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Featured Terminology: the case for stopping using the word "religion" with no qualification.

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by LuisDantas, Oct 19, 2017.

  1. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Advocate of letting go of theism. Buddhist with an emphasis on personal understanding.
    Right now I feel that far too much of the effort spent in good will discussions is wasted because the word may well have lost its meaning due to a lot of abuse in various forms.

    Depending on the person and perhaps on the context, "religion" is variously understood to be a virtual synonym for any of these other words and ideas, among others:

    • Dogma
    • Christianity
    • Populist politics
    • Theism / Belief in God
    • Belief in an afterlife
    • Social gatherings for prayer and worship

    Many a thread has stalled without quite discussing its subject matter simply because people mean different things by "religion".

    Do you feel that there is still a clear or consensual meaning for "religion"? If so, what can be done to lessen this confusion?
     
    #1 LuisDantas, Oct 19, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
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  2. Mister Silver

    Mister Silver Faith's Nightmare

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    When I refer to religion, first and foremost I am referring to the Judeo-Christian schisms, in what ever form that may take whether referring to the person's religion, theism, dogma, etc.
     
  3. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    Generally I take it to mean a system of faith and worship. Which could include any of the things you mentioned except maybe populist politics.

    Though maybe some folks worship politicians. I don't know.
     
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  4. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Has there ever been?

    Religion is from Latin religio, which was contrasted with superstitio in pagan Rome. One 'good' one 'bad'.

    It later meant Christianity, and superstitio became paganism.

    Then it became applied to other cultures as if their belief systems were the equivalent which they usually were not (Islam for example is a din 'way of life').

    Modern usage is still influenced by this heritage

    Depends on the context. In most everyday usage it can serve as a useful shorthand. Where precision is required it doesn't really do the job and alternative descriptions with greater detail are required.
     
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  5. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    It is clear when used with a possessive in a sentence: "His religion," "Their religion," "My religion."

    'Religion' as the subject of a sentence without a possessive is unclear. I think it is probably pejorative. It seems that when its used this way its in the pejorative.

    'Religions' is not defined, because there is a hole in the definition of 'Religion' which is only filled by the possessive case, but 'Their religions' is defined.

    It works as an adjective:
    'Religious beliefs' is a clear phrase.

    It works with prefixes and suffixes added:
    'Religiosity' is defined.
    'Pseudo-religious' is defined.

    'Religious activity' is defined.
     
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  6. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    And, it's also used to denote "a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance." (Source: Dictionary.com)
    Personally, I usually take it to refer with some kind of organized theistic or deistic belief with a set of dogmas. Buddhism qualifies only because of it's long standing as a religion---its grandfathered in. So, in my estimation Scientology, as I understand it, although legally regarded as a religion, fails to qualify.

    .
     
  7. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    I beg to differ. Those expressions are quite ambiguous, despite a general lack of willingness to acknowledge that ambiguity.
     
  8. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    Well, words do change in context over time.

    Perhaps it's a term in transition.
     
  9. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    the first time I encountered the word religion, I thought it to mean that it is a system of relying on what one holds as true in their own personal experience.

    I see religion as purely modifiable and adaptable as things become more and more evident.

    I hate to think it's all just delusions .

    perhaps it's the ideas we come up with that we put into practice, that if tested and proved to be right we can use.

    maybe it's just a coping mechanism.

    iow it's that thing we do to fill in the holes in life.
     
  10. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    What sort of qualifier would you suggest?
     
  11. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    Trump has been referred to as "God Emperor Trump" so yes, some worship some politicians as if they were divine.

    The OP idea of being more precise is a good one but from the fights I was in to have the word 'hacker' mean one thing while society went another way, it's hopeless. We can at least try to be more precise and qualify how we use the word religion.
     
  12. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    If it is a transition, it is a remarkably troubled one.

    I would almost suggest that it is a term in extintion instead. The understandings of its meaning are all over the place and often in open defiance of each other.

    Religion of praying; religion of practice; religion of worship; religion of inspiration; religion of theism; religion of hope; religion of surrender; religion of restraint; normative religion; religion of self-discovery; religion of moral reference; religion of societal reference; religion of the supernatural; prophetic religion; religion of dogma; religion of belief; religion of miracles; religion of social significance; religion of wisdom.

    Personally, I may well decide to let go of the word entirely and use "dharma", "dogma" and "theistic doctrine" as warranted, among other more clarifying choices.
     
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  13. Father

    Father Devourer of Truth

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    Religion:
    Deism
    re·li·gion
    rəˈlijən/
    noun
    the service and worship of God or the supernatural
    a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices


    or my simplified explanation that all people should use because it works.

    if it has a Deity(s) Spirit(s) or something else.
    a set of principles or creed. i.e the Bible.
    and a significant amount of people who follow it

    Then its a Religion.

    If it has a Deity(s) Spirits(s) or something else
    has a set of principles or creed.
    but not many follow it.

    it's a Cult.

    if it has a Deity(s) Spirits(s) or something else
    and no Tenets or Creed
    even if a bunch follow it

    it's just a belief or "Spiritualism" though some have ruined that term.

    so to recap. Christendom would fall under Religion.
    Greek Paganism while once a religion is demoted to Cult.
    and Deism would simply be a Belief.
     
  14. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    I like your idea. Your idea is what is called "Ahead of its time."
     
  15. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Is it? I think it goes back a long way.
     
  16. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise

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    So minority religions are "cults" even though some count numbers into the millions when world stats are taken into account? That's not useful, it's just a popularity contest, specific to a region. In India for example Christianity would fall into cult status according to your definition as it does not happen to have many adherents in that specific region, in comparison to the Dharmic numbers.

    I'm not a fan of either term, tbh, but Christendom isn't the only "major numbers" religion in existence.
     
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  17. DavidFirth

    DavidFirth Well-Known Member

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    I'm wondering if it's against my religion to stop using the word religion. I don't think St. Paul said anything about that so I guess it's okay. ;)
     
  18. Father

    Father Devourer of Truth

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    the original definition of cult simply means a religion. the Greek religions were cults. i.e the cult of Apollo
    I use the word cult to mean a small religion with no real power or many followers.

    unless you think a group of 13 people worshiping a rock and having rituals around it would be a religion? and have equal power or worth to let's say Christendom? we use the cult quite often when referring to small groups of religious people following an unofficial religion

    example's

    Raëlism
    The Brethren
    Aleph/Hikari No Wa
    Twelve Tribes
    and more
     
    #18 Father, Oct 19, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
  19. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise

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    So it's about power then? Still doesn't add up. The word cult has too many modern negative connotations. I doubt all adherents will be willing to be labelled a "cult" simply for being Wiccan or something. Maybe some will have no issue, but it's still unhelpful. To call this a cult and that a religion when in all outward appearances both operate almost identically.
    It's like labelling a Sedan a car but a Nissan something else based on nothing but sales figures.
     
  20. Father

    Father Devourer of Truth

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    does not really matter if they themselves label themselves a cult. some consider no other faith but they're the true faith and all other's followers of false idols.
    so they can label themselves what ever they want this is about everyone else.
    furthermore, both do operate similarly. but what other than power to rank them by? there Gods are false unless provable so by power and influence is the only probable way
     
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