RELIGION

What is religion? The question reminds me of St. Augustine’s quote about time: “If you do not ask me what time is, I know. If you ask me, I do not know.” It seems the same with religion. Everybody knows what religion is before you ask them. But if you ask them what religion is, they will find it very hard to define!

A dictionary might tell you religion is a “belief in and reverence for a supernatural power…” But this would exclude some forms of Jainism and Buddhism, and that doesn’t seem right. Those traditions share so much with mainstream religions, it would be silly to exclude them.

A better definition was suggested by James Livingston:

Religion is that system of activities and beliefs directed toward that which is perceived to be of sacred value and transforming power.

But religion is such a complex and varied human phenomenon that some sociologists prefer to avoid definitions and think of religion in terms of an ideal type. They will say that most religions have most of the characteristics of the ideal type, but they need not have all of them.

An ideal type of religion includes:

  1. interaction with the supernatural
  2. a diagnosis of something essentially wrong with the human condition, and a prescription for salvation or liberation from it
  3. regular, repeated behavior (ritual)
  4. community practice

So some forms of Jainism and Buddhism don’t fit with (1), but they fit with all the rest and so they qualify as religion. Some forms of Taoism don’t have any particular rituals, but they do have the other elements, and so they qualify as religion. But religions like Hinduism and Christianity are closer to the ideal type of religion than, for example, Theravada Buddhism (which lacks the supernatural) and Scientology (which lacks ritual).

Many believers are quick to say their faith is unique and not like “those other religions.” For example, evangelical Christians in America are fond of saying that “Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship.” Well, so be it, but Christianity is most definitely a religion, too. Yes, Christianity is unique because all religions are unique. Our goal here will be to appreciate and investigate their similarities and their differences.

Given the above ideal type, then, we might describe the following traditions as “religious”:

  • The Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Baha’i, Mandaeism, the Druze, Mormonism, and Rastafarianism.
  • The Indian religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.
  • Folk religion: Chinese folk religion, African traditional religion, Native American religion, and others.
  • Persian religions
  • any new religious movements, including Scientology

We can also see that the following probably do not qualify as “religious”:

  • Atheism / secular humanism (no supernatural, no diagnosis or prescription, no ritual, often no community practice)
  • Environmentalism / deep ecology (no supernatural, no ritual, often no community practice)
  • Transhumanism (no supernatural, no ritual, no community practice)
  • UFOlogy (no supernatural, no diagnosis or prescription, no ritual, often no community practice)
  • Science (no supernatural, no diagnosis or prescription, not much ritual)
  • Patriotism (no necessary supernatural, no universal diagnosis or prescription)
  • The paranormal (no diagnosis or prescription, no ritual, often no community practice)

Source

Articles/Essays List

All Articles

10 Ways Britain Has Ruined The World

25 Curious Facts About Slavery In Brazil

272 Slaves Were Sold To Save Georgetown. What Does It Owe Their Descendants?

5 Personality Traits That Good Men Strive For

501C3 Facts

8 Dangers Of Social Media We're Not Willing To Admit: It's Time To Get Real.

A Good Black Man

Alba And The United Scotland

Albinos -- The Origin Of The Caucasian Race

An Intimate Conversation With David Banner On The State Of Black Love & Marriage

Barack Obama May Win, But He Is No African American...

Bible Versus About Interracial Marriage

Biblical Manhood - How The Bible Defines Masculinity

Biblical Womanhood - How The Bible Defines Femininity

Black Americans Never Immigrants To U.S.

Black Judaism

Black Men And The Dirty 'R' Word: Responsibility

Body Snatchers: Organ Harvesting For A Profit

Brainwashing In America

Can Eating Pork & Shellfish Destroy Your Health?

Changing Black To White

China's US Airport And The Reputed Crooked Judges

Cognative Dissonace - The Cainite-Judeo-Christian Religion And The Shell Game

“Color Struck”: Intragroup and Cross-racial Color Discrimination

Corrupt Politicians Shame Legacy Of Black Political And Civil Rights Struggle

DNA Study Seeks Origin Of Appalachia’s Melungeons

Death Of The Willie Lynch Speech

Death Of The Willie Lynch Speech II

Diagnosing Leprosy

Dietary Laws

Disadvantages Of Social Networking: Surprising Insights From Teens

Do You Sometimes Feel Like A Fool for Taking the High Road?

Does the Bible forbid women from wearing pants?

Ecumenism And New World Order

Egyptian Immigrant Wants To Be Reclassified As Black

Emergence Of Islam In The African-American Community

Evil Holidays

Facebook, Twitter And Other Social Media Sites Are An Elaborate CIA Spying Scheme

Facebook's Unethical Experiment: It Intentionally Manipulated Users' Emotions Without Their Knowledge.

Focus On Israel: Harvesting Haitian Organs

For Descendants Of Brazil’s Slaves, A Quest For Land

Four Myths About Black Marriage: Setting The Record Straight

From Democracy To Pathocracy: The Rise Of The Political Psychopath

GADDAFI: The Real Reason Why He Was Killed

Hebrew Alphabet

Hebrew Enslavement In America – Biblical Evidence In The Old Testament

History Of Yoga

How "Majority Illusion' Is Engineered On Social Networks To Push Leftist Agendas

How NOT To Lose Hope In Difficult Times

How Proper Online Research Works: Legitimate Methods, Suggested Techniques, Good Sense, And Plenty Of Patience

How To Keep The Sabbath

Hugo Chávez And The Politics Of Race

If Voting Mattered, They Wouldn’t Let You Do It

Illuminati Sex Slaves Paint Horrifying Picture

Irish Convicts Transported to Australia

Irish Originated In Middle East, DNA Analysis Shows

Irish Slaves In The Caribbean

Is America Babylon?

Is America Babylon? Part 2

Is Competition Godly?

Is Obama Really African American?

Is Social Media An Impediment To Problem Solving?

Is The Bible Sexist Against Women?

Israel Identified Through The Scriptures

Joseph In Ancient Egyptian History

Judging

Killing Children For Organs, Or Organ Theft To Hide Their Murders?

King Alfred Plan

King James I (Biography Of An Infant King)

Learn To Have True Discernment

Learning How To Let Go And Let God

MK Ultra Mind Control Project MK Ultra In Washington Post

Most Politicians Are Psychopaths - Plain And Simple

Nasser Through African Eyes 

Negative Impact Of Social Networking Sites

No, Jesus Wasn't A White Dude

Non-Black People Of Color Owe Immeasurable Debts Of Gratitude To Black Americans

Obama, The African Colonial

Occult Holidays And Sabbats

Occult Rituals and the “Alien” Presence

On Economic Violence

On The Backs Of Blacks

Paul Eisen: Why I Call Myself A Holocaust Denier

Plantations, Prisons And Profits: Louisiana Incarcerated

Polygamy And The Bible

Polygamy Stop: FAQ

Possession Is Part Of Marriage

Project Monarch: Nazi Mind Control

Psychopaths Are Not Human

Religion

Religious Cults

Rex 84: Government Silently Positions For Marial Law As Financial Collapse Arrives In America

Shock Alliance: Farrakhan Praises Integration of Scientology Into Nation of Islam Theology, Says Whites Should Use it to Become ‘Civilized’ & to Avoid Being ‘Devil Christians’ & ‘Satan Jews’

Social Networking Under Fresh Attack As Tide Of Cyber-Scepticism Sweeps US

Sons Of God, Daughters Of Men

The Boulé: A Black Version Of Skull And Bones

The Boulé: Exposing the Intelligence Officers

The Color Game

The Dome Of The Sky Contains The Moon The Sun & The Clouds Beneath It by Mike Maxwell + Earn $5,000 For Proving Earth Is A Globe

The Holocaust Controversy: The Case For Open Debate An Introduction

The Irish Slaves

The Jesuits [The Society Of Jesus]

The Los Lunas Inscription

The Mark Of The Beast

The Moral Elephant In Black America's Room

The NSA Is Gathering Social-Networking Data On Americans To Map Behavior

The Power Of The British Commonwealth Over The World

The Psychopath - The Mask Of Sanity

The Purpose Of War According To George Orwell (1984)

The Role Of Nada Yoga In Spiritual Development

The Role Of The Roman Catholic Church In Slavery

The "Six Million" Myth

The Truth About Fornication And How It Affects Men

The Willie Lynch Speech

Tips For Building Successful Marriages That Last

Turning Adversity to Good

U.S. Congressional Staff Member Unmasks The Charade: Voting Is A Waste Of Time

U.S. Military Civil Disturbance Planning: The War At Home

Unbiblical Practices Of The Catholic Church

Walmart And The Red Chinese Secret Police

Walmart And The Reputed Crooked Judges In Chicago

War Cover-up

War in the Bible: Why Did God’s People Go to War?

We Must Stop Teaching Our Sons to Sow Their Wild Oats

What Does The Latest British Invasion Say About The State of American Acting?

What does the seven women of Isaiah 4:1 represent?

Who Killed Hugo Chavez –And Why?

Who Taught You To Hate The Colour Of Your Skin?

Why Obama Is The Liberal's Messiah

Why Wait to Have Sex in Marriage? A man’s perspective…

Why We Don't Believe In Yoga

Womanism: The Black Feminist

Yoga: Relaxation Or The Occult

Zika or TDAP

Daily Bible Verse