Defining Religion

Defining Religion

Length: 894 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Defining Religion
Is it fair to define religion? Who has authority? Will there ever be one true definition? The mentioning of religion often sparks many questions, many questions that will forever go unsolved. The word religion is also associated with powerful words of relevancy. Faith, love, devotion, and sacrifice, these words are easy to apply to religion, but is it possible to conjure these words into a solid meaning?
Due to the fact there are so many world religions, it is imperative that religion is broadly defined in order to include the vast array of beliefs. Religion is the devotion to a set or path of beliefs, where faith is used as guidance, respect is used with practice, and love honors the higher and more worthy authority. As seen for thousands of years, religious prosecution has led to religious wars, all for the lack of respect and freedom. Religion, like those who choose to practice, is exceedingly diverse. One god, hundreds of gods, or no gods at all, freedom should be granted equally without judgment and jurisdiction to any persons who live their life accordingly.
Rituals play a part in life that nothing else can fill (Smith, P.300). A form of backbone and commonly practiced, rituals are unique in setting each religion apart.

Traditionally passed down, orally or through scripture, most rituals always involve the use of symbolic objects, words, and actions. The ethical teachings of Confucianism include the belief of Li, which stresses the importance of rituals and propriety. Hinduism, the predominant religion of India and oldest practiced religion of the world, is strongly structured around hundreds of complex rituals such as, puja, yoga and samskars. Furthermore, some ancient religions are solely based around traditional rituals. These are known as primal religions, and they are not necessarily based around the worship of a god, but more so the sacredness of space. The entire life of the aborigine, insofar as it rises about the triviality and becomes authentic is ritual (Smith, P.367). In order to keep rituals sacred and without change, many religions find it significant to pass the beliefs from generation to generation. The process of preserving these is most commonly used through scripture. As defined, scripture is writing that is accepted and used in a religious community as especially sacred and authoritative (Van Voorst, P.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Defining Religion." 18 Feb 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Defining Religion

- Eileen Barker states that there is no agreement on a definition, yet to study religion, a working definition is important. It provides parameters for the student. The study field for religion is very wide. Some may even interpret sport as a religion though not necessarily correctly. Definitions may include deities, such as Islam and Christianity; others not (Buddhism and Shinto.) A broad definition of religion would generally include rituals, special symbols and artistic and music style, sacred or special texts and a set of doctrines, (good) moral and behavioural codes....   [tags: Religion]

Research Papers
868 words (2.5 pages)

Defining Religion Essay

- When searching for the meaning of the term religion one most go a long way in making an extensive search to actually form a definition that can fit such a broad word. There is no one definition that can satisfy all religions and remain true to all religions throughout its answer. There are many different views and definitions of the word and it is very hard to come up with a reasonable definition that sums such a massive expression up. Religion when used as a single word is almost impossible to define....   [tags: Definition Essays]

Free Essays
1034 words (3 pages)

Essay on Defining Religion

- Defining Religion The most fundamental question when examining a religion is "what is religion?" That is a distinctly hard question to answer considering that what is ordinarily considered to be religion is not all it is, and what many consider not to be religion may be near religious (i.e. sports). The truth is that there are no genuine answers to the question of "what is religion". Definitions of religion tend to suffer from one of two problems: they are either too narrow and exclude many of the belief systems which most people will agree are religious, or they are too vague and ambiguous, leading one to conclude that just about any and everything is actually a...   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1696 words (4.8 pages)

Defining Religion Essay examples

- Defining Religion "Religion is only the illusory sun which revolves round man as long as he does not revolve round himself". Karl Marx. Before we can look at the Marxist theory of religion we must first have some understanding of what religion is. For many in todays world religion is becoming something alien, only 3% of the population of Britain attend Church. Religion is, however, much more than simple Church attendance, something that has never been high amongst the British working-class....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
2707 words (7.7 pages)

Defining Religion Essay

- Defining Religion Is it fair to define religion. Who has authority. Will there ever be one true definition. The mentioning of religion often sparks many questions, many questions that will forever go unsolved. The word religion is also associated with powerful words of relevancy. Faith, love, devotion, and sacrifice, these words are easy to apply to religion, but is it possible to conjure these words into a solid meaning. Due to the fact there are so many world religions, it is imperative that religion is broadly defined in order to include the vast array of beliefs....   [tags: Religious Definition God Christianity]

Free Essays
894 words (2.6 pages)

Essay about Defining Spirituality and Giving Meaning to Occupation

- Framework-II Application Article Analysis Defining Spirituality and Giving Meaning to Occupation Spirituality as central element in the Canadian Model of Occupational Performance (Griffith, Caron, Desrosiers, & Thibeault, 2007) and its acknowledgment in the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process 2nd Edition (2008) illustrate how spirituality impacts the practice of occupational therapy. Although spirituality is an abstract concept, Griffith et al....   [tags: religion, occupational therapy]

Research Papers
678 words (1.9 pages)

Defining Family and a Personal Reflection Essay

- In this discussion, I will be explaining how I define family. I will also include my immediate and extended family. I will also describe what family means to me, how mine differs from other families in my neighborhood, and also how they are similar. I will also describe my family’s ethnicity and how it may affect any of my family’s health. To me, family is a group of people that are brought together by blood, adoption, or marriage. I also believe that people do not have to be blood-related to be considered a family....   [tags: traditions, religion, ethnicity]

Research Papers
563 words (1.6 pages)

Essay on Defining Good and Evil

- Good and evil are more connected to each other than what people give them credit for. Good coexists with evil and there can be no good unless there is also an evil. Something that benefits a society would be considered good. On the other hand, if it does not benefit a society, it would be considered evil. The term good and evil can be associated with whatever a person sets their moral to be. When a person finds joy in something, they call it good. On the other hand, if it brings them agony, they call it evil....   [tags: morals, religion, sin]

Research Papers
864 words (2.5 pages)

Elements Of Religion And Religion Essay examples

- ... While scholars call these stories myths, those who believe in a religion believe the stories to be actual happenings (Raiser, 2014). 4) Rituals; these are activities that are enacted about beliefs and are mostly performed in ceremonies. Religions would perform some practices that are only unique to each religion. 5) An ethical system; religions have established rules about human behavior and supernatural beings often reveal them. The human behavior or moral code associated with religion can also be socially generated....   [tags: Religion, Christianity, Morality, Jesus]

Research Papers
876 words (2.5 pages)

Defining the Ideal in Plato's The Republic Essay

- Defining the Ideal in Plato's The Republic In 1921, Vance Palmer, the famous Australian author and poet, noted, in his essay titled "On Boundaries", that "it is the business of thought to define things, to find the boundaries; thought, indeed, is a ceaseless process of definition". As Palmer noted, humans, by their very nature, attempt to define all things. But, more than that, we attempt to redefine subjects and ideas that have already been defined so that we can better understand what they mean, where we came from, and, perhaps most importantly of all, who we are....   [tags: Philosophy Religion Essays]

Research Papers
758 words (2.2 pages)

5). Scripture is a source for establishing and defending key doctrines and key teachings of faith (Van Voorst, P.9). Scripture is also prominently used in public worship, meditation and devotion (Van Voorst, P.10). Some examples of communities that make use of scripture include: Judaism, Christianity, and Sikhism. These religions are all properly called "religions of the book" because of the high place and powerful function of their scriptures (Van Voorst, P.5). Scriptures vary with religions; some are quoted from God, others from philosophers. In Christianity scripture is found in the Bible, the Quran for Muslims, Ching scriptures for Confucianism, and Shruti and Smriti scriptures. It may be easy to identify that this contradicts primal religions, primals often practice very in dept rituals, however writing was unknown them, thus making scripture nonexistent. Regardless, to written scripture, beliefs have been preserved through the passing down of material by word of mouth, often referred to as oral tradition. Hindus, for example, regard their Vedas essentially as speech rather than as printed word, and see the written text as inferior to its oral form (Van Voorst P.5). Scripture is extraordinarily assorted, while some religions have one book of scripture, such as the Bible or Quran, other communities have thousands. The first is hatha yoga; this yoga is practiced as preliminary to spiritual yoga. Another type of yoga is, Jnana. Jnana yoga is intended for spiritual aspirants who have a strong reflective bent, is path to oneness with the Godhead through knowledge. It is, rather, an intuitive discernment that transforms, turning the knower eventually into that which she knows (Smith, P. 29). The next yoga is known as bhakti. The aim of bhakti yoga is to direct toward God the love that lies at the base of every heart (Smith, P. 32). Lastly, there is karma yoga, which worships labor as a path to god. Hinduism has numerous paths: paths, wants and stages of life.
The next well practiced religion, was founded by Kung Fu-Tzu (Kung the Master), known as Confucianism. Confucianism is a complex religion based around the system of moral, social, and political thought. It was founded on the belief that heaven and earth coexist in harmony and balanced strength while maintaining an everlasting dynamism. Based on the state literature of China, and used in their educational system for two thousand years (VanVoorst, P. 138), the Confucius scripture is divided into two parts, the first being the five classics (Wu Ching), and the second being Four Books (Ssu Shu).
Although commonly said not to be a religion, Confucianism worships dead ancestors, validating the respect and love they have for what they consider a higher power.


Smith, Huston. The World's Religions. New York; Harper, 1991.

Van Voorst, Robert E. Anthology of World Scriptures. Belmont; Thomson, 2006.
Return to