What is Religion?
Religion is a family of social institutions. As such, it is a category-concept and a taxon for sets of social practices. Although the definitions of religion vary widely, they generally are based on an empirical study of religious practice and singling out one attractive feature. For example, Dewey defined religion as the active relation between the ideal and the actual, Whitehead saw it as what a man does with his solitariness, and Westermark saw religion as a reverent attitude towards a supernatural being.
Religion is a family of social institutions
Religion is a family of social institutions based on beliefs, practices, and rituals. It is a way of life that many people find sacred and spiritual. It has played a role in human history, and is found in all cultures. Its practices can vary widely from one culture to another, but some elements are universal.
It is a category-concept
The term religion is often used as a taxonomic label for social practices. Among the paradigmatic examples of religion are the “world religions” such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism.
It is a taxon for sets of social practices
The term religion is used to classify sets of social practices. Its paradigmatic examples include world religions like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism. But it is important to note that these social practices have existed throughout history, and their definitions vary across cultures.
It is unpredictable
Religion is a social institution, which includes rules, authorities, and practices that create distinctive discourse. Yet, its evolution is not a safe and predictable process. Prophets, for instance, are often angry, as when Jesus scolded the moneychangers in the Temple. It is, therefore, essential that leaders of religion use threats with caution.
It is chaotic
Religion is chaotic for a few reasons. First, it lacks predictability and logical organization. Second, it denies people a larger perspective. Third, religion discourages long-term planning and encourages irresponsibility. And last, religion creates conflicting claims that are impossible to reconcile.
It is destructive
Religion is destructive because it separates people into two groups – believers and non-believers. This division prevents individuals from living peacefully together and in harmony with one another. It also encourages internal corruption that ruins societies and communities. Power brokers know that divided societies and communities cannot withstand tyranny and corruption. Only a united society can make long-lasting changes.