I’m doing an online course on the topic of religion. It’s made me think. What is religion? How is it defined? How do you put a definition to something that has such diversity within it?
To me, religions are organised structures. They have guidelines on how you are supposed to live, and a deity you worship. They give a sense of community, and of belonging to something greater than yourself.
There are many different religions around the world, some I know more about than others. But what makes them a religion? Do you need a deity for it to be called a religion? Is Buddhism a religion?
Is religion defined by what it does, what it gives people? Or is it defined by a rule, by something it has to have? How embedded in culture is it? Can you imagine a culture without a religion? (I am sure some of the fantasy writers out there have at least tried. 🙂 )
I am not religious, but I strive to understand those who are. I want to understand how different people see the world, and religion fascinates me. I love the stories that belong to the many religions around the world, and I love the goodness that comes from some of those who believe.
Unfortunately, I am also aware of those who twist it, who use it to persecute and ruin lives, to judge people they have no right to judge in such public ways.
But that’s getting off-topic.
I want to know what you all think out there. What’s your definition of religion? What does it mean to you?