How would you define religion in academic terms?

Tags: define, definition, religion

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

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. 

Shared? So a person can't have a personal religion?

Why not?

The simple answer is because it's against my definition.

The slightly longer answer is that one person's private beliefs and activities does not constitute a religion. The raisons d'être of religion - fostering social cohesion, casus belli, battle motivation, jurisprudential justification, keeping order, acceptance of kleptocracy, etc - requires religion to be a shared activity to have any value and longevity. 

With a religion of one, you could only control yourself, and that would take all the fun out of it.

(O)ne person's private beliefs and activities does not constitute a religion. The raisons d'être of religion - fostering social cohesion, casus belli, battle motivation, jurisprudential justification, keeping order, acceptance of kleptocracy, etc - requires religion to be a shared activity to have any value and longevity. 

But all those things are not necessary components of religion. They are components a religion can take on optionally. A religion is a system of beliefs based on a metaphysic that is believed on faith rather than fact. A much better definition I think for being less obviously made up based on Arcus's personal gripes and prejudices about about religion (kleptocracy?).

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