The Work Definitions Of Religion

2779 WordsOct 30, 201412 Pages
Throughout the course of our study, we have encountered many different working definitions of religion. The working definitions provided by Émile Durkheim, William James, and Paul Tillich, all neglect to holistically capture the observable, individual, and social effect religion delivers to an individual and his community. It was not until the end of the twentieth century, when Clifford Geertz and Gerald James Larson provided a working definition that associated religion with the concept of culture. Additionally, Geertz and Larson further developed the definition of religion to include cultural symbols. Moreover, defining religion with the ability to influence reasoning within a community of individuals. In the context of this class and…show more content…
Therefore, religion should be categorized more as a means of life rather than a rigid, unchanging set of rules that is apparent within an individual’s life. Both Buddhism and Confucianism have no condemnation towards other religions. Therefore, both Buddhism and Confucianism open-mindedly allow followers to explore other practices and ultimately discover their own self. Something considered not religious would evoke no change amongst an individual or the community he exists in. The textbook addresses the issue between distinguishing what doing religion is and being religious is. Distinguishing what doing religion is between what being religious is overlooks a considerable aspect of religion: what religion achieves. Rudolf Otto states that not all religious acts or experiences such as Nirvana in Buddhism or “prayer and meditation” can be fully captured by “empirical observation.” Thus, it is impossible to distinguish what doing religion is between what being religious is without experiencing the act yourself. The working definition established earlier exemplifies what religion means. If an individual’s actions or experiences create change within the individual on a personal level, then the action or experience would be considered religious. Therefore, religion should be defined in terms of its impact on an individual and its ability to
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