How would you define religion in academic terms?

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I believe you are putting the cart before the horse.

Religion arises as tribes develop into cheifdoms, population increases from at most the hundreds to the thousands, from 1 village to several, from an egalitarian decision making process to hereditary hierarchy, and the development of a bureaucracy. Usually religion and laws develop side by side, and both serve the purpose to control behavior. The content of the religion, which you are attempting to define, differ as much as the content of sports, as used elsewhere here. 

And kleptocracy isn't referring to my own gripes and prejudices, but you cannot have a society larger than an egalitarian tribe, where everyone produces their own food, without the need for kleptocracy. The need for organization requires full time organizers, and these need to be fed. 

There are at least two components to a religion: social and private.  Just as there are with people. 

That sounds more like a proposed definition than a fact. I think this post asks what the definition of religion IS not what you or Arcus would like it to be.

"How would you define religion (..)"

Wiki defines it as "Religion is an organized collection of beliefscultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence", which I believe is somewhat near what I described. However, I'm trying to define religion from an "outside" anthropological standpoint, not an "inside" philosophical one.

But this is what I've found religion to be, in all my researches.  It has a social aspect, and just as importantly, a personal aspect.  In my field-testing, I have found both of these aspects to be true.  So says San Miguel, the Patron Saint of Spain. 

Field testing?  Seriously....you are going to call your layman's ambling 'field testing'?  Get serious.

Religion may come to form the core of a person's identity (such as your identity) but it is a social institution, a group mechanism - not a personal initiative...well, unless you are the cult leader.

So, supposing the last two religious people on Earth are Catholics who believe the Catholic catechism heart and soul. One of them dies. The remaining one, POOF!, is no longer religious?

I'm not buying.

Religious ≠ religion.

He may still be religious, but Catholicism has seized to be a religion upon his death, assuming it isn't spread somehow. 

Want to see 5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds? Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism

How freakin' cool! Thanks, Robert!

Religion grows like a virus, inhabits human DNA.

Amazing video, RobertPiano :)

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