Religion is a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, worldviews, sanctified places, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what constitutes a religion. Different religions may or may not contain various elements ranging from the divine, sacred things, faith, a supernatural being or supernatural beings or "some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life". Religious practices may include rituals, commemoration or veneration, festivals, trances, funerary services, matrimonial services, prayer, art, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religions have sacred histories and narratives, which may be preserved in sacred scriptures, symbols and holy places, that aim to give a meaning to life. Religions may contain symbolic stories, which are sometimes said by followers to be true, that have the side purpose of explaining the origin of life, the universe, other things.
Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs. There are an estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide, but about 84% of the world's population is affiliated with one of the five largest religion groups, namely Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism or forms of folk religion; the religiously unaffiliated demographic includes those who do not identify with any particular religion and agnostics. While the religiously unaffiliated have grown globally, many of the religiously unaffiliated still have various religious beliefs; the study of religion encompasses a wide variety of academic disciplines, including theology, comparative religion and social scientific studies. Theories of religion offer various explanations for the origins and workings of religion, including the ontological foundations of religious being and belief. Religion is derived from the ultimate origins of which are obscure. One possible interpretation traced to Cicero, connects lego read, i.e. re with lego in the sense of choose, go over again or consider carefully.
The definition of religio by Cicero is cultum deorum, "the proper performance of rites in veneration of the gods." Julius Caesar used religio to mean "obligation of an oath" when discussing captured soldiers making an oath to their captors. The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder used the term religio on elephants in that they venerate the sun and the moon. Modern scholars such as Tom Harpur and Joseph Campbell favor the derivation from ligare bind, connect from a prefixed re-ligare, i.e. re + ligare or to reconnect, made prominent by St. Augustine, following the interpretation given by Lactantius in Divinae institutiones, IV, 28; the medieval usage alternates with order in designating bonded communities like those of monastic orders: "we hear of the'religion' of the Golden Fleece, of a knight'of the religion of Avys'". In the ancient and medieval world, the etymological Latin root religio was understood as an individual virtue of worship in mundane contexts. In general, religio referred to broad social obligations towards anything including family, neighbors and towards God.
Religio was most used by the ancient Romans not in the context of a relation towards gods, but as a range of general emotions such as hesitation, anxiety, fear. The term was closely related to other terms like scrupulus which meant "very precisely" and some Roman authors related the term superstitio, which meant too much fear or anxiety or shame, to religio at times; when religio came into English around the 1200s as religion, it took the meaning of "life bound by monastic vows" or monastic orders. The compartmentalized concept of religion, where religious things were separated from worldly things, was not used before the 1500s; the concept of religion was first used in the 1500s to distinguish the domain of the church and the domain of civil authorities. In the ancient Greece, the Greek term threskeia was loosely translated into Latin as religio in late antiquity; the term was sparsely used in classical Greece but became more used in the writings of Josephus in the first century CE. It was used in mundane contexts and could mean multiple things from respectful fear to excessive or harmfully distracting practices of others.
It was contrasted with the Greek word deisidaimonia which meant too much fear. The modern concept of religion, as an abstraction that entails distinct sets of beliefs or doctrines, is a recent invention in the English language; such usage began with texts from the 17th century due to events such the splitting of Christendom during the Protestant Reformation and globalization in the age of exploration, which involved contact with numerous foreign cultures with non-European languages. Some argue that regardless of its definition, it is not appropriate to apply the term religion to non-Western cultures. Others argue that using religion on non-western cultures distorts what people believe; the concept of religion was formed in the 16th and 17th centuries, despite the fact that ancient sacred texts like the Bible, the Quran, others did not have a word or a concept of religion in the original languages and neither did the peopl
A community is a small or large social unit that has something in common, such as norms, values, or identity. Communities share a sense of place, situated in a given geographical area or in virtual space through communication platforms. Durable relations that extend beyond immediate genealogical ties define a sense of community. People tend to define those social ties as important to their identity and roles in social institutions. Although communities are small relative to personal social ties, "community" may refer to large group affiliations, such as national communities, international communities, virtual communities; the English-language word "community" derives from the Old French comuneté, which comes from the Latin communitas "community", "public spirit". Human communities may share intent, resources, preferences and risks in common, affecting the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness. In archaeological studies of social communities the term "community" is used in two ways, paralleling usage in other areas.
The first is an informal definition of community as a place. In this sense it is synonymous with the concept of an ancient settlement, whether a hamlet, town, or city; the second meaning is similar to the usage of the term in other social sciences: a community is a group of people living near one another who interact socially. Social interaction on a small scale can be difficult to identify with archaeological data. Most reconstructions of social communities by archaeologists rely on the principle that social interaction is conditioned by physical distance. Therefore, a small village settlement constituted a social community, spatial subdivisions of cities and other large settlements may have formed communities. Archaeologists use similarities in material culture—from house types to styles of pottery—to reconstruct communities in the past; this is based on the assumption that people or households will share more similarities in the types and styles of their material goods with other members of a social community than they will with outsiders.
In ecology, a community is an assemblage of populations of different species, interacting with one another. Community ecology is the branch of ecology that studies interactions among species, it considers how such interactions, along with interactions between species and the abiotic environment, affect community structure and species richness and patterns of abundance. Species interact in three ways: competition and mutualism. Competition results in a double negative—that is both species lose in the interaction. Predation is a win/lose situation with one species winning. Mutualism, on the other hand, involves both species cooperating in some way, with both winning; the two main types of communities are major which are self-sustaining and self-regulating and minor communities which rely on other communities and are the building blocks of major communities. In Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies described two types of human association: Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft.
Tönnies proposed the Gemeinschaft–Gesellschaft dichotomy as a way to think about social ties. No group is one or the other. Gemeinschaft stress personal social interactions, the roles and beliefs based on such interactions. Gesellschaft stress indirect interactions, impersonal roles, formal values, beliefs based on such interactions. In a seminal 1986 study, McMillan and Chavis identify four elements of "sense of community": membership, influence and fulfillment of needs, shared emotional connection. A "sense of community index was developed by Chavis and colleagues, revised and adapted by others. Although designed to assess sense of community in neighborhoods, the index has been adapted for use in schools, the workplace, a variety of types of communities. Studies conducted by the APPA indicate that young adults who feel a sense of belonging in a community small communities, develop fewer psychiatric and depressive disorders than those who do not have the feeling of love and belonging; the process of learning to adopt the behavior patterns of the community is called socialization.
The most fertile time of socialization is the early stages of life, during which individuals develop the skills and knowledge and learn the roles necessary to function within their culture and social environment. For some psychologists those in the psychodynamic tradition, the most important period of socialization is between the ages of one and ten, but socialization includes adults moving into a different environment, where they must learn a new set of behaviors. Socialization is influenced by the family, through which children first learn community norms. Other important influences include schools, peer groups, mass media, the workplace, government; the degree to which the norms of a particular society or community are adopted determines one's willingness to engage with others. The norms of tolerance and trust are important "habits of the heart," as de Tocqueville put it, in an individual's involvement in community. Community development is linked with community work or community planning, may involve stakeholders, governments, or contracted entities incl
Experimental psychology refers to work done by those who apply experimental methods to psychological study and the processes that underlie it. Experimental psychologists employ human participants and animal subjects to study a great many topics, including sensation & perception, cognition, motivation, emotion. Experimental psychology emerged as a modern academic discipline in the 19th century when Wilhelm Wundt introduced a mathematical and experimental approach to the field. Wundt founded the first psychology laboratory in Germany. Other experimental psychologists, including Hermann Ebbinghaus and Edward Titchener, included introspection among their experimental methods. Charles Bell was a British physiologist, whose main contribution was research involving the nervous system, he wrote a pamphlet summarizing his research on rabbits. His research concluded that sensory nerves enter at the posterior roots of the spinal cord and motor nerves emerge from the anterior roots of the spinal cord. Eleven years a French physiologist Francois Magendie published the same findings without being aware of Bell’s research.
Due to Bell not publishing his research, the discovery was called the Bell-Magendie law. Bell's discovery disproved the belief that nerves transmitted either spirits. Weber was a German physician, credited with being one of the founders of experimental psychology, his main interests were the sense of touch and kinesthesis. His most memorable contribution is the suggestion that judgments of sensory differences are relative and not absolute; this relativity is expressed in "Weber's Law," which suggests that the just-noticeable difference, or jnd is a constant proportion of the ongoing stimulus level. Weber's Law is stated as an equation: Δ I I = k, where I is the original intensity of stimulation, Δ I is the addition to it required for the difference to be perceived, k is a constant. Thus, for k to remain constant, Δ I must rise as I increases. Weber’s law is considered the first quantitative law in the history of psychology. Fechner published in 1860 what is considered to be the first work of experimental psychology, "Elemente der Psychophysik."
Some historians date the beginning of experimental psychology from the publication of "Elemente." Weber was not a psychologist, it was Fechner who realized the importance of Weber’s research to psychology. Fechner was profoundly interested in establishing a scientific study of the mind-body relationship, which became known as psychophysics. Much of Fechner's research focused on the measurement of psychophysical thresholds and just-noticeable differences, he invented the psychophysical method of limits, the method of constant stimuli, the method of adjustment, which are still in use. Oswald Külpe is the main founder of the Würzburg School in Germany, he was a pupil of Wilhelm Wundt for about twelve years. Unlike Wundt, Külpe believed. In 1883 he wrote Grundriss der Psychologie, which had scientific facts and no mention of thought; the lack of thought in his book is odd because the Würzburg School put a lot of emphasis on mental set and imageless thought. The work of the Würzburg School was a milestone in the development of experimental psychology.
The School was founded by a group of psychologists led by Oswald Külpe, it provided an alternative to the structuralism of Edward Titchener and Wilhelm Wundt. Those in the School focused on mental operations such as mental set and imageless thought. Mental set affects problem solving without the awareness of the individual. According to Külpe, imageless thought consists of pure mental acts that do not involve mental images. An example of mental set was provided by William Bryan, an American student working in Külpe’s laboratory. Bryan presented subjects with cards; the subjects were told to attend to the syllables, in consequence they did not remember the colors of the nonsense syllables. Such results made people question the validity of introspection as a research tool, led to a decline of voluntarism and structuralism; the work of the Würzburg School influenced many Gestalt psychologists, including Max Wertheimer. Experimental psychology was introduced into the United States by George Trumbull Ladd, who founded Yale University's psychological laboratory in 1879.
In 1887, Ladd published Elements of Physiological Psychology, the first American textbook that extensively discussed experimental psychology. Between Ladd's founding of the Yale Laboratory and his textbook, the center of experimental psychology in the US shifted to Johns Hopkins University, where George Hall and Charles Sanders Peirce were extending and qualifying Wundt's work. With his student Joseph Jastrow, Charles S. Peirce randomly assigned volunteers to a blinded, repeated-measures design to evaluate their ability to discriminate weights. Peirce's experiment inspired other researchers in psychology and education, which developed a research tradition of randomized experiments in laboratories and specialized textbooks in the 1800s; the Peirce–Jastrow experiments were conducted as part of Peirce's pragmatic program to understand human perception. While Peirce was making advance
Scientology is a body of religious beliefs and practices launched in May 1952 by American author L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard developed a program of ideas called Dianetics, distributed through the Dianetics Foundation; the foundation soon entered bankruptcy, Hubbard lost the rights to his seminal publication Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health in 1952. He recharacterized the subject as a religion and renamed it Scientology, retaining the terminology, the E-meter, the practice of auditing. Within a year, he regained the rights to Dianetics and retained both subjects under the umbrella of the Church of Scientology. Hubbard describes the etymology of the word "Scientology" as coming from the Latin word scio, meaning know or distinguish, the Greek word logos, meaning "the word or outward form by which the inward thought is expressed and made known". Hubbard writes, "thus, Scientology means knowing about knowing, or science of knowledge". Hubbard's groups have encountered considerable controversy.
In January 1951, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners brought proceedings against Dianetics Foundation on the charge of teaching medicine without a license. Hubbard's followers engaged in a program of criminal infiltration of the U. S. government. Hubbard-inspired organizations and their classification are a point of contention. Germany classifies Scientology groups as an "anti-constitutional sect". In France, they have been classified as a dangerous cult by some parliamentary reports. L. Ron Hubbard was the only child of Harry Ross Hubbard, a United States Navy officer, his wife, Ledora Waterbury. Hubbard spent three semesters at George Washington University but was placed on probation in September 1931, he failed to return for the fall 1932 semester. In July 1941, Hubbard was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the U. S. Naval Reserve. On May 18, 1943, his subchaser left Portland; that night, Hubbard ordered his crew to fire 35 depth charges and a number of gun rounds at what he believed were Japanese submarines.
His ship sustained three crew were injured. Having run out of depth charges and with the presence of a submarine still unconfirmed by other ships, Hubbard's ship was ordered back to port. A navy report concluded that "there was no submarine in the area." A decade Hubbard claimed in his Scientology lectures that he had sunk a Japanese submarine. On June 28, 1943, Hubbard ordered his crew to fire on the Coronado Islands. Hubbard did not realize that the islands belonged to US-allied Mexico, nor that he had taken his vessel into Mexican territorial waters, he was reprimanded and removed from command on July 7. After reassignment to a naval facility in Monterey, Hubbard became depressed and fell ill. Reporting stomach pains in April 1945, he spent the remainder of the war as a patient in Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland, California. According to his teachings, during this time Hubbard made scientific "breakthroughs" by use of "endocrine experiments". On October 15, 1947, Hubbard wrote a letter to the Veterans Administration formally requesting psychiatric treatment, but admitted that he was unable to afford it.
Within a few years, Hubbard would condemn psychiatry as evil, which would grow into a major theme in Scientology. In April 1938, Hubbard reacted to a drug used in a dental procedure. According to his account, this triggered a revelatory near-death experience. Inspired by this experience, Hubbard composed a manuscript, never published, with the working titles of "The One Command" or Excalibur; the contents of Excalibur formed the basis for some of his publications. Arthur J. Burks, who read the work in 1938 recalled it discussed the "one command": to survive; this theme would be revisited in Dianetics, the set of ideas and practices regarding the metaphysical relationship between the mind and body which became the central philosophy of Scientology. Hubbard cited Excalibur as an early version of Dianetics. In August 1945, Hubbard moved into the Pasadena mansion of John "Jack" Whiteside Parsons, an avid occultist and Thelemite, follower of the English ceremonial magician Aleister Crowley and leader of a lodge of Crowley's magical order, Ordo Templi Orientis.
Parsons and Hubbard collaborated on the "Babalon Working", a sex magic ritual intended to summon an incarnation of Babalon, the supreme Thelemite Goddess. The Church of Scientology admits to Hubbard's involvement with Parsons while claiming that it was for the purpose of naval intelligence. In the late 1940s, Hubbard practiced as a hypnotist and he worked in Hollywood posing as a swami; the Church says. In May 1950, Hubbard's Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science was published by pulp magazine Astounding Science Fiction. In the same year, he published the book-length Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, considered the seminal event of the century by Scientologists. Scientologists sometimes use a dating system based on the book's publication. D. 25" does not stand for Anno Domini, but "After Dianetics". Dianetics uses a counseling technique known as auditing in which an auditor assists a subject in conscious recall of traumatic events in the individual's past, it was intended to be a new psychotherapy and was not expected to become the foundation for a new religion.
Hubbard variously defined Dianetics as a spiritual healing technology and an organized science of thought. The stated intent is to free individuals of the influence of past traumas by systematic exposure and removal of the engrams these events have left behind, a process called clearing. Rutgers scholar Beryl Satter says that "there was
Ahmadiyya is an Islamic revival or messianic movement founded in Punjab, British India, in the late 19th century. It originated with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who claimed to have been divinely appointed as both the promised Mahdi and Messiah expected by Muslims to appear towards the end times and bring about, by peaceful means, the final triumph of Islam. Adherents of the Ahmadiyya—a term adopted expressly in reference to Muhammad's alternative name Aḥmad—are known as Ahmadi Muslims or Ahmadis. Ahmadi thought emphasizes the belief that Islam is the final dispensation for humanity as revealed to Muhammad and the necessity of restoring it to its true intent and pristine form, lost through the centuries, its adherents consider Ahmad to have appeared as the Mahdi—bearing the qualities of Jesus in accordance with their reading of scriptural prophecies—to revitalize Islam and set in motion its moral system that would bring about lasting peace. They believe that upon divine guidance he purged Islam of foreign accretions in belief and practice by championing what is, in their view, Islam's original precepts as practised by Muhammad and the early Muslim community.
Ahmadis thus view themselves as leading the renaissance of Islam. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad established the Community on 23 March 1889 by formally accepting allegiance from his supporters. Since his death, the Community has been led by a number of Caliphs and has spread to 210 countries and territories of the world as of 2017 with concentrations in South Asia, West Africa, East Africa, Indonesia; the Ahmadis have a strong missionary tradition and formed the first Muslim missionary organization to arrive in Britain and other Western countries. The Community is led by its Caliph, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, is estimated to number between 10 and 20 million worldwide; the population is entirely contained in the single organized and united movement. However, in the early history of the Community, a number of Ahmadis broke away over the nature of Ahmad's prophetic status and succession and formed the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam, which today represents a small fraction of all Ahmadis; some Ahmadiyya-specific beliefs have been thought of as opposed to current conceptions of Islamic orthodoxy since the movement's birth, some Ahmadis have subsequently faced persecution.
Many Muslims consider Ahmadi Muslims as either kafirs or heretics, an animosity sometimes resulting in murder. The Ahmadiyya movement was founded in 1889, but the name Ahmadiyya was not adopted until about a decade later. In a manifesto dated 4 November 1900, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad explained that the name did not refer to himself but to Ahmad, the alternative name of Muhammad. According to him, the meaning of the name Muhammad—"the most praised one"—indicated the glorious destiny and grandeur of the Islamic prophet, manifest after the migration to Medina. According to Ahmad, these two names thus reflected two aspects or modalities of Islam, in times it was the latter aspect that commanded greater attention. Labelling a group or school in Islam after anyone other than Muhammad the prophet of Islam, he thus rejected as religious innovation. Accordingly, in Ahmad's view, this was the reason that the Old Testament had prophesied a messenger like unto Moses, in reference to Muhammad, while according to the Quran 61:6, Jesus used the elative form Ahmad when referring to that messenger since it reflected his own disposition and circumstances.
Further, his reading of Quran 48:29 was that Moses, who himself characterized power and glory, described Muhammad and those with him as unyielding against the disbelievers and tender among themselves which comported with the name Muhammad and with the early Muslims who achieved swift military successes against their oppressors, while Jesus, whose life consisted purely of preaching and involved nothing of might or fighting, described them as like unto a seed-produce that sends forth its sprout makes it strong. This latter description which, according to him, comported with the name Ahmad, suggested a gradual and peaceful emergence and intimated another community of Muslims: those with the promised Mahdi, the counterpart of Jesus in the latter times. In view of these exegetical rationales, he considered the term Ahmadi—in relation to the incipience of Muhammad's proclamation and in order to distinguish the movement from other Muslim groups—as most befitting for himself and the movement:The name, appropriate for this Movement and which I prefer for myself and for my Jamā'at is Muslims of the Ahmadiyya Section.
And it is permissible that it be referred to as Muslims of the Ahmadi school of thought. The term Ahmadiyya—formed by way of suffixation from Ahmad and the suffix -iyya —is an abstract noun used in reference to the movement itself. Despite Ahmadis dissociating the name from their founder, deriv
Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany with a population of over 1.8 million. One of Germany's 16 federal states, it is surrounded by Schleswig-Holstein to the north and Lower Saxony to the south; the city's metropolitan region is home to more than five million people. Hamburg lies on two of its tributaries, the River Alster and the River Bille; the official name reflects Hamburg's history as a member of the medieval Hanseatic League and a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire. Before the 1871 Unification of Germany, it was a sovereign city state, before 1919 formed a civic republic headed constitutionally by a class of hereditary grand burghers or Hanseaten. Beset by disasters such as the Great Fire of Hamburg, north Sea flood of 1962 and military conflicts including World War II bombing raids, the city has managed to recover and emerge wealthier after each catastrophe. Hamburg is Europe's third-largest port. Major regional broadcasting firm NDR, the printing and publishing firm Gruner + Jahr and the newspapers Der Spiegel and Die Zeit are based in the city.
Hamburg is the seat of Germany's oldest stock exchange and the world's oldest merchant bank, Berenberg Bank. Media, commercial and industrial firms with significant locations in the city include multinationals Airbus, Blohm + Voss, Aurubis and Unilever; the city hosts specialists in world economics and international law, including consular and diplomatic missions as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the EU-LAC Foundation, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, multipartite international political conferences and summits such as Europe and China and the G20. Both the former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and Angela Merkel, German chancellor since 2005, come from Hamburg; the city is a major domestic tourist destination. It ranked 18th in the world for livability in 2016; the Speicherstadt and Kontorhausviertel were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 2015. Hamburg is a major European science and education hub, with several universities and institutions. Among its most notable cultural venues are the Laeiszhalle concert halls.
It paved the way for bands including The Beatles. Hamburg is known for several theatres and a variety of musical shows. St. Pauli's Reeperbahn is among the best-known European entertainment districts. Hamburg is at a sheltered natural harbour on the southern fanning-out of the Jutland Peninsula, between Continental Europe to the south and Scandinavia to the north, with the North Sea to the west and the Baltic Sea to the northeast, it is on the River Elbe at its confluence with the Bille. The city centre is around the Binnenalster and Außenalster, both formed by damming the River Alster to create lakes; the islands of Neuwerk, Scharhörn, Nigehörn, 100 kilometres away in the Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park, are part of the city of Hamburg. The neighborhoods of Neuenfelde, Cranz and Finkenwerder are part of the Altes Land region, the largest contiguous fruit-producing region in Central Europe. Neugraben-Fischbek has Hamburg's highest elevation, the Hasselbrack at 116.2 metres AMSL. Hamburg borders the states of Lower Saxony.
Hamburg has an oceanic climate, influenced by its proximity to the coast and marine air masses that originate over the Atlantic Ocean. The location north of Germany provides extremes greater than marine climates, but in the category due to the mastery of the western standards. Nearby wetlands enjoy a maritime temperate climate; the amount of snowfall has differed a lot during the past decades: while in the late 1970s and early 1980s, at times heavy snowfall occurred, the winters of recent years have been less cold, with snowfall only on a few days per year. The warmest months are June and August, with high temperatures of 20.1 to 22.5 °C. The coldest are December and February, with low temperatures of −0.3 to 1.0 °C. Claudius Ptolemy reported the first name for the vicinity as Treva; the name Hamburg comes from the first permanent building on the site, a castle which the Emperor Charlemagne ordered constructed in AD 808. It rose on rocky terrain in a marsh between the River Alster and the River Elbe as a defence against Slavic incursion, acquired the name Hammaburg, burg meaning castle or fort.
The origin of the Hamma term remains uncertain. In 834, Hamburg was designated as the seat of a bishopric; the first bishop, became known as the Apostle of the North. Two years Hamburg was united with Bremen as the Bishopric of Hamburg-Bremen. Hamburg occupied several times. In 845, 600 Viking ships sailed up the River Elbe and destroyed Hamburg, at that time a town of around 500 inhabitants. In 1030, King Mieszko II Lambert of Poland burned down the city. Valdemar II of Denmark raided and occupied Hamburg in 1201 and in 1214; the Black Death killed at least 60% of the population in 1350. Hamburg experienced several great fires in the medieval period. In 1189, by imperial charter, Frederick I "Barbarossa" granted Hamburg the status of a Free Imperial City and tax-free access up the Lower Elbe into the North Sea. In 1265, an forged letter was presented to or by the Rath of Hamburg; this charter, along with Hamburg's proximity to the main trade routes of the North Sea and Baltic Sea made it a
The Bahá'í Faith is a religion teaching the essential worth of all religions, the unity and equality of all people. Established by Bahá'u'lláh in 1863, it grew in Persia and parts of the Middle East, where it has faced ongoing persecution since its inception, it is estimated to have between 5 and 8 million adherents, known as Bahá'ís, spread out into most of the world's countries and territories. It grew from the mid-19th-century Bábí religion, whose founder taught that God would soon send a prophet in the same way of Jesus or Muhammad. In 1863, after being banished from his native Iran, Bahá ` u ` lláh announced, he was further exiled. Following Bahá'u'lláh's death in 1892, leadership of the religion fell to his son `Abdu'l-Bahá, his great-grandson Shoghi Effendi. Bahá'ís around the world annually elect local and national Spiritual Assemblies that govern the affairs of the religion, every five years the members of all National Spiritual Assemblies elect the Universal House of Justice, the nine-member supreme governing institution of the worldwide Bahá'í community, which sits in Haifa, near the Shrine of the Báb.
Bahá'í teachings are in some ways similar to other monotheistic faiths: God is considered single and all-powerful. However, Bahá'u'lláh taught that religion is orderly and progressively revealed by one God through Manifestations of God who are the founders of major world religions throughout history. Bahá'ís regard the major religions as fundamentally unified in purpose, though varied in social practices and interpretations. There is a similar emphasis on the unity of all people rejecting notions of racism and nationalism. At the heart of Bahá'í teachings is the goal of a unified world order that ensures the prosperity of all nations, races and classes. Letters written by Bahá'u'lláh to various individuals, including some heads of state, have been collected and assembled into a canon of Bahá'í scripture that includes works by his son `Abdu'l-Bahá, the Báb, regarded as Bahá'u'lláh's forerunner. Prominent among Bahá'í literature are the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Kitáb-i-Íqán, Some Answered Questions, The Dawn-Breakers.
In English-language use, the word Bahá'í is used either as an adjective to refer to the Bahá'í Faith or as a term for a follower of Bahá'u'lláh. The word is not a noun meaning the religion as a whole, it is derived from the Arabic Bahá‘, meaning "glory" or "splendor". The term "Bahaism" is still used in a pejorative sense, though the U. S. Library of Congress uses "Bahaism" as a variant term for Baha'i Faith; the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, form the foundation for Bahá'í belief. Three principles are central to these teachings: the unity of God, the unity of religion, the unity of humanity. Baha'is believe that God periodically reveals his will through divine messengers, whose purpose is to transform the character of humankind and to develop, within those who respond and spiritual qualities. Religion is thus seen as orderly and progressive from age to age; the Bahá'í writings describe a single, inaccessible, omnipresent and almighty God, the creator of all things in the universe.
The existence of God and the universe is thought to be eternal, without a end. Though inaccessible directly, God is seen as conscious of creation, with a will and purpose, expressed through messengers termed Manifestations of God. Bahá'í teachings state that God is too great for humans to comprehend, or to create a complete and accurate image of by themselves. Therefore, human understanding of God is achieved through his revelations via his Manifestations. In the Bahá'í religion, God is referred to by titles and attributes, there is a substantial emphasis on monotheism; the Bahá'í teachings state that the attributes which are applied to God are used to translate Godliness into human terms and to help individuals concentrate on their own attributes in worshipping God to develop their potentialities on their spiritual path. According to the Bahá'í teachings the human purpose is to learn to know and love God through such methods as prayer and being of service to others. Bahá'í notions of progressive religious revelation result in their accepting the validity of the well known religions of the world, whose founders and central figures are seen as Manifestations of God.
Religious history is interpreted as a series of dispensations, where each manifestation brings a somewhat broader and more advanced revelation, rendered as a text of scripture and passed on through history with greater or lesser reliability but at least true in substance, suited for the time and place in which it was expressed. Specific religious social teachings may be revoked by a subsequent manifestation so that a more appropriate requirement for the time and place may be established. Conversely, certain general principles are seen to be consistent. In Bahá'í belief, this process of progressive revelation will not end. Bahá'ís do not expect a new manifestation of God to appear within 1000 years of Bahá'u'lláh's revelation. Bahá'í beliefs are sometimes described as syncretic combinations of earlier religious beliefs. Bahá'ís, assert that their religion is a distinct tradition with its own