What is Religion?


Religion is to do right. It is to love, it is to serve, it is to think, it is to be humble.“ —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Well functioning masses would like to conduct themselves according to the intents of major religions as expressed above by Ralph Waldo Emerson, a highly acclaimed American thinker. Noble as it is, most humans today operate in short-term body-centric ways, which defeats the intent of religions.

People need to fully comprehend what a religion truly is? Some say it is a way of life, consistent with God’s will. Some say, it is a code of conduct as is written in sacred ancient books. Mark Twain has said “Religion consists in a set of things which the average man thinks he believes and wishes he was certain of.” Penguin Dictionary of Religions (1997) says, religion is “A general term used to designate all concepts concerning the belief in gods and goddesses as well as other spiritual beings or transcendental ultimate concerns.” The Encyclopedia Britannica (online, 2006) has defined religion as “Human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine.” Peter Berger has been quoted to have said “Religion is the human attitude towards a sacred order that includes within it all beings, human or otherwise, belief in cosmos, the meaning of which both includes and transcends man.” This supports that there has to be a spiritual component to every religion, though it remains hidden behind the veils of organized religious rituals.

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