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Is religion simply the biggest tradition of them all?

Hello my fellow TEDizens! If there's one thing us humans love , we love our traditions whatever they may be. We even celebrate the day we were born every year till the day we pass, not to mention the numerous holidays we perpetuate and I am right there with you. I truly enjoy those times and look forward to them but could religion be nothing more than a tradition that has lasted this long. Just like different cultures have different versions of seemingly similar occasions thus we have different religions for different cultures. Your thoughts?

  • Oct 28 2013: Traditionally, religion was the place where a whole culture was loaded, uploaded, preserved and upgraded. Today religion is for most something they say they have, for others their whole meaning of life, and there's some who rather reject that idea, attached to religions, that there's some big and powerful guy in the sky, and would call themselves non-religious. So, maybe religion has been and is sometimes/somewhere a huge traditional setup. But today it has degenerated into the parts of a culture dealing with some belief in one or more supernatural beings called gods.

    (I would not have used the adjective "simply" in the title of this question.)
    • Oct 28 2013: Yea. I guess I was tugging at strings a little.all traditions are deeply rooted so much that most folks don't know the origins of most traditions. I hear you though thanks for the input.
  • Da Way

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    Oct 28 2013: If you do think of religion as a tradition, to answer your question 'is it the biggest?' is hard to answer. If you define it as 'the oldest', I think many practices like you've mentioned, birthdays, funerals, etc. would have preceeded religions. If you define 'biggest' as 'most widely practiced'..... well, i think birthdays and funerals prob still trump religions. If the question is 'is religion the biggest collection of traditions' then maybe.
  • Oct 30 2013: Religion is more than a tradition. Its something that you truly believe in and have faith in. Its what you dedicate your whole life to. Something you stand up for no matter what the consequences. Some people are brought up to it as a tradition, just following it like their family. Even though they don't believe. Although, religion is what makes up certain people, gives them hope, drags them out of their darkest hours. Something they looks to standing for.
  • Oct 30 2013: I believe it is much more. Personally I am not very religious. However while religion is a tradition, it also acts to answer many of our questions. It is a method of attaining inner peace by removing questions such as, "where did I come from?" what should I do" and the biggest one of them all, "Is this Right or Wrong?"

    Religion is also a way people cling to hope. Hope that death is not the end of all. Hope that there is a mysterious force looking out for you and he will one day end your pains. Hope that all of your good actions will mean something.

    Without religion, billions of people would be lost. Therefore I would not simply consider it a tradition, I believe it goes beyond that.
    • Oct 30 2013: Actually it answers none of those questions.it only gives somebody's idea of what they believe to be true. Everybody's good deeds do mean something whether they realize it or not. What do you mean by this statement it goes beyond simple tradition, cause that's what it actually is.. That's why I said the biggest of them all. I do not know the percentage but I'm sure it's hi the number of people that believe the Bible to be the true words from God. I wonder how many of them have actually questioned and did a Google search on the origins of the Bible?
      • Oct 30 2013: Whether or not there is Truth in the Bible or the answers it DOES provide to those questions are true, partially true, or false is not really relevant. Those who believe in it, believe it is true and for them those questions are answered. If you believe that the answers are inadequate or baseless, so be it, many would agree, many would disagree. However for the deeply religious, religion does answer those questions and does act as more than a tradition they follow because their ancestors did.
        • Nov 2 2013: Ok.ask yourself what makes them believe in it.that the words in the good book are that of the creators? It almost seems morally wrong when you take away the option to question.nothing WHAT SO EVER should be allowed in that realm.it takes away from the one thing ,at least on earth , that sets us apart, the ability to question and ask why, or in the case of little ones, why for.
    • Nov 2 2013: There are plenty of ways to find inner peace that doesn't require the answers to our originsand it definitely doesn't take the power of the almighty to show us right from wrong or show us the way because we don't know what to do.that's just laughable.
  • Oct 29 2013: It certainly is world-wide and very much a part of every human being. It is an innate, human thought regarding WHY??

    Whatever we decide to believe, or not, is the answer we are most comfortable with (for whatever reason).

    If every religion actually did love others and a higher power first, this world would be a perfect place.
    • MR T

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      Oct 29 2013: Nope, the atheists would still fight, the agnostics might slap
    • Oct 29 2013: I just trip on the numerous church faith channels on dish network.some of these reverends pack a church hall like a football stadium on Sunday not to mention the numerous viewers at home watching(I wonder how many folks are watching like myself partly entertainment, behavior study and just amazed at it all).then the pasture in a suit brings up a poll conducted by "Christian scientists"where they ask the question "Do you believe in satin as a symbol of evil, an individual being or not at all? And forget the exact stats but he was trippin on the fact that only 40% of people believed he was an individual.then he goes on to say"LISTEN PEOPLE I'M HERE TO TELL YOU SATAN THE DEVIL IS REAL!"I just about lost it..lol!!! Wow.........fareals..............he was dead serious......................................................then it actually scared me a little.
      • Oct 30 2013: Hi Nathan, in a way he's right. We are influenced by good and evil. It's our choice of preference.
        Good is from heaven by way of good spirits (working their way op to heaven) and angels. Evil is from hell, communicated by evil spirits and devils etc.
        BTW all those 'there' are people that have died and are now in the spiritual world doing what they love to do.
        That is, I think, the basic message of every religion in this world. They are all slightly different or very different, but so is every human race. It's not just a difference of colour.

        Heaven is like a shopping mall. There are many different entrances, like the 12 gates of Jerusalem. Nobody (should) cares what you're wearing as long as you are decent and do things you love. If someone does not fit the requirements to go in because they love to not dress or carry guns, etc, they are not let in.
        Some people say there can only be one religion that is right! Sorry but that is not how spirituality works.
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    Oct 29 2013: i would say it's the biggest sales pitch of them all ;)
  • Oct 28 2013: Interesting question. Religion started underground and usually against the established rule. Over time, the religion and rule/government join together and aid in controlling the population. Today, the religion has been integrated into society. People will claim to be a member of the religion but will attend usually on holidays or special occasions. There may be vestiges of belief but for many it is a tradition built into today's society.
  • Oct 28 2013: My beliefs align closely with what Entropy Driven presented.

    I thought a couple Wiki definitions might help.

    "A tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes (like lawyer wigs or military officer spurs), but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings. Traditions can persist and evolve for thousands of years—the word "tradition" itself derives from the Latin tradere or traderer literally meaning to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping. While it is commonly assumed that traditions have ancient history, many traditions have been invented on purpose, whether that be political or cultural, over short periods of time." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tradition)

    Traditionalist Conservatism sort of has a connection between tradition and religion.

    "Belief in natural law and transcendent moral order lay the foundation for traditionalist conservative thought. Reason and Divine Revelation inform natural law and the universal truths of faith (although both of these principles are actually explicitly rejected in the writings of Edmund Burke. Thus this form of conservatism's supposed connection to Burke is quite questionable). It is through these universal truths of faith that man orders himself and the world around him. Mankind organized society on the basis of these universal truths of faith. The traditionalist holds axiomatic the belief that religion precedes civilization" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditionalist_conservatism)

    Last one is on holidays and speaks to origins of some.

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    Oct 28 2013: Most cultures absorb an incoming religion then over time people slightly alter it to suit them. Take for instance the Byzantine view of the skin colour of Christ, no one actually knows but over the centuries it suddenly changed to long semi wavy hair, blue eye's, white skin and in some places blond hair.

    Now take the skin colour of the Atlanteans from the myth? What race were they? Solon was told the story by an Egyptian priest who brought it back to Athens and apparently began to pass it on as a greek history as Plato describes it. Come forward to modern 18th century and you have a legend reborn but ask people what race were the Atlanteans?

    I'm not being racist, it's just an observation. If we truly answered these questions it would not suit the proposed vision of what is an ancient tradition started in the middle east and ancient Egypt.

    The one thing i like about the Christian religion is that for those that follow it's words properly there should not be any representation of any of the main players or icons used and it's own main book foretells it's major downfall. What we have today is a far cry from when it was started.
  • Oct 28 2013: No, because, while tradition harbors nostalgia, Religion holds theistic mystic experience.
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    Oct 28 2013: Depends on individual.....some believes it to be the only way living life and everything else is invalid & futile, some sees it as a complete dumbness, some are in the middle, some don't care

    However religions have always been influenced and shaped up by culture......the rites of same religion varies from culture to culture.
    • Oct 28 2013: God created the universe and man wrote the bible, a little thought and you come to realize it is just tradition kept alive because faith doesn't require question. Isn't that convenient.
  • Oct 28 2013: People vary greatly.