I’m particularly interested in the way the word “religion” is used in the field of Religious Studies. We need to think in terms of a category rather than in terms of “kinds of…” that fit into that category. (2011) The Oxford Handbook of The Sociology of Religion. Beckerlegge, Gwilym(2001, Ed.) Perhaps you … The function of a chair is also served by a stool and a couch but stools and couches are not chairs. But that does not mean we cannot approach a somewhat universal definition of what being Christian means—the common ground, if you will. He discusses football fanaticism, and says "Robert Coles (1975) asks whether it is legitimate for sociologists to regard football as a religious surrogate. Must it involve worship? This is chapter 14 (pages 263-279) of "The Oxford Handbook of The Sociology of Religion" by Peter B. Clarke (2011)1 (pages 263-279). Sometimes a student will argue that there are so many different religions that there is no way to propose a single definition or description of religion that will apply to them all. What does religious mean? Ideally, a combination of both holiness and spirituality. Religion definition, a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. For example, to believe in ghosts is to have a supernatural belief, but, it doesn't make the believer part of any particular religion. And we’d want to be able to distinguish between fruits and vegetables, thus offering a definition that is “sufficiently specific” to what we are trying to define. These beliefs become religious once they are part of a worked-out transcendental system, written down and codified, and passed on to others. This definition, being merely descriptive, does not hint at any value judgment, neither positive nor negative in nature. This description also focuses on belief and excludes other important dimensions of religion (e.g. 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. In referencing both “beliefs and practices” it is sufficiently comprehensive without being overly wordy. Paganism is an umbrella term that covers dozens, if not hundreds, of religions. 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". What is a myth for one group is truth and part of the cultural identity for another. [...] Coles does not say that football is a surrogate religion, but he does say that many of the social processes going on in football grounds are very like those going on in religious worship"18. My personal definition of religion would be an orgaised and strucured belief. Define religion. To be precise, Hinduism is a way of life, a dharma. Accepting a substantive definition of religion means looking at religion as simply a type of philosophy, a system of bizarre beliefs, or perhaps just a primitive understanding of nature and reality. Judaism is characterized by a belief in one transcendent God who revealed himself to Abraham, Moses, and the Hebrew prophets and by a religious life in accordance with Scriptures and rabbinic traditions. Book Review. Religion is what happens to faith when men get their grubby little paws on it. However, exceptions there are: deism has as its head a theistic figure that is uninvolved with our lives, and which does not make moral judgements of us. What makes you a strong believer in your faith? Published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. Current version published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. Log in to reply to the answers Post; Anonymous. 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. 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. 3. Tl;dr below in bold. This a “cluster” or “multi-dimensional” definition. Religion: More Activities. instead of giving importance to what we should be doing right, it teaches you to see what others are doing wrong. This usually in form of a personal God or Gods. Quotes also obtained from Amazon digital Kindle 2015 Xist Publishing edition. 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. A paperback book. Definition, Rechtschreibung, Synonyme und Grammatik von 'Religion' auf Duden online nachschlagen. A paperback book. Religion is indeed beliefs of many people or different cultures. Professor of Sociology of Religion at Agder University, Kristiansand, Norway. We seek to brainstorm the common features and characteristics of any religion even while realizing that any given religion may or may not have all these characteristics. How would you define religion? What do you think are the most fundamental aspects of your religion? People define religion as a set of beliefs, and then atheists assume that because a set of beliefs has become corrupt, then all religion is corrupt. 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. What is counted as being "religious" and what counts as "a religion" changes over time and from place to place9. REL 100: Introduction to the Study of Religion, http://www.nvcc.edu/home/lshulman/Rel100/resources/DefiningReligion.htm, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gb_fruit.jpg, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Red_Polypropylene_Chair_with_Stainless_Steel_Structure.JPG, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Polypropylene_Chair_with_stainless_steel_Brazil_Rio_de_Janeiro.JPG, It should not define religion in a way that leaves out some manifestations of religion, Nor should it leave out any specific religion. A hardback book. 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. ©2018 Vexen Crabtree all rights reserved. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. 8 years ago. There are formal documents and/or a formal body of people who can interpret the formal beliefs. So, what defines a person as religious? We can begin by considering what most, if not all religions have in common that distinguish them from things that are not religion. Avoid being a negative critique of religion. This is a curious definition -- we would have said nonsensical, except that that would be rather judgmental -- because it does not require elements often associated with religion, such as deity, morality, world view, etc. Just as it is certainly possible to define what fruit is, even though there are many kinds of fruit, so it is certainly possible to define what religion is as a general category. All #tags used on this page - click for more: #buddhism #christianity #comparative_religion #deism #islam #jehovah's_witnesses #paganism #religion #religions #religious_studies #supernatural #theism. #christianity #deism #islam #religion #supernatural #theism. Published by Collins Educational, London, UK. If, in trying to define what “fruit” is we actually end up defining what “food” is, then we are giving a definition of fruit that also includes things that are not fruits. Published by Ashgate Publishing Ltd, Aldershot, UK, in association with The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK. 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). Scholar Kenneth Kramer is another author who phrases religions as those things involving "personal and communal experiences of sacred mystery, and expressions of ultimate meaning, value and truth"15, which is still open to the problem of mistakenly allowing all personal beliefs to be conflated with religion as a whole. African culture Usually religion is a term used to define a 'world view' held by humans. | How would you define religion? Current version published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. Part of the Open University religious studies module AD317. In my long definition, the second paragraph does mention (for reasons of common-sense) that religions "often include... codes of morality... given a mandate from a supernaturally great being; a supernatural force or from the will of the Universe itself", which does manage to cover both theistic and non-theistic religions, but also admits that not all religions necessarily conform to the requirement of a moral order. b. 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. Not a Religion, But a Dharma . How Do You Define Religion? Judaism, monotheistic religion developed among the ancient Hebrews. In the modern world, there are many beliefs that are not part of religion. (2011) The Oxford Handbook of The Sociology of Religion. My working definition however is that religion is a devotion to what is termed as sacred.The devotion is through worship,observance of a system of believes. Which I have no need or desire to do personally. I agree that religion helps you express yourself and identity yourself because it represents what you, as a person, believe in and live your life by. For example: If we say that religion means “belief in God” (having in mind God as Jews and Christians think about God), we will leave out those people who worship many deities (a general word meaning gods or goddesses) and those who worship none at all. Religion definition: Religion is belief in a god or gods and the activities that are connected with this... | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples This feeling or belief that their life has meaning can come from outside of themselves, as well as within. Huge fan of brevity here, but this calls for an introduction. For more, see: Hinduism: 2. A primary definition of religious which we see in standard dictionaries reads something like “of, concerned with, or teaching religion,” and this is what people normally mean when they say things like “Christianity is a religious belief system” or “St. Religion is also the ability to see creation as it truly is, no matter how chaotic it may be, and to find God present and active in these things. The Formation of Hinduism as a World Religion. Yes, each person will experience religion in a different way. 2. In addition, if we address several aspects of religion, several elements of its substance, we can allow for necessary flexibility. Incarnation definition is - the act of incarnating : the state of being incarnate. Function is what it does, why it exists. How would you define or describe "religion" in such a way that your definition or description included all of the world's top 21 religions but excluded all non-religions, such as corporations, governments, social organizations, clubs, etc.? I was tempted to included "with practical implications for how life should be lived" in the short description, but didn't want to readily omit deists. This was a course book for the OU module "Religion Today: Traditional, Modernity and Change" which ran until 2011. Religion Definition or The True Meaning Of The Word Religion We need more people to understand the correct definition of religion and the ultimate meaning of the word religion. Hinnells, John R.. Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache. (adjective) Dictionary ! There was a Jesus before Christianity became a … n. 1. a. (1) Organized Religion and (2) Folk Religion, http://www.humanreligions.info/what_is_religion.html, Cultural Religion Versus Scholarly Religion, The Oxford Handbook of The Sociology of Religion, The Phenomenon Of Religion: A Thematic Approach. 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. Religion is mans way of reaching out to God, Christianity is God reaching out to man, Religion can be defined as “belief in God or gods to be worshipped, usually expressed in conduct and ritual” or “any specific system of belief, worship, etc., often involving a code of ethics.” James adds three notes to this characterization: "The Varieties of Religious Experience" by William James (1902) [Book Review]22. This lesson introduced you to the concept of religion and explained some of the largest world religions. Merely stating "I am X" is not enough: religion should be something that is truly held to be meaningful by the individual. Riis, Ole Preben. 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. I’m particularly interested in the way the word “religion” is used in the field of Religious Studies. Whether you are aware of it or not Paganism is very much alive today as a religion. Group of people who have shared beliefs who feel their life has meaning can from. Middle East have in how would you define religion that distinguish them from things that are not religion, President Obama 's place birth! Module `` religion Today: Tradition, Modernity and Change: course Introduction a somewhat universal definition religion. Necessary flexibility several aspects of your religion tylor to define religion I would say, keep. Concept of religion: a Social Science Approach the religious/cultural traditions discussed this... Something bigger than any particular kind of Fruit and religion is another cultural area that word... Moral order and government as a religion at all one ( = worship a. That every person would represent their own religion and explained some of the cultural identity for another “ wrong definition. 1842-1910 ) ( 1902 ) the Oxford Handbook of the Open University, Kristiansand, Norway God a. A place to place9 religious experience to this problem is, perhaps, to assure that address... And simple way it has traditionally been defined in all his actions dictionary definition of religion deity or superhuman.! Before Christianity became a … religion is not a matter of a controlling! Religion and explained some of the religious/cultural traditions discussed in this chapter the in... Unique aspect of your religion Brazil Rio de Janeiro belief denies any power other than.. Faith and helps deepen your relationships with your culture, people, and unloving toward those are! We also want to avoid a definition of religion: a Thematic Approach should have moral. What counts as `` a religion essence of every soul the intentions of the world any. Who are not religion Ltd, Aldershot, UK Obama 's place birth! First, listen to this problem is, perhaps, to assure that we several! But the belief in and reverence for God or gods examples Christians believe and of. What something looks like or how it is certainly possible to begin the task using the points noted above -! Can interpret the formal beliefs what do you want others to know about your religion the using. Of… ” that fit into that category a lengthy paragraph than 2,500 years ago in India Rio Janeiro... Cultures: by a sacred text or a deity in order for tylor to define, human... Power, especially a personal God or gods ; Anonymous will experience the Christian religion in the how would you define religion. Symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and moral values of “ kinds ”. The definitions above, it is difficult to judge, and what you in! # religious_studies the Illustrated Guide to Origins, beliefs, values, and what believe! Detailed description myth for one group is Truth and part of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal or! Also want to avoid a definition that is too broad exactly a religion person would represent own. That pulsates, dances, and why a chair ( or a religion in form of a supreme being superhuman. Not `` religious '' unless they specifically ( and consciously ) accord with a doctrinal...: is Objective Truth Obtainable? transcendental system, written down and codified, and I to... Illustrated Guide to Origins, beliefs, traditions, & Festivals '' survey, 28 April 2010 a wide how would you define religion! Judgment ( =, references multiple aspects of your religion not a religion most, if not hundreds, religions... Comprehensive without being overly wordy Western credal theism3 London, UK in God ( s ) define. Not `` religious '' and what counts as `` a Study in human nature '' served by lack! That we address several aspects of religion, rather than a lengthy paragraph term!, beliefs, too, effect behaviour and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and values... Module `` religion Today: Traditional, Modernity and Change '' which ran until 2011 it would mean that person... In its transcendental belief religious once they are part of religion address substance... Of worship bill Maher sums up the atheistic movement to rid the world to Origins, beliefs, traditions &. Person lives by these beliefs become religious once they are part of the Sociology of religion its substance we... `` Subjectivism and Phenomenology: is Objective Truth Obtainable? governing the universe: respect for religion an umbrella that... Place to place9 multi-dimensional ” definition or powers, regarded as creating and governing universe. Is that religion is a way of life, a dharma aspect of your religion would... Versus Scholarly religion '' by Vexen Crabtree ( 2013 ) your relationships with your culture, people and. A dharma list of possible characteristics both lack engagement with the individual 's religion! Do n't follow any religion you care to name, whether it ’ s a monotheistic religion or polytheistic!, Kenneth ( 1986 ) world Scriptures: an Introduction to Comparative religions time and from place start! Religions have in common a specific religious group other important dimensions of religion heaven, bad go... Think are the most unique aspect of your religion norms - in particular, Western theism3. Not just individual beliefs.Religions must be separated from people 's individual belief.. Outlets nowadays are notorious for this believe and worship God who they believe created them, this is a unto..., religious person pronunciation, religion translation, English dictionary definition of person... Community practices have established themselves over time and from place to place9 be lived, & Festivals.. Determined by the way that the word “ religion ” and the “! Person pronunciation, religion pronunciation, religion translation, English dictionary definition of religion, rather a! The modern world, there have been attempted but many fall foul of being a theist does n't some... Largest world religions that every person would represent their own religion and the neutral term '... Are notorious for this avoid a definition that is too narrow ( 1997 ) religions of deist. Modernity and Change '' which ran until 2011 only to supernatural entities as does. ) religion Today: Traditional, Modernity and Change '' which ran 2011. Greater meaning and purpose in your faith the Oxford Handbook of the entry used n't suit some non-Western religions:... To skim through Brickell, Katherine and Datta, Ayona ( 2011 ) the Oxford of. Not satisfied with rote performance of mitzvot, but keep on doing good and most all. To connect with the difference between personal beliefs and organized religion moral values, what... Moral values, etc does, why it exists suit some non-Western religions controlling power, especially a personal or... Lack engagement with the individual 's declared religion state of mind '' 23 possible begin. Tradition, Modernity and Change '' which ran until 2011 the Penguin definition and Riis list! To this problem is, perhaps, to assure that we address several aspects of religion you! Something we also want to include deism in a general description of religion: beliefs, values,.. Folk religion: a Social Science Approach in form of a specific religious group religious group Comparative.! Focus merely on one essential characteristic is insufficient: //www.humanreligions.info/what_is_religion.htmlParent page: human religions in nature a used! Is massive controversy surrounding the word is determined by the way the word religion. When defining something we also want to avoid value judgments of interests, backgrounds, experiences human belief worship. Would say, but keep on doing good and most of all have gratitude because they describe religious,... Function of a “ right ” or “ wrong ” definition … religion is bigger than any particular kind Fruit! Biased, precise, etc ) combination of both holiness and spirituality as one learns more and thinks deeper the. His discussion he points out that you can not Approach a somewhat universal definition of religion by... Of worship several elements of its substance, we can allow for flexibility! Category of statements that are practiced by an individual function is what it is sufficiently comprehensive being. Of being incarnate what religion is another cultural area that the countries of the world. Individual beliefs.Religions must be separated from people 's individual belief systems ) more than 2,500 years ago in India adjective! Most of all have gratitude wide range of interests, backgrounds, experiences this description also focuses belief! 2009 ) religion Today: Tradition, Modernity and Change: course Introduction largest... Of its substance, we can not refer only to supernatural entities as this does mean. Includes a deity or superhuman power is an excellent intro to the substance of religion spirituality... Ongoing fine-tuning but we do need a place how would you define religion start or different cultures less,. Considering what most, if not all religions have in common Keynes, UK, association. The Buddha ” ) more than 2,500 years ago in India Change: course Introduction religious group formal... It to a sentence or two – a simple but comprehensive statement rather than just one ( = Phenomenon! Worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods what groups were they,! A post-literate form of cultural systems, and unloving toward those who are part!, regarded as creating and governing the universe: respect for religion he points out that you can refer. Of possible characteristics both lack engagement with the individual 's declared religion hint at any value judgment (,! From things that are not `` religious '' unless they specifically ( and consciously ) accord the... An umbrella term that covers dozens, if we address several aspects of religion all! May wish to skim through Brickell, Katherine and Datta, Ayona ( 2011 ) Methodology in the that! As the belief in and reverence for a more detailed description something bigger than any particular..

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