Webster’s New World Dictionary defines religion as “any specific system of belief and worship, often involving a code of ethics and a philosophy.” This definition would exclude religions that do not engage in worship.
Religion has played a huge part in the formation of the society we know today. Ingrained into many cultures around the world is what the community believes in. To understand the Jews, you need to know something about Judaism. To understand the Japanese you need some insight into Buddhism.
Needless to say, religion stems from one’s personal belief and faith in certain principles, objectives or God. Many religions in the world have leaders or founders and these humans usually claim to receive instructions from God or a deity.
In this series, I would focus on five of the world’s most influential religious traditions namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity and explore their origins, beliefs and key features of their worship.
“Dr. Irving Hexham of the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, assembled a list of definitions of religion from various authors and theologians. One which caught my attention was by Alfred North Whitehead, He claimed that religion is: “what the individual does with his own solitariness.”
Another definition by B A Robinson defines religion as “any specific system of belief about deity, often involving rituals, a code of ethics, and a philosophy of life. Therefore, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Native American Spirituality, and Neopaganism would be religions and also Agnosticism, Atheism, Humanism, Ethical Culture etc., because they also contain a “belief about deity” – their belief is that they do not know whether a deity exists, or they have no knowledge of God, or they sincerely believe that God does not exist.”
Defining the word “religion” is a difficult task.