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What IS religion?

There is, without a doubt, an intensifying debate between advocates of religion and those opposed. A good place to start in this debate is what we mean when we say "religion." A social scientist might construe religion as "a set of beliefs and practices that are grounded in a particular iteration of morality." I think this definition is insufficient. We need to explore and be clear on what religious people mean by religion, otherwise, no fruitful conversation will ever occur among the participants of one such debate!

To aggravate the issue, it is absolutely true that there are many who refer to themselves as "religious," but are unaware of the basic premises and arguments of religious philosophy - this doesn't add to the debate either.

Both sides of the question consider the matter of great importance. There is a call for an intelligent discussion between religion and common culture - and there's no better place to have it then TED!

Would anyone like to take a stab at defining religion?


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  • Sep 25 2012: Religion is a belief in the supernatural, or maybe an organized belief in the supernatural, with spirituality being the same thing on an individual level.
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      Sep 26 2012: The Christian tradition would note the merits of this comment but conclude it to be incomplete.
      • Sep 26 2012: Why is it incomplete? Can you show me a religion without a supernatural component?
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          Sep 29 2012: That's YOUR definition of religion. A religious person may define it differently. Interesting to look at other perspectives.

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