Multi Religion Definition Essay

What Is Religion? Essay

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What is religion? Each person’s definition of religion is different. Each person’s faith is different. This is a question that has been asked for centuries, and regardless of the answer given there is no right or wrong answer. Religion can be defined as a group of people who have shared beliefs who feel their life has purpose or meaning. This feeling or belief that their life has meaning can come from outside of themselves, as well as within. Taking this one step further, these shared beliefs put into action in the form of worship, can be easily identified because they happen regularly. It can be said the Primal religions were in fact not religions. Some may argue Confucianism is not a religion. Others may say Taoism is not a…show more content…

They are teachings learned by previous generations then passed down, they are not always actions. The fifth feature of religion is grace. Grace is defined by Smith as “the belief and assurance that reality is on our side and can be counted on.” Lastly there is mystery. For this there is no exact definition, but it is all of what a religion cannot explain, it is all that the human mind cannot grasp, it is the certain “higher power” that religion offers. Of these six features, there are three that are present in most all religions, they are: authority, tradition, and mystery. Authority, tradition, and mystery further explore and define religion when looking specifically at Primal Religions, Confucianism, and Taoism. Primal Religions are often mistaken to be the religion of the primitive man, often thought to be unintelligent. There is a definition of “primal” that is better suited than unintelligent or primitive. Primal in terms of religion, refers to the lack of exposure to technology, it is not “knowing” the state of consciousness given to many by the technological environment. Primal religions preceded organized religion as we know it today by thousands of years, in some cases millions, but are still present in the world today; we now call them tribal religions. Within primal religions there are people who are knowledgeable about life, who are knowledgeable about
Defining Religion-4 traditions, and who are

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Definitions of the word "religion"

Problems. Some dictionary definitions

Problems with definitions of "Religion:"

The English word "religion" is derived from the Middle English "religioun" which came from the Old French "religion." It may have been originally derived from the Latin word "religo" which means "good faith," "ritual," and other similar meanings. Or it may have come from the Latin "religâre" which means "to tie fast," or "bind together."

Defining the word "religion" is fraught with difficulty. Many attempts have been made. Many people focus on a very narrow definition that matches their own religion, but few if any others.

A humorous case appears in Henry Fielding's novel "Tom Jones." where he has one character say:

"By religion I mean Christianity, by Christianity I mean Protestantism, by Protestantism I mean the Church of England as established by law."

Many definitions focus too narrowly on only a few aspects of religion; they tend to exclude those religions that do not fit well. As Kile Jones 1 wrote in his essay on defining religion that was once included in our section containing visitors' essays section:
"It is apparent that religion can be seen as a theological, philosophical, anthropological, sociological, and psychological phenomenon of human kind. To limit religion to only one of these categories is to miss its multifaceted nature and lose out on the complete definition."

All of the definitions that we have encountered contain at least one deficiency:

Some exclude beliefs and practices that many people passionately defend as religious. For example, their definition might requite a belief in a God or Goddess or combination of Gods and Goddesses who are responsible for the creation of the universe and for its continuing operation. This excludes such non-theistic  religions as Buddhism and many forms of religious Satanism which have no such belief. Also, Unitarians, who are called Unitarian Universalists in the U.S., do not require their members to believe in a deity, and many members don't.
 
Some definitions equate "religion" with "Christianity," and thus define two out of every three humans in the world as non-religious.
 
Some definitions are so broadly written that they include beliefs and areas of study that most people do not regard as religious. For example, David Edward's definition would seem to include cosmology and ecology within his definition of religion. These are fields of investigation that most people regard to be a scientific studies and non-religious in nature.
 
Some define "religion" in terms of "the sacred" and/or "the spiritual," and thus require two additional terms to be defined.
 
Sometimes, definitions of "religion" contain more than one deficiency.

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Dictionary definitions:

Some attempts to define the word religion inclusively:  

  • Barns & Noble (Cambridge) Encyclopedia (1990):
    • "...no single definition will suffice to encompass the varied sets of traditions, practices, and ideas which constitute different religions."

  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary (1990):

    "Human recognition of superhuman controlling power and especially of a personal God entitled to obedience."

This definition would not consider Buddhism as religions. Many Unitarian Universalists and progressive Christians are excluded by this description. It would also reject all religions that are not monotheistic, including:

  • Duotheistic religions like Wicca and Zoroastrianism, because they believe in a dual deity.

  • Polytheistic religions like Hinduism, since the above definition refers to "a" personal God, and these religions believe in a pantheon, usually consisting of both Gods and Goddesses.
  • Dictionary.com at Ask.com:
    • "A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. 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.

    • A specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.

    • Something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice. 2

  • Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary:

    "A cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith."

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