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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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  • Oct 17 2012: Science and Religion both seek "truth," or "understanding" of life. I see Science as much a religion as Christianity... or Mathematics... or Art.

    They're different perspectives to the never-ending pursuit of ascribing the future with hindsight, which then tends to turn systematic as an attempt to achieve order- hello Language.

    Multiple perspectives is most efficient when trying to understand perspective itself. After all, the world used to be flat.

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