Religious symbolism

Religious symbolism

Religious symbolism is the use of symbols, including archetypes, acts, artwork, events, or natural phenomena, by a religion. Religions view religious texts, rituals, and works of art as symbols of compelling ideas or ideals. The symbols helps create a reseonant mythos that expresses the moral values of the society, the teachings of the religion, creates a sense of solidarity between religious adherents, or functions as a way to bring an adherent closer to their god or gods.

The study of religious symbolism is either universalist, as a component of comparative religion and mythology, or in localized scope, within the confines of a religion's limits and boundaries.

Religion or philosophy Name Symbol
Ayyavazhi Lotus Carrying Namam
Bahá'í Faith Nine Pointed Star
Buddhism Wheel of Dharma
Lotus Flower
Christianity Ichthys (fish)
Christian cross
Patriarchal cross
Ethnic religions, Polytheistic reconstructionism
Paganism, Neopaganism, Wicca
Hands of God
Mjolnir (Thor's Hammer)
Pentagram (also used as a Christian symbol)
Sun cross
Gnosticism Sun cross (also a symbol of neopaganism)
Ouroboros (also a symbol of Alchemy and Hermeticism)
Humanism Happy Human
Hinduism Omkar (Aum)
Lotus Flower
Islam Kalima/Shahadah
Name of Allah
Star and crescent (Ottoman symbol)
Rub el Hizb
Jainism Swastika
Judaism Star of David
LaVeyan Satanism Sigil of Baphomet
Slavic neopaganism Hands of God
Pastafarianism Spaghethys
Sikhism Khanda
Ek Onkar
Shinto Torii
Southeastern Ceremonial Complex Solar cross
Taoism (Daoism) Yin and yang (Taiji)
Thelema Unicursal Hexagram
Universal Sufism "Tughra Inayati"
Unitarian Universalism Flaming chalice
Zoroastrianism Faravahar

Evolutionary perspectives

Religious symbolism may have a long history that could be over 100,000 years old. Ritual burials with grave goods are often interpreted as early human use of religious symbolism.


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