Talk:Religion

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 Definition Belief in, and systems of, worshipful dedication to a superhuman power or belief in the ultimate nature of existence. [d] [e]

If this content comes from wikipedia the source of the content needs to be noted. David Tribe 17:20, 28 January 2007 (CST)

No, created whole-cloth from years of religion classes and reading several dozen textbooks and talking to all sorts of people. I'm flattered that you think I plagarized some other site, however... ^^; Shanya Almafeta 18:21, 28 January 2007 (CST)
It is a fine article that I enjoyed reading, though perhaps the early paragraphs beginning with "Some religions are implicit.." should be moved below the first title line, "The word 'religion'". Thanks. --Grant Sparks 07:58, 26 February 2007 (CST)

Another thing that could be added is categories of things that religious studies covers, such as narrative/scripture, ritual, ethics, religious community, society. At DePaul University we used a list regularly, a few years back. I will go find it and see whether it makes a useful addition. Robert H. Stockman 16:43, 24 April 2007 (CST)

I have just added a section, "defining religion," and basically used it to replace an empty section, "naming religion." I summarized (and footnoted) material on the subject primarily derived from James Livingston's text Anatomy of the Sacred. I have moved "approaches to religion" up from the bottom and filled it in (previously, it was empty).

Robert H. Stockman 16:42, 25 April 2007.

I see we have some additional modifications to the opening section. This is getting usefully fleshed out. Perhaps we should send out a notice to everyone in the religious studies working group to take a lokk ans make suggestions or additions. Robert Stockman 00:03, 14 May 2007 (CDT)

"Judeo-Christian"

"Judeo-Christian" is a misnomer for a group of religions that includes Islam. The religons of the twelves tribes of Israel is different from the religion of Ezra and Nehemiah, is different from the Judaism that emerged after the distruction of the Herodian temple in competition with early Christianity.

You forgot to sign your comment here. There are also some inaccuracies in your depiction of the judeochristian religions; you may wish to fix these. Shanya Almafeta 09:21, 4 February 2007 (CST)

List of religions

This is primarily a list of tables of data about various religions. It says comparatively little about religion per se; but it should. Theorists go on at great length about what religion is, and that is exactly what this article should be about, first and foremost. --Larry Sanger 11:08, 9 April 2007 (CDT)

I fully agree with Larry that a treatment of definitions and characteristics of religions is missing, but that is a notoriously difficult subject. Andries 13:24, 14 April 2007 (CDT)

Comment about South Asian religions, moved from the article page

It will be proper to headline the series as Religions orginating in South Asia

Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born in Lumbani, which has been in Nepal all the while

Sikkhism's founder Guru Nanak was Born in Nankana Sahib, which is now in Pakistan

Hinduism itself exists also in North Sri Lanka where large numbers of the minority Tamil populationa are Hindus.

Hinduism is also the reglion of Indian indentured [brought by the British] labour now settled in the West Indies, Fiji, Mauritous and Seychelles, as also the large migrant populations in the UK, USA, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa


John SDayal

New Delhi India

List moved to catalog of religions

To improve this article and to demonstrate the distinction between a list of subtopics and an article about the major topic, I've moved the list of religions found formerly on this page to catalog of religions. I hope that we will focus on the religion page on the difficult but interesting topics concerning religion per se: what is it, why it is so widespread, what are the major classifications, how is it studied (although this should be discussed more centrally at a different article, Religious Studies, which would concern the field of research)--and so forth. --Larry Sanger 12:16, 24 April 2007 (CDT)

Defining religion

Why does the definition section begin with two virulent attacks against religion? That seems like an incredible bias to me. Criticisms should follow the basic information about a subject (and rebuttals follow that). David L Green 21:48, 25 April 2007 (CDT)

That's a very good question. I was putting quotations in chronological order to show something of the evolution of thinking about what religion is. The problem with putting a basic definition first is that there is no one definition of "religion" used in the field. A history of definitions seemed a better approach. Perhaps I can explain the situation better, though (later today). Robert H. Stockman 8:18 CDT April 26, 2007

The section is good - I liked that there was an attempt to find definitions of "religion" from various religions. Should you care to include this thought, Christian scriptures contain a functional definition: "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." (James 1:27) I find this a useful citation as it shows that two bright facets of "religion" (within the Christian tradition) are ethics and piety. Additionally, it meshes with the observation that many religions defined "religion" in terms of "true religion."Eric Messelt 16:12, 3 May 2007 (CDT)

Defining religion

Why does the definition section begin with two virulent attacks against religion? That seems like an incredible bias to me. Criticisms should follow the basic information about a subject (and rebuttals follow that). David L Green 21:48, 25 April 2007 (CDT)

That's a very good question. I was putting quotations in chronological order to show something of the evolution of thinking about what religion is. The problem with putting a basic definition first is that there is no one definition of "religion" used in the field. A history of definitions seemed a better approach. Perhaps I can explain the situation better, though (later today). Robert H. Stockman 8:18 CDT April 26, 2007

The section is good - I liked that there was an attempt to find definitions of "religion" from various religions. Should you care to include this thought, Christian scriptures contain a functional definition: "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." (James 1:27) I find this a useful citation as it shows that two bright facets of "religion" (within the Christian tradition) are ethics and piety. Additionally, it meshes with the observation that many religions defined "religion" in terms of "true religion."Eric Messelt 16:12, 3 May 2007 (CDT)

Can someone explain the difference between religion and ideology? If the only difference is the concept of a divine or transcendental, it begs the question of what divine or transcendental means. It can not be only limited to the concept of God(s). It may be that it is the transcendent 'reality' it refers to. In today's post modern world this dualism in the western world was inherited from the Greek essentialists since Plato, which today disappears when communicating with other religions and the emerging virtuality of our world that is becoming more real than reality itself (extreme but good illustration is Jean Baudrillard's "Simulacra and Simulation"). It is becoming necessary to include ideologies into religious understanding, because they have the same paradigmatic structure and effect as religions. In fact, more and more people are currently exercising their religious freedom in following post modern forms of religion like the ideologies that are just secularised from but as religious as Christianity eg. communism, socialism, scientism and capitalism.

I also take the following sort of statement as indicative of judging some definition as positive or negative:
The sociologist Milton Yinger offered a "functional" definition: "religion can be defined as a system of beliefs and practices by means of which a group of people struggles with the ultimate problems of human life."[6] Besides the problem whether an individual can be religious apart from "a group of people," Yinger’s definition is so broad that it could include Marxism, patriotism, or even science
(could perhaps say "Yinger's definition would be broad enough to include Marxism, ...", but maybe it is semantics and i'm misreading it as 'Science of Religion' apologetic tendencies).

Are we here to decide whether it "is so broad" that it seems not fitting? These broad perspectives are rather important for religion's self-reflection to open its investigation to other disciplines and become truly encyclopaedic in CZ. --Lando Leonhardt Lehmann 18:14, 16 October 2007 (CDT)

Origin of Religion

I just took a stab at adding a section on the origin and purpose of religion (which are intertwined in my mind) and I updated the other sections a bit. I still have a ways to go with this section, though.

Robert H. Stockman 18:12, 1 May 2007 (CDT)


Theories of religion are missing

I will try to add something about theories of religion e.g. Durkheim, Marx. I hope that others can help.Andries 15:16, 19 July 2007 (CDT)

Excellent, looking forward to that. I am not strong in that material. Robert Stockman 15:57, 19 July 2007 (CDT)
Here it is theories of religion. Andries 06:47, 22 March 2008 (CDT)

Bias?

Current article under Common Classifications of Religions describes Atheism as the denial of any religious belief, the absence of belief in any deity or deities, or the realization that religious belief is no different than any other superstitious or mythological belief (my bolding for emphasis). I think realization is biased; It's taking the atheist view. To a Christian such as myself, this is a belief rather than a realization.

The problem is, if I simply change this to belief, I think there's then a (perhaps weaker) suggestion that it's a false belief. Personally I think it is, but my bias doesn't belong in the article either!

Is there a more neutral phrasing? Andrew Alder 02:27, 27 August 2007 (CDT)

How about "a realization" or "an understanding?" Jeff Dean 07:51, 27 August 2007 (CDT)
I'd think the implication is still there. You can't realize or understand something that is false, any more than you can know it.
Why don't I change it to "position"? This was just added to the article last week by someone. Robert Stockman 16:00, 27 August 2007 (CDT)
"Position" sounds good to me. Yes, it's a new addition, and overall I think a good one. Andrew Alder 16:08, 27 August 2007 (CDT)
Looks fine. Jeff Dean 16:22, 27 August 2007 (CDT)

Sources

A suggestion. Given that this is an encyclopedia, sources given only such as:

"E.g., see Durkheim, Eliade, Muller, Otto, Spiro"

do not help the reader much at all.

If they were to, as would be expected, do a google search of Durkheim, they would be rewarded by many references (1.4 million) beginning with Émile and then they'd have to start looking to see if it was the right person. Spiro would give them nearly 2 million references and prominent amongst them would be Spiro Agnew. Not much help there. --Thomas Simmons 21:24, 27 September 2007 (CDT)

Definition

Thank you, Eugene, for the addition. Robert Stockman 10:07, 15 November 2007 (CST)

Common Classifications of Religions

The classifications I have read before in other sources have quite different approaches than the geographical-ethnographic combination presented here. A useful approach is to first find principles of classification as done in Britannica. It discusses classifications of different proponents under Normative, Geographical, Ethnographic-linguistic, philosophical, morphological, phenomenological and ‘other’ as various principles of classification. In the different principles like Ethnographic-linguistic classification by Max Müller, or the geographical by most sources on comparative religions, the different perspectives are quite enlightening. More modern and interesting classifications are from the philosophical-phenomenological and morphological principles. The list presently under “Common Classifications of Religions” is rather a list of religious persuasions. Classification is used by the scientific disciplines in an attempt to order and relate objects according to similarities and differences. Religious persuasion could at most be suggested as one of the principles of classification, doubtfully as a classification itself.--Lando Leonhardt Lehmann 14:16, 6 April 2008 (CDT)

Avoiding essay-style commentary

I don't consider that the rhetorical questions, even in "borderline cases", belong here. Something such as "Boy Scouts" is clearly argumentative.

Indeed, much of the "borderline case" section seems argumentative, rather than informative. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:41, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

I apologize, but I am not sure which section you are referring to when you refer to "rhetorical questions" and "borderline cases" and I don't see any reference to the Boy Scouts. This article is still rough in many ways; it reminds me of the comment that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. Robert Stockman 23:36, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Sorry; I realized that I didn't make clear that much of the problematic material is in the catalog subpage, such as:
If one insists that the Masons are a religion, despite their protests to the contrary, what are we to make of the Boy Scouts, who boast many of the same features? Scounting has rituals (e.g., the flag ceremony), texts (the Boy Scout Handbook), a founder (Lord Baden-Powell), institutions with rank, and in some countries, required beliefs (such as God).
I thought I was commenting on a talk page for catalog, but, in any event, the catalog is full of what I would call rhetorical questions; "Borderline cases" is a subhead. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:01, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
I hadn't even noticed the catalog before, and now I see it has a talk page of its own as well. It does look like a rather strange potpourri of items. Robert Stockman
M. Scott Peck calls Alcoholics Anonymous and related 12-step programs one of America's largest organized religions, in Further along the Road Less Traveled. Maybe there is no sharp distinction between a "religion" or "church" on the one hand, and a "religious group" or "organization having a religious purpose". Surely no one thinks every group in existence is either 100% religious or 100% secular. Is this a broad, scholarly distinction or merely a legal one?
Suppose a church has a religious motivation or two, for doing charity work, starting a school club, or even getting a government contract to influence society. First, they might really want to help people in general (or some particular group of people, like the homeless or jobless or city kids who'd probably really enjoy a chance to get out into a forest once in a while). Second, they might (also) want to show what jolly good folks they are and what a splendid religion they have, hoping some of the people they help (or impress by helping) will want to become members or their church.
(Churches aren't the only groups who 'do good works' to make a favorable impression, are they?) --Ed Poor 00:39, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Abraham Lincoln asked "If you call a horse's tail a leg, how many legs does it have?" "five?" "Four. Calling a tail a leg does not make it one."
I can certainly think of groups that consider themselves 100% secular and 100% committed to ethics. Scott Peck, I'm afraid, is wrong, as there are very few religions that do not believe in a supernatural being, even one that doesn't especially care about humans. AA accepts that the "higher power" can be that of the group and the process. Belief in a deity tends to be a requirement, or at least not rejecting one. The Ethical Culture Society certainly does not consider itself a religion. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:48, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
"In 2001, a US district court judge ruled that Alcoholics Anonymous is a religion." (Clarke & Beyer, The World's Religions, Routledge, 2009, page 138) Peter Jackson 18:35, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
And how long was it until an appellate court explained he didn't have the constitutional right to do that? Howard C. Berkowitz 18:43, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
No mention in source. Peter Jackson 16:25, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Dead religions and myths

I have added a section on this topic, which I find difficult. For instance, Citizendium has an article on Celtic mythology which is largely about the old Celtic religion(s). I don't know of any work that has been done on this topic. --Martin Wyatt (talk) 12:47, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

It strikes me that "artificially" is not neutral language. It is obviously open to question whether neo-pagan religions are "really" the same as the ancient ones they claim to be. For that matter, similar questions arise for continuing religions too. We've heard a lot of talk recently about "true Islam", and disputes about "true" Christianity, Islam, Buddhism etc. have been going on for centuries. Academics sometimes take sides in such disputes, but our policy is neutrality. Peter Jackson (talk) 10:26, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I have changed that, and also modified the reason I attributed for revival. The problem of differentiating between dead religions and "mythology" remains. --Martin Wyatt (talk) 16:28, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
Maybe academics use "mythology" as a synonym for what I think Ninian Smart calls the "narrative dimension" of religion. Non-academic usage, I suspect, is a non-neutral hangover from the olden days. One hears about Hindu mythology (not even a dead religion), but not often about Hebrew mythology. Mythology is something "heathens" have. Peter Jackson (talk) 10:18, 1 December 2015 (UTC)