What is religion?
‘A life that accords with the highest good.’
There, that’s my answer. I’ve been thinking about this for some time, and it always comes back to this.
As I’ve said earlier, I am uncomfortable with the way that secularists use the word ‘religion’: it confuses me, because it doesn’t seem to relate with what religion means to those who practice it. The secularist, disparaging use seems to means something like ‘irrational dogma and superstition’. Of course, these things are found in religion (as elsewhere) but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find any religionist who thought of religion in that way.
In some sense, religion serves to orient our life for what we see as ‘better’, even ‘best’. Our ideas of what is best surely differ: but these are just ideas, not the thing itself.
Perhaps it would be clearer if I expanded the definition:
‘Religion is a relatively organized system that typically includes such things as beliefs, doctrine, scriptures, ritual, contemplation, institutions, and communities, all of which are intended to orient or guide the religious practitioner to live in accord with that religion’s conception of the highest good.’
There you have it, the unanswerable has been answered. What do you think? Is this what religion means for you?