Definition of religion

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by S.A.M., Nov 30, 2008.

  1. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Hmm, and how does one decide the correct "rules" ? I thought religion is the set of rituals that are exhibited in the practice of theism.
     
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  3. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    The holy books of that religion or the words of those who started the religion, I would assume.

    How flexible is religion?
    If you disagree with some of what Jesus said, are you still a "Christian" or are you then something else?
    This is one of the problems I have with religions.

    Those who are members of Shambhala, for example, refer to themselves as Buddhists. They also do not read the Pali Canon - which is the collected teachings and sayings of Siddhartha - and they believe/practice some things which directly contradict some of what Siddhartha taught.
    Are they still Buddhists?

    Siddhartha has influenced my thought greatly, yet I can not refer to myself asa Buddhist, simply because I disagree with him on certain things.
    For me, it is a matter of integrity and truth.
    If I do not agree with him completely, then I am not a follower of him - I was merely influenced by him.
     
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  5. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    I distinguish between theism [belief in God] and religion [the practice of it]. For example, in Islam itself, the religion is quite diverse. The Shias have their Ashara which the Sunnis, not considering Ali as the successor do not have, the number of rakats differ between different schools, etc. Neither has much to do with believing in God per se, but are derived as a practice peculiar to those who do believe in that religion.
     
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  7. darini Registered Senior Member

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    We could also consider {lig} > {lic} as "to read" in examples like (in Portuguese): lição (lesson); inteligente (intelligent) and some conjugations of the verb ler (to read): li, líamos etc; but it'll be {leg} > {lend} for lenda (legend).

    Of course, a root may have many different semantic meanings (and allomorphs as well). I've always thought of "religion" as a gathering of people instead of something binding them to gods, heaven etc.

    cheers
     
  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    A flat contradiction to the emphasized claims of every Buddhist I've ever talked to, heard about, or read.

    The dogma: "The Buddha points to the way. Don't stare at the finger."
    Then you agree with Fraggle, that Buddhism and Taoism and Confucianism and the like, when practiced atheistically, are not religions?

    And you agree with my secondhand Navajo anthropologist, that the traditional Navajo (if indeed they have no deities) have no religion?

    As described by whom?

    Did you read my link to the account of the unmasking of the Yei figures, as an initiation rite?
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2008
  9. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Which Buddhists are these? From where?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5YjPuAncWU

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isabA4sbzh4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mkky18YGzlA&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T91-UFyBRa8

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L31B-yPhcP4

    What difference does that make? I don't understand how an athiest can believe in spirits that intervene in human lives and still call himself a nonbeliever. I think this blurs all the definitions and adds nothing. If you see a Buddhist/HIndu/Muslim/Navajo chanting their prayers, what distinguishes one from the other? I have see Jains worship Mahavira and seen Buddhist chants and I think your distinctions are very blurry. And from what I have read, the Navajo do believe in gods that intervene in human affairs, but in a more Dvaita [dualistic] way rather than the Advaita [monistic] way, neither of which says atheism to me at all.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2008
  10. disease Banned Banned

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    657
    I keep trying to point out, although it appears to have little resonance, that theism and atheism are not opposites.

    The meaning of the prefix tells you that "atheism" is a particular POV, regarding theism, or a philosophy that relates a mythology. The myth that atheists like to worship, is the one where there is no god in existence described by any organized religion, which term of course then has various shades of meaning from that POV, including the meaning applied to 'theisms that worship no actual deity'.

    But since atheism is in fact another mythology - which all religions, theisms and philosophies actually are, this is mere, well, mythologizing.
     
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    You believe in magnetism and entropy, no? Does that make you a polytheist?

    Do you believe in karma? Is karma a Deity?

    The question is what someone is talking about when they say "spirits" that "intervene in human lives". Theists tend to have a peculiar and specific interpretation of those words, apparently from their childhood conditioning, that involves magical wish fulfillment or punishment; a temporary and personal suspension of the laws of the "material" universe. All theistic descriptions - especially Abrahamic monotheistic descriptions - of other people's religions have to be read with that in mind.

    As I have pointed out, there are Western educated Navajo who deny that the Navajo even have a religion at all, after getting involved in these kinds of discussions with Western theists such as yourself.
    From Japan, Brazil, Canada, and the US. A couple of names from the reading: Suzuki, Watts.

    The point is that there are atheistic Buddhists - overtly and specifically and in English and familiar with my culture for accurate translation of concepts. If you can find youtube videos of theistic Buddhists (as opposed to making assumptions about praying or other ritual-engaging atheistic Buddhists), or have met them in your life, I take your word for it.

    The local Zen temple in Minneapolis would accept your assertions about their worshipping Buddha gently, and with good humor, and invite you to meditate with them. They are used to Western tunnel vision.
     
  12. disease Banned Banned

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    657
    So a religion can be theistic or atheistic, then? So what?
    What difference is there really between theism and atheism, except one does not "believe" the other? Aren't they just the two views of the same thing, like we have with, like everything else that has two ways it can be viewed?

    Is any mythology a religion? Is religion a mythology? What is a myth, then?
     
  13. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    So now athiesm is also a religion.

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  14. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    No, nor is it myth.

    Buddhism doesn't prohibit certain religious practices that resemble western prayer or worship, but at it's core, that's not what it's about. There are things that lay Buddhists do that are simply traditional, or adapted from previous cultures. I would say that Buddhism is not a religion in the strictest sense. There is an Alan Watts book on the subject- Buddhism, the Religion of No-religion.
     
  15. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Nah, I'm convinced by iceaura. Atheism is a religion. Buddhism has many practices that are unique to Buddhism [chanting the Buddhist slokas, for instance]. Doing obeisance to the Buddha, sitting around chanting prayers, believing in the devas, its all atheism.
     
  16. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Atheism isn't based on faith, but the increasing evidence that there is no God.

    None of those Buddhist practices are central to the basic idea of Buddhism, that our suffering is caused by desire, and transcending desire is possible.
     
  17. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Of course. Its just incidental to the atheist faith. Designer religion.
     
  18. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Some religion is atheistic, therefore atheism is a religion?

    If you employed that kind of logic in your work, you'd get fired.
     
  19. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    PBOY, brother.

    I'm sure there are some areligious theists out there. Why have any distinction?

    As the sages said :Truth is One, wise men give it different names.
     
  20. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    If there is no God, then serving our needs becomes the purpose of religion.
     
  21. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    And if there is one, then chanting to the gods is a good way to serve our needs. Amen.
     
  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    No one here is claiming religion if and only if theism except you.
     
  23. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Yes and clearly we are wrong.
    They are all religions. Except when they are not. Or, whatever.
     

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