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Old 11-25-2011, 08:40 PM
 
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It would seem the very term 'religion' has evolved into many definitions and connotations within modern vernacular English. The dictionary online defines it as such:

a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

But it would seem that the use here in this forum is more varied. It would seem that some people apply this term toward any theist, irregardless. In that case, any theist is therefore 'religious,' thus placing a liberal deist in the same category as a radical fundamentalist. Others I've spoke to in the past say that 'religion' is an unavoidable aspect of human nature, and thus all people have a religion whether they acknowledge a deity or not.

So in the end, in order to at least minimize the flame wars over varied opinions and world views expressed here, can we at least get clear over what and who we're 'bashing' in our posts?

It would seem that the atheists, and some agnostics are ignoring a growing group in western society: the "non-communicates." These are those who have left organized bodies of 'religion,' mainly because of the practice of the followers, yet have retained some of the beliefs. They may no longer participate in ritualistic worship, but retain the personal convictions involved and continue to uphold the moral values. Are these persons "religious" or do they still have a "religion?"

Can one be a theist and be non-religious at the same time?

I'm a big believer in the 1st amendment of the US constitution and this is the place where people are exercising those rights. While I don't believe that a 'big brother' government should come in and make people 'be nice,' I do find a lot of people here are flaming like school kids on a playground.

Maybe we should be more specific when either defending our own views, or trashing others. (Of course, we could grow up and stop trashing.)
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Rivendell
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I do not think it is possible to come up with a definition that everyone can agree to.

I personally think that anyone who believes in a deity is religious.

If there were no problematic threads this forum would be a very boring place.
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Old 11-25-2011, 10:12 PM
 
Location: East Coast U.S.
1,513 posts, read 1,499,134 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edspace View Post
a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
Being that everyone has a view of these various beliefs logically makes them all inclusive. Everyone has a world view.

I wish you well in your endeavor. However, I suspect that any attempt to nail down a common understanding of 'religion' will wind up similarly to the repeated efforts to get to a common understanding of atheism.

BTW, there's no such word as "irregardless."
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:00 PM
 
Location: 30-40°N 90-100°W
13,856 posts, read 24,149,168 times
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Some other definitions I find

"A particular system of faith and worship."

"A pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance."

"a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny."

"an institution to express belief in a divine power." wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

"the seventh studio album by Spear of Destiny, released by Eastworld Recordings in 1997" Wikipedia (This one is probably not relevant)

"collection of practices, based on beliefs and teachings that are highly valued or sacred; Any practice that someone or some group is seriously devoted to; Any ongoing spiritual practice one engages in, in order to shape their character or improve traits of their personality" Wiktionary

I'd say belief in God is not, in itself, a religion. Also I'd say disbelief in God does not necessarily mean no religion. In theory one could have a religion that says

The Universe was created by mindless forces.
Its nature is matter and energy.

A Supreme Mind, although not omniscient or omnipotent, emerged within it.
Our purpose in life is to love and learn from that mind and to love/learn from each other.

Without a God/gods being in it. Heck I know of small "new religions" that just revere non-Supreme aliens.
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:53 PM
 
3,488 posts, read 3,542,148 times
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As Sizzly Friddle pointed out - there's many, many definitions of religion that nobody can yet agree on when forced to choose just one. The defining of religion is a deep subject, in and of itself. I think the fact that so many definitions are offered, shows it's enduring power in the minds and hearts of humans.
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Old 11-26-2011, 07:28 AM
 
Location: S. Wales.
48,762 posts, read 14,655,584 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas R. View Post
Some other definitions I find

"A particular system of faith and worship."

"A pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance."

"a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny."

"an institution to express belief in a divine power." wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

"the seventh studio album by Spear of Destiny, released by Eastworld Recordings in 1997" Wikipedia (This one is probably not relevant)

"collection of practices, based on beliefs and teachings that are highly valued or sacred; Any practice that someone or some group is seriously devoted to; Any ongoing spiritual practice one engages in, in order to shape their character or improve traits of their personality" Wiktionary

I'd say belief in God is not, in itself, a religion. Also I'd say disbelief in God does not necessarily mean no religion. In theory one could have a religion that says

The Universe was created by mindless forces.
Its nature is matter and energy.

A Supreme Mind, although not omniscient or omnipotent, emerged within it.
Our purpose in life is to love and learn from that mind and to love/learn from each other.

Without a God/gods being in it. Heck I know of small "new religions" that just revere non-Supreme aliens.
Very good post. Danbury, that deserves a rep. (1) While it is a bit hard to pin a religion down to something that covers everything we would call a religion (excluding the ironic applications to football and rockstar fanship "A pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance." and the problem of what's a religion and what's a cult and avoiding the attempt to rope any kind of organisation in a religion for polemic purposes) we all 'know' what we mean.

"A particular system of faith and worship."

The element of investing belief in something which is in fact without good proof, AND the element of doing something ritual about it

"a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny."

That of course pulls in non - theistic religions such as Buddhism, Jainism, Scientology and raelianism. because apart from a greater or lesser degree or what i call the men in funny hats/trappings of ritual, there is the element of "A particular system of faith" (if not worship) in something like Karma or thetans which is as lackng in good proof as a god.

"an institution to express belief in a divine power."

There is also this "I'd say belief in God is not, in itself, a religion."

Absolutely. This is why i am saying to 007 and a half right now 'suppose I accept a first cause/creator - so what? Effectively, Einstein believed in a 'god' as did Anthony Flew, eventually, but neither saw any reason to engage in acts of worship, far less sign up to any particular religion.

"collection of practices, based on beliefs and teachings that are highly valued or sacred; Any practice that someone or some group is seriously devoted to; Any ongoing spiritual practice one engages in, in order to shape their character or improve traits of their personality" is where it starts to stray a bit and one can ask whether organized atheism could become a religion. There is an element of equivocation in " beliefs and teachings that are highly valued or sacred;" even though it says 'or' not 'and' because the corpus of science is highly valued because it is validated as correct. Holy is a different thing altogether. It is, effectively a belief in divine magic.

So in essence, I'd suggest that the correct def, if not the dictionary def. (my job taught me very quickly that a dictionary has common usage, correct or not - not just carefully accurate valid definitions) is a belief in some unproven divine or quasi divine entity with the proviso that some form of an act of reverence is associated with that belief.

(1) Can't give it to you again - damn' I must rate you rather high.
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:02 AM
 
Location: Logan Township, Minnesota
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Perhaps a generic coverall definition could be:

A set of behaviors a human will adhere to above all other behaviors and even if they pose to be a hardship.
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:33 AM
 
Location: S. Wales.
48,762 posts, read 14,655,584 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodrow LI View Post
Perhaps a generic coverall definition could be:

A set of behaviors a human will adhere to above all other behaviors and even if they pose to be a hardship.
That could apply to exploring rain -forests, climbing mountains, trekking to the poles, starving in a garret for one's art or risking prison for human or animal rights.

No, there has to be the extra element of belief in a divine being or something that is treated as a divine (ie, unproven) entity.
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Logan Township, Minnesota
15,511 posts, read 14,616,310 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
That could apply to exploring rain -forests, climbing mountains, trekking to the poles, starving in a garret for one's art or risking prison for human or animal rights.

No, there has to be the extra element of belief in a divine being or something that is treated as a divine (ie, unproven) entity.
But that would defeat my plan to show atheists they are following a religion.

OK back to the writing.


A set of behaviors, believed to be of divine origin, a human will adhere to even if they pose to be a hardship.
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:04 AM
 
Location: S. Wales.
48,762 posts, read 14,655,584 times
Reputation: 5748
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodrow LI View Post
But that would defeat my plan to show atheists they are following a religion.
I know

Quote:
OK back to the writing.


A set of behaviors, believed to be of divine origin, a human will adhere to even if they pose to be a hardship.
Not enough. That's a god - based morality and or life -style. Not a religion itself.

I like Thom R's summary:

"The element of investing belief in something which is in fact without good proof, AND the element of doing something ritual about it

"a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny."

Typically but not necessarily also "A particular system of faith and worship, typically but not necessarily disgorged through an institution formed to express belief in a divine power."
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