Defining Religion

868 Words4 Pages
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. Usually there are designated days and meeting places, for devotees to gather. The belief system will likely include spiritual self-progression and perhaps a promise of an after-life. There may also be special `holy' or days/celebrations throughout the year. Having a clear definition has eluded scholars throughout the ages consensus upon a definition of what constitutes a religion has still not been reached. What Europeans may define as a religion, its followers, might not. Some cultures based on religious beliefs decline to call their belief system a religion. Moslems see Islam as a way of life. "Labelling Islam as a religion is not the appropriate word." (A103 TV14,Noreen Hameed,) "The way of life in Arabic, `Din,' is not religion it's a `Din,' a way of life which is in accordance to the divine will." (A103 TV14, Mohammed Qadri) {Stated in reference to Islam.} "Hinduism is not a religion, it's a way of life." (A103, TV14 Sunder Chopra) To make a detached judgment of a religion, one must put aside personal prejudices. When enquiring of someone with first-hand experience, the study may still be clouded with his/her personal biase... ... middle of paper ... ...r, as the Resource book goes on to say, "the adherents of Marxism conceive of themselves, on the whole, as anti-religious." In an attempt to understand different religions I have come up with my own working definition of religion, but like all attempts to define it, mine will also be lacking. Religion to me is a personal belief system that validates our existence on earth, and gives hope to many of an afterlife, (though not all.) It is a spiritual path of self-enlightenment and personal progression; that may or may not have prescribed behaviour, dress and dietary codes. Religion does not need to have deities nor sacred texts, though some religions do. It does not need a special building or day to be set aside for its practice. A religion must only meet the emotional and spiritual needs of the individual practicing it, so long as it does no harm to others.

More about Defining Religion

Open Document