How would you define religion in academic terms?

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Adherence to a set of dogmas, particularly those that dictate a belief system and/or worldview.  Also, that set of dogmas and the belief system/worldview so formed.

I think I would also tend to include some stipulation that an authority or authoritative body dictates/controls the set of dogmas as well.

I think that Confucianism is a philosophy - although I wouldn't be surprised to find out some small pockets of people have turned it into a religion.

Anyway, I had a nutso job the last 4 months so didn't have much time for posting.  At one point I did 400 hours in 40 consecutive days of work.  erg.

Payday was quite nice - and continues to be so as they catch up on my banked hours.  Already starting a new job.

I don't see a supernatural component as being compulsory, although I think a 'moral' component may be essential.  One COULD make a religion out of humanism, for instance, or even eugenics.  All you need do is compose a body of rigid dogmas that define necessary beliefs of the adherents.  Theoretically that body of dogmas could be very useful in some situations, although the rigidity would likely cause it to outlive that usefulness - aka, bronze age beliefs in the 21st century.

Well I had tacked on something about a central authority controlling the dogma.  I think that is more important than the dogma being supernatural.  To an extent, Nazism became a religion - who the fuck was going to question Hitler? It didn't have time to 'blossom' though, in the way Scientology has.

I feel that the fact that all religions seem to be based on woo is mostly coincidence based on the lowest common denominator - if you are going to make up something that can't be questioned, then 100% original bullshit is easier to sell because no one else can claim authority over it.

As Sam Harris puts it, the collective term "religion" is equivalent to the collective term "sport".  Within sport, he says, you can have Badminton, or Thai Boxing - and the only thing they have in common is breathing. 

Religions are so disparate, they are all ways of perceiving existence.  That's what they really all boil down to.

Ways of perceiving existence--I like that. Perhaps it's still too broad could include political worldviews. I guess it's time to crack open Webster's. :-)

@Kairan  I'll poach a word from Unseen :)

Religions are a way to perceive existence in a metaphysical way.


psychosis: the inability to differentiate between reality and fantasy. 

Some people call music religion or football religion. Is there a difference between religion (like Islam, Christianity, etc.) and such "pop-culture religions"?

A moral system, and a set of procedures for carrying it out.  Radical compassion. 

The need and desire to have the unexplained translated into the workings of a superior being. Usually corrupted by the officials holding rank. The strong held belief that morality cannot exist without the belief of said superior being. 

An ancient tool of discovery that discovered nothing worthwhile. A set of rules to enslave the mind. A roadblock to the advancement of humanity. For many of us a thing of the past. An inferior and obsolete moral system. A comfort blanket for those in fear of their own enslaved and deluded minds. An embarrassment to any god had he ever existed. Hang on, let me get breakfast first.....


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