadan
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is a time for Muslims around the world to renew their focus on spiritual life.
Spotlight / Philosophy & Religion
Prayer beads on Quran or Koran written in Arabic Islam's sacred and liturgical language. text, words, Ramadan
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
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

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.
Diwali holiday lamps or candles, India.  (Indian holiday, oil lamp, flame,  candle, fire)
Hinduism
Hinduism is one of the most popular religions on Earth. How much do you know about its philosophy, belief, and ritual? Test…
indonesia bee country map
Islam
How much do you know about the Prophet Muhammad? How about holy cities? Test your knowledge of Islam with this quiz.
Plant. Flower. Nymphaea. Water lily. Lotus. Aquatic plant. Close-up of three pink water lilies.
Plants with Religious Meaning
Test your knowledge of sacred plants 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? Explore these questions and more.
Articles
  • Thor
    Germanic deity
  • Creation myth
  • Zoroastrianism
    religion
  • 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
  • Altruism
    ethics
  • Ethical relativism
    philosophy
  • Benedict de Spinoza
    Dutch-Jewish philosopher
  • 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
  • Economics
  • Chronology
  • Epigraphy
    historiography
  • 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
  • Niccolò Machiavelli
    Italian statesman and writer
  • Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
    German philosopher
  • René Descartes
    French mathematician and philosopher
  • 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
  • St. Augustine
    Christian bishop and theologian
  • Moses
    Hebrew prophet
  • Muhammad
    prophet of Islam
  • 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
  • Angkor Wat
    temple complex, Angkor, Cambodia
  • Lourdes
    France
  • Bethlehem
    town, West Bank
  • Igor Stravinsky Sacred Art & Music
    This general category includes a selection of more specific topics.
    Articles
  • Igor Stravinsky
    Russian composer
  • Claudio Monteverdi
    Italian composer and musician
  • Franz Schubert
    Austrian composer
  • 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
  • Salvation
    religion
  • Sacrifice
    religion
  • Worship
    religion
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