How would you define religion in academic terms?

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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.....

Religion is faith-based (bad) philosophy, science and government.

The belief that humans are dependent upon the need for a god to govern their minds and their destiny. This belief requires a set of rituals, written laws, and societal norms that must be followed in order to comply with the decided upon deity's man made projected wishes. A man made system of social control. A method by which humans have been able to justify the most horrific acts ever committed because of the belief that their deity is superior to anyone who does not follow their decided upon method of social control. A projection of characteristics upon the deity that reflect the social control that is being construed to obtain power and control over other human beings, mentally, physically, sexually, or emotionally...in many cases, all of the above.

I like "A system of metaphysical beliefs held in faith and despite lack of evidence or evidence to the contrary."

I am not sure how to define it but I know I lost it.

For me, religion is the abdication of one's will to the mental aberrations of long dead men.

A weltanschauung (life stance) which involves personal and/or communal activities centered around a shared belief in a higher power. 

@Arcus - I think we can put yours and my definitions together, and we've got the whole thing.  Does it have to be shared?  Sometimes people share it without knowing it.  

The definitions can be placed together as they concern two different aspects of religion, though I would have to contend that activities need to be shared. A religion consisting of one member isn't really a religion, as it would die with the person. 

True.  Morality is by definition shared.  If I do something that doesn't affect anyone else, it's not a moral decision.  I think you can have a religion of one, a personal religion.  I agree though it's not very successful if it dies with that person, as religions go. 

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