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A Definition of Religion February 5, 2009

Posted by Daniel Benjamin Smith (dsmith77) in Faith, Science.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Source: Is Christianity Religious?

The above article interests me because it presents different definitions of religion. And the definition of religion is most definitely a squirrelly thing to determine.

So, what’s your definition of religion?

Don’t have one do you? I wasn’t joking when I said it was hard to define if you’ve never tried, but I’ll add one more definition to the list from the post above. Religion as defined by the sum of its parts is an organization and collection of holy texts, founders, priests, observances, and traditions.

Or you could say that religion is simply a set of beliefs about God. I guess that’s two more definitions.

Interestingly, my second definition, if correct, makes even atheism a religion as it’s a belief about God. And doesn’t evolution have holy texts (On the Origin of Species), founders (Darwin himself), and priests (Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, etc.)? One of the ten commandments does say to have no other gods before Jehovah. I wonder if that’s because it’s so easy and common?

How about your thoughts?

(Keep it light-hearted, please. I’m not trying to make any enemies or insult anyone’s beliefs. I am however poking fun at what I see as a glaring hole in the arguments of those that hold anti-faith views. I really do want to explore the definition of religion so let’s have at it! Propose and defend your definitions!)



1. morsec0de - February 5, 2009

“And doesn’t evolution have holy texts (On the Origin of Species), founders (Darwin himself), and priests (Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, etc.)?”

If that’s your definition, then the theory of gravity is a religion too.

There’s a reason words have definitions. Without them, they mean anything, and you say nothing.

2. Daniel Smith - February 6, 2009

I never claimed to have the “right” definition, merely a possible one.

You are correct in stating that gravity, or more specifically, a belief in it or science or atoms is based on assumptions. At a philosophical level the scientist must assume that what he or she perceives about the universe through sensory input is “real”. Otherwise, the entire construct falls apart. Of course, many real scientists would balk at such things saying that this is a philosophical viewpoint and science only concerns itself with the empirical. This, however, is circular reasoning and simply avoids dealing with the very real underlying assumption.

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