First, listen to this brief explanation on defining religion, then read the text that follows for a more detailed description. In other words, religion is a group of ideas and values that a person lives by. n. 1. a. Beckerlegge, Gwilym(2001, Ed.) But 'holy' is associated with theism in particular so is a poor choice for a discussion of worldwide religion, and 'sacred' doesn't fare much better. If this were the case, we would not even have the word “religion.” This observation is like suggesting that there are apples and oranges and bananas and peaches and pears and grapes but there is no way to explain what “fruit” is without explaining what each kind of fruit is. So, similarly, just because each person has a different experience with religion, does not mean we can’t begin to approach some sort of more universal understanding of what the nature of religion is as a general concept. Transcendental beliefs: Religions explain and involve things that are out of this world in some way; a hidden order, or entire hidden realms of spiritual existence that are hard to realize while here on Earth. A person who is not satisfied with rote performance of mitzvot, but who tries to connect with the Divine in all his actions. Originally published 2009. Ideas are complicated and almost everyone's understanding of almost every concept takes on a unique character, with unique assumptions and features, according to each individual. Riis, Ole Preben. Religion is a set of beliefs and practices which serve to subordinate us to something superior or holy in order to justify the events that control our lives. What is a myth for one group is truth and part of the cultural identity for another. But by mere fact of being a theist doesn't mean that a person is religious in any particular way. Religion is mainly based upon morals and ethics. Also, the The Penguin Dictionary of Religions14 says religion is "a general term used in most modern European languages to designate all concepts concerning belief in God(s) and Goddess(es) as well as other spiritual beings or transcendental ultimate concerns". religion synonyms, religion pronunciation, religion translation, English dictionary definition of religion. Religion and beliefs share the same human factor but aren't always synonymous. This was a course book for the OU module "Religion Today: Traditional, Modernity and Change" which ran until 2011. For example, to believe in ghosts is to have a supernatural belief, but, it doesn't make the believer part of any particular religion. The belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers, regarded as creating and governing the universe: respect for religion. What do you want others to know about your religion? The function of a chair is also served by a stool and a couch but stools and couches are not chairs. Ideally, a combination of both holiness and spirituality. objective, rather than a biased value judgment (=, references multiple aspects of religion, rather than just one (=. • Some religious/cultural traditions, including Legalism and Confucianism, found widespread appeal among the elite because they reinforced the established social structure that defined the elites. Doing so may be a matter of seeing what sort of things most religions have in common, thus being able to arrive at a common foundation even while the specifics will differ from one experience of religion to another. If we accepted the definitions above, it would mean that every person would represent their own religion and the word would be useless. Breuilly, O'Brien & Palmer(1997) Religions of the World. In fact, there have been countless definitions offered by many well respected scholars and philosophers. Usually religion is a term used to define a 'world view' held by humans. This suggests that each religion is a category unto itself. Current version published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. What makes you a strong believer in your faith? Select a definition of religion (or propose one of your own) and analyze it as demonstrated above: what makes it a good or poor definition? Here's the original text, found in, First quote from Babb dating from 1995, 2nd quote from Gwilym Beckerlegge's commentary on Babb in. James adds three notes to this characterization: "The Varieties of Religious Experience" by William James (1902) [Book Review]22. While there are many specific and different religions, religion itself is an abstract concept—a general category of human pursuit that manifests itself in a variety of ways in different cultures, times and places. Religion is another cultural area that the countries of the Middle East have in common. If you were asked to define what “fruit” is, you would not use a description of an apple or an orange to explain what counts as “fruit” because “fruit” comes in so many different varieties. Likewise, some Muslims say "Islam is not a religion - it is a way of life"10 and it used to be the case that "most Hindus do not realize they 'belong' to that religion, for it is a name given by outsiders10. The ultra-conservative movement generally referred to in the United States as the Religious Right came of age in the late 1970s. Religion definition: Religion is belief in a god or gods and the activities that are connected with this... | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples Myth Could Be Part of a Religion You Don't Believe In Here is how philosopher and psychiatrist James Kern Feiblemanone defines myth: A religion in which no one any longer believes. The man who knows governments most completely is he who troubles himself least about a definition [and] would regard an abstract conception in which these were unified as a thing more misleading than enlightening. I’m particularly interested in the way the word “religion” is used in the field of Religious Studies. That the visible world is part of a more spiritual universe from which it draws its chief significance; That union or harmonious relation with that higher universe is our true end; That prayer or inner communion with the spirit thereof - be that spirit “God” or “law” - is a process wherein work is really done, and spiritual energy flows in and produces effects, psychological or material, within the phenomenal world. You might say that spirituality is the mystical face of religion. My own definition falls into the category of statements that are probably too short and simple. What do you think are the most fundamental aspects of your religion? Current version published by Penguin Books, London, UK. These beliefs become religious once they are part of a worked-out transcendental system, written down and codified, and passed on to others. | How would you define religion? A chair is something with a seat that stands about 18 inches off the ground, generally on four legs, and having a back (that is the substance, form or shape of a chair). Substance and function is like “form and function”—the “what” and the “why” (purpose) of a thing. In fact, according to some scholars, Hinduism is not exactly a religion at all. This feeling or belief that their life has meaning can come from outside of themselves, as well as within. The purpose (function) of a chair is “something to sit on.” Presumably, the chair has the form it does because that form is effective in serving its function. Subtitled: "A Study in Human Nature". Over-Use of the 'religious' adjective: Many of the problems come from the wide uses of the word "religion", where it can be used to describe almost anything that is engaged in with passion and dedication. What is Religion? But it is not easy to define Hinduism, for it is much more than a religion as the word is used in the Western sense. The term religion comes from a Latin word religare which means to bind or to tie.This denote that religion has over a person in binding to his/her culture. b. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. Even some beliefs that are strongly tied to religion aren't necessarily religious in nature. My personal definition of religion would be an orgaised and strucured belief. We can also consider characteristics related to the function of religion (the unique role religion plays in our lives as distinguished from the functions of other things in our lives). ©2018 Vexen Crabtree all rights reserved. You may wish to skim through Brickell, Katherine and Datta, Ayona (2011) (Eds.) The meaning of a word is determined by the way that the word is used. Published by Ashgate Publishing Ltd, Aldershot, UK, in association with The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK. Religions are shared collections of transcendental beliefs that have been passed on from believers to converts, that are held by adherents to be actively meaningful and serious and either based on (1) formally documented doctrine (organized religion) or (2) established cultural practices (folk religion). It was anthropologist and sociologist Lawrence A. Babb who described religion as a kind of system "that retains and transmits information" "in encoded and symbolic forms"16. The intentions of the deist's god are unknown. What do you think is the most unique aspect of your religion? Ashgate. Religions often include: spiritual explanations of our place in the world in an attempt to answer questions about "why we are here"; worship of deities and/or supernatural entities (including ancestors); conceptions of "holy" and "sacred" activities ideas and objects; set rituals, calendar events based on the changing seasons, distinctive dress codes (especially for religious professionals), codes of morality and action that are given a mandate from a supernaturally great being, from a supernatural force or from the will of the Universe itself; and, a caste of privileged and exalted professionals who have particular claims to be in touch with transcendental forces. John Bird in "Investigating Religion"17 notes that this has already been discussed by sociologists, and the correct position is that many personal beliefs and activities may be similar to religious beliefs and behaviours, but, that doesn't make them actually religious. So if you’re going to divide Religion into organised religions and mythology, maybe we should start by defining mythology. (2011) The Oxford Handbook of The Sociology of Religion. Folk religion: Mostly pre-literate, this is a form of cultural religion where superstitious community practices have established themselves over time. William James, one of the most respected surveyors of religion, lectured in 1901-2 that "the very fact that they are so many and so different from one another is enough to prove that the word 'religion' cannot stand for any single principle or essence, but is rather a collective name"4. Having or showing belief in and reverence for God or a deity. We've already referred to Steve Bruce's definition of religion, and he approaches the question of transcendental beliefs as follows: He divides up transcendental beliefs into "supernatural entities" and "impersonal powers", both of which have "moral purpose". How might it be improved? Fruit is not merely “something with seeds inside it.” Religion is not merely a matter of “belief in an higher power” although this may certainly be among some of the most important aspects of religion. If you think religion belongs to the past and we live in a new age of reason, you need to check out the facts: How would you define the appeal of the religious/cultural traditions discussed in this chapter? The Penguin Dictionary of Religions. Ole Preben Riis in "Methodology in the Sociology of Religion" (2011)12 says religion is "a world view, an ideology, an organization, an attitude, a set of values, as moods and motivations, or as an ethical disposition"13. Must it involve deities? In order for Tylor to define religion his work caused him to make a distinction between 3 varieties of religious traditions. You care to name, whether it ’ s a monotheistic religion or a religion of your religion Traditional Modernity... 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