January 17, 2005
Welcome to this bulletin board for World Religions. Please post interesting items you would like me to include.
Group Definition of Religion
FROM DEFINITION BRAIN STORMING: WHAT IS RELIGION?
Religion is a system of symbols, traditions, beliefs, practices such as prayer and meditation, and ethical teachings that pertain to our understanding about the Higher Power or Divine, the human soul or spirit, the way to live rightly, and the afterlife. Religion creates community, influences broader politics, shapes the life cycle, and gives guidance to families. For individuals, religion can provide creativity, strength, and comfort, can lead to personal sacrifice, and can also be experienced as providing strictures or limits to individual freedom.
Religion is a human set of practices and institutions that provide moral guidance, teachings, and methods of connecting to the sacred. At the institutional level, religions include sacred texts, objects, buildings, natural settings, leaders or experts, and holy teachings or doctrines. Religious rituals, music, and art connect participants to sacred myths, symbols, and divine beings. For individuals, religion offers a pathway through life, answering difficult questions, giving ethical guidance, and providing reassurance in the face of human mortality.
Religion can be harmful in promoting intolerance, fear of punishment, and even warfare. In contrast, religion can provide a vehicle to help individuals have spiritual experiences that open up for them a deeper level of existence, one of transformation, inner peace, security, and enlightenment. This experience can be strengthened by religious disciplines and practices such as vision quests, meditation, prayer, and fasting.